Effective onboarding is becoming a rising priority for businesses for two reasons. First, effective onboarding helps drive more value from the considerable costs associated with bringing a new sales professional onto the team. Consider that the average time needed to fill a position is 42 days, according to research from The Society for Human Resource Management. The search for new talent commands both direct costs and opportunity costs. In fact, the average cost per hire is $4,129, according to the same body of research.
The second reason onboarding is increasingly important is because it represents an early opportunity to empower a new team member with the best possible tools for becoming successful. A conscientious approach to onboarding demonstrates leadership’s commitment to a new hire. This cohesiveness leads to a more engaged employee who will “produce better business outcomes than other employees — across industry, company size and nationality, and in good economic times and bad,” according to Gallup data collected from more than 195,600 U.S. employees.
The reality, however, is that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their company does a great job of onboarding according to the same body of research from Gallup. Therefore, businesses need a better way to onboard. This is especially true for sales organizations for which time-to productivity is central to success.
Here, we look at five key ways to organize a more effective onboarding program.
- Leverage Mobile Learning: New sales professionals move from one meeting to another. Therefore, they need mobile-optimized learning tools that follow them everywhere. The idea is to minimize time out of the market and allow sales professionals to pursue revenue goals while learning.
- Start Shadowing: Selling is a contact sport. New sales professionals need to get on the field fast. The best way to do this is with a coaching program. This kind of program doesn’t need to be complex or even consist of many parts. Many sales leaders will find that shadowing works well. This approach gives new sales professionals the opportunity to get ground-level experience on the first day.
- Communicate Your Financial and Professional Commitment: Leaders need to communicate that they’re invested both financially and professionally in new hires’ success. Doing so fosters a sense of shared goals. When sales professionals learn that the business has allocated resources for their success, they’ll become more committed.
- Jump Into Role Playing: Role playing is a quick way for new sales professionals to build confidence and practice specific selling skills. This approach builds capabilities through repeated exposure. While the environment is simulated, sales professionals are still performing in front of peers and managers, which creates heightened tension similar to real selling.
- Make Sustainment A Priority: True sustainment is more than simply maintaining skills. Real sustainment means getting better. Developing a sustainment strategy also means setting expectations through clear, in-person communication that articulates measurable goals. Additionally, leaders need to help sales professionals bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world by encouraging skill adoption immediately after training when it’s still fresh.
To learn more about developing an effective onboarding program that will add value for your team and drive results for your business download the brief: A Streamlined Approach to Onboarding Sales Professionals.