Given the current reality of an "employer's market" you thought it was going to be easy to hire a new sales rep.
You and your recruiting team spent hours scanning resumes. For a few days, you were getting around 100 a day in response to your online posting.
Undaunted, you plowed through them to select ones for initial phone and later face-to-face interviews.
The interview process was lengthy and time consuming and your hire decision was challenging. You had to choose between several strong candidates who had winning track records in sales as well as glowing references. You wanted to hire them all.
Finally, you chose one who you believed had the smarts, energy, skills and drive to be your next "A Player." In the following weeks, your new rep was put through the paces learning the 4 "P's" - process, product, procedures and practices - in your new hire training program. After that, your new rep will be equipped and ready to hit the ground running and start bringing in the sales.
This period, the timeframe following when a new sales rep has completed their training and starts calling on accounts, is generally referred to as the "ramp-up time," where they're still finding their way around. It is a crucial transition period when your new rep is absorbing and mastering your sales practices, environment and culture, all of which will impact the rep's future success or failure.
It's also a timeframe requiring as much of your time, if not more, than the recruiting effort did. You will need to be observing and coaching your new rep as closely and frequently as possible.
Where do you get the time to do that? You can't be on every call but want to be sure your new rep maintains the momentum toward attaining their sales goals.
You may be thinking about using one of your top "A Players" to mentor your new hire, but that unfortunately takes them away from their primary objective of making sales.
A very strong and time-effective solution is to instill pre-call planning throughout your sales organization. Your pre-call planning effort should incorporate the "best practices" of your sales process and identify all of the steps and activities that will furnish your new rep with a road map to success.
Your first step in accomplishing that is to download our free Guide to Pre-Call Planning which will introduce the benefits of pre-call planning across your sales organization.
Photo Credit: Jack Rothrock
A Few Questions You Must Ask Yourself When Onboarding New Sales Reps:
- How much more confidence would a new sales rep exhibit if he/she were able to leverage and implement the best practices of your top reps immediately on their very first call?
- What would it mean to a new sales rep's production, if they could become totally prepared for sales call success on each call with only a couple of minutes of preparation?
- How valuable would it be to your field sales managers, if they could quickly preview a "remotely located" new sales rep's sales call plan and make adjustments prior to the call?
- What would all of this mean to your sales organization in achieving your sales goals?
You spend thousands of dollars recruiting and hiring each new "A" player sales representative.
You spend thousands more onboarding and training the new rep on product, procedures, policies, and sales process. Besides that, you pile on more money for your field sales managers to travel with, observe, and coach your new rep. The salaries and lost sales associated with hiring and training a new sales person are basically "sunk" costs and are unrecoverable.
These "sunk" costs also include the time and money it takes for a new sales representative to move from the conclusion of the onboarding process to the point of full sales productivity. This specific time period is commonly referred to as sales representative "ramp-up" time.
The constant objective you strive to achieve with new sales reps is reducing ramp-up time to full productivity, thereby limiting the "sunk" costs.
Until recently, the only opportunity for ramp-up time compression occurred during the recruiting process. Many companies try to hire successful industry experienced reps to cut ramp-up time. Most of the time it is costly and industry experienced reps are set in their ways.
In a recent survey of global sales executives, representing companies ranging from $100 million to $3 billion (USD), almost 6 out of 10 said one of the major benefits of pre-call planning was reduced ramp-up time.
When combined with sound product/service training, pre-call planning can reduce new hire sales rep onboarding time to full productivity by between 30% - 50%. To most businesses, this means:
1. A higher probability of achieving forecast
2. Lowering cost of sales
3. Reducing turnover in customer base when a sales representative leaves
4. Eliminating tens of thousands of dollars in lost opportunity costs
How much more revenue would the practice of pre-call planning for new sales reps bring to your organization?
Photo credit: Steepways
Sales Executive Survey
Learn more about what the sales executives of top-performing global companies think about sales preparation habits.
Download a summary of the sales executive survey.