This is a hectic period. Next week, I am offsite all week for a 2014 client strategy and planning meeting. This week, I am assisting another client with onboarding two salespeople that are remote from the main business office. Everything needs to be lined up and organized for a successful experience.
The onboarding step is normally a very weak link with many organizations, but it is a critical success factor, as well. I wanted to share my thoughts with our community.
For our clients we build an onboarding process into two steps:
Depending upon the client's maturity, size and complexity of offering, we will create a three- to five-week onboarding plan that is extremely detailed. Each week lists a variety of learning experiences and validation points to ensure knowledge has been exchanged and understood.
The first week's goal is "Learn Company Purpose, Message, Materials and Services." This includes a check list and over two pages of training actions. Each week has homework assigned.
The second week's goal is "Learn To Sell Company Offerings." The first week is about the importance of learning. The second week is about learning to sell. The new salesperson will hear others sell and watch videos. They also begin trying to sell me on their knowledge of the company and offerings.
The third week's goal is "Getting Out of the Nest." Before they start actively selling, the salesperson must sell the president, the CFO or others in the company using the corporate PowerPoint presentation or other sales tools. Hint: Generally, we never pass anyone the first time they attempt this exercise.
Each week has a series of events designed to build upon the previous week's learning experience. Each box must be dated/signed. As a sales manager, "Inspect what you expect" is never more important.
We recommend you build a closely monitored tracking plan along with a carefully thought-through plan of action to get the salesperson engaged with the proper activity immediately. This plan maybe designed for 30 to 60 days. I like to recommend a clear set of goals defined for the first 90 days; these may include pipeline values, face-to-face meetings, presentations, et cetera. Make the goals reachable, but monitor each salesperson's plan and actions to exceed them.
Pay attention to the details, and so will your sales team.
Questions? Just ask. You can always check out our Online Sales Management Tool Kit for other tools to improve the performance of your sales team, as well as our On Boarding Template.
P.S.: If you are beginning your business-planning process, your management team might like to take our free Business Assessment located on our Web site.
Posted by Ken Thoreson on October 22, 2013 at 2:48 PM