10 Ways to improve your first week of sales onboarding

The wow experience: First impression counts! You hired new sales reps, managers and leaders and now they are looking forward to their first day at your firm. Make that first day an amazing experience!

You want new hires to think:

Wow, I have joined an amazing company and team!

On their first day, the new hires probably have to go through HR activities, filling out forms, setting up IT equipment and other admin tasks.

Make sure all their equipment is ready on day one.

It also means making new hires feel comfortable, introduce them to the team, have a special lunch. Provide them with a goodie bag that they can take home on their first day.

Day in the life of …: One of the most enjoyable and important sessions during on-boarding is to learn from existing salespeople. What does it take to be successful? You can have multiple sessions delivered by different peers. These stories and tips are told by existing folks.

Storytelling is the name of the game and not slide shows unless they are really needed to tell the stories.

Treats: Do not underestimate the importance of croissants, fruit, coffee, tea or lunch! If you are running a rather intense on-boarding programme over a few days make sure this is taken care off. You want your new hires to feel good and special!

Fun competition: Selling is a competitive art. Sales people love competitions! This is a great opportunity to implement some gamification in your training. This can be designed into the content or you can break up the day by using little quizzes, e.g. Kahoot https://kahoot.com/b/.

Peer-to-peer learning: Make sure you have provide enough opportunities for participants to share their thoughts and experience with each other. This is particularly useful when you have participants from different backgrounds, regions and seniority level.

I have used map and table exercises very successfully in the past. A great side effect is that participants get to know each other and it increases team bonding as well.

Role specific breakouts: It’s important to ensure that all topics and sessions covered are all relevant to participants. This can easily be accomplished by having role specific breakout sessions to accommodate different learning needs.

Multimedia: Make sure that all sessions or presentations are engaging and utilise multimedia where possible. E.g. a great welcome video by a senior leader can work really well. If you are running a session on how to create a telesales call track utilise call recordings. Design powerful activities and make them central to all sessions.

Award ceremony: The onboarding needs to continue after the first week with milestones each month but make sure to celebrate the first accomplishment!

Finish the first week with high energy and formally provide a certificate and a framed group photo of the cohort. Also cover next steps and ongoing support during the rest of the on-boarding.

Think content: No matter how much catering and fun you provide in the first week getting the content right is super important. Build high level topics by asking yourself:

What do your sales new hires need to know and do in the first few weeks?

Include role-plays and presentations that simulate customer engagements and make this a focus at the end of the first week of your new hire training right before the awards are presented.

Think networking: Bringing all new hires together is a great opportunity for networking among each other but also for building relationships with key stakeholders in the organisation. When designing the overall onboarding programme keep the network aspects in mind.

Action: Review your current sales new hire training and identify top areas that you can improve based on the above suggestions.

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