Is Your Sales Onboarding Giving Your New Hires Buyer’s Remorse?

Seventy-two percent of the respondents in one survey expressed they have felt remorse or regret in accepting a new job that didn’t live up to their expectations. That’s the opposite of what hiring managers want to hear after spending time, resources, and money finding the perfect candidate. Buyer’s remorse is real and it’s not something sellers should feel after just a few days on the job.

Your sales onboarding process has a direct effect on the perception new hires have about your company. Understanding how to improve the ramp-up process will increase new employee satisfaction and engagement and reduce employee churn. Here are six expert tips for making sure your new sales reps don’t feel buyer’s remorse once they’ve joined your team and begun the sales onboarding process.

Mindtickle Ramp Time EBook

Spark curiosity with engaging sales onboarding content

A pile of text-heavy learning material is not only intimidating, it’s also boring. It won’t get a new hire excited.

As Rahul Mathew, a product marketing manager here at Mindtickle, says: “If there’s too much text or assets that they need to go through, they’re just going to feel disengaged. But then how can you make it interesting for them so they feel like it’s not something being pushed down their throat, but more like something they want to do?”

The learning material must be as fun and engaging as possible to defeat new hire remorse or boredom. That can look like courses where new hires are required to interact with call recordings, practice pitches, or give feedback to colleagues as part of a process where team members learn from each other.

It’s a good idea to employ real-world use cases in learning material, so new hires can learn from past scenarios. And replicating sales situations through video recordings, audio conversations, and checklists helps new hires embrace the selling approach of your company.

Lastly, have new hires test themselves on course material via quizzes and skill assessments. This helps them practice their new skills before conversing with real prospects.

Personalize training to your new hires’ needs

Each new hire will come with a different industry background and experience. To create an exciting and relevant onboarding experience, give tailored learning according to their skill development needs.

To understand your new hires’ skill level, use assessment tests and discovery exercises during the onboarding process. This will help you acknowledge and recognize each candidate’s strengths while also developing a personalized plan to improve their weaknesses.

As Mathew puts it, “Each rep is going to have a different set of learnings. There’s gonna be a different learning curve for everybody, so there’s a need to provide individualized training. If, for example, someone is good at communication, having to go through the training again and again becomes monotonous; they’re going to disengage.

“But, of course, there are also things that same rep may not be good at and may want to focus on. That is why we’re talking about providing individualized training. And then once you’ve done this, you need to reinforce and ensure that what they’ve learned is being tested.”

In practical terms, this means developing bespoke onboarding plans that focus on strengthening a new hire’s weaknesses with the right learning material.

Avoiding redundant or unrelatable content using personalized sales training helps new hires feel less regret about their new job.

Give your new hires a vision to work toward

Clear expectations and a detailed roadmap of how to meet goals battle new hire remorse by helping new hires understand what is expected of them and how to achieve these goals. That’s where an Ideal Rep Profile comes in.

With an ideal rep profile (IRP), you’re able to formulate a “north star,” an ultimate goal to show new hires the behaviors and traits that’ll guide them toward success in their new role. This also helps new hires direct their learning efforts toward becoming an ideal rep and curtails feelings of regret when adapting to a new role.

Ideal rep profile competencies

When it comes to introducing the IRP in onboarding, Mathew gives helpful insights: “Sales leaders and managers identify all the competencies. This is the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that define what makes an ideal rep. And that can be codified within our platform. So, once you have the IRP, then you’re able to go ahead and curate or build programs around that.”

Onboarding courses and materials can then be created to replicate the strengths and strategies new hires should learn. They’re able to visualize the end goal of their efforts and understand the impact their new skills will have on sales performance.

And by having a figure to envision and achieve, employees can compare and contrast performance to pinpoint skills and strategies that need to be strengthened. As well, they will fully understand why it’s important to execute their duties in a certain way.

Guide your new hires through onboarding

New roles, tools, and company goals are overwhelming to new hires who may already feel a stark difference from their previous job. A clear roadmap to perform well in their role includes the materials each rep will need to learn and helps them overcome any feelings of confusion.

