Hiring new sales employees is expensive and this is not just due to the cost of the recruitment process itself. Indeed, there are heavy costs associated with getting new hires up to speed with how things are done in your organisation, and developing their sales skills to the level of existing members of your sales team.
A good onboarding process can help to minimise the cost by reducing the amount of time it takes new recruits to buy in to company culture, understand your specific sales methods and build up their product knowledge. It can also reduce staff turnover, which is another huge cost associated with recruitment.
Here, we offer some onboarding tips, so that you can get the most from your new recruits sooner rather than later.
1. Start With Corporate Culture
When it comes to successful onboarding, the most obvious and best place to start is by helping recruits to understand corporate culture. In truth, this process can begin before you have even hired them, by making sure aspects of your values come through on any recruitment literature and on your company website.
Company culture, values and your mission statement should shine through in any welcome booklets you issue to new hires and should feature in any induction sessions as well. Familiarising new recruits with the way things are done and the overall tone of the workplace will help to make transitions smoother and reduce staff turnover in the early stages of employment.
2. Invest in High-Quality Training
Next, you need to make sure you are proving new staff with high-quality training, which teaches them all they need to know about your sales processes. Ultimately, your training should be geared towards delivering fast ramp up times, but you should not rush training, as this will likely result in poor knowledge retention and sales performance.
Crucially, it is not just the new staff who need to be trained in order to get your onboarding strategy right. In fact, with research showing that 70 percent of new knowledge may be lost within 24 hours, reinforcement through coaching and mentoring is vital and that means training sales leaders and mentors within your organisation too.
3. Build Up Product Knowledge
Any good salesperson needs to know about the products they are selling, so that they can explain the benefits of the product to sales prospects. This means that your onboarding process should place a strong emphasis on ensuring staff gain a detailed product knowledge through training.
Product details should also be easily accessible through digital files, allowing staff to access vital information at the right moments. Allowing staff to access this information digitally also provides the opportunity for them to learn away from the workplace. It is also important that your training updates staff as products or services change.
4. Focus on Your Customer Base
Finally, a significant focus should be placed upon the specific customer base you sell to, so that new hires get an understanding of who they are going to be selling to, how your business helps them, what it is they are motivated by and so forth. Doing so equips employees with the knowledge they need to make sales and build confidence.
“Add buyer personas into the training, and build other training facets around them,” says Danny Wong, writing for Entrepreneur.com. “Sprinkle customer information into every aspect of onboarding. This will empower the new employee to start off faster and with a better framework for how to close his or her first deal.”
Recruiting new sales staff can be costly for businesses, but the costs increase the longer it takes staff to ‘ramp up’ – especially when long ramp up times lead to high levels of staff turnover. By focusing on company culture and your customer base, and delivering high-quality training, you can boost new recruits.