Are Your New Reps Prepared for the Real World?


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Your company is growing quickly.  You have an aggressive number for the year.  The only way to make it is to hire more heads.  But you’re worried: How long will it take for them to be Customer ready?  What instruction do I need to give them?  How can I ensure their success?

One of the big gaps between a mature and young organization is onboarding time.  Mature organizations typically have a robust training program.  However, much of this training is wasted on corporate policies and internal systems training. Young organizations are very different.  Onboarding is simple and fast.  Many times it’s a rep being assigned to a high-performer for a week.  Then they are thrown into the pool.

Neither of these approaches gives the reps the preparation they need to be successful.  To gain traction quickly, reps need to learn about their customers.  Each type of buyer has unique objectives, fears, metrics and objections.  “A” Players have internalized these key characteristics through years of experience. 

Without a customer focused onboarding, new reps learn through trial and error.  This is a critial mistake. Many VPs miss their 1st quarter simply because their talent is still learning about their customers.  Opportunities slip through the cracks.  Territories underperform.

Give your new hires the chance they need to be successful.  Download our New Rep Onboarding Checklist document for 4 weeks of successful training.

Here are the 4 Components of a Successful Sales Onboarding:

Customers:  This is the most overlooked portion of a typical sales training.  Every sales rep should know their customers care about.  Personas and buying process maps should be studied to ensure buyer alignment. The rep should come away with a full understanding of key persona:

  • Objectives and Job Responsibilities
  • Buying Process Maps
  • Common Objections
  • Fears
  • Key Metrics They Follow
  • Social Engagement (Where do they connect and talk to peers?)

Product: The key to a successful product training is to teach how the customer views the product.  Don’t get hyper-technical unless your customer demands it.  Key product trainings should include:

  • Your value proposition
  • Key differentiators from the competition
  • Features important to each Persona
  • "How it Works” for each product sold (At the level the customer asks about)
  • How these products improve the customer’s success metrics

Job Responsibilities:  Your job responsibilities should be more than just table stakes requirements.  Pull your “A” Players into the training.  Ask them how they have achieved so much success.  Here are some key factors:

  • Time management (How does an “A” Player structure their day?)
  • Activity responsibilities (and how to prioritize them)
  • Sales Process, including Tools to help
  • Skills that are vital to the role
  • What metrics will used to determine their success

Systems Responsibilities: Systems training is known as “necessary evil” in Sales Training.  It doesn’t have to be.  Equip your CRM with valuable tools and marketing materials to enable your new talent.  Show them where they can access key customer data.  CRM system adoption is critical to managing sales reps activity.  If reps won't use it, the manager is coaching in the dark.

  1. CRM system Expectations and Training
  1. Activity Entry
  2. Opportunity Entry
  3. Dashboard and Report training
  • Phone and Email set-up
  • Ensure that your reps get the training they need to be successful. This means focusing on your customers. Give your reps the knowledge they need to be productive.  Download our New Rep Onboarding Checklist.

    Republished with author's permission from original post.

    Drew Zarges
    Drew Zarges serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI). Drew helps sales and marketing leaders hit their number through extensive work within these disciplines: Lead Management, Demand Generation and Campaign Planning, Compensation Planning and Specialties.


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