Onboarding – every company does it, but a shockingly few do it really well.
When’s the last time you forgot something important?
In this age of information overload, we lose track of our passwords, our keys, the casserole sitting in the back of the fridge… you name it. We’ve all had it happen.
While you can always toss last month’s leftovers in the trash, your salespeople can’t afford mental lapses in front of a buyer. Yet it’s more common than you might think: over 80% of B2B buyers have been frustrated by reps who couldn't answer their questions, according to the Buyer Persona Institute.
With so much to remember every day – product specs, value messaging, competitive positioning, compliance information, etc. – how should organizations make sure new hires and tenured reps stay on top of key details?
The ‘Same Old’ Sales Training
If your sales training is built around a set of sporadic boot camps, the reality is that reps won’t retain most of that information. That’s because in-person sessions often hit reps with a lot of new information at once, which can cause cognitive backlog (which means learning effectively goes “in one ear and out the other”).
There are clear costs associated with on-site training. An organization might pay to fly reps into HQ, book hotel rooms, cater meals, and book valuable time with subject matter experts for each session – a shaky investment if sellers forget most of what was discussed.
However, the wrong approach can also incur some not-so-obvious costs. In this blog, we’ll break down 3 hidden training expenses and explain how a sales training software solution can help you reduce them.
Hidden Cost #1: Sales Rep Turnover
Key Stat: On average, it costs sales organizations $97,960 to replace a sales rep. [DePaul University]
For many companies, sales onboarding is ineffective, too slow, or both. But for new sales hires to be successful, they need to be trained quickly and armed with the skills and knowledge that will help them start closing deals as fast as possible. The more successful a rep is, the more likely they are to enjoy a long and fruitful tenure at your company.
But training goes beyond new hire onboarding. Sellers who are in Year 2 or 3 in the organization also need development – and without it, they’re at greater risk to leave for another company. (More than 1/3 of high-performing salespeople have left companies due to a lack of learning paths, SiriusDecisions found.)
Companies can use sales training software to streamline the onboarding process. These tools allow you to quickly create new content, enhance it with quizzes and attachments, and make updates as needed. Content can then be organized into formal learning paths that are tailored by role or onboarding stage. The bottom line: you can create, deliver and track all onboarding activities faster – which will allow reps to move through the process and start selling as soon as possible.
Sales training tools also make it easy to proactively “push” bite-sized eLearning courses to reps on a consistent basis, which helps to combat turnover of second- and third-year reps and gives them a pathway to career growth in your organization. (An inside sales rep, for instance, might want to learn skills that prepare them for a closing role!)
These capabilities create a better training experience that equips sellers for long-term success and, ultimately, promotes better rep retention.
Related content: How CSOs Can Win the War for Sales Talent
Hidden Cost #2: Brand Reputation
Key Stat: 59% of companies say the #1 barrier to delivering effective sales training is reps not being held accountable for applying skills they’ve learned. [ATD]
You probably know when someone views and completes a required learning course. In fact, many companies primarily rely on this “check-the-box” approach to sales training. But do you know whether reps can actually use what they’ve learned?
If the answer is ‘no,’ you risk assuming sellers are ready to engage buyers when they really aren’t. This can lead to trial-and-error learning for unprepared reps, who end up “practicing” in front of buyers, which can damage your brand’s reputation.
Sales training software enables companies to hold reps accountable for what they’ve learned and move beyond simply checking for course completion. You can track individual and team learning progress and measure sales readiness through certifications, which require reps to “stand and deliver” what they’ve learned in training.
This technology-powered approach is all about validating that reps are informed and skilled enough to add value to sales interactions, ensuring that – win or lose – buyers leave with a positive impression of the company.
“So much of sales training metrics [ask], ‘Did they do it? Did they answer this question correctly?’ Who cares?” says Lisa Mauri Thomas, National Sales Trainer at Tactile Medical. “At the end of the day, ‘Can they do it?’”
Related content: How Tactile Medical Cut Ramp-Up Times in Half
Hidden Cost #3: Missed Opportunities
Key Stat: More than 50% of sellers missed quota in 2018. [Aslan]
The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) holds that 80% of results come from 20% of the causes. Applied to sales, we could say the top 20% of your reps create 80% of company revenue. That means a company would seriously improve its results if the remaining 80% of the sales force became more productive.
But how do you get better performance from the B- and C-players in your organization? The right technology can help by 1) addressing sales skills gaps and 2) calling attention to reps who are struggling.
Sales training software make this possible by providing sellers with a single place to access learning content and earn certifications in key skills, whether they're at home, in the office, or in the field. This ensures that everyone, including dispersed or remote team members, is equipped with the resources needed to improve.
Managers can also view reps’ learning progress, making it easy to identify which ones are on top of their training and which may be falling behind. For those who need more help, managers can send out microlearning content and assessments to reinforce the original training material and get them back on track with the other reps.
Related content: Why Sales Training Needs Micro-Assessments
Which Platform is Right for You?
Every sales training tool has its strengths and weaknesses. We’d recommend checking out the new G2 Grid for Sales Training and Onboarding Software to learn more about what’s available on the market. You’ll find us in the “Leaders” quadrant!