You’ve searched through countless resumes, interviewed masses of prospective employees, and brought on the ones you felt were best suited to fill the open inside sales representative positions at your company. Now, what? Instead of just throwing them into the snake pit and handing them a manual with minimal training, onboard them with proper inside sales coaching so that they can succeed and your business can grow. Your onboarding process of new sales reps should be part of your overall inside sales strategy.
Most established companies have a documented training program for new hires. The following list of do’s and don’ts may shed light on some overlooked aspects and can serve as a list of basics for new organizations looking for direction. Each don’t is a caution of what to avoid and is followed up with a positive replacement action. Are you making any of these mistakes in onboarding your new inside sales reps?
Inside Sales Coaching Tips for Success
1. Don’t have a one-size fits all approach.
Instead, change it up. Set up your training plans in various modalities. Allow new trainees to work with more than one trainer, offer interactive computer-based training, and video too. Coaching in different formats will allow you to appeal to the individuals’ best learning capabilities.
2. Don’t hand them a manual, show them their desk, and expect decent results.
Source: Learning Pyramid National Training Laboratories Bethel, Maine
Most learning through reading alone is forgotten. According to National Training Laboratories’ Learning Pyramid, only 10% of what is learned through reading is retained, whereas 75% of what is learned through practice is retained. The onboarding phase for new inside sales employees should not be solely self-guided from a book. Remember that the time invested in each new employee will improve their likelihood of success and thereby benefit the organization as well.
3. Don’t only speak with them during sales meetings.
Interact with new hires on a daily basis so that they feel welcome and part of the team. Consider having lunch with them and take the opportunity to ask for feedback on their training. You’ll make a connection with your new employee and possibly gain some valuable intel that could benefit your training program. Being a good inside sales coach isn’t just about the ramp up period, it’s about having ongoing conversations to seek new teaching opportunities.
4. Don’t expect them to know how to______.
Be prepared to explain “everything.” If the new employee is proficient in sales but new to your industry, you must include industry-specific training. Instruction provided should include demonstrations of the product, so they can get a clear understanding and ask any questions that arise.
Any company specific expectations regarding communications with prospects or clients should be made clear in training too. Teaching your new inside sales reps the proper language and tone of your company’s voice along with how to use your inside sales software will save a significant amount of time down the road. If they’re computer savvy, they may be able to figure it out, but with the proper instruction, that time can be better spent on something else. What seems normal or natural to you could be a brand new way of thinking to your employee.
5. Don’t skip setting metrics-based goals.
Neglecting to let your new hires know what you expect from them will be a pitfall to their success. Clearly outlining realistic goals and quotas they need to meet will help with productivity. It will also make it easy to figure out who requires more coaching in the future. To increase employee retention, you can take it a step further and provide a roadmap for career growth at your company. By letting your new inside sales rep know the basis for promotions and raises they’ll be able to visualize their next step with you.
6. Don’t send new employees straight to the phone after training.
Provide some sort of assessment to ensure they’re ready to be on their own. An assessment can be in the form of a written test, group presentation, or role playing. Following up training with testing is logical and will indicate if training has adequately prepared them for the job. Wouldn’t you rather know if someone needed more training before they got on the phone and ruined a deal with one of your targeted customers?
7. Don’t end training once they’ve settled in.
Even wise employees with seniority can find value from continued sales training. This could be instruction on sales tactics using social media, on new product features available, or so much more. Halting education is careless and can leave your inside sales reps trailing the competitors in skill level.
Again, this list of inside sales coaching tips is not comprehensive and was written to serve as a reminder that training new employees is just as important as the efficiency of the software that you use. Learn more about inside sales onboarding in this webinar, Onboarding a World-Class Inside Sales Force, to help improve your process.