Fortune 500 companies have a structured “Onboarding Process” which every new sales person follows. This sales rep onboarding plan is essentially a road map to their sales success.
The plan lays out detailed time lines and benchmarks, specific action items and goals. This formal process is great for both the company and the new representative. It leaves nothing to interpretation and establishes shared expectations.
Thi initial training is structured and detailed. It gives your new employee the knowledge and confidence that your organization has a plan and intends to succeed.
What Happens if You Don’t Have An Onboarding Plan
The problem lies with many of the small to mid-sized businesses I work with on a daily basis. In most cases, these are owner-operated companies. As such, the onboarding process and training falls to the owner or manager of a small sales team. Although the intentions are always good, this doesn’t always happen.
I regularly hear from the new salesperson that there was no process in place. They spend too much valuable time trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. Secondly, the new rep is often not sure what is expected of them in terms of direction and performance.
“Welcome to the company. Here’s your price book, now go out and sell,” is not a recipe for success or a viable Onboarding Process!
Not having a process in place from day one results in the salesperson losing direction and becoming frustrated. The business owner becomes disappointed and fearsthey have made the wrong hiring decision as a result. So how do you fix this problem?
How to Create Your 90 Day Sales Rep Success Plan
First, regardless of the size of your organization, you must develop a written plan of action that lays out specific actions, goals and timelines for the first 30, 60 & 90 days, with a continuing plan for the first year. This may sound like a daunting task but it is actually much easier than you would think.
A detailed template and instructions you can use to create your 90 day sales rep success plan is included in the book, Action Plan For Sales Management Success. You can also download a copy of our webinar on demand, Your 90 Day Sales Rep Success Plan – How to Create an Onboarding Process.
How to Choose a Sales Training Program (Includes Decision Matrix Template)
Outside Expertise Can Help Save Time
If you are the business owner & COE (Chief of Everything), you should look for outside sales management expertise to assist you with this process. This can be an inexpensive way to develop a quick start program allowing you to remain focused on revenue driving activities. After all, you most likely hire an accountant, web-designer, and IT firm so why would you attempt to self manage the one area of your organization which directly affects your bottom line? Each dollar in lost sales opportunity is revenue you will never recover.
You may be a good driver but will you take the time to teach your son or daughter to drive or would you rather they go to an accredited driving school? Besides, if they learn from a driving school, the insurance companies will provide a discount. It’s a better ROI for you and less stress for your kids.
The same theory applies to your Onboarding Process. What’s the fastest way to make a new salesperson profitable?
What To Include in Your Sales Rep Onboarding Plan
The complete 90 day plan needs to include goals, activities, product training, competition, prospecting, order processing, customer service, market evaluations, performance metrics, as well as simple things like getting to know your company and its people. Once you have a sales process in place, your new sales rep will be highly motivated, more confident and able to perform better.
Studies show companies with a defined sales process consistently out perform those with no process. In fact, the statistics on sales rep onboarding show sales reps that go through the best sales onboarding programs are productive 3.4 months sooner, on average, than those who are onboarded at organizations with weaker programs.
Remember, as Harvey Mackay once said, “Failures don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” More motivational quotes here.
“When you lead a struggling sales division from the brink of closing to over $7.4 million dollars in annual sales you can be confident, Robert knows how to engage customers and build sales.”