Ahhhhh, that new rep smell. Naturally, when you hire a new sales person, you’d like to onboard him as quickly as possible. A learning curve is inevitable, but there are CRM tricks you can use to speed up the time around the curve and get him engaging and selling faster. Try these four CRM tips for faster sales onboarding.
Use the Power of Reports
Unless you recently added a new position, your incoming rep is probably replacing someone who left or retired. Use the leftover data to your advantage by building out CRM reports for him to review when he first logs in. What are the trends in customer purchase histories? How many deals have been won and lost? Think about what he needs to know to hit the ground running. Here are a few examples of reports you should consider:
- Open Opportunities Report – What deals was the past rep working on? What’s in the pipeline? Some of these deals may be on the verge of closing. Your rep will want to follow up to learn details. It’s also a prime opportunity for them to re-engage a contact that was starting to teeter off.
- Call and Meeting Reports – How many meetings or calls was the old rep making on average? Was it the right amount, or not enough? The cadence of calls and meetings often depend on industry. For example, if you’re selling to seed distributors, you might make more calls in late fall than you would in the summer. Going over this report with your new hire gives you the opportunity to discuss these types of variations.
- Recently Closed Deals – The new rep will want to reach out to these customers and let them know he’s their new point of contact. There may be some loose ends he needs to tie up to finalize the transaction or initiate next steps.
Analytics on the CRM dashboard are a great addition to these reports. Comparative analytics will depict information on close rates, time between steps, and other crucial activities the rep will want to be aware of as he moves forward.
When a rep departs, she leaves behind more than just her data. She also leaves behind her valuable customer relationships. Those customer relationships could walk out the door with her, unless the remaining team can capture the data and provide it to the new resource in a timely and usable manner. The incoming rep needs to know which relationships are active and should be prioritized to avoid breakage and maintain momentum. Conversely, the new rep will need to look for weak relationships in the territory that have not been active but have potential. Some of this can be derived by wading through the CRM information, email logs, etc., but the onboarding clock is ticking.
For faster uptake, consider a relationship management add-on for your CRM. Products like TrustSphere do the leg work to help reps quickly understand and manage the existing sales relationships. TrustSphere offers something called the Transition report that surfaces relationship strength based on digital communication analytics (interaction frequency, responsiveness and several other factors) to create a full picture of the relationship network. In a snapshot, the new rep can see who the old rep was contacting most actively and can determine which accounts or contacts are in danger of falling off. Understanding these dynamics is crucial at the start of the sales on-boarding; it provides unique context and allows the new rep to prioritize who he’s reaching out to and hopefully re-engage uneasy prospects and customers.
Plus, relationship management is a safeguard for the company itself. Studies show that about 20% of employee turnover happens within the first 90 days of employment, so it’s to management’s benefit to have a clear picture of who contacted whom, and when, in case the unfortunate occurs. Without some relationship perspective, the company risks appearing disorganized in the eyes of the customers they want to keep.
Create Some Workflows
One of the most proactive steps you can take to ensure your new hire onboards quickly is to ensure they stay on process. Encourage the rep to adopt a streamlined sales process by building out a workflow for him in the CRM. Workflows are step-by-step checklists that guide a sales process. Your new hire is in unfamiliar territory. A workflow sets expectations, which can help him gauge how well he’s doing and hopefully feel more confident about his performance. Management can monitor his activity by requesting notifications when each step is complete. If the rep gets stuck in a step for too long, management can proactively address it and guide the rep through to the next.
Another approach is to let the rep build his own workflow with management’s guidance. This approach gives him the autonomy to guide his own sales strategy, and it also inadvertently teaches him how to use your CRM system. CRM training should already be part of your onboarding process (If it’s not, you should probably call us!) and building a workflow lets your hire put the new concepts he’s learning into practice.
Implement Sales Process Management
If you hired a new sales person, it’s safe to say you have confidence in their abilities. But, every job is different – cultures are different, expectations are different, sales approaches are different. If you have the time to listen-in on some of your new rep’s sales calls, do. Make it clear that your intention is not to criticize or judge, but rather to act as a support system.
Your CRM system also can help manage sales calls. Consider CRM add-ons that let users take real-time notes about their calls that save directly into the system. We use a call analytics system in-house called Tenfold that helps us track our sales calls. The analytics are a bonus. They let us keep track of who called a customer, when they called, how long the conversation was, and what was discussed.
Call notes not only help the rep remember key points of the conversation, but they offer a view of those conversations for managers. Get your new rep in the habit of entering call notes into the CRM; it’s another great way to familiarize him with your system and encourage good data practices.