Our first time sales rep series is covering everything you need to know about reps that are new to the game. Last week we covered essential skills in first time sales reps, and today, we’re diving into onboarding tips. Check out part three covering important coaching tips for new reps.
First time sales reps are excited, motivated, and fresh. They’re ready to jump start a successful career in sales, and it’s your job to help mold them into all-stars.
Where do you start?
Onboarding first time sales reps takes extra care, and substantially more effort. Follow our tips below to make sure your new reps not only make it through your onboarding program, but graduate with flying colors.
1. Don’t Make Assumptions.
First time sales reps are starting at the beginning. Don’t assume they know anything. While seasoned reps may just need to get up to speed on your company, first time sales reps require additional resources and information. As you prepare your onboarding plan, be sure to include:
- Sales skill basics
- Sales methodology
- Sales technology solutions
- Demo and pitch guidelines
- Customer management
- Communication standards
- Company behavior expectations
- Metrics and analytics overview
- Messaging and brand guidelines
2. Boost Their Confidence.
Starting off as a new sales rep can be intimidating. Help your beginners get off to the right track by setting them up for success and giving them a confidence boost. Get them involved in client interactions during your onboarding program where you know the customer well and have a good handle on the relationship, or bring them along to a meeting where there is a high likelihood of closing a deal. Show them how good it feels to win, and give them the impression that they brought value to the table.
3. Promote Teamwork and Collaboration.
Encouraging your first time sales reps to interact with your veterans will help them become a part of the team, and pick up some new skills. Create peer mentoring opportunities within your onboarding program by using video recording technology. Have your new sales reps record practice pitches and submit to the rest of the team for feedback and suggestions for improvements.
You can also pair up new sales reps with your all-stars so they can learn from their communication style, demo skills, client interactions, time management and prioritization, and their follow up strategy. Schedule specific dates and times for them to work together so your new reps aren’t overlooked or forgotten.
Add in a competition component by giving a prize to the veteran who helps their new sales rep close their first sale in the shortest amount of time.
4. Encourage Questions & Keep Communication Lines Open
With so much to learn, it’s critical to set a tone that encourages questions and open dialogue. Your first time sales reps are bound to have lots of questions, and you don’t want them to feel nervous or embarrassed to ask. Explain why questions are valuable, and that you prefer to see reps taking initiative to learn versus waiting and making mistakes. Use a couple example scenarios of reps who didn’t ask, and then learned lessons the hard way with clients.
5. Hold Reps Accountable.
Your first time sales reps are taking in a lot of brand new information during the onboarding process. Seeing their head nod in agreement with what you’re saying isn’t enough verification that they’ve “got it.” Using an online learning technology partner, like LearnCore, will allow you to build in custom quizzes, challenges, and activities after each training module so that you can actually test and assess their understanding. Keep track of their scores to identify where they may need extra help or coaching reinforcement.
6. Stay Connected At All Times.
Your new reps will need some serious hand holding, and you need to make sure you can prioritize their learning experience. Having them complete an impactful training exercise, like a video recorded pitch practice, and then forgetting to give them feedback for an entire week, will lessen the effectiveness of your program. Use mobile coaching tools like LearnCore’s Mobile Manager App to stay connected to your reps and give them continuous feedback and coaching on the go.
Onboarding first time sales reps isn’t impossible, but it does require extra consideration. Incorporate the suggestions above to help mold quality sales reps that will excel within your organization.