The Power of Onboarding: Achieving Results with Proper Training
Companies invest upwards of $5 billion to drive best practices into the organization through sales training, annually, according to Recent IDC research. The reality, however, is that of this investment, more than 80% of the sales force fails to retain what it has learned after 30 days.

Successful organizations succeed because they have a key interest in making the sales rep feel at home and confident in their new role. When training is done right, sales teams become stronger, communication reaches a new level, and resources are efficiently and effectively used. This is why training is so important; it empowers the front-line of the organization – the sales rep.

Lagging companies are failing because they are using outdated approaches to onboarding. Lengthy and ineffective classroom settings play a large role in poor retention and often result in unmet quotas and loss of revenue.

Key Areas to Effective Training

In most cases, the behaviors and habits of a sales rep form at the beginning, when the role is taken on. Adapting to company culture happens at the start…Getting comfortable with colleagues happens at the start… And most importantly, having the drive and the motivation to close business starts on the onset. This is why top performers ensure that there is a set structure in place that allows sales reps to settle and thrive in their role, and they ensure a viable training process to make it happen.

Sales execs that devote time to training are making a conscious effort to develop sales rep skill-sets. Sales training helps foster key skills such as listening to customers to truly understand their needs while asking the right questions during the face-to-face interaction. After all, wouldn’t continuously working on your communications skills set the scene for effectively communication with your customers?

How about sales methodology? There is nothing like being prepared for a Sales Call; ‘winging it’ doesn’t work. With a road map to keep you on track throughout your presentation means leading the conversation and steering it the right direction. Developing closing techniques to gain a buying commitment from a prospect can only be achieved through proper training.

Let’s talk about overcoming objections. This is a normal part of the sales process because customers are always seeking reasons to buy. If you’re a successful sales rep you expect to receive objections from your customer, and this is so because you’ve most likely been prepared properly during the onboarding process.

What You Don’t Want from Training?

The classroom rut. Companies often get stuck training sales reps in traditional classroom-style learning. The logistics that come with traditional methods of training is painful for anyone. Without meaningful learning progressions, the training process could sour sales rep morale.

It’s important to be a leader and not a boss, and pushing the learning process onto a sales team ends up in the kind of content overload that forces sales reps to memorize large amounts of material; and nobody wants that. Overwhelming sales reps with information isn’t worth the effort. What counts is providing insight and knowledge that can be translated to the real world.

Building a sales team from the ground up begins with effective trainees. Yet, many trainees are simply unqualified to take on the task. They become disconnected and unaware of the needs of the sales rep. With the wrong training tools, it’s hard to engage with new hires. Inspiring, real-world applications and ongoing support is what sales reps have to walk away with, and with trainees that don’t offer this, chances are that sales reps won’t be successful with customers.

The reality is that memorizing the features of a product doesn’t translate to sales. Sales reps have to take on knowledge of the entire selling landscape; the problems their customers face, the unique value of the company, how customers behave, and how to make  use of the right tools to their advantage.

Driving positive sales performance is up to the right sales leadership and the application of best practices to the selling process. In order to affect the bottom line, trainers have to really work to support sales reps and push them past the learning curve. If your organization lacks in proper onboarding, it may be time to make a visit to your sales execs office.