This helps sales reps control their time and understand how much should be dedicated to each learning course.

Mathew highlights the importance of time management as a key factor for onboarding success: “Let’s say you’re a learner; when you are given access to a course, you need to know how to navigate the platform. So, you need, for instance, a course map. As a learner, I know I’m expected to do five of these modules. And it’s going to take me this much time. And I need to allocate this much time towards doing this. So, that way, it’s not just that I start the course and then suddenly realize that this is taking more than four or five hours. And I honestly have just two hours to do this. So, you’re able to be in control. Do this in such a way that you’re taking it seriously, and not just stopping midway and losing that flow.”

Each course must come closely tied to a reason why and metrics that show the difference the learned skill or behavior can make to sales closing rates.

With clear onboarding guidelines and expectations, new hires won’t experience regret or be overwhelmed because they have clear next steps and are supported by their manager throughout their learning plan.

Moreover, having guided onboarding material helps your sales enablement team and managers see the progress of new hires and lets them intervene when they see any disengagement or struggles.

Encourage peer support and collaboration

Company culture plays a big role in making new hires feel welcomed and part of a team. During the onboarding process, it’s important to set the standard and show the importance of teamwork.

With peer support and collaboration, new hires can lean on their coworkers for help and get tips and resources that build trust and cooperation.

During the onboarding process, it’s important to encourage team members to learn from one another with peer reviews and personalized feedback. Creating a culture of this nature is crucial to stop new hires from feeling like they are failing at their new job and instead see feedback as an opportunity for improvement.

As cliché as the saying is, practice makes perfect, and Mathew sums up how feedback can improve performance:

“When you practice a pitch; you may want to do a few takes. You may want to correct some things, recording your attempt multiple times, and then say, ‘Hey, this is the actual pitch that I want to be judged on,’ and have that shared with an expert or a senior rep who can provide the right set of inputs.”

Nurture a feedback culture and encourage new hires to work with their team to learn from more experienced peers. The feedback, encouragement, and sense of community they receive will alleviate feelings of new job remorse.

Motivate employees with gamification

Eighty-nine percent of employees say gamification in the workplace makes them feel more productive. Gamification motivates and encourages employees to keep improving their skills in exchange for rewards and achievements.

Gamification diminishes new hire remorse by promoting status achievement and rewarding improvement. It helps new hires visualize their improved professional skills.

This is because gamification caters to the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of employees. On the one hand, they want to compete against their peers and, on the other hand, they want to feel like they’ve improved and achieved a degree of status in the company.

Mathew gives insight into the importance of gamification in the onboarding process: “In this era where we have short attention spans — how can you keep people engaged? One of the things to do is nurture engagement through encouragement. Show people where they stand; it’s a natural tendency that if I see my peers doing better, then I’m going to make extra effort to ensure I’m not at the bottom of the class and encourage competitiveness within the teams.”

Leaderboards are great tools for encouraging employees to improve their skills or for seeing which sales reps are leading so new employees can ask them for help, tips, and insights to improve their own performance.

Improve onboarding with data insights to keep new hires on track and avoid remorse

Mindtickle provides onboarding insights and readiness scores to help managers understand when it’s time to step in and check on new hires to understand their level of engagement or stress.

This can look like having a conversation to address any issues or providing new resources to make their onboarding smoother.

Mindtickle Readiness Index

Data insights help managers acknowledge employees when they’ve gained a new skill,. And with personalized data insights, managers can correlate new skills with revenue metrics to show new hires the impact of their knowledge. Each personalized approach makes employees feel appreciated and confident in their new job choice. Mindtickle delivers the data and tailored content to give new hires the relevant support needed to succeed in their roles.

Ready to learn more about Mindtickle and how to make sure your sales onboarding engages, educates, and excites your sellers? Request a Mindtickle demo today.

Why It’s Almost Impossible to Get Sellers to Remember Sales Training (and Use it the Right Way)

Hey, do you remember that training you went through last week? Last month? Chances are you ask anyone that question — whether they’re in sales or any other function — and the answer will be no.

