Every new hire costs your organization both money and time. According to a 2018 study, produced by the Sales Management Association, 62% of businesses consider their onboarding process to be ineffective. To avoid being a part of this statistic, it is important to establish an effective onboarding training program.
Why is onboarding important?
Research repeatedly shows that the right onboarding process significantly reduces turnover and improves job satisfaction. Having an effective onboarding process in place is critical in giving your new hires the best start possible in their new roles.
Effective onboarding can lead to:
- Faster time to productivity: Effective onboarding decreases the amount of time your team members spend learning how to do their job and increases the amount of time spent performing.
- Less turnover: When a new sales rep begins their role with a secure foundation, they are able to learn their position quickly and comprehensively resulting in improved employee retention rates.
- Greater job satisfaction: A successful onboarding process should leave your team members feeling 100% confident in their abilities. A team member who’s confident in their ability to perform will be more satisfied in their role.
Now that you understand how an effective onboarding process can benefit your team, let’s look at five steps to successful product training onboarding for your sales representatives.
Here are the 5 steps to successful product training onboarding for your sales reps.
Step 1: Gather all product information needed to be successful
The first phase of the process is data collection. Before your new sales reps join your team, gather all the materials they’ll need to be successful in their roles. This includes:
- Vital product information needed to communicate to customers, such as: product features, benefits, pricing, and technical data.
- Sales tips and general guidance on best practices for selling the product.
- Frequently asked questions or common concerns about the product expressed by customers and how to best address them.
- Contact information from other individuals in your organization they may need to contact to address questions (IT, engineers, management, etc.). Include an organizational flow chart if your company is big enough, so they understand how information flows between different team interactions.
Again, this information should be collected pre-hire. By providing your new team member with this information - packaged with a reference guide on where they can find each piece of information - you’re giving them the raw materials they need to succeed on day one.
Step 2: Determine performance goals
Ideally, your sales team should have goals that include the following components:
- Simplicity: easy to understand and remember
- Measurable: ability to track progress and define success
- Timeline: increases urgency and pragmatism
- Clear expectations
To gauge the success of your sales reps, both quantitative and qualitative metrics should be measured. Tracking the raw numbers, through sales, percentage of leads converted, new acquisitions and retained customers, will serve as a valuable tool to help reach set performance goals. Quantitative measures are a clear cut way to measure results; however, sales reps need to be evaluated based upon qualitative measures- knowledge retention, personal efforts, and attitudes- in order to assess the long-term fit in your organization.
After defining the performance goals for your product training onboarding, it is critical to communicate these performance goals with your sales reps as early as possible.
Step 3: Create digestible content
With the information gathered and set goals for sales reps, it’s now time to connect the two by creating content that lead to desired results.
Use micolearning techniques to break up content into manageable chunks. This will increase knowledge retention and prevent new sales reps from being overwhelmed with too much information.
Most importantly, creating digestible onboarding content avoids overloading your sales reps with information they might not immediately need. Instead, begin the onboarding process with only the essential information. This will help them reach their sales goals and support continued learning which will improve their performance over time.
Step 4: Implement coaching
One of the best resources an organization possesses is existing team members who have already excelled in the role.
Coaching enhances learning by giving new sales reps a chance to review and apply their knowledge through repetition and reinforcement. It also allows learners to ask questions and clarify uncertainties in real time. These more experienced members become mentors allowing new hires to absorb material quicker and feel more connected to the company.
Ultimately, a coaching system sets a precedence of accountability and performance. It will help new sales reps understand what kind of goals they’ll need to set in order to be successful in the role.
Step 5: Continually evaluate your onboarding process
Once you’ve had a chance to implement a new onboarding process, give your new sales representatives time to adjust. After a certain period of time, check to see whether your new sales reps are meeting their performance goals.
Look at the data and the key performance indicators you’ve identified at the outset. Determine whether your sales reps exceeded expectations or if they have fallen short. Dig deeper to find what is working and what still needs to be improved in order to create the most successful onboarding program.
Discuss their performance, and communicate with your team to get their overall opinion on the product training onboarding in place. Ask where improvements can be made and what aspects helped their ability to succeed. This overlap between opinion and data will help ensure positive adjustments are made for future sales reps.
About Knowledge Anywhere
Knowledge Anywhere is an elearning company focused on providing flexible, modern learning and development solutions that enable organizations to harness the power of an engaged, knowledgeable workforce.
Our Learning Management System, Virtual Reality Training, and Course Development services, combined with our experience and customer support enables our users to create a learning and development program that boosts sales and drives company growth.
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