sales enablement

Onboarding New Sales Reps, But Don’t Have Anyone Dedicated to Sales Enablement?

Alex Yamamoto
September 21, 2016
Read Time: 4 mins

If you're getting ready to hire new sales reps, then your business is most likely growing at a fast rate. Things are good, revenue is increasing, you’re on top your game and nothing can stop you now! That is, until you make those hires, and realize you need to oversee the onboarding process as well and make sure everything goes accordingly. This not so uncommon mistake can be more detrimental to your business’ bottom line than you think.

According to Aberdeen Group it can take as long as 5 to 11 months and cost $30,000 to recruit and onboard new sales reps. Without a dedicated Sales Enablement hire, proper training probably falls on you as the sales manager. On top of all of your other responsibilities, how are you supposed to deliver a world-class training program to get your new reps quickly up to speed? Here are a few tips straight from our VP of Sales, JJ Ferroni, who has helped onboard hundreds of sales reps at Guru, Boomi, and Dell. While you probably won’t be able to create as structured a process as you’d like if you had a full time sales enablement person, follow these tips to prioritize where you can make the most impact on your sales onboarding process.

Create a detailed 30/60/90 day plan with clear goals

After hiring your new sales rep, you’ll want to make sure they utilize a 30/60/90 day plan. The first 30 days should be focused on training and learning the business’ goals and objectives, products, services, and customers. By 60 days they should be studying the most current and effective practices in the industry, building internal relationships, gathering feedback, and continuing training. Finally, by 90 days your reps should be up to speed, contributing significantly, initiating innovative ideas, and regularly receiving feedback.

Effective sales playbook material is critical

Another vital aspect of the Sales Enablement role to emulate is to be a content curator and creator. You will need to find or create the best content to educate your sales team such as case studies, PDFs, FAQs and more. The more internal documentation and customer-facing content you create, the faster your new reps will be able to onboard. The catch is to prioritize content based on what your existing reps are telling you they need.

Recently having more conversations with prospects in a new vertical? Write a case study with one of your existing customers in that industry to arm your reps with more customer stories. Hearing about new competitors? Research and write up new documentation to keep your reps informed on how to best position your product against them. It will feel like you are putting out fires, and that’s because you are! Without a dedicated sales enablement hire it will be impossible to create all the content you want. Here are some more tips that can help you maximize your content creation to help onboard new reps faster:

  • If you haven’t codified your internal sales processes yet, that should be priority number one. Doing so will lower the amount of distracting questions you get asked and ensure your team is consistent in how they operate.

  • Compile your internal documentation into a sales playbook. Having a single resource that your new reps can reference will make their lives much easier and help them get up to speed.

  • If you are using Slack, create a channel dedicated to all things sales relatedso you can easily alert your team to new resources, gather feedback, and share relevant articles.

  • Collaborate with your marketing team to help you in the content creation process, especially for customer-facing content like case studies, white papers, and blog posts for your reps to leverage.

Regular role plays will help build rep confidence during onboarding

Role playing is an integral part of your onboarding process meant to emulate what your reps will experience when talking to prospects. Think through your repeatable sales process and come up with scenarios that you believe will come up during demos or conversations to get reps comfortable on their talking points. Key scenarios to run through will get reps prepared to:

  • Handle common objections including price, “now is not the right time”, etc

  • Identify the variety of personas that they will encounter on calls whether it be specific roles at companies or specific roles in the buying process (decision maker, champion, etc) and be able to deliver messaging specific to each persona.

  • Appropriately position your product against your most common competitors

  • Nail down messaging and business value of key features

Nothing compares with live engagement, but this will help get them comfortable with their key talking points. Most importantly, it will allow them to get the flow of your demos down and allow them to think more about what direction they should take the demo, not just give a basic walkthrough of your product.

Certify your reps to ensure a consistent message

At the end of a regular cadence of role plays, have sales reps “certified” which means they have a consistent message, can handle conversations with a diversity of personas, have good sales hygiene with a strong opening/closing, and control the conversation appropriately. Loop in other key sales stakeholders to help you in the certification process who can provide valuable feedback like your CEO, product marketing, customer success team.

Remember, when your team is small, you don’t need to purchase an LMS to do all of this. The certification process can be informal. The purpose is just to make sure your reps practice enough until you believe they are comfortable talking to prospects in a live scenario.

Onboarding new sales reps without a sales enablement hire is tough. But if you prioritize your onboarding process with the tips we shared here, your sales team will be prepared and onboarded in no time!

Have anymore tips to share? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below or over on Twitter.