How good is your on-boarding process?

Today, I want to discuss the on-boarding of new originators.

In my view, on-boarding is one of the most critical drivers of sales productivity. On-boarding is how long it takes new originators to ramp up their sales production. At many companies, this time frame can be 6 months or longer. I have even seen some managers accept a ramp-up time of almost a year. The faster the new originator can produce to goal, the higher a company’s return on investment will be on the new hire.

To shorten ramp-up time for my clients, I use a three-part process that includes:

1. Hiring smart. Everything starts with the quality of the hire. If the new hire does not have the innate talent to succeed in sales, no amount of training will correct the issue. Just because the candidate is from a top brand company and shows substantial W-2 income does not mean that the individual can originate in a more demanding purchase money marketplace.

It is essential that frontline sales managers know how to conduct behavior-based interviews in order to identify candidates with above-average sales talent. Pre-hire assessments can be invaluable in helping managers objectively evaluate the individual’s sales talent.

For details on what to look for in a pre-hire assessment, check out “How to Evaluate Assessment Testing.” Download the PDF.

2. Targeted sales training. Every sales professional has areas of sales knowledge that can be improved. A good pre-hire assessment not only identifies sales talent but measures the consultative sales knowledge of a candidate. When the local manager implements an improvement strategy, how the new employee handles it can be an early sign of future sales performance. The targeted training should be rigorous and include a combination of self-study, role-playing and team activities.

An effective training program helps establish expectations for the sales professional and can indicate the new hire’s willingness to spend time and effort for his or her own self-improvement. Failure to learn and master new information can be a warning sign of poor performance in the future.

3. Tactical coaching. The third part of an effective on-boarding process is the ride-along. The faster the direct manager spends time doing sales calls with the new originator the better. Direct observation of the new employee’s selling skills gives the manager another opportunity to give feedback and see the employee’s ability and willingness to make changes in his or her sales presentation skills. Unwillingness to make changes is another sign that the new employee may not match what is required in today’s a purchase money market.

Failure to prospect is another issue that is a red flag and should be part of the sales calls that the manager conducts with the new employee. Poor performance in prospecting in today’s marketplace is a fatal indicator. The reality is that originators need to prospect at least half of their time now and any reluctance to do so is more than call reluctance but a sign that you have hired an order-taker.

How good is your on-boarding process? If your time to make a decision on a new employee is longer than 4 months, it is time to fix it. Give me a call and I would be glad to discuss how to do so.