Sales onboarding is a systematic process designed to welcome, train, and engage new sellers into an organization. Sales onboarding covers the essential topics a salesperson needs to understand to do their job effectively. Skills covered in sales onboarding training can include company and product knowledge, industry insight, compliance and regulatory information, and selling skills. When done well, sales onboarding engages sellers and puts them on a faster track to meet sales targets and, ultimately, ensure success for the organization.
Why Does Sales Onboarding Matter?
The goal of every sales leader is to drive their team’s performance so that it positively impacts the bottom line. Sales onboarding puts both leaders and sellers on a faster track to meeting that goal. By taking an early and thoughtful approach to sales onboarding, sales leaders can better prepare their sellers for success. Onboarding increases how quickly sellers can be productive speeds up the time it takes to close their first deal, and, ultimately, improves a seller’s satisfaction with their job. Sales onboarding also provides the sales leader with vital information on the seller’s strengths and weaknesses that can be used to speed up their development and success.
What Does Sales Onboarding Look Like
As communication has evolved, so too has the way people learn. That’s why sales onboarding programs today look very different from onboarding programs from years past. Modern sales onboarding builds on what we have learned about training. It combines that knowledge with the new systems and technology people are very comfortable using, incorporating mobile devices, video, and peer-to-peer networking to deliver a more personalized approach to learning. Giving new reps, sales managers, and sales leaders the ability to create and share video content from their mobile device opens new collaboration points throughout a sales organization, speeding up the sales onboarding process and its impact on the bottom line.
Benefits of Sales Onboarding
Sales Onboarding Builds Employee Engagement
Fostering a strong connection between the employee and the organization starts with a modern sales onboarding process. When an organization invests in a rep’s training, they are providing them with the information they need to do their work more successfully. Onboarding shows the seller their work matters and that the organization wants to ensure their success. In addition to connecting with the company, onboarding gives sellers the chance to communicate with each other. This shared onboarding experience establishes a connection between sellers, one which will continue to be an essential source of information and ideas as sellers grow in their roles.
Sales Onboarding Improves Seller Confidence
Like any new employee, a new seller starts their role with a lot to learn. But because sellers work in front of prospects, they face unique challenges. Selling requires a rep to have the answers and to be able to provide alternative solutions when faced with buyers’ objections. With a modern onboarding process, employees not only learn the ins and outs of the business, the product, and the market, they can also gain the confidence and credibility they need to face even the most daunting prospect.
Sales Onboarding Boosts a Company’s Reputation
As companies vie to attract—and keep—the best salespeople, one of the critical benefits they can offer is a solid onboarding program. Providing salespeople with a comprehensive onboarding program helps them feel supported in their learning and the way they sell. And when employees feel supported, not only are they more likely to succeed, they are also more likely to share that positive feedback in their social channels, networking with their peers, customers, and prospects
Sales Onboarding Decreases Ramp-Up Time
Training Industry Magazine reports that it takes 381 days to get a new hire to the same performance level as a tenured sales rep. But that statistic includes onboarding programs that are one-time events. In these one-off sessions, a new hire sits through training content for a couple of weeks, then gets put out in the field to sell. But when sellers receive daily or weekly small bites of training in an ongoing onboarding program, reps become proficient in less time.
Sales Onboarding Gives Sales Leaders Vital Information
Not all salespeople start at the organization with the same experience and expertise. Some may have a wealth of industry knowledge but do not know the ins and outs of selling. Conversely, some experienced sellers need more market knowledge to succeed. A modern sales onboarding program can showcase the individual needs of each employee and enable the manager to provide a specific training and management plan for that salesperson.
How to Select the Right Sales Onboarding Software?
Today’s B2B selling environment moves quickly. Each day seems to bring changes to markets, products, and selling situations. Sales organizations need access to sales onboarding software that lets them—and the sellers they are training—keep pace with these evolving markets. Look for solutions that meet sellers where they are, using modern forms of communication such as video and mobile and new technologies such as AI. Ensure the software is accessible and that sellers can interact with content, learning, and reinforcement long after the formal onboarding process has concluded. Because content is such a critical part of the selling process, be sure that whatever sales onboarding software you choose integrates with your content management system so that sellers have immediate access to the content they need—when they need it. Finally, all of your onboarding efforts will be in vain if you cannot track their impact. Be sure that your sales onboarding software has robust reporting capabilities that can report on a wide range of results and provide suggestions for improvement.
To sell effectively, salespeople need access to a comprehensive analysis that details all the possible points of the competition. This analysis should outline who the competition is, their specific strengths and weaknesses, and how your product or service directly compares to these competitors. Teaching new salespeople about the competition not only lets them see what they are up against in a selling situation, but it can also highlight your own company’s specific strengths and help identify new opportunities.
The ability to deliver impactful demonstrations—whether virtually or in-person—is critical for a salesperson who is representing technical products. Provide new hires with access to demo sites to practice the ins and outs of their demos before getting in front of prospects. Better yet, give new sellers the tools to record their demos on video and invite feedback from others in the organization.