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The 7 Steps Of A Successful Sales Induction

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We’ve all been through the painful and costly process of recruiting new sales people into the business.

But it doesn’t end there. Once in, you want your new hires to be productive, become part of the team and hit their targets… all in the shortest time possible.

With high attrition rates, and 71% of companies taking over 6 months to induct their sales reps, how do you ensure that you on-board them with the highest chance of success?

At Natural we believe in activation. We believe that people will learn best if they’re actually doing what you need them to do. We believe the secret sauce is plenty of practical application, real world scenarios and good authentic coaching to ensure maximum impact.

We’ve broken this activation process down into 7 steps. If you plan your induction process using these top-level guides, you’ll be well on your way to making it a success:

Step 1: Define expectations 

In order to be successful, your new hires need to be aware of what success looks like and what’s expected of them every step of the way. Create a handbook, giving each new starter an introduction to their new role, a detailed overview of the induction programme and an exciting look at what their future career has in store.

At the same time, the right support from managers, mentors and team leaders is essential to the success of this induction programme. To help them coach and develop their new team member effectively, prepare a coaching toolkit at the start of the programme. Fill it with useful tools, tips and pre-planned mini coaching sessions so they are aware of everything they need to be a great mentor.

Step 2: Transfer Knowledge

As a new salesperson, there is so much they need to learn. What seems to be an endless list of products, people, processes, performance and cultural norms can be daunting, if not overwhelming for a new salesperson.

Make the process easier for them by putting together pieces of knowledge from your senior people or star performers. This information is much more valuable coming from your key people than a company textbook. Use interesting methods such as podcasts, videos, short webinars or online quizzes.

This makes it accessible to your new hire at any time of the day, and it dramatically reduces their dependency on the people around them.

Step 3: Immerse them in the role

This is an essential step that so many companies fail to do. Take some time to immerse your new hire in their role, learn from the team, speak to customers and even make a few mistakes. This gives them a real-world perspective of the role along with a hunger to improve. Provide support with practical tools, targeted coaching sessions and skill assessments to benchmark early performance.

Step 4: Give them Practical Sales Training

Once they have gained eagerness to improve, this is the perfect time to develop the skills they need to become a sales superstar.

The workshops we run for our clients are highly practical, based on real-world scenarios tailored to your business, meaning your people put their new skills to the test in a risk-free environment and return to work ready to perform.

We also believe that every salesperson is different and so tailor the training to the natural strengths of each of your salespeople, allowing you to best coach and develop them going forwards.

Step 5: Reinforce the learning

It’s crucial during the first few weeks back in the role that the learning is repeatedly reinforced and applied. If the learning is not reinforced then, after four weeks, your new hire may remember less than 20% of the sales skills learnt.  On the flip side, if you do reinforce the learning (especially if they have a success using a new technique) then it is 50-70% more likely that the great selling behaviours will stick. You can reinforce behaviours through video, practical challenges, on the job support and through the next step, coaching and reviewing.

Step 6: Coach and Review

At the beginning of the blog we discussed the importance of creating a coaching toolkit that should be followed with your new hire through their induction period (and beyond). At this point they will have many new tools, skills and experiences to draw upon and it is your role as a coach to ensure you sit down with them frequently to ask: “What’s been working? What hasn’t been working? What are you going to do differently going forward?” Make sure you document these answers so you can flag up any areas they are consistently struggling with, and also celebrate their successes with the rest of the team.

Step 7: Share their Successes

Finally, it’s important for you to pro-actively build momentum and encourage peer-to-peer learning by unearthing and sharing success stories from the team. Hold regular group sessions over lunch or a coffee morning where you share successes and define the steps they took to be successful. Then publish the results vie email or on the company intranet.  Finish with a graduation day where you award prizes and recognise outstanding achievement.

 

In summary, it is important to activate your new hire from day one. Give them loads of practical application, real world scenarios and good authentic coaching to ensure maximum impact. And always remember to quickly understand and develop their Natural style, so they can go out and sell in the most authentic way possible.

We hope you enjoyed this article, if you’d like to discuss how we can help to make your sales induction programme a success and examples of how we’ve done it with other clients, we would love to hear from you.

By John Limber.  John specialises in helping Technology & Medical clients create sales training programmes that get results.

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