Get Moving on Your Onboarding Plan

By Amanda Wynne

Get Moving on Your Onboarding Plan

One of the biggest constraints on your growth is getting the right people into the right positions in your company. Onboarding the right team members can have a major impact on your corporate trajectory. But hiring is not the end of the road. Once a team member is on site, got their coffee mug, and sat at their desk they’re not going to be productive out of the gate.

The ramp-up period for each seller is going to be different depending on the individual and their role. As your solution gets more technical or complicated, ramp-up time is of course going to rise. And when you consider that a 6 month ramp-up period is common, that’s a lot of low productivity time that you can ill afford. So, do you want your sellers contributing in this quarter?

Let’s see how can you onboard new sales hires like a champ.

Centralized Information

You’ve handed your new rep the tools they need. Their laptop and software tools. But a critical tool is the information they need to be successful. Intelligence about your products, your competitors, and your value. All the information they need to quickly become an expert and a valuable resource for your prospects and customers.

Critically, you shouldn’t scatter that information in multiple locations. If it’s stored in a portal, a CRM, an expert’s head, a shared drive, etc. it’s just not going to be readily found. Centralizing sales guides, onboarding material, and other resources in one location — in a single seller resource center — makes it easy to find the collected intelligence they need.

Streamlined by Role

You likely have a treasure trove of information to help your sellers learn. But too much information can be almost as bad as too little. Sellers can feel overwhelmed, and stick with bad habits or things they quickly get. The result can be ignoring valuable insights or more complicated solutions because of a lack of bandwidth.

A great solution to this challenge is to ensure that your sellers have access to the right materials that matter to their role. A great seller resource center is going to filter content automatically based on the profile of the individual seller. European case studies might appear for a German rep. Technical product information might surface for the sales engineer. And high-level solutioning information might be recommended for the new seller.

By recommending content based on who the seller is, your team can quickly find and internalize the most relevant and helpful information.

Access the Collective Wisdom of Your Team

You and your team have built up a wealth of information in your training and onboarding content. But so much of your corporate memory and wisdom isn’t stored in a file or document. It’s in the minds of your subject matter experts. Or, it’s built into their responses and actions following a question, project, or other activity.

You need to harness that knowledge. And you need to make it accessible to your team. An effective way to do that is through an online, interactive Q&A forum. There sellers can ask questions about products, prospects, and competitors — any topic that drives business should be fair game. Moderators ensure that internal experts follow-up with compelling, useful answers.

Then, as new sales hires come on board and they have questions — and they will — you don’t need to have everything answered in your onboarding documents. Instead, the living document that your forum is becomes the go-to resource.

Reinforce Over Time

Now that you’ve accelerated the onboarding of your new team, you need to keep the momentum going. You can do that by reinforcing training and process information on an ongoing basis. One way to do that is by having their sales resource center be constantly tuned to the current information needs of the seller. As they return to the site, information is automatically adjusted to match their current needs.

Another related approach is to embed training material within the CRM. Now, when I said you don’t want information scattered, that means you want to centralize its management — but you also want it to be accessible from where your seller works. That includes the CRM. As the seller browses through her opportunities in the CRM, she’s presented with relevant videos, guides, and other resources that match the records she’s looking at. This lets her get the most urgently needed training.

Let’s remember that the bulk of onboarding and training material in the average company is forgotten within weeks. But by reinforcing material at the right time, in the right context, sellers can be experts at the moment they need to be.

 

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