The success of new sales reps that you’ll be bringing into your team in 2020 will largely depend on how well the sales onboarding process is organized and executed. Bringing a new salesperson into an already-established sales team can be daunting—for both your business and the new hire. Will they be a good fit? How will clients react to the new face? What information do they need to succeed?
First, take a deep breath. The good news is, you don’t have to roll the dice. With some organized planning and an understanding of sales rep onboarding best practices, you can be confident that you know the answers to these questions long before your new salesperson hits the streets.
There isn’t a magical introduction that leads to exponential sales team productivity. But you can line yourself and your new rep up for success with a well-thought-out and executed strategy--all without driving up training costs. This will help ensure the continued growth of your company.
30-60-90 Day Onboarding Plan For A Sales Rep
You may be wondering what the best onboarding strategy is or how long onboarding should be for a sales rep according to best practices. If you are not using a 30-60-90 day onboarding plan yet, you should be.
A 30-60-90 day sales onboarding plan turns a murky onboarding process to a clear-cut, black and white course of action for your new sales employee. It defines a concrete action plan and lays out a clear vision for one’s abilities and the expectations of them.
The onboarding plan should be laid out for your new employees no later than for the start of their first week on the job. We’ll help you do it! This article will take you through a complete 30-60-90 day sales rep onboarding checklist, step-by-step, based on onboarding best practices. Let’s take a look:
30: The First 30 Days Of Sales Onboarding
During the first 30 days, this is where the solid foundation is built. Much of this first month should revolve around information gathering and your new rep learning everything they possibly can about the company, the products, the target market, your sales process, as well as getting to know their colleagues. This can be done through both in-person meetings and training sessions as well as the reps independently going over material that has been put together for new hire training.
Visual data is absorbed more efficiently and effectively than raw text data, so video training modules are great for the fundamental information about the company, its offerings, and its processes that you want to convey. It is important to keep any videos you use concise and to the point. It’s also more effective to use videos of people/employees explaining the information versus simply using slides.
- Company: Break down the details about your company, values, and culture through a library of videos and stories. Detail the latest core company goals and objectives.
- Company: New sales reps have the opportunity to meet and have one-on-one conversations with each primary team member to understand current roles and the team dynamic. This also provides the opportunity for new sales reps to build rapport and start establishing their network.
- Product: Demos of the product to instill an understanding of product capabilities, either through videos or in-person demos from team members/leadership. Make sure to outline sets your company apart and makes it different from the competition.
- Product: New reps review current customer use cases of products to expand on product knowledge and understand product application.
- Product: Opportunity for new sales reps to begin independently demoing and testing the product to start preparing for future product demos. (If your company offers SaaS or tangible products)
- Customer: Utilize customer stories of existing customers and include detailed industry, segment, geography, and product use information. New reps can use these examples in their customer conversations and prospecting efforts.
Have reps participate in in-depth conversations with sales leaders about these customer stories and use cases to discuss contract values, how they purchased, why they purchased, sales cycle, etc.
- Customer: New reps review several examples of existing contracts to learn and understand your company’s common business terms and conditions.
- Customer: Reps customer calls and other status calls as observers to gain further understanding of customer point of view and day-to-day customer interactions.
- Sales Cycle: Detail each phase of the sales cycle using rich visual depictions. Have reps go through exercises, team-work, discussions, and role-play through each phase of the customer journey and sales process.
This is best achieved by utilizing real accounts and having new reps go through the motions. Here are some examples of common cycle stages and sales rep onboarding work to do:
1: Research prospective companies and contacts and draft prospecting emails.
2: Write out examples of discovery and qualification questions.
3: Create a customized sales presentation based on a chosen example customer and practice presenting it. Feedback provided from peers and you as the sales manager.
4: Create a fully customized proposal with solution details and pricing.
5: Map out the sales acquisition process for a real deal.
- Pipeline: New reps create two lists of target prospective accounts and contacts within those accounts. As a sales manager, you can determine the total number needed for each list but it is recommended that there are at least 25 on the first wave list and at least 50 additional on the second wave list. Lists must be approved at the end of the first 30 days so lists can be added to the CRM and outreach can begin.
- Pipeline: New reps plan and share a general approach for outreach and how to build a pipeline with sales leadership. Discuss the plan and any rooms for opportunity or improvement.