It’s not news that we have a hard time remembering and applying the information we learn. You’re probably familiar with the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, which has been around since the 1800s. And more recent research by Gartner finds that B2B sales reps forget 70% of information within one week of training, and 87% within one month. Suffice it to say that if sellers forget the information, they are not applying it in the field.

So the bad news? Sellers aren’t using all the awesome training you’ve delivered.

But the good news? There are strategies, processes, and tools that get sellers to remember sales training and use it the right way.

To understand the strategies, let’s dig into the main reasons your approach might not be working today, and what you can do to change it.

Your sales training content isn’t practiced

Except for the occasional prodigy, sellers don’t typically master skills on the first try. Just like playing an instrument or a sport, selling is a skill that must be practiced. And research shows that training retention over time increases to 75% with practice and reinforcement activities.

But typically hands-on practice isn’t consistently incorporated into sales training because it’s time consuming, difficult to scale across teams, and loathed by many sellers. “Practice” and “role-play” are trigger words for any seller who has been humiliated in front of their peers in a review exercise at a sales meeting in the past.

Sales Enablement Certification

Without a safe space to practice what they’ve been trained on, learn how to articulate messaging in their own words, and get feedback, sellers will either forget the new training material completely and revert back to their pre-training approach or, worse yet, practice on customers. Sellers need frequent role-play practice not only after initial onboarding, but virtually any time there is a new positioning training, product launches, or other major organizational change that affects their message.

Virtual role-plays are a great way to improve retention and ensure readiness. With modern sales enablement and training technology, sales enablement teams can easily assign prompts and scenarios for sellers to record role-play exercises on their own time and submit them for review. Immediate AI-based recommendations give sellers insight into how their role-plays perform against evaluation criteria and then reps have the opportunity to re-record before submission.

Without practice exercises that force sellers to digest training content, understand it well enough to synthesize the message in their own words, and prove their ability to apply it, your sales training won’t be remembered or used.

Your sales training content isn’t reinforced

While hands-on practice is critical, it’s only one of the ways to help sellers remember information post-session. Spaced reinforcements are another strategy that will help you move training from short-term knowledge to long-term memory.

Spaced reinforcements use a systematic approach to information retrieval and consist of two parts: the spacing effect and the testing effect. The spacing effect refers to the repetition of content over selected intervals of time. You can think of it as the opposite of cramming. We’ve all had those experiences of staying up all night to study for an exam. You might perform well on the exam, but the information is quickly forgotten. The testing effect uses a question and answer approach to encode information differently and improves retention.

Mindtickle sales enablement badges

Comprehensive sales enablement and training platforms like Mindtickle provide an easy way to create and push adaptive, scenario-based questions to sellers on their mobiles or desktops so learners can apply their knowledge to real-world situations. Using artificial intelligence, the system varies each individual seller’s path through a spaced reinforcement exercise based on their response so it focuses each user on proficiency gaps and sustains engagement until they’ve proven mastery.

Without a mechanism forcing sellers to recall key information repeatedly until it’s moved to long-term memory, whether it’s via spaced reinforcements or another approach, your sales training won’t be remembered or used.

Your sales training isn’t memorable

Don’t take this the wrong way, but another reason sellers don’t remember and use training is because your training could be boring. The forgetting curve plus today’s 8-second average attention span plus a seller’s number one priority to spend what little time they have talking to prospects and making money adds up to salespeople not paying attention to or remembering your training.

Many organizations still rely too heavily on live, instructor-led training and basic voice-over-powerpoint recordings. Nobody remembers the session where a headless voice talked on and on about a new process or marketing message, but everyone remembers the session where the instructor busted out a rap, played a fun song related to the topic, or introduced a gamified, live challenge midway through.

As one seller recently shared, “I know I have an attention span of probably five seconds, and there are a lot of shiny things out there.” So what can you do to make your training more shiny?

Some examples include:

  • Cutting longer video segments into smaller chunks
  • Incorporating graphics