You have just hired an A-Player for your sales team – someone you’re looking to perform at a high level and crush your company goals. Are you assuming your newest employee will continue to be a sales powerhouse in your company environment? Don’t count on it! Owners and Sales Leaders can’t take a backseat just yet in the hiring process. They must create and provide a robust Sales Onboarding Plan to usher the new player into their new setting and set them up for success.
Welcome to Part II of our two-part blog series about Sales Hiring. If you missed Part I about how to define, seek-out, screen and secure top sales performers, take a moment and read it first: How Much Do You Know About Sales Hiring?: Three Steps to Hiring A-Players for Your Business
Have you ever experienced a terrible first day on the job? In years prior, a terrible first day might begin at arrival to find no one knew you were coming and your new desk was a mess, filled with junk left behind from your predecessor. But today’s new hires are often fully remote, and probably have never met anyone at their new employer in person, creating far different issues in culture setting, training and relationship building. Starting your first day from home without a computer, no access to company IT systems, and little direction will lead to stumbling around to track down login information, figuring out who is who, and self-guiding yourself through HR orientation. This is NOT how anyone wants to start a new job, especially when so much is expected.
This is not a fairytale!
Bad first impressions on the job happen all the time and can leave a new hire, especially an A-Player, second guessing their career decision. It raises a red flag indicating that a sloppy approach is an acceptable way to operate within the company. A disorganized and chaotic first day or week muddles job goals, processes, and company culture for the negative and slows down the ability for a salesperson at any level to produce results due to lack of organization and clarity.
An effective Sales Onboarding Plan is critical to a new hire’s retention and can help them gain momentum stepping into their new position.
If done properly from inception, the plan will have these positive effects on your sales team’s newest addition:
- Reinforces the salesperson’s decision to join your company.
- Provides the candidate with necessary tools and training to be successful in their role.
- Sets clear expectations for accountability from the very beginning.
The onboarding process is not a static event that ends after a few weeks.
It’s a common misconception that an onboarding process fully trains and integrates your new hire after a week or two. On the contrary, effective onboarding is a continuous process that takes place over several months and involves key members of other departments, including the leadership team. Laying out the process as milestones on a calendar will help keep everyone on track to achieve a well-rounded onboarding outcome.
Here are the essential components to account for when building a best practices Sales Onboarding Plan:
1. Lay out the key milestones as the framework of your Onboarding Plan. The milestones are best applied to a high-level list of goals and dates. This list should include things like:
- Preparation of tasks before the start date
- First Day
- First Week
- Monthly Activities
- Month 3 Check-in
- Month 6 Check-in
2. Next, create activity categories to organize the process of generating a thorough list of action items that fully represent each category. Here’s a sample category structure:
- Meeting objectives, job duties, and expectations
- Work environment
- Technology set-up and access
- Training and development
3. Now it’s time to assign internal resources to the action items you created. It’s ideal to spread out the onboarding process to a variety of teammates and departments. This will provide the new hire exposure to different areas of the company to gain insights into how all departments function together. It also helps reduce time strain on any one person throughout the training process.
4. Lastly, replicate your activity category structure under each milestone and allocate all the underlying action items appropriately to the timeline. Task your new salesperson to reach out to the assigned internal resources to schedule each training session with the objective to keep predetermined completion target dates on track.
Just as important as starting your salesperson off on the right foot within your organization is having an established sales infrastructure to place them into. Pairing well laid out onboarding with the necessary structure, processes, and resources will help your new salesperson be effective and successful in their new role.
As a subject matter expert in Sales Leadership, I work with clients to help create a customized plan perfectly suited for their organization. Want to learn more? Schedule a time to chat more about your hiring process: