How to reduce ramp-up time for new sales hires

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Transfer of Knowledge





In a recent survey conducted by CSO Insights, some 70 % of companies claimed that the ramp-up time for new sales staff ranged from seven months to more than one year. This alarming statistic raises several interesting and important issues:

  1. Even though many companies claim to hire only experienced salespeople who can hit the street running, current research and data prove otherwise.
  2. A company makes a significant investment in time, effort and money to train a new sales person during that seven-month ramp-up period – without any guarantee of success.
  3. There is no evidence to suggest that an experienced sales person will be able to ramp-up any faster than a less experienced sales person.

Since the “true” cost of hiring new sales staff continues to escalate, companies need to identify more effective and efficient methods of both training their sales people and grooming them for success. One such tactic is to provide all new hires with the knowledge, techniques, experiences and materials used by the company’s most successful sales people.

All companies possess a wealth of tribal knowledge that has contributed to their growth and development over the years, yet very few have a documented “success blueprint” that can be stored and shared among the sales force. Providing information that is specific to your company, your products, your prospects, your market and your competition will enable new sales staff to better understand your true value proposition as well as the issues that are driving customers to purchase your products or services.

Also, providing a single source repository where they can go to find and get what they need, rather than having to waste a lot of time going to a bunch of different resources, will help them immensely. Providing them with a “digital encyclopedia” of the types of things they will need to know and will be useful to them throughout their career, is of great value to everyone. A tool like this will also relieve a lot of time that a sales manager would need to spend with a new hire. A lot of the things that they would need to know, such as policies, procedures, competitive knowledge, best practices and frequently asked questions, would already be available to them on line, thereby freeing up the sales manager to address other issues.

So, if you want to dramatically reduce the ramp-up time for new sales hires and lay the foundations for future sales success, switch your focus from teaching “product” knowledge to “prospect” knowledge during this crucial learning period. A corporate information solution that can store and then share a company’s success secrets will be an investment that will pay for itself time and time again in increased effectiveness, productivity, sales and revenues.

At least that’s the way I see it. What say you?

  1. Kevin Temple Says: August 29, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Chuck… just ran across your article. I’m a big fan of taking the secondary information and placing it in a repository for the rep to look up when they need it. Sort of “just in time training”. Flooding them with information that is not timely or in some cases, counterproductive to their ramp up is not a good idea, yet it seems to be common practice.

    My biggest pet peeve is the fire hose of capabilities training that commonly takes place. In my opinion, knowing the capabilities of solution lands much lower on the priority scale when compared to understanding the problems a customer has to deal with, how those problems impact the business, and how these problems line up with the customer’s current business issues which are driving their buying behavior. Knowing this information allows the rep to garner attention, tailor a message that resonates, build a compelling value proposition, build pipeline and mitigate no decisions. The capabilities of their solution should come into play later. Unfortunately, most companies err on the capabilities side, don’t supply their reps with the other information and wonder why they aren’t selling more!