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How to Formalize Your Sales Onboarding Process

You’ve hit a homerun and your business growth is skyrocketing. The rapid growth fuels the need to add staff, especially in sales, to keep your growth rate going. The challenge is to integrate new talent seamlessly into the organization and get them up and running quickly and efficiently. A formal onboarding process is key, and creating it doesn’t need to be daunting.

When you are a smaller, high growth company, the hiring and onboarding process is often informal and the genuine enthusiasm of the team is infectious to attract good people. Training is often relaxed and new hires are left to fend for themselves. If this continues in a larger, fast-paced organization, an undesirable sink or swim atmosphere is created and, not to mention, a considerable amount of time and energy is wasted while a revolving door of talented people come and go.

It’s a fact. Once a company grows and matures, roles become more defined, and the sales process inevitably must become more formal. The enthusiasm and entrepreneurial culture doesn’t need to change, but implementing a more methodical process for adding team members helps prepare new hires to contribute quickly and makes them more likely to succeed.

Here are a few tips to formalize your sales onboarding process as the business transforms and grows:

  1. Collect and organize basic introductory materials. This may range from a company overview, organizational chart, and the company’s mission statement. Set the tone and communicate the company’s culture.
  1. Commit to a sales methodology. If the sales process is efficient and effective, it is simply a matter of communicating that process to be repeatable.
  1. Develop and manage content to support sales calls. Recognize that the content library is dynamic and it will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated over time. Set up a centralized place where everyone can easily access what he or she needs exactly when it is needed. Make sure the most updated content is what is accessible.
  1. Create a repeatable process for training with technology to offer interactive materials online. Have small modules of training materials available when salespeople want it and need it. New hires usually crave learning opportunities; yet also want to hit the ground running. Long presentations and packets of information can be boring and seem irrelevant.
  1. Set up specific ways to measure progress on sales skills and competency of product knowledge at 30, 60 and 90 days. This is a good way to see red flags early and course correct.
  1. Use technology as a tool for coaching and practicing. Automatic prompts can suggest training modules relevant to sales conversations. Be sure to assign role-playing tasks that managers can monitor. And offer tips to improve.

Whether you are onboarding one person or 50 people, the process should be formalized to anticipate the needs of a new hire. Be ready with the information, resources, support and feedback the new hires need to succeed. By following a repeatable process, while still being able to tailor the training to individual needs, salespeople can reach their potential faster.

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