If you are a brand working with DSRs, Showroom sales advisors, sales onboarding is a regular and daily job for the brand sales leadership including sales capability managers. A recent Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study found that the average turnover rate at a dealership is 40 percent for dealership employees and 67 percent for salespeople. Consequently, with every new hire costing a dealership $10,000 on average, the high price of hiring new employees will continue to be a burden for dealerships.
A recent analysis from Rain Sales Training shows that it takes 3 months for a seller to engage with customers and 9 months to be competent. So sales onboarding is a constant struggle for Sales Capability Managers of the brands. How do you build a Sales Onboarding plan to reduce the time to 1st sales?
The current process of onboarding from a brand includes discovering who needs to be onboarded at the dealerships, consolidating the training and organizing a 1-2 week sales training workshop and some e-learning modules. The sales training workshop would consist of orientation, culture, sales skills for consistent customer experience, product knowledge , after which the new showroom sales person would engage customers and convert them to business. Expecting the new sales person to be competent after this 2 week process is unrealistic. The sales rep is not engaged, committed to the brand and doesn’t have the insight and knowledge to engage with smart customers. Sales performance is spotty at best and retention is a challenge.
What is Sales onboarding?
Sales onboarding is the methodology of inducting, training, and providing resources to new sales reps to equip them with the skills and knowledge required to perform in their newly assigned role. One key measure of onboarding is a new sales rep’s time to 1st sale, along with the critical sales behaviors, knowledge and activities they need to exhibit to ensure propensity to engage customers.
Prior to the onboarding process, sales training leaders must be clear about the expectations out of the new sellers once they complete the onboarding. This can clearly define the skills and competencies needed to achieve the goals.
What are the steps to sales onboarding?
Pre Sales camp Learning
Starting from Day1 , the seller needs to build the fundamental knowledge and skills before arriving at the sales camp. Consequently, building a onboarding checklist for the sales rep to track helps to keep track the actions. The sales rep can now take ownership of their onboarding.
List of pre sales camp onboarding tasks can include:
- A journey of self-paced microlearning modules which can talk about the company, culture, basic product knowledge, customers, marketplace and competitors etc. Notifying the sales reps to complete the modules and continuously assessing using quick quizzes whether the new sales rep has understood the information is critical. Personalized knowledge checks can enable sales reps to discover and recommend learning modules.
- Peer/Buddy learning: Discuss sales calls with their experienced peers. Ask the new sales rep to submit their reflections/learnings.
- Meeting their direct sales manager at regular intervals to gain specific knowledge through coaching. The manager needs to use insights from knowledge checks, completion of modules, & peer reflections to coach .
Many Organizations invest in an instructor led sales workshop which can last from a few days to a couple of weeks based on sales/product complexity. Sales rep’s who have completed all his pre sales camp onboarding checklist, get into the sales camp. The sales camp enables the new salesperson to learn along with their peers. Most sales trainers focus on the top sales priorities. The focus is building competencies that can ensure that a sales rep is ready to be in front of buyers.
- All about the customers—their markets, industries, customers, regulations, etc.
- The needs the business solves and how to identify those needs
- How these needs/problems are solved thru products and services. What is the business’s value proposition?
- Who are the key competitors?
- What is differentiated and the winning proposition.
- How does the sales rep demo?
- How the solution is delivered, what is the sales playbook?
Best practices of the onboarding sales school are consistent assessments, and role plays to ensure learning.
Post Sales Camp Learning
After the sales school, the sales rep starts to engage in prelim sales activities. Specifically, sales onboarding doesn’t stop at this stage, it is augmented by involving the managers into this program. Ensuring that the skills and knowledge is applied at this stage and not forgotten. Scenario based exercises which include : Writing a prospecting email, doing a demo, doing a elevator pitch, discussing benefits of specific solution, uncovering needs can be organized thru a variety of methods including video pitches, in person roleplays etc. Regular knowledge checks are important . The critical action is to align on a rubric to assess the sales rep. Multiple evaluations are needed and consolidated to drive data driven sales coaching. Tech can play an excellent role using video pitch sessions which can be graded per a standardized rubric, by multiple sales managers.
Many leading companies certify their sales team as “ready” for sales engagements at this stage
On the job Sales Onboarding
The final steps of onboarding include actual sales engagements which are monitored by sales managers with an intent of coaching. These include
> Tracking all sales activities which lead to a sale including prospecting calls made, customers engaged, opportunities created.
> Additionally, validating the knowledge of products, sales processes gained during initial onboarding are not forgotten. Personalized learning recommendations, continued everboarding help in keeping the sales rep knowledgeable all the time.
The manager needs to be data driven to coach the sales rep to achieve their 1st sale.
A strong sales onboarding program can reduce ramp time, improve sales results and enhance retention. The program needs to be a journey starting from day 1 leading to the day of 1st sale for the sales rep. Sales Rep ownership is enhanced using onboarding checklists , skills scores, and recommended learning. Manager ownership and coaching is critical for successful on the job onboarding. Ensuring they have the data-driven insights to enable a positive coaching experience will reduce the time it takes to onboard and make the sales rep productive.
If you are interested to see how Streamz platform can help improve your onboarding process and make your sales rep more productive faster, check out our solution here.