Your company’s onboarding process has a lot to do with your success in assimilating new sales reps into your team and retaining them for the long-term. Orientation, training and consistent reinforcement all contribute to an effective onboarding program.
The following are some of the most important aspects and tips to help you get the best value from onboarding in B2B selling.
Set a Positive Tone
Uncertainty is a given when people start a new job. In fact, new employees often uneasy about their future upon starting a position with a company. The role of management is one of the most important factors in whether a worker stays beyond six months.
The best thing you can do in the beginning is to establish a positive tone. Focus on assimilating the new rep into your organisation and team culture, and emphasise the support, resources and collaboration available.
Lay Out the Training and Development Plan
Communicating a plan is one of the best ways to reduce the uncertainty that stymies new-hire success. Having a plan also helps guard against a spontaneous, ineffective and inefficient onboarding process.
Ideally, you have a program in place that outlines key activities for six to 12 months. At a minimum, your managers and new hires should know what to expect for the first few months. Knowing there is a plan in place can help the rep fight through uneasiness and mentally navigate the hurdles along the way.
Have a Training and Coaching Schedule
A training and coaching schedule is a key ingredient to your onboarding plan. While it is typical that sales firms schedule training activities, not as many managers do a good job defining a coaching schedule.
Your frontline managers should know what is expected of them during the onboarding process, and they should have predetermined meeting times with the new hire to review questions, concerns, activities and challenges. Weekly check-ins are a good idea for the first few months.
Start with Baby Steps
Don’t take a kitchen sink approach to equipping your new rep with a portfolio of products to sell. Instead, pick a few simpler solutions to sell, and set meetings with prospects in need of them. This approach allows the new rep to get familiar with your selling process, and to build confidence while still learning the company and marketplace.
You can’t expect your sales reps to retain everything you cram into an upfront training program; there is simply too much to learn. In fact, applying knowledge is critical to retention. Thus, it is best to consistently reinforce key training elements as time goes on so you can coach salespeople through real situations. Additionally, offer new reps constant access to tutorials, resources and other training materials through an online portal.
These tips give you the best chance of onboarding success in B2B selling. Prioritise instilling comfort and confidence in the new rep, and plan a long-term training and development program that includes consistent reinforcement.