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4 Onboarding Best Practices (and How Sales Readiness Tools Help)

Apr 01st, 2019

Sixty-two percent of companies say they’re ineffective at onboarding new sales reps, according to the Sales Management Association. But if every company has to onboard new hires, why is it so hard?

Poor onboarding typically happens for a few reasons:

  • Reps take too long to ramp up
  • Onboarding is done on the job, with reps practicing on buyers
  • Sales managers guess whether new reps are prepared to sell

There are many ways to get your onboarding on the right track, but one thing that can support it across the board is sales readiness technology.

Sales readiness technology allows sales enablement departments to create content, deliver training and conduct coaching virtually, instead of relying on costly, time-consuming in-person training sessions. It also empowers reps to ramp up in a measured fashion and learn efficiently.

Here are 4 onboarding best practices you can easily implement with sales readiness technology.

1. Offer multiple learning methods

Traditional onboarding methods, such as in-person sessions and the old ‘fire-hose’ approach, aren’t enough for today’s sales forces – and in some cases, they are totally ineffective.

Reps today want to learn in different ways – whether it’s via video, microlearning or a mix of formats. Sales readiness technology allows you to do all of that and more. For example, you can set up an onboarding curriculum with some courses as videos, others as PowerPoints with voiceovers, and you can mix in attachments, quizzes and other multimedia elements.

Offering multiple learning methods and formats can not only make onboarding more engaging, but it can also help training material stick while appealing to the learning preferences of your new reps.

2. Design courses and curriculums focused on key sales activities

When a new rep comes on board, it can be overwhelming not just to them, but to the sales organization and the sales enablement team in charge of ramping them up. There’s a lot to learn in a short period of time, like product and company information, key messaging, competitive differentiators and the sales methodology, to name a few.

Sales readiness technology can help you organize all of the information new reps need to know in courses and curriculums that can be compiled by due date, completion criteria and more, so reps stay on track. You can also set it up so reps complete one series of training courses and coaching activities at a time, with the end goal of mastering the key skills needed to complete a given sales activity (a tactic used in the agile approach to onboarding).

For example, new reps might use sales readiness technology to access the curriculum that will help them learn how to conduct discovery. Upon logging in, they’ll see a series of training courses and video coaching assessments that need to be completed in order to earn the certification for discovery. Once they complete and pass all courses and assessments, they will be certified and ready to take their first discovery calls.

3. Empower reps and managers to monitor progress

Another challenge of onboarding is making sure reps stay on track with their training and ensuring they’ve taken enough time to ramp up before they start interacting with buyers.

Sales readiness technology allows both reps and managers to monitor progress throughout all onboarding activities. Reps can see how many courses and coaching activities they’ve completed and what’s coming next. Managers can view the progress of all their new team members, allowing them to see who’s on track and who may be falling behind.

Being able to monitor progress adds a level of accountability for both new reps and managers when it comes to keeping the onboarding process moving and certifying that all skills and knowledge have been mastered when it’s time to start selling.

4. Assess readiness with quizzes, coaching and more

New reps may be on track to complete their training during the onboarding process, but how can sales managers know if they’ve absorbed the information, understand it and can apply it properly when they start selling?

What it comes down to is assessing (instead of guessing) reps’ readiness. Sales readiness technology allows you to add an assessment component into onboarding, so you’ll not only know whether reps have completed their training, but you can validate that they’ve mastered it.

Assessments can take on several different forms. You can add quizzes and knowledge-checks into courses to test reps on the spot. You can also conduct video coaching assessments, which require reps to ‘stand and deliver’ what they learned in training and receive feedback to improve their performance.

For more on onboarding best practices, check out our eBook: The Brainshark Agile Sales Onboarding Methodology.