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Sales Rep Onboarding Checklist

Sales performance improvement

new hire training for sales professionals

richardsonsalestraining31 January 2020Blog

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Onboarding is as complex for the leadership team as it is for the new sales reps. There are schedules to manage, tutorials to share and procedures to review. Too often, some of the most important parts of onboarding get lost amid this shuffle. Therefore, it is helpful to structure the onboarding plan around a checklist.

Here, we offer that sales rep onboarding checklist. These steps represent a set of specific, actionable initiatives that can help a new sales professional become a productive member of the team faster. The result is more than an economic gain; with a faster journey to productivity, the sales professional will gain confidence earlier. As a result, momentum builds and engagement increases.

Sales Rep Onboarding Checklist

Each step in this new hire training process for sales professionals includes a bucketed set of sub-steps.

Provide an Overview of the Product Offering

To properly position a solution, sales professionals need to understand the value underlying the products and services they are offering. It is not critical that the sales professional develop comprehensive knowledge of every detail. Instead, they should become familiar with the key benefits because the goal will be to connect the solution to the challenge, rather than list features and benefits.

Sales professionals should:

    • Share key value propositions
    • Illustrate areas of differentiation
    • Discuss product margins
    • Rank products by revenue contribution

    Review Enablement Assets

    Sales professionals need to know what sales enablement assets are available. The greater their knowledge of the content, the better they will be at delivering relevant messaging to the customer. This step is also an opportunity for the sales professional to get acquainted with the sales enablement professional or team. Fostering this connection early is important, as enablement is becoming increasingly critical to moving deals across the line.

    Leaders should:

      • Rank enablement assets by historical lead generation
      • Map enablement assets to segments of the buyer’s journey
      • Review the messaging behind key enablement content
      • Communicate how different enablement assets apply to different industries

      Share Key Sales Measurements

      A new sales professional will want to know the sales metrics against which they are being measured. Knowing these metrics offers clarity around how the individual will be evaluated and what factors the business believes are critical to success. Moreover, if any of the measurements relate to training (e.g., training completion), the new hire will need to know them as early as possible.

      Leaders should share:

        • The frequency of measurement
        • Which metrics are quantified and which are qualified
        • How each figure is calculated
        • The company-wide average of each metric

        Examine Case Studies

        Nearly all selling organisations have at least a few examples of what good looks like. These examples do not need to part of a formalised document. Instead, a “case study” can be as simple as an effective written response to an RFP. Leaders should take this early opportunity to retrace the steps that led to a sales win and how each unfolded. Doing so provides a real-world example that goes beyond the ideal characteristics present in a “textbook” case.

        Use case studies to:

          • Follow the entire process from lead origin to closing
          • Delineate each stage of the sales process
          • Share insights from the sales professional responsible for the win
          • Review the communication cadence behind the win

          Initiate a Coaching Relationship

          Whenever possible, the leadership team should pair the new sales professional with an experienced member of the sales team. Often, it is helpful to set a schedule in which the coach and the new sales professional meet at a regular frequency. This partnership creates immediate support for the new team member while offering a ground-level view of everyday selling challenges. With a coach, the new sales professional will perceive their development and growth to be a team endeavour.

          Remember to:

            • Structure coaching dialogues around real selling opportunities
            • Start the coaching relationship early when its impact is greatest
            • Communicate the expectation that the coach must find time to work with the new professional
            • Focus coaching around questions as opposed to directives from the coach
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            Share the Corporate Strategy

            It is easy for the new sales rep to become so immersed in the detail of their job that they miss the big picture. They need to know the broad corporate strategy because that information will inform their approach to the market. For example, if increased profitability is a key focus, then the sales professional will know to leverage negotiation skills to maintain pricing. However, if the strategy is to drive subscription revenue, then the sales professional might choose to offer more flexible pricing in the interest of a long-term business relationship.

            Share the corporate strategy by:

              • Communicating financial goals and key focus areas
              • Reviewing the previous year’s financial data and KPIs
              • Illustrating how and where the sales professional’s role relates to the broad strategy
              • Sharing any performance incentives in plain language
              Onboarding lends itself to the checklist approach because it is easy for important information to get lost in the chaos the first few days. Consider sharing this checklist with the new sales professional so that they know what is coming and can get an early understanding of the care and attention that the leadership team has put into the process.
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