How to measure and track the onboarding effectiveness of your new sales reps?
When implementing a sales onboarding program, or any sales enablement process for that matter, there comes a time when you need to step back and determine whether it is delivering the goods. Are your new sales reps truly sales ready after they finish the initial training? How long are new reps taking to achieve quota?
In this post, I’ll take you through a data-driven approach to measure the readiness of your new sales reps as they navigate their progression across the Train, Assess and Coach stages of onboarding. I’ll also share best practices on how you can use the analytics available from these stages to refine the onboarding strategy in your company.
Creating the Performance Bands
While the typical bell curve applies more to tenured sales reps rather than newbies, it serves as a framework for projecting the initial data. The question I ask myself is – given what I know about this new hire, is this person likely to be a A, B or C and then take appropriate action to help them move up the bell curve. Interestingly, I have found that moving up the bell curve is more manageable during the early months and gets harder, the longer the sales rep has dug heels into their current position in the bell curve.
At MindTickle, we segment new reps into Potential A, Potential B and Potential C bands – not so much for passing a judgement on their capabilities, but more so for identifying their development needs. It’s kinda like not holding back the kids who are way ahead in a lower grade, and at the same time also making sure that no kid gets left behind. On the same lines, the Potential A new hires are likely to be ready to get out on the field earlier than the other bands, the potential B players require a bit of reinforcement and C players need an intensive “bootcamp” style coaching.
I’ve previously talked in detail about how you can make your sales onboarding more effective by defining and benchmark your sales team in this way. This kind of benchmarking is incredibly powerful for a sales manager. Imagine if a sales leader can start predicting how long it will take the new sales rep to start meet their quota after just first two weeks of joining? That can be very powerful. Moreover, the sooner you can identify the areas of development of each new hire, the earlier you can start working on plugging those gaps.
Onboarding Readiness Index
Being able to measure how sales ready your new hires are, and identifying the gaps is invaluable, but handling several metrics, especially across a number of sales reps and join batches, may be a taxing exercise. Wouldn’t it be great to have a summary metric to benchmark the “sales readiness” of each sales rep? The Onboarding Readiness Index is a measure that can predict how ready the rep is to close deals.
The Onboarding Readiness Index can also be used at a macro level, either at an organization level, or a team level, to analyze the relative strength of the unit. If your business has a low sales readiness index, then it means that your entire sales team is likely selling below par. Just imagine the impact on your overall sales results if you can identify this early, and also pinpoint where your bench-strength of your new hires is lacking.
It is a combination of three elements:
- Knowledge Score: This looks at how much knowledge the new hire has absorbed during their training. To measure the knowledge score, you can look at assessments conducted during the training (e.g. their performance in online tests and quizzes) and the assessment or certification done upon completion of the training stage.
- Engagement Score: This looks at how the rep engaged with the content. This score can provide an indicator of where there may be gaps in the learning process, that may in turn lead to inadequate “sales readiness”.For example, in a self-learning module, platforms such as MindTickle let you measure the engagement of the rep while consuming the content. The engagement level can be gauged through proxies such e.g. did the rep complete the training in one sitting, or were there big gaps in between multiple sessions? In an ideal world, the training content should be consumed regularly and consistently on an ongoing basis, to get the most out of it. We have found that a gap of just 2 days in between learning can lead to a significant loss in knowledge retention. Similarly, the coaching analytics can measure how many times they recorded their pitch as part of their structured coaching plan to give you an indication of their commitment to nailing the exercise.This data also provides a telling indicator of how seriously your new reps are likely to pursue sales opportunities. Furthermore, the engagement score can also help you identify where there may be opportunities to improve and optimize the learning tracks. For example – if every reps fast forwards one of the videos, perhaps it’s not engaging or too long or there is a technical snag. This type of feedback is invaluable for continuous process improvement.
- “Knowledge Application” Score: Even if a new sales rep were highly knowledge and engaged, it is still not a true reflection of their sales readiness unless it is measured in the context of a sales situation. This third score is intended to measure whether new reps are demonstrating an adequate depth of understanding and connecting the dots by applying the knowledge in their simulated customer conversations?Pitch testing or simulated objection handling or qualification calls are a great way of measuring this score. You can even allocate specific objectives to these simulations, such as clarity, enthusiasm and confidence, and score your reps on each one during your coaching sessions. This overall simulation score adds an additional certification threshold, so that you have a standardized and objective benchmark for when your reps are sales ready. This data can then also be used by your Sales Managers as they reinforce the training and establish an ongoing coaching plan for their reps when they’re out in the field selling. Furthermore, the analysis can also help you in your recruitment strategy moving forward, for example are your weakest new hires from the same background. By analyzing the effectiveness of your onboarding program, your organization can also live up to its commitment to work with and develop all recruited talent.
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