Ramping new sales hires can be hard going for leaders and execs. There’s a lot of negativity associated with the whole process, from snarky comments about “baby-sitting” round the watercooler to resentment about the fact that you’re involved when you’ve got real work to do…
I get where that comes from—hitting number has never been harder, competition for jobs has never been more aggressive, and the higher you climb in an organisation the more chance you’ll fall foul of one of those “one-strike-and-you’re-out” policies that’s actually a thinly-veiled means of restructuring and keeping costs down.
It’s not just that, though. It’s that onboarding new hires is boring. It’s a grey, flat process—probably a great introduction to a modern day sales job, actually… It usually starts with some sort of immersion in the product or service offering—brainwashing rows of new hires who may as well have their eyes pinned open like Alex in A Clockwork Orange. Then you move on to pricing structures, CRM training and sales process explanations. If your new reps are lucky they’ll get a chance to talk over key accounts and individual incentives with their team leaders…
And that’s it. They’re off in the world, representing your organisation, meeting your customers and trying to shift your product. It’s a boring start to their life as a sales person—but it’s worse than just boring, it’s damaging and it’s costing money in lost sales.
Onboarding should be treated as an opportunity, not a chore. An opportunity to shape the talent that you’ve scouted into the sales people your organisation needs. An opportunity to create a new breed of sales person—one that understands the importance of client relationships, how the product and services they are selling deliver value, how they sit in the client’s unique context, how they properly leverage differentiation, how they create compelling pitches that explain the benefits of your organisation to a prospect clearly, concisely and consistently.
Bringing the new blood up to speed quickly and efficiently is in everyone’s interest. Agility in sales has never been more important—you need a team that learns, adapts and gels fast. That means you need new hires who can hit the ground running, and a team that will enable that to happen.
To make that happen, you and your enablement team need to look at alternative training pathways. Pinning your new hires down like foie gras geese and pumping them full of product spec and competition-busting one-liners just won’t wash anymore. You’ve been throwing part-formed sales people out into the field for too long, leaving them to learn on the job by trial and error (costing your organisation a fortune in lost business along the way), when all the lessons they need have been learnt a thousand times over by other reps in your organisation.
All of those lessons amount to a complex body of information—but it’s information that will shorten your new hires’ learning arc, and lead to better results and a team that’s worth what you’re paying them. So, you need an accessible means of capturing that complex information and delivering it in a memorable, compelling and engaging way… maybe a means of communicating that has been scientifically proven to improve information retention by 70% over a verbal presentation. A way of presenting information that is immediate, sticky, and improves understanding by up to 400%…
You need to be harnessing visual comms to help your new hires. Properly delivered visuals will ease the pressure on your leaders, and give them a clearly structured and consistent onboarding methodology. Visuals can easily deliver the information your new people need, without cutting corners. Visuals will help that information to stick. And apart from all of the tangible benefits, visuals will make the whole process of onboarding and initial training less boring. Because at the moment it is being done in the quickest, dullest way imaginable—and no one is benefiting.
We’re not talking about using a PowerPoint presentation you threw together on the train here—we’re talking about a comprehensive, coherent, collaboratively designed series of reusable, trainable whiteboards. We’re talking about a series of unifying presentations that can ensure consistently high standards throughout onboarding across global territories. We’re talking about harnessing visual comms to make your life easier and to save your organisation untold amounts of money by turning your new recruits into the sales people you want representing you in the field, straight off the bat.
New hires can find the coffee machine or the loos on their own, that’s not on you. They can read up on product spec in their own time. For the wealth of information that they do need from you, visuals aren’t just the obvious answer, they’re the only answer. If you miss the boat on this you’ll just have to start all over again with the next round of new hires when you fire these ones for lack of sales.