Sales Onboarding – How Do We Improve Time to Productivity?

Sales Onboarding has long been a focus for Enablement Professionals as sales leaders look to improve the time to productivity for new hires.

Sales Onboarding - How Do We Improve Time to Productivity?

As the role of Enablement has grown, so has the focus on onboarding grown past sales reps alone, now covering customer success, presales, and a multitude of other customer-facing roles.

In this article, we will provide thorough coverage of this topic, including:

  • What is sales onboarding?
  • How do various roles measure time to productivity?
  • How do you measure productivity?

 

What is sales onboarding?

Sales onboarding is a process of training and coaching that takes place when a new hire begins at a company to ensure they are ready to do their job successfully.

Revenue Enablement goes beyond the sales organization alone, and onboarding in this environment covers all hired customer-facing roles and may include individual contributors, managers, and senior leaders.

The goal, to restate, is to minimize the time to productivity in the job the company hired them to perform.

How do various roles measure time to productivity?

Let’s begin with a simple question — what is productivity?

Productivity SHOULD be a defined set of skills or competencies that new hires can demonstrate before they begin their customer-facing duties.

In many businesses, sales onboarding runs new hires through a fixed set of training and, in parallel, gets them out in the field or on the phones.

That is a terrible approach — but a common one.

In the rest of this section, let’s examine the typical customer-facing roles and define what your company may include common skills, behaviors, and competencies in your definition of productivity.

SDR/BDR (Inside Sales Rep)

Inside Sales reps must demonstrate the following abilities to achieve their readiness to sell goals. These examples help you think through the capabilities you require in your business.

  • Ability to use sales cadence tools such as Outreach, SalesLoft, etc
  • Grasp of core value message
  • Ability to handle common objections
  • Phone skills
  • Email skills

AE (Outside Sales Rep)

Outside Sales reps must demonstrate the following abilities to achieve their readiness to sell goals. These examples help you think through the capabilities you require in your business.

  • Ability to deliver the various sales demos for your solutions
  • Deep knowledge of all use cases supported by productions/solutions sold
  • Deep understanding of core value messages
  • Ability to handle common objections
  • Detailed knowledge of competitors to the extent that they solve the same use cases

Presales/Sales Engineer

Presales reps must demonstrate the following abilities to achieve their readiness to sell goals. These examples help you think through the capabilities you require in your business.

  • Ability to deliver the various sales demos for your solutions
  • Deep knowledge of all products/solutions sold

Customer Success

Outside Sales reps must demonstrate the following abilities to achieve their readiness to sell goals. These examples help you think through the capabilities you require in your business.

  • Capabilities to configure and administer solutions to satisfy business requirements for which the customer purchased your solutions
  • Ability to run a Quarterly Business Review (QBR)
  • Comfortable using analytics across solutions to demonstrate the value of offerings

How do you measure productivity?

You have your definition of what productivity will mean for each role you are onboarding — how will you measure it?

The good news? The approach to measurement is easy to define for the primary cases.

  • For software-related skills such as those around using specific pieces of your sales tech stack or the solutions you sell:
    • Use standard multiple-choice quizzes for validating essential knowledge.
    • Ask them to record themselves running through one or two common scenarios.
    • Provide them with an easy-to-access knowledge base for when they get stuck. We all forget stuff (remember Ebbinghaus).
  • For human-based interactions:
    • Role-playing is the best approach for these time-to-productivity measures. For example, if you need them to run a QBR, make them run one with real-customer information and have the Enablement team play the roles of the customer.

(Video) Additional Thoughts and Insights

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