How We Reduced Sales Ramp Time By 40%
One of the biggest challenges for any scaling company is to bring a new sales rep up to speed quickly. Decreasing the time to productivity for new reps is crucial to meeting ever-expanding goals and closing more deals. While building a strong onboarding program that includes knowledge acquisition and skill development is key to sales ramp, it’s only part of the process. Measuring performance and progress throughout this period is also critical. Lessonly, like many other growth-focused companies, has tested processes, measures, and individual plans to evaluate the growth and ramp performance of our scaling sales team.
Identify key measurements
When it comes time to track ramping quotas, sales leaders have an abundance of data at their fingertips. It’s important to put time and consideration into choosing the data that will provide the most insight into sales rep productivity throughout the entire sale cycle. While this may take some trial and error, the right combination of data will provide a real-time, in-depth snapshot of rep performance. After several rounds of experimentation, Lessonly’s sales team decided to look at 10 data points that include 5 objective and 5 subjective KPIs.
Each of our objective figures matches a key success measure for our reps and aligns to skill development that’s part of the onboarding process. These measures come directly from our Salesforce dashboard and are up-to-date when it’s time for our review session—ensuring we have the best information for our evaluations.
- Self-sourced opportunities
- Win rate
- Average Contract Value (ACV)
- Quota attainment
Then, each rep’s manager completes a survey that focuses on Lessonly’s five subjective measures. During this time, our managers consider the rep’s day-to-day activities and responsibilities to gauge how well they’re acclimating.
- Grasp of role
- Conveying value
- Navigating process
- Meaningful sales conversation
- Confidence in success
We capture and record each measurement on a scorecard every month. At that time, we also assign a score of 1-10 for each data point on a weighted scale based on goals as they correlate to the timing of the review cycle. For example, in a rep’s first month of hire, their pipeline development goals are much lower than what is expected in their third month.
Translating the data
Compiling this data enables us to do two things. First, we take the combined data score (objective) and the personal score (subjective) and rank the reps. Then, we plot each rep’s score on a quadrant to provide a visual indicator of ramp progress.
The quadrant provides additional insight that we use on a monthly basis to track the path of each rep. This allows us to monitor how each rep is progressing—or regressing—throughout their onboarding. We also compile the entire team on a single quadrant to give us a snapshot view of every rep and how they’re performing in relation to the rest of the team.
An inside view of the process
Over time, we’ve found that completing this process on a monthly basis gives us ample insight and action steps that we need to lead our reps to ramp success. At this time, the sales management team reviews the data prepared by the enablement team to:
- Review how each rep is progressing in their onboarding journey
- Identify reps who are experiencing difficulties, and establish a development plan to assist their progress
Here’s a glimpse of our agenda:
- Review the action steps put into place during the previous month’s meeting. Our managers and enablement team share takeaways from working with each rep during 1:1’s, call recordings, and pipeline reviews.
- Assess team data, both quadrant and stack rank, to see how the team is ramping as a whole.
- Evaluate each ramping AE and their month over month progression (or regression).
- Build development plans for individual coaching that provide defined next steps that are owned by each manager.
Over the next 30 days, each manager reviews the data and action plans they created with each rep. This is a great way for both the manager and rep to get on the same page and create commitments for the rep to make progress on before the next month’s review meeting. This process doesn’t just get results—it gives the rep ownership of their development and ensures they are on the path to sales success.
After nearly a year of using this process with our sales team, we have a few key takeaways that any team can consider when creating an effective ramp program.
First, this process has given us essential visibility to the development of every rep during onboarding. We know exactly where they each stand on an individual and team level which helps us make quick, informed decisions for their development.
Additionally, the visibility into each rep has provided data that we can use to predict who may or may not be successful during onboarding. In doing so, we can move reps through the process quicker, or if needed, determine if they would perform better in a different role based on their skillset.
The time it takes from bringing in a new rep to the stage when they’re able to hit their quotas is a key measure of success. In our experience, a robust process coupled with a high-quality onboarding and sales enablement curriculum has been key. In fact, we’ve found it so beneficial that we’ve decreased our ramp time by more than 40% to positively impact productivity and better performance overall.
Being a data-driven sales manager means, at a high level, understanding how metrics impact one another, how to approach setting goals against key performance indicators (KPIs), and how to coach to the achievement of those goals. But, how can a manager incorporate data into her ongoing managerial cadences? 1:1 meetings.