Why is Sales Onboarding Important? How do I make it Effective?
Turnover is costly. In fact, a paper from the Center for American Progress, citing 11 research papers published over a 15-year period, determined that the average economic cost of turning over a highly skilled job is over 2X the salary of that role.
A thorough onboarding program can not only help control that cost and accelerate new–hire productivity, but it can also create more longstanding benefits such as improved morale and increased loyalty to your organization.
According to Maren Hogen, a talent acquisition marketing expert, 33% of employees knew whether they would stay with their company long-term after their first week on the job. Having established goals for your new hires, and supporting them as they work toward those benchmarks will get them quick wins, make them feel like a contributing member of your team, and ultimately foster professional fulfillment, self-confidence and company loyalty.
But how do you build a strong, strategic onboarding program that’s centered on your unique organizational challenges?
1: Build strategies based on facts
The biggest mistake that businesses can make when developing an onboarding program is using generalized data and blanket methods to drive strategy. For example, if you have a high turnover rate on entry-level positions, the easy solution may be to raise the base salary and rethink your coaching strategy. The problem with that solution is that it may not solve the actual problem at all. Maybe your recruiter didn’t completely understand the best fit for your industry and hired a few bulls when your industry really needed more of a stealthy tiger. That would be a very expensive mistake to make.
2: Know what you’re looking for
Not every person you hire is going to be a natural-born rock-star for their role, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to get there. Study your top performers…and your bottom performers. Use your onboarding program to hone in on the behaviors and traits that work best in your industry. What’s more important than providing a checklist of Do’s and Don’ts, is to demonstrate the most tactful way to work through the Do’s. Focusing on the things that will need to become second nature will establish a strong foundation and set them up for long-term success as they move into more challenging situations or positions.
3: Start with visibility
So we can all agree that half-truths are dangerous and that contextual insight is key to building a effective onboarding strategy. The questions are “how do we get there” and, “where do we start?”
It begins with visibility into rep activity. Sales enablement solutions that use automated data entry are the only way to get that true picture of how rep activity correlates to opportunity progress through the pipeline.
From here you can begin to identify the common traits among your top performers and perhaps expose organization-wide weaknesses that should be brought to the forefront of your training initiatives. Additionally, visibility into rep activity can help improve the accuracy of turnover perception of turnover when it happens. If a rep is struggling to adopt winning behaviors, parting ways may be the best option for the organization and the individual.