We have a new member on the sales team, and we’re working our tails off to beat the industry average 4.2 month ramp. We’ve opened our playbook to the chapter on training and onboarding, and the race is on.
Our plan for the first 30 days worked, and our rep is on the right path. Now we look to the next 30 days.
Your rep made it through the critical first 30 days without quitting or getting fired. It’s a great start, but there is a lot of work to be done. In fact, you will probably spend MORE time with your new rep in this phase than you did in the prior phase (where they worked more with their colleagues). The first 30 days were all about listening and understanding. These next 30 days are going to focus on internalizing the sale and getting a lot of practice. With that in mind, there are three key things the manager and rep will be doing in this next phase of ramp.
First, expect to spend a lot of time on sales calls together. At this phase, the manager will be doing most of the talking. It’s all about supervised practice and heavy, hands-on coaching. These are your dry runs to start the internalization.
Second, your new rep needs to start building a pipeline. To beat the average, we are trying to sell something in the first 90 days. If you have a 30 day sales cycle, those wins will get created in this phase. Remember that the new rep won’t have as high of a win rate as a ramped rep and they probably won’t win the first opp they create. Get cranking on this now to set them up for success in the final 30 days.
Third, your rep should be working to get buttoned up on processes. You likely started this in the first 30 days, and they watched their colleagues do it, but here you will cover everything in detail and make sure they are fully up to speed on all of your sales processes and CRM rules.
Continue the one-on-one meetings with your rep, but you no longer need to meet daily. Scale this back to 3 times per week, each for roughly an hour. The manager should still be driving the agenda for these meetings, setting the pace and covering topics needed to get the rep rolling. Sales process, philosophy, product overview, customer pain, and tactics are subjects that should be highlighted with real examples of calls you have done together.
In addition to these meetings, you should be running sales calls together with your new rep. My rule for this period was to put the new rep in the same flow as all existing reps, but I was a mandatory attendee for each meeting. At the beginning, expect the manager to do 95% of the talking (leaving just 5% to the new rep). Your goal is, over the remainder of the ramp period, to slowly flip these numbers. On Day 90, you should expect your new rep to do 95-100% of the talking. Manage that transition by having a 5-10 minute meeting with your newbie after each call. Talk about what you said and why you said it. Find an area where the new rep is comfortable, and tell them that next time it comes up on a call you’ll expect them to lead that conversation. This could be an intro to the call, the first bit of the demo, or a specific objection they are ready to handle.
The final tactic in this phase is to have the rep make cold calls. These are low-risk ways for them to practice that don’t require the manager on the phone with them at all times. It’s all about practice, and there is no better way than hammering through cold calls, an old list, or if they’re really good (or if your marketing team is really good), some low scoring MQLs. These calls nicely supplement the sales calls you are doing together because the rep is on their own. Without the safety net of their manager on the line, they’ll have to find a way to get through the conversation on their own. And since it’s a cold dial, the risk of screwing something up is pretty low.
Set a dial goal for these cold calls. I am not an unequivocal fan of high volume on the phones – I think there are times when it is the right move, and times when it is not. Right now is one of the times when it’s the right move. In the first week of making calls, set a number that is higher than anyone else on the team. If your BDRs are making 60 dials in a day, tell your new rep to hit 100. Make it a stretch goal to keep them focused here. Practice, practice, practice.
Next, use these calls to create the second homework assignment. Being cautious to not break any laws, record some of these calls. Have the new rep listen to the recordings, and present 3 calls per day back to the manager. They should grade themselves on each of the calls, highlighting areas they believe they did well and areas they can improve. Getting the rep to do this helps them be critical of their own work, and gives the manager some leverage.
If it hasn’t come up yet, have the trainee write a quick value prop or elevator pitch in their own words. Get them to use this on their cold calls and in the email follow ups. Don’t let them simply copy and paste from their colleagues. To internalize the sale, they need to own the message. There is no room for turning your brain off and becoming cookie-cutter. Work with them to bless this message before it goes out in scale, but make sure it’s theirs.
Lastly, test the rep on their process and CRM skills. Have one of your interns develop a written CRM quiz that you can give each trainee. Questions like:
- What do you do if a phone number is invalid?
- How do you process a lead who told you not to call back?
- What do you do if the prospect asks for a call back in 6 months?
- When do you convert a lead to an opportunity?
Tailor this quiz to your current process and the idiosyncrasies of your CRM setup. Wrap up this test by having the rep send a contract to a test opportunity. Make sure they know the steps for getting paperwork in the prospect’s hands. After all, in the next 30 days you’re going to ask them to get you one of those contracts signed.