Even if your company generally hires self-starters — the type that can just “figure it out” — it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to employ a formal onboarding process.
A well-structured onboarding process will not only help your new hires quickly and easily become productive members of your company, it will also increase the likelihood that they stay with your company (therefore saving you time and resources).
As the Sales Development team lead at Uberflip, part of my responsibilities include running much of our onboarding process. Since we’ve implemented this process, we’ve not only experienced a lower turnover rate, but have also had our sales reps become more effective in their roles more quickly.
Here’s an overview of what you may want to include in your SaaS sales onboarding process.
Day 1: Logistics
You never get a second chance at a first day on the job. Day 1 is all about welcoming your hires into the company and making them feel comfortable and excited in their new work environment.
Be sure to:
• Set time for introductions — Give them a tour of the office and let them introduce themselves to the rest of your company.
• Give them time to get settled — Provide all logistical information about the company, as well as any login information they need to know. Allow them to have a couple hours during Day 1 to get settled at their desk/workstation.
• Book lunch — Day 1 lunch should be on the manager. This is a great opportunity to have a casual conversation and get to know them beyond their employee number.
• Assign a “buddy” — At Uberflip, we have a “buddy system” where we assign each new hire to a member of another team, who acts as their “buddy”, or go-to person as they start to get comfortable in their first few weeks. A buddy system is a great way to provide a new hire with another outlet for company-related questions.
Yes, their Day 1 might be your Day 542, and your daily responsibilities must go on as usual. But take into account that you’ll have new faces in the office when scheduling their start date — if you give the impression that you don’t have time to deal with them, you’re increasing the odds that you won’t see them again on Day 2!
Weeks 1-2: High-Level Overviews
No need to go too deep in the first couple of weeks — your hires are still getting situated. Before getting into the nitty-gritty, schedule a series of high-level overviews so they can place themselves within the bigger picture.
Provide company-related overviews that focus on:
• Company structure, vision, and culture
• Your industry (and where your product/company fits in)
Schedule sales process-related sessions that provide:
• An overview of your sales philosophy
• An introduction to your sales process
• The general structure of your sales pitch
• Examples of discovery calls and product demonstrations from other reps on the team
Provide product-related overviews that allow your new hires to:
• Actually use and understand your product
• Start to answer questions about the product (e.g., I’ll schedule a session where I ask questions about our product and get the new hires to answer as best as they can to “test” their knowledge. I use this discussion to gauge their rate of learning and provide informal coaching).
Finally, schedule your regular “check-in” sessions right off the bat. Have your first session this week to provide (yet another!) high-level overview of the purpose of your one-on-one check-ins.
Week 3: Sales Training
Now that your new recruits have a solid idea of how things work at your company, it’s time to dive deeper into sales training.
Here are some key things to cover:
• Buyer personas — Set up a learning exercise for your new hires to learn about your buyer personas. Have them talk to your marketing team to gauge key qualities and pain points.
• Practice calls and demos — Practice makes perfect! Run a few roleplay exercises to help your hires get used to talking to prospects on the phone and fielding common questions.
• CRM training — Teach them how to properly track and record everything using your company’s CRM.
• Tool training — Every company has a unique sales technology stack. Teach them how to navigate and effectively use yours.
As much as training sessions help, often times the best way to learn is by doing (especially in sales). During the third week, it’s probably a good idea to have your reps make outbound calls. Pro tip: Keep your own schedule on the lighter side this week so you can give a helping hand as much as possible.
Week 4: Time to Let Go
Your new employees have almost survived their first month — good for them, but also, good for you! It’s time to slowly let go and let them start executing their responsibilities in their role.
Start by getting them to:
• Participate in sales calls with other reps on your team — Until they’re truly ready to fly solo, have them team up with another member on your team to help them field questions and explain everything properly.
• Demonstrate their product expertise — If your product has a user certification exam, have them take it (and ensure they score above 80%!). Your sales reps need to be product experts. Another fun way to do this is by hosting a customized game of Jeopardy and having a friendly competition (assuming you have a group of new hires).
Remember: different people ramp up and different rates, so have patience, and continually update your sales onboarding process to constantly improve your system, as well as the effectiveness of your hires.