Ashli Bontrager, Senior Sales Enablement Manager at dormakaba Americas gave this presentation at the Future of Sales Festival in June 2022.

I'm Ashli Bontrager, and I'm Senior Sales Enablement Manager at dormakaba, a global access and security solutions firm.

I'm really excited that Sales Enablement Collective reached out, and that I get to connect with you today on sales onboarding 101. If you've never built onboarding, then this presentation is for you.

Let’s dive in. 👇

The goal? Get reps ready to sell - FAST

You don't have to search very much on Google in order to find stats on why onboarding is important. DePaul University says that it takes about $115,000 to replace a sales rep, and there's also a moral obligation to give that new hire everything that they need to be successful and to get them ready to go - fast.

So how can we make them feel great about the decision to join your company?

First step could be sending them some merchandise, giving them their materials (laptops or whatever you're going to set them up with) on time and right away.

It could involve, if they're up for it, a virtual coffee or going to a restaurant to help them connect with coworkers before they even start, something like that to meet the team.

Those are options companies are using in order to get people ready to go right away.

And what about once they've actually started? These are the questions that we're going to be going through today.

The sales rep is asking:

  • Who is my company?
  • What do I sell?
  • Who are my customers?
  • What's on my to-do list?
  • What am I working toward?
  • Where do I go from here?

Below I’ll show you an overview of the process that we took in our company to build sales readiness onboarding. Then, I'll walk you through how to answer those questions and what that might look like for you.

Process overview

Align with sales leaders

First of all, you want to start your onboarding build process by aligning with sales leaders on their vision. What does “done” look like to them?

I love the quote that Brene Brown had in her book Dare to Lead. She says that as a team, they use the phrase “paint done”.

It's a question - “please help me paint done” is a question that you’d ask to the person assigning a project to get a better feel for their vision, scope and what they're expecting to see at the end of the project.

So you want to get that vision out of those sales leaders.

You want to know what their ideal sales rep looks like. What can they do? What are their skills? What does that persona look like?

If you have more than one sales role in your organization, then you might need to build more than one persona.

And then of course, there's those KPIs for onboarding - what KPIs are the sales leaders hoping that great onboarding is going to support? You want to know those in advance.

The common ones that I hear a lot would be reduced ramp time, for example - we don't want it to take forever to get that person selling, we want to get them selling right away. So that's one.

Where are the reps in regards to quota? How are they performing? What kind of revenue are they generating? How are they retaining customers?

Measure the before and continue discovery with the sales reps

They’re general sales KPIs, so figure out from your leadership what those are, and then measure them now.

Before you get started. We need to measure the current state.

My husband and I are famous for doing projects around the house and forgetting to take “before” photos and then it's done and we think: “Oh, we didn't do a before photo!”.

You need a “before” photo of what the situation is right now, then you're going to continue that discovery with the sales reps.

Think of it this way if you've ever had a baby or a puppy, and you're waking up a million times at night, you’re dealing with a lot of pain. Then the puppy gets bigger, or the baby grows older, and then all of a sudden, they’re sleeping through the night and you forget about it.

Then not too long after you say: “Hey, let's have another baby!”, or “let's get another puppy!” because you forgot about that pain.

That’s why I like to talk to sales reps, because my impression is that sales leaders sometimes have new problems, a new focus - they've got something else to think about and they’ve forgotten the pain of that tactical day-to-day of the sales rep.

So you need the sales reps’ perspective as well as they're the ones doing it every day. You need to hear from them about what that new hire needs to know.

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