Congratulations on finding your next superstar! Now that you've hired the best person for your role, you'll want to give them the best welcome so that they settle in well. All too often, we see unprepared clients or disjointed onboarding processes that can undo all your hard work. Here are my top 5 things to avoid when onboarding your next sales professional.
Assume an experienced new starter can be left to ‘hit the ground running’
Mistake number one! Even the most experienced sales professionals value the time you put in at the beginning to help them integrate into the business culture and processes. You hired your new employee based on their ability, however, even the most competent and skilled will benefit from coaching, thorough inductions and a training or development program.
Expect a self-starting lone wolf
Wolves, lions, humans, we all form deeper connections in packs, even if you have recruited a self-starter who is not adverse to working solo. In sales, we want the self-starters right? However, what is more important is integrating new people into your culture to give them a sense of belonging and make your people ‘sticky’. Set up a peer group of at least 3 people (include new people that joined within the last 3 months and one senior) and create a communication channel where asking ‘stupid’ questions feels like a safe environment. Recently hired talent can then share their experiences and advise what lessons they have had to learn at during the onboarding phase.
Send them into the wild without a compass
Navigating a new company can be one of the biggest challenges for any new starter. “Who do I go to for ‘X’, How do I get ‘Y’ problem solved quickly, How do I do my expenses?”. To really help a new starter accelerate in their role, you HAVE to provide clear pathways of which people to speak to depending on what information is needed.
Avoid making the mistake of waiting for a new starter to ask you who they should speak to, as they don’t know what they don’t know! The frustration will build and this could prolong the ramp period.
Skip the 3 C’s - Communication, Content, Concise
Communicate with your new employee regularly. Book in your 1-2-1’s from the day they start and set clear expectations. Understand their communication style to demonstrate how you care personally. Use Slack, Teams or any other collaboration site to keep an open dialogue of ‘water cooler’ chat.
If you don’t use a Learning Management System or sales enablement platform to access sales playbooks and other great content to help new employees settle in faster, build an intuitive folder structure with relevant and updated content. Not knowing where to find documents, videos, scripts, battlecards is the biggest faux pax when onboarding. What’s worse, is giving a new starter access to content that is outdated.
Be concise with your messaging, content, expectations, meetings, feedback, (you get where I am going with this…). Have a clear intention behind every section of training, make it short, make it clear and always test to ensure your new intake has embedded all processes and content.
Miss out on celebrating the small wins
Depending on the nature of the business, the time to first deal can take up to 6 months and longer. Therefore the journey of a new starter can feel like a motivational roller coaster. Celebrating small wins such as number of client meetings booked, or first effortless value proposition executed will help them remain engaged and on track for achieving their ramp target.
Share their successes with the team and let them know what they are doing well outside of their revenue goals too.
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