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May 23, 2018

4 Tech Tips to Improve Sales Onboarding Efficiency

efficient sales onboardingA good onboarding program ensures that sales reps receive the knowledge, skills and process expertise they need to succeed. It can also help to attract and retain top sales talent.

In a recent sales webinar discussing SiriusDecision’s new onboarding survey, almost 50% of experienced high performers said the presence of a formal onboarding program positively influenced their decision to join a new company.

Unfortunately, that same survey also found that many companies allot relatively little time for sales onboarding. Seventeen percent expect new hires to engage with buyers on Day 1, while another 21% said recruits are ready the moment they finish bootcamp or complete the coursework.

When Time is Not on Your Side

When time is not on your side – when you have a mandate to shrink your onboarding time and/or improve the quality – consider one or more of these four tips. These are practices that Allego customers have employed to make the process faster and more effective.

  1. Start the onboarding process earlier

    Depending on the frequency of your formal bootcamp program, many months could elapse between a new hire’s arrival and the start of formal training. To address this issue, organizations transfer a lot of their onboarding content to sales learning and coaching platforms, making the learning material available to new hires before bootcamp. 

    In addition to engaging new reps in the learning process earlier, many companies also encourage them to record video introductions to other team members. This promotes an esprit de corps, in advance, that normally isn’t seen until bootcamp.

  2. Use technology to more quickly identify struggling reps

    Use technology to identify – earlier in the onboarding process – where and when and which reps are struggling.

    If you use more than just formal classroom training – i.e., if you have a tech-supported learning platform – you can use pre-course assessments to: (a) determine if you successfully hired for your targeted competencies; (b) see if people are completing and comprehending the coursework as they go through it; and (c) assess whether they have truly mastered the material. A good learning platform will provide data you can analyze to more quickly identify reps who are struggling so you can intervene earlier and get them some extra help. Or, if it becomes obvious that they simply aren’t a good fit, you can reach this conclusion before putting them through the whole process and only later dealing with low productivity.

  3. Use tech platforms to help new reps practice

    It’s beyond dispute that “practice makes perfect.” The most common onboarding practice is role playing, which works well, but is also resource-intensive. You need to put at least two people in the same place at the same time.

    With sales learning and readiness platforms, you enable solo practice. Reps can record their presentations. Then they can watch the video themselves to self-assess their performance or forward the recording to get feedback from their managers. Especially when multiple role-play sessions are involved, this is far more efficient and far less expensive than requiring a coach to be physically present.

  4. Reinforce skills and knowledge

Many of us are familiar with the “forgetting curve.” Immediately after taking a course, the information is committed to short-term memory, allowing you to pass a quiz to demonstrate that you understand the material. But even a day or two later, our brains start erasing the new data unless we’re exposed to it again.

This is another advantage of modern sales learning and coaching platforms. They make it easier and more cost-effective to reinforce the key points of a sales onboarding program through two-minute flashcard sessions and similar techniques. This little bit of reinforcement can make the difference between the 80% of learning being forgotten within a couple weeks and most of it being driven into reps’ long-term memory.

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