This week will be hectic. Next week I am off-site all week during a 2014 client strategy and planning meeting. This week I am assisting another client with "onboarding" two salespeople who are remote from the main business office! Everything needs to be lined up and organized for a successful experience.
This step is normally a very weak link with many organizations and yet it is a Critical Success Factor as well. I wanted to share my thoughts with our community.
For our clients we design an onboarding process into two steps.
Step One: 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: Learn Company Purpose, Message, Materials, and Services. This includes a checklist and more than two pages of training actions. Each week has homework assigned.
The second week's goal: Learn to Sell Company Offerings. First, it is important to learn. The second week is about learning to sell. The new salesperson will hear others sell and watch videos, and they are beginning to sell me on their knowledge of the company and offerings.
The third week's goal: Getting Out of the Nest. However, before he or she is actively selling, the salesperson must sell the president, CFO, or others in the company using the corporate PPT or other sales tools. HINT: Generally we never pass anyone the first time he or she attempts 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, and as a sales manager the motto "Inspect what you expect" is never more important.
Step Two: 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 may be 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, etc. Make the goals reachable, but monitor each salesperson's plans and actions to exceed them.
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 onboarding template.
Pay attention to the details, and so will your sales team.
PS: If you are beginning your business planning process, your management team might like to take our free Business Assessment.