Sales on-boarding is a difficult process for many managers. Supervisors usually focus on the entire staff, so it is jarring to change gears and explain basic practices to recently hired employees, especially if the workers are uninterested in training. Lisa Wojtkowiak, a client relationship manager from Opinion Research Marketing, believes that the burden is on managers to ensure that agents are actively involved in on-boarding.
"We don't recruit engaged employees. Engaged employees are created," Wojtkowiak told Inc. Magazine. "It's our job to engage our employees from Day One."
Engagement starts by making on-boarding a collaborative process. Salespeople should be able to submit new ideas and share information, rather than listen to lessons about their company's sales strategies. Open lines of communication can streamline training and ultimately create a stronger sales team.
Avoid confusion in the initial phases
Every company develops its own strategies for dealing with clients, finalizing deals and updating revenue figures. These unique approaches are designed to help employees increase efficiency, but the practices can easily confuse new hires. Experienced salespeople are accustomed to specific systems and struggle to adapt to new policies.
Avoid confusion by allowing agents to speak openly about their concerns. Managers should explain that their doors are always open when workers do not understand how to handle certain responsibilities. Short question-and-answer sessions should be conducted regularly by sales performance management (SPM) professionals to ensure that on-boarding processes are running smoothly.
Take off the training wheels
Sometimes the best way to teach employees is to let them gain real-world experience. A senior staff member or supervisor should monitor the proceedings, but new hires should be given the freedom to handle some sales without assistance.
The hands-off approach forces agents to learn on their own, but it also helps trainers identify problematic areas faster than usual. Supervisors can note any aspects of sales that new agents struggle with and then tailor their on-boarding lessons to eliminate those issues.
Improve training for future workers
Every company faces employee turnover at some point. Even the best managers lose some of their top contributors, so it is vital that an effective training process is in place.
Companies should ask their employees for feedback once sales on-boarding has been completed. Minor critiques help companies restructure their programs so that they will be helpful to future representatives. The Houston Chronicle recommends creating a standard form so that feedback can be easily qualified and interpreted.