Sales Team OnboardingDo You Need Salespeople?

Are you experiencing abnormally high turnover rates?

The problem may not be with your hiring process (or the candidates), but actually might be a management issue. This is one of the most important elements of growing an effective sales force, and yet, it is often mishandled by companies.

How much effort have you put into your on-boarding process? When a new rep joins the team, are they able to get up to speed within a few weeks… or do they normally seem confused and take months to start meeting their numbers? You can dramatically cut down on these issues, and improve your new salesperson on-boarding process by having clear and consise answers to these seven questions:

1) How do you measure the success of new reps?

Is there a specific sales quota? If it is based off the performance of past salespeople, then tell that to your new reps. Explain to them the normal progression of success that a rep will go through. Ideally, you should have data to back up these claims. The idea here is that you can ease new reps into your sales team rather than just throwing them in “with the sharks.”

2) Who is your target demographic?

Is there a specific audience (or industry) that makes up your target customer? Your new rep needs to be briefed on the intricacies of this market. The most effective salespeople will understand their target market perfectly, and be able to channel this knowledge into a stronger connection with prospects during the consultative sales process. Everything from the type of entertainment your prospects consume to their standard political, philosophical, and cultural beliefs can be used to improve the effectiveness of a sales presentation.

3) What are the typical sales objections?

This is one of the most important points: Have case-studies and data ready to teach new salespeople what to watch out for. They should know the top five sales objections by heart, along with a scripted response (or the correct way to engage this objection). This way, new sales reps won’t need to think on their feet during the first few presentations, they can just repeat a successful response. Essentially, you are cutting down on the “learning period” for new reps by providing them with knowledge from past sales meetings.

4) Are sales or marketing materials available?

What kind of materials are provided to new salespeople? Do they need to create their own sales messages (whether that is letters, brochures, or business cards)? Don’t assume that new reps will instantly pickup the best practices for selling your product… you need to teach them.

5) What’s the market positioning of your company?

What kind of positioning and authority does your company have in the industry? Are you selling high-priced products to affluent members of society, or is your business targeted at the average consumer. Your new salespeople will need this information to effectively target their sales pitch. Remember, the most effective sales approach will need to be tailored heavily to the audience being sold.

6) What stage of the buying process are leads at?

Are your salespeople trying to sign prospects up for a free consultation, or are they meant to close new customers on the spot? These different types of “closes” will require different mindsets and approaches from your new reps. Again, the best way to guarantee success from your new sales people is to give them as much guidance as possible. For this example, your new salespeople should be given reports on the typical length of the sales process and how the target audience usually responds.

7) Can new salespeople create their own system?

Do your new salespeople have creative freedom to customize the sales approach to their own personality? If not, is your current sales system proven to work for the vast majority of reps? This is something to consider if you find that only a small segment of your new hires are able to meet or exceed their quota.

Use these seven questions as a starting point for evaluating your new salesperson on-boarding process. Remember to do everything in your power to help motivate and jumpstart the success of new reps. Your on-boarding process covering the first few weeks of a new salesperson will have one of the largest impacts on the overall strength of your sales team.