After months of hard work, your new hire’s finally checked that last box and crossed the onboarding finish line. When the basics of onboarding are over, it’s easy to let training fall to the wayside. But the most successful organizations know that onboarding is never really over. Sales training is an ongoing process, and it’s critical for retaining and growing the newest members of your salesforce.
By now, you’ve likely got your onboarding strategy down pat—but what happens after the ink dries? Studies show that people forget as much as 65 to 70 percent of what they learned within 24 hours, which means your sales team needs your support to keep their skills and knowledge fresh. The occasional sales training event isn’t enough: today’s salesforce craves on-the-job training that’s relevant and on demand.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to deliver learning opportunities without reinventing the wheel. Here’s how to keep sales training fresh after your new hires complete onboarding.
Let’s start with the good news: a great onboarding experience results in an almost 70 percent three-year retention rate. That means if you’ve designed a dynamic, thoughtful onboarding program, your sales reps will come out on the other side energized and prepared for success. The bad news is that some of the awesome content you’ve delivered during onboarding is bound to fade once they get out into the field. Even the best onboarding experiences overload new hires with information. Plan ahead for it, or you’ll risk paying for it when they get in front of clients.
Assessment tools help you gauge how ready new sales reps really are. What information did they retain? Where are there still gaps in knowledge? Web-based assessment tools like quizzes or role-play scenarios let reps test-drive their new skills in a risk-free environment. Remember: no two sales reps are the same, and a cookie-cutter approach to training won’t work. Instead, invest in a comprehensive LMS/CMS platform that will support you in assessing knowledge, tracking progress, and assigning individualized training to keep your salesforce on track.
Behind every confident, successful sales rep, there’s an army of mentors that helped get them there. While peer mentorship sounds great in theory, seasoned sales reps are often too busy selling to mentor a newbie. Apps will never replace the power of peer mentorship, but they do make the process much easier. With the right sales enablement platform, you can give new reps plenty of ways to interact with and learn from their peers, without ever being in the same room. Use a LMS/CMS to coordinate video coaching sessions, facilitate peer feedback, and create opportunities for reps to swap helpful articles, videos, and resources.
But knowledge sharing isn’t just for sales reps. Onboarding usually puts new hires in front of key players who are invested in their success, like sales specialists and managers. By the end, they’ve met with all of the usual suspects, but what about the all-star rep in customer service? Or that developer who knows the tech behind your product like the back of their hand? Cross-training helps expose reps to different perspectives and deepen their knowledge—all of which provides more value to your customer.
Personalized Rep Education
Class might be dismissed, but that doesn’t mean the homework is over. Actually, everyone in your organization should get used to the occasional assignment to keep their skills and knowledge sharp. Worried your reps will resist more training? Taking an individualized approach will help create buy-in because you’re helping them build the skills they need to succeed. Create micro-learning opportunities with bite-sized training like eLearning courses, a quick role-play scenario, or a video coaching session. That way, reps can engage with learning without taking time away from selling.
Today’s sales technology has made a one-size-fits-all approach to training obsolete. With the right LMS/CMS, it only takes a few minutes to build a personalized learning path for your reps. Now that you know your new rep’s individual strengths and weaknesses, you can create assignments that target the skills they need to build. Create a list packed with eLearning, podcasts, Ted Talks, and articles to help them take their skills to the next level. Plus, this approach helps you reach all kinds of learners — pull multimedia content from your LMS/CMS to engage visual and linguistic learners alike.
Showcase their Skills
New hires are often hungry and ready to hustle, so let them show off a little. After onboarding ends, create space for new reps to take center stage and show the rest of the team what they’ve got. Onboarding is often a top-down process, so giving your reps a turn in the driver’s seat helps recognize their efforts and boost confidence. Encourage them to record and share their best pitch with the rest of the team. Bonus: the best practices you’ve taught them are top of mind, so sharing their work helps reinforce winning strategies to the rest of your salesforce.
At its core, video practice trains your salesforce to engage in repeated practice. While the motivation is to showcase their skills, it’s also encouraging reps to get in the habit of recording themselves, requesting feedback, and making improvements. With the right platform, they can use video practice to record and review their pitches even after they’ve become a seasoned veteran. The best salespeople never outgrow practice—they use practice to grow.