- Software: New reps now have approval and access to the sales CRM, are set up and ready to go under their usernames, and initial lists of prospects have been uploaded. (Consider Map My Customers as your answer for your outside sales CRM)
- Culture: New reps are now following and respecting all aspects of current company culture including email, call, internal chat, and meeting norms. (Slack is a great tool for internal company communication that is mobile-friendly.)
- Testing Understanding: Create and utilize quizzes or certifications that are mapped to the company overview information, sales stages, and the entire sales process. Topics can include the corporate overview, initial opening sales pitch, first in-person meeting sales presentation and product demo, second meeting presentation, and objection handling.
You want to cover all conversations that move deals through the buyer’s journey.
- Check-ins: Check-ins with your new sales rep are critical throughout the first 90 days but especially in the first 30 days. Keep a consistent schedule of weekly check-ins to allow your new rep to ask questions and hear from their peers. This will keep your reps from feeling like they are isolated.
60: The Second 30 Days Of Sales Onboarding
Now that your new sales reps have gone through the onboarding process of building a solid foundation, the second month starts to put those company fundamentals in action and allows an introduction in the field.
During the “60” phase of your sales onboarding plan, reps will be practicing demos and presentations, shadowing current sales reps, and meeting prospects and clients and starting to develop relationships. They will also have the opportunity to further develop their understanding of the customer experience, including what’s working well and where opportunities may lie to better support customers.
- Practice: New sales reps are frequently creating, collaborating on, and practicing sales presentations and product demos to build competency.
This can be done either through in-person role play with other new sales reps and sales leadership or through the use of video coaching technology (like Showpad Coach). Through video coaching, reps can record a video of themselves doing a product demo or sales presentations and this is submitted to sales leadership for review and feedback.
With either method, it is important to assess the rep’s performance and pinpoint any rooms for improvement.
- Shadowing: Make it mandatory that new hires shadow as many sales peers as possible for calls and in-person meetings/presentations. Have them listen and ask questions.
This will also allow them to start to develop relationships with prospects and key clients and learn the territories. During check-ins with sales leadership, have the reps detail what they have learned while shadowing so far, how they’ll apply lessons they have learned, and what new opportunities they may have pinpointed.
- Pipeline: New sales reps are performing daily prospect outreach, starting with the two lists they developed in the first 30 days.
- Pipeline: Additional outreach lists of target accounts and contacts within those accounts are being developed to foster the growth of new leads.
- Career Development: Reps are identifying relevant opportunities to support their continued sales effort and career development. Examples include networking groups to join, conferences to attend, etc.
- Check-ins: Continue to keep a schedule of frequent check-ins with new sales reps to evaluate their competency and provide support.
At this point, new sales reps should be getting good hands-on exposure to the sales process in live-action. They should have enough of an understanding of the business to feel comfortable to speak up, ask questions, collaborate, and engage in discussion in sales team meetings.
90: The Last 30 Days Of Sales Onboarding
During the final 30 days of sales rep onboarding, your new reps should be to a comfortable point where they are ready to hit the ground running. During the “90” phase, the goal is to build on what the reps have learned already and make adjustments where needed.
Essentially, at this point, your reps will be learning through “trial by fire”.
- Live Sales Calls: The new sales reps are now making sales calls on their own to the prospects they have been reaching out to and making connections with.
Have reps use screen recording capabilities, through a tool like Brainshark, and record their screen during demo or sales calls. You or sales leaders can then review these recordings to assess the rep’s performance, deliver feedback, and provide constructive coaching.
- Reverse Shadowing: Sales leadership listens in on reps’ sales calls or accompanies reps to several sales meetings/product demos. Leadership provides reps with continued feedback.
- Pipeline: Reps are continuing to prospect daily via multiple prospecting tools and channels including calls, email, and social. You can adjust the expected outreach volume based on results. Volume should increase if the rep’s outreach is not fruitful and producing quality meetings, and decrease per day if outreach is bearing consistent prospect meetings.
Outreach should be focused, consistent, ongoing daily.
- Pipeline: Prospect lists are being optimized and reps are zeroing in on larger, more strategic clients.
- Sales Enablement: Reps are actively seeking out and discovering relevant opportunities to support sales efforts and improve sales enablement.
