Hiring great Inside Sales reps has never been harder.

Increased competition for top talent and supply lagging behind demand means that when we land that great rep we have to make their experience with us outstanding! It is as much about retention as recruitment, right?

Our recent hiring infographic noted that 41% of reqs take 45+ days to fill. This is creating quite a revenue gap.

I recently shared my thoughts about how you have to be interesting and different to draw talent to you. But let’s say you are successful, what then?

  • How do you close the revenue gap by onboarding these reps as quickly as possible?
  • How do you ensure a great experience for them and for the buyers that are going to be working with them?

Let’s start with the underlying problem

Sales and Marketing leaders are making a strategic investment in their hiring process and then undermining it with a tactical onboarding process.

Drinking from the proverbial product fire hose no longer gets the job done. We have entered the “no product zone” according to Blaire Group’s Kraig Kleeman. Buyers won’t engage with sales reps who pitch product, but they will give access to trusted advisors. 

[Note: if you have not yet read The Challenger Sale, go get it. At times you’ll have to slog through the research, but the concept of a sea change from relationship selling to challenger (trusted advisor) selling is brilliant!]

Traditional vs. buyer-based onboarding

Do you see the difference? An effective process has the reps thinking in terms of “them” as opposed to “us”. You can find more specific information on this topic in our Sales Onboarding ebook.

Eight key ingredients

This January, I attended AA-ISP’s Executive Retreat and worked as part of the Employee Lifecycle team. The team came up with some great ideas for onboarding, including:

  1. Define how long someone is a “new” employee and exactly what that means
  2. Develop a training syllabus that covers the first 4 weeks and focuses on education and acclimation
  3. Assign 1 lead person to every new hire that manages their schedule and monitors their progress
  4. As each new hire progresses, take note of how they learn and be flexible and adaptable to accommodate their requirements – the focus should be on their learning not your process
  5. Set goals and expectations for each week that relate to performance and culture
  6. Test along the way to make sure they are progressing
  7. At the 30 day mark, have an “exiting onboarding” interview. What did they like about the experience? What didn’t they find useful? What would they change? What do they still need?
  8. Use the information collected from all of the above to evolve your onboarding process

No one said there was a shortcut to ramping new reps, but at the end of the day it is one of the most important jobs you will ever do. Are you treating it that way?

As always, please share your insights and best practices in the comments section. Thanks and happy selling!
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