June 25, 2015
When a company achieves sales success, it is often attributed to their product, service, employees, or the brilliance of their CEO. While those are clearly the main pieces to the puzzle, other factors implemented by senior leadership undoubtedly make a huge difference. One often overlooked component is the importance of a comprehensive onboarding program for new hires.
Making new employees feel welcome and giving them the tools needed to succeed takes time, effort, and money, but the rewards yield an exponential return. Each year, the Aberdeen Group surveys more than 200 companies, and those with a comprehensive onboarding program enjoy significantly higher profits, employee retention, productivity, and satisfaction.
This begs the question, how can senior management create a successful onboarding program for their sales team? The days of simply handing a new hire a manual and a phone line are long gone. Today, world-class companies invest in technology such as social media and two-way video to better the process and reduce ramp-up time.
At Peak Sales Recruiting, we stress to our clients the importance of implementing a successful onboarding program.
Here are 6 tools that will create a seamless process for both the employee and the organization.
1) Develop a Welcome Plan Using Technology with Automated Options: New employees require an abundance of items: a desk, laptop, phone line, access to the virtual private network (VPN), corporate credit card, and more. It is important to work with each department to develop a checklist prior to the employee coming onboard. Thankfully, HR cloud service and software packages include an abundance of onboarding features that streamline the onboarding process.
2) Embrace New Hires Through Social Media: The talent of today and tomorrow understand the 140 character social media world we live in better than most executives. What better way to welcome them to the organization than by speaking their language? While some companies develop their own proprietary social networks, existing channels such as LinkedIn can be leveraged in many ways during the onboarding process. Encourage team members to send their new colleague an invitation to connect. This is a great way for the new employees to learn the names and faces of their co-workers. Additionally, executives can use LinkedIn to create a closed group for each department that can be a space for sharing of best practices within each group.
3) Get Buy in from Every Department: One common mistake is to hand the entire onboarding program over to HR and be done with it. This is a recipe for failure. In order for the program to be sustainable and successful, it is critical to use an interdepartmental approach and get buy in from the entire organization. Make sure leaders from each stakeholder group pinpoint what a new hire will need as it relates to interacting with their department. This will break down silos, encourage information sharing, and lead to a more harmonious culture.
4) Incorporate Video: While personal interaction is important for a new employee, learning about the company through video is also extremely effective. Have a top salesperson walk through your latest onboarding PowerPoint deck and provide insights, then use the record functionality to create a short video. Showing this video during the new hire’s first few days will help hammer home core values.
5) Use Internal Testing: Leverage in person and online testing to confirm that the new rep is acquiring the product knowledge and sales skills that are necessary to produce in your unique selling environment. Top sales managers administer testing to a new hire every month for the first 90 days and provide constructive feedback on where the hire needs to sharpen skills.
6) Get Feedback to Sharpen the Process: In order to perfect the onboarding program, get feedback from the new employee. Tools as simple and easy as Survey Monkey or TINY Pulse enable organizations to send quick quizzes to employees to elicit feedback. The top sales organizations we partner with use this information to refine their software’s functionality and the onboarding process.
For more information on implementing an effective sales onboarding strategy, please view our free e-book: The First 90 Days – Your Guide to Making New Sales Hires Produce Fast.