- Check-ins: Continue to keep a schedule of check-ins with new sales reps to evaluate competency and provide support. During this phase, check-ins can move to bi-weekly (or more frequently as needed). The most important thing is to make sure your reps still feel supported.
At this point in the 30-60-90 day sales onboarding plan, your reps should have a solid foundation and strong enough skills to perform critical sales tasks without a lot of hands-on support. Your reps should also have a strong network of peers established to ensure success and be very clear on where to go for questions or support.
This is by no means a definitive, set in stone 30-60-90 day onboarding plan. But, it is a great example of an effective onboarding strategy to get you started and allow you to optimize your onboarding process and get your new reps hitting quota faster.
Set Your Onboarding Plan Up For Success
Your sales reps onboarding checklist, based on the checklist laid out above, should, of course, be tweaked based on your company and specific needs. But, no matter what, there are several key things to keep in mind to ensure you are setting your onboarding plan, your sales team, and your new reps up for success.
1. Have a Team-Focused Approach
While sales is a relationship-based business, the objective is to build a relationship between the client and the company rather than the company and “their rep”. This starts at the very beginning during the initial onboarding.
Involve the entire team throughout the onboarding of your new reps and this team mentality will be present throughout all aspects of the sales process moving forward. This means it will also be evident to your clients and customers.
Be intentional about presenting a complete sales team and a unified front to leads and clients in each territory from the very beginning.
That’s why one of the best possible plays is having your seasoned sales reps introduce the new sales reps to the established clients in the territory. With a little luck, your clients will welcome your new salesperson with open arms.
Source: Clear Company
2. Easily Share (and Protect) Collected Data To Build Knowledge & Foster Relationships
When your new reps are in the early onboarding stages, having them base their learning on real prospects and clients will allow for a better understanding of your company’s target market, processes, and products.
So it is important to be able to quickly and effectively share data with new reps when you need to. As well as being able to protect sensitive data if needed.
One of the cleanest, easiest ways to do this is by keeping all client information in a centralized, easy-to-access database with controlled permissions.
As a sales manager, you should be able to toggle on and off access to all information, like contacts. Your new salespeople can have immediate access to anything and everything they might need.
With Map My Customers, for example, you can immediately give the new hire access to the information that is pertinent to them, like:
- Contact information
- Relationship history and related notes (purchases, value, etc.)
- Lead Stages (who is cold, who is ready to bite, etc.)
- A visual representation of their territory (with your contacts depicted as color-coded pins)
The added bonus of seamlessly passing on this information relates to the first point: maintain a cohesive brand image. By getting your salesperson completely up to speed, you help them maintain a uniform appearance and quickly win the trust (and ease the nerves!) of your valued customers.
3. Create a Seamless Brand and Culture
You want to be confident that every single salesperson and employee is an extension of your business’ brand and culture. This is another reason bringing everyone into the onboarding process is valuable.
Your business has a particular way of running. You’ve developed a culture for client relations, a protocol for warming up leads, a communication strategy for prospects, and a “vibe” or personality for your business overall. Even though nobody could ever expect (or want) each salesperson to be a clone of one another, the interactions should feel relatively consistent across the board.
This can be done through your mission statement. Your mission statement is more than a couple of sentences on your “About” page. It’s what powers your business’ selling engine.
With a solid mission statement, your new rep can immediately wrap their head around your company’s “why”. When your sales team understands this fundamental piece of your business, they can have the ability and freedom to make intelligent decisions based on a set of shared values.
Instead of just leaving it up to your new hire to determine the best way to approach targets or clients, a mission statement guides them and they immediately know what their expectations are.
Take some time to write up a solid mission statement. Then, find opportunities to remind your sales team of it every single day. And, the next time you hire, make sure you find people who can understand and fit into the work culture you’re promoting.
Source: Inspect Point
Wrapping It All Up
Having new sales talent come into the picture is essential to elevating your business—but it can only work if you’ve created an environment where they can thrive. Much of this is established during the initial onboarding.
By utilizing a 30-60-90 day onboarding plan for new sales reps, clear and definitive objectives, expectations, and timelines are established and a supportive environment of learning is created. Communication is built-in to ensure success and a team mentality is fostered.
If you’re mindful of building consistency, confidence, and trust at each stage of your rep onboarding process, then your business’ relationships should grow even stronger with each new addition. Now, go get that new salesperson and help them rock their new territory—one sale at a time.