5 Onboarding Processes That Modern Sales Organizations Need To Know

By being a modern sales leader, you’ve already taken the first step toward building your modern sales organization.

You’re using key performance indicators (KPIs), you’ve built a sales stack, you are an active and engaged coach for your salespeople and you even maintain a fun and collaborative environment for motivation. You have the basics covered.

But you’re probably also trying to scale your sales team, which means you’ll be making a lot of new hires. Bringing in new salespeople can be a tricky endeavor, especially as you’re getting them acquainted with all the unique elements of your product, your ideal customer profile and your company and its culture.

To help you navigate the onboarding procedure, here are the 5 processes modern sales organizations must know for onboarding sales reps:

1. How to set up KPIs

We know that new sales reps won’t automatically start executing at the level of your top performers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have their own key performance indicators straight from the get-go.

If your sales rep is new to the idea of a KPI-driven approach, be sure to introduce and thoroughly explain the concept. Reps will be much more likely to work with KPIs when they understand the importance and how it will help them be more successful.

Start by assigning KPIs that relate specifically to your onboarding process, metrics that would track activities like:

– Observing top performer sales calls

– Attending product and training sessions

– Participating in peer or manager coaching sessions

All of these activities should be a part of your onboarding process already, and creating KPIs around them helps your rep both get successfully onboarded and familiar with basing their day-to-day activities on KPIs.

Once they’ve completed the initial KPIs, you can start to introduce the real metrics they’ll be measured on. It’s probably best to start off small and then work them up to the level of activities you expect from the rest of the sales team.

2. How to add some onboarding camaraderie

If you have two or more recently hired sales reps, challenge them to see how many top performer sales calls they can observe in a single week, or ask them to come up with as many takeaways as possible from their product or training sessions.

Post the results on a leaderboard to provide visibility for everyone on the team and get the new reps motivated to succeed right away.

If you only have one new rep, have them compete against historical performance so that they can still live up to a challenge within their first few weeks.

Learn about the contests for sales onboarding that worked for Cardinal Health here.

3. How to introduce your sales stack

The number of technologies your team uses to facilitate the sales process may be intimidating to new hires.

Find out which, if any, of the platforms your sales rep has used before. They might already be familiar with a CRM system (if not, a few tips on adoption here). Get a feel for their comfort level with technology, and then take them through each platform at a comfortable pace.

Provide them with how-to guides and tutorials, maybe even have your veteran reps share their tips and tricks for using the technologies to increase productivity and efficiency.

Most importantly, encourage questions, as there are varying levels of comfortability with technology, and you don’t want to discourage learning.

4. How to set up coaching

Since coaching is an essential part of a sales rep’s development, one-on-one meetings should be established almost immediately. Many sales leaders make the mistake of not holding this sessions sacred, but it’s a key tenet of the modern sales organization.

Start by setting a regular schedule for one-on-one sessions — this means setting aside time every one or two weeks and sticking to it. From the very first one-on-one coaching session, make sure to bring discussion points (and let your sales rep know that you expect the same from them). Show them how you’ll be reviewing sales KPIs and pipeline each meeting, and make sure they are content with the cadence.

Remember, teaching is merely showing someone a skill. Coaching is helping them master that skill (in this case, the art of selling).

5. How to foster team collaboration

Round off your onboarding process by introducing and familiarizing your rep with team collaboration. We know that the days of the lone wolf salesperson are long gone, so make sure your new reps understand that championing team collaboration is key to success.

Have your new rep spend time learning from individual sales reps, as well as immediately bringing them into team meetings and coaching sessions. Continue to facilitate this by establishing group activities and friendly competitions.

The more new reps get to know your sales team, the more motivated they’ll be to work and succeed together.
The onboarding process for sales reps is critical to determining future success, so handle each of these processes with care!

Bob Marsh
CEO of LevelEleven.