Summer is approaching and new salespeople are anxious to jump in the pool and swim!  But will they sink? 

The best salespeople want to be in the pool already and get working! Embrace that energy and use training techniques and new technologies that give them the information they need now, but without drowning their enthusiasm.  Who doesn’t want to get new reps properly onboarded and fast?

New hires understandably require a huge amount of information right away to simply get started.  This is why many companies rely on weeklong training sessions and conferences for initial onboarding. Unfortunately, large amounts of information will most likely be forgotten in a matter of days or weeks.  These long training sessions can be grueling for the salespeople and not as effective as short educational bursts.

The challenge is to share a lot of information quickly and get the salesperson producing and swimming right away.  We are finding that the best training is in the field, and now, with technology to help, this is more possible than ever.  Useful prompts are available at every step – just like a virtual coach. 

Imagine being paired with an experienced swimmer who can tell you which stroke technique is best for that particular race. Today’s sales technology can work in the same manner by offering relevant training modules alongside customer relationship management (CRM) programs in the moment when it is the most useful.  Learning this way is powerful because you can immediately apply it, and studies show that retention can be boosted by as much as 60-90%. 

These prompts and recommendations are built on best practices and experience – such as what top performers do, as well as what the prospect is most interested in – so guided selling applications truly act as a mentor whispering in a seller’s ear.

Reinforcement like this helps the salesperson to think beyond just pitching products and gets them articulating the value of the company’s solution in a genuine way.  This ultimately closes more deals faster.

Tips to get new salespeople swimming and closing sales faster:

Limit classroom time.   Although face-to-face time is very valuable, be aware that time away from the field means less selling time. Therefore, use classroom time to cover things that really can’t be handled other ways, such as sharing experiences with other salespeople or role-playing.

Identify areas of challenge early. Typically, there are three basic challenges:

  • Do salespeople know how to position and message key points of value?
  • Are your salespeople asking the right questions?   Can they qualify quickly and Identify pain/key points of value?
  • Are they comfortable with product information? Consider re-introducing product and process information after 60 and 90 days. Keep in mind that almost everything that is presented in the early days could be lost.  It can be a stressful time for new salespeople starting a new job with a new product. 

Provide short bursts of information.  Build trust with the salesperson that they can invest five minutes or less and likely come out with a solid nugget to immediately apply and improve their ability to advance the sales.   

Make information easy to get to. If information and coaching is part of their workflow, they will be more likely to access it.  Make sure it isn’t hiding behind a private network or learning management system or takes multiple clicks to find.

Have prompts include a mix of short coaching plays, job aids and sales content (positioning, messaging and customer examples). Your sales people need all three in the moment to be most effective.

Create interactive activities to keep it engaging. Memory games and exercises can be entertaining and, more importantly, they work in improving recall. Friendly competitions help too.

Add prompts and actionable recommendations to the CRM.   On the spot prompts, when provided in context, are a huge help as salespeople call on accounts and direct a prospect through the buying process. 

Keep sales managers in the loop.  Weekly push reports can give managers a snapshot of training used by sales people with their progression and competency.  If managers can zero in on gaps and provide added examples and reinforcement, the faster the salespeople can get up to speed.   A good coach can see who is struggling and working hard but not being effective.

Monitor and track success   Track sales content and coaching used by sellers as well as feedback. Take it one step further and correlate usage to meaningful revenue metrics like comp content used in won deals, by sales stage and improved ramp time of new sellers. If you can learn what sales people are using and what is leading to more sales, the team can enjoy more wins.

By having technology tools helping salespeople learn along the way, salespeople have the opportunity to get up to speed faster and make more sales, even when they are new.

Chanin Ballance is CEO of Veelo.