5 Tips for Effectively Evaluating Your Sales Onboarding Program
Dedicating time, money and resources to your sales onboarding program is not only critical for employee retention, but also to the overall success of your organization. Investing in your employees from the start will set them off on the right foot, meaning you won’t have to re-train people down the road. A survey by lynda.com in 2015 reported that nearly 50% of working professionals lack confidence in their current job skills. Implementing a thorough, comprehensive and ongoing onboarding program for your new hires will help to prevent your team from falling in that 50 percent.

Before your next round of new sales hires starts, it is important to assess the process you are presently leveraging to update and ensure the program is as effective as possible.

1. Audit New Hire Resources

Consider what you want the newest members of your sales team to know within their first week, first month, and first 90 days in their roles. Chances are you’d like them to get a solid understanding of your products, know your target customer, learn how the sales cycle works, know your competition, and get a grasp of whatever account management and/or sales software and tools your team uses on a regular basis.

Once you’ve thought of the goals you’d like to set for these new members of the team, take a look at the onboarding materials you currently offer. Do they support those goals? You can never provide too much information for someone who is relatively unfamiliar with your business, so it’s better to have too many training materials than not enough. Sales playbooks are a growing trend in sales training that offer clear details about whatever you want your team to learn, allowing new hires to learn more quickly and providing them with content that will help them sell. Assess whether you’re equipping new employees with the information necessary to encourage continued learning and skill-building throughout their time at your organization. Training shouldn’t stop after onboarding!

Lastly, get the rest of your sales team aligned with helping out their new colleagues. Having sufficient training materials is one thing for new hires, knowing they have the support and mentorship of managers and other senior sales reps goes even further. Not only will experienced members of the team be able to show new people the ropes, but the feeling of camaraderie will also make the new people feel more welcome and more excited about the job.

2. Assessing Current Team Performance

One of the most telling ways to know if your onboarding process works is to evaluate how existing members of the team are performing. What is the average number of calls each person is making every day? How many meetings are getting scheduled, and are those meetings converting prospects into clients? How long is the average sales cycle for team members? What is the ROI for each person? Use real, quantifiable data to determine the success of the team as a whole as well as each individual rep.

You should also have goals set for your sales team; measure the information you find above against those goals and see how you’re stacking up. If the team isn’t quite meeting the specific goals you set, what needs improvement? If you notice patterns and weak areas across the team, it is likely you need to provide more onboarding and training materials around those areas.

Take into account the turnover rate of the sales team. A high turnover rate can mean several things; one of them being that your sales employees don’t feel that they are sufficiently trained or set up for success in their role.

3. Ask Employees 

It’s great to leverage data to inform the decisions you make with your sales onboarding process, but if you aren’t regularly communicating with your team, you are missing vital first-hand information. In the case of evaluating your onboarding process, the easiest way to get feedback is with new hire surveys. You can offer these to employees after their first week, first month, and first year. After the first week, ask questions such as what they liked about the onboarding process, what they didn’t like, and what information was lacking that would have been beneficial to have. After the first month and year, include questions about how they feel the onboarding prepared them to do their job effectively.

Stay interviews also work well for various reasons; first and foremost is that it’s helpful to check in regularly with current employees to ensure they are content with the organization and their role. During these conversations, add in questions about onboarding experience and gather feedback about what they thought was useful and if there was anything they thought was either missing or unnecessary.

Finally, when an employee moves on from your organization, sit them down for an exit interview. Since they are no longer working with you, they may be more likely to give an honest opinion about their experience working for your organization. Be sure to get their thoughts about onboarding and what they think could be improved moving forward.

4. Talk Best Practices with Other Departments

Look outside of your own team when evaluating your sales onboarding process. Check in with other departments, such as account management, marketing or finance and discuss what approaches they have taken when onboarding their new hires. Discuss what has and has not been successful and determine if their strategies are applicable to the goals you set for your new employees. They may be leveraging tactics that never even crossed your mind.

Since the success of your business is dependent on cross-departmental communication and collaboration, it would also benefit you to know what your sales reps can do to strengthen the relationship and teamwork with other departments within the organization. Roderick Jefferson, sales enablement guru who has led programs at Salesforce, Oracle, and Marketo, says that marketing teams are “the curators and the creators of content, and we (sales) are their delivery vehicle, so we’ve got to be hand in hand and in lockstep.” Establish that connection for your new sales reps in their onboarding training and reinforce the importance of this relationship moving forward. Check out Roderick’s onboarding webinar with LearnCore here.

5. Think About Missed Opportunities

What options are out there that you haven’t used for onboarding in the past? How can you make your onboarding a more helpful and enjoyable experience for new reps? Fortunately, technology is playing an increasingly larger role in sales onboarding and training, encouraging engagement and participation on the employee side, while relieving some of the burden on yours.

Sales training software that includes mobile integration, gamification, short videos and quizzes as well as interactive pitch roleplaying delivers onboarding materials, including your sales playbook, in an easier, more digestible manner. This technology allows you to continue training a sales rep throughout their lifetime within your organization, reinforcing what they learn in onboarding and teaching new skills over time. Not to mention, it’s much more appealing for the new sales hires than sitting through presentations or reading pages of documents.

Once you have run through this checklist, you should have a better, more comprehensive knowledge of what is working in your onboarding process and what could use an update, allowing you to make the changes necessary to get your new hires excited about the new job, and ultimately ensure their success! Take these items into account when putting together your new onboarding curriculum.

LearnCore offers software for sales onboarding and training that allows businesses to train their employees at their convenience. To learn more about our onboarding integrations or to view a demo, visit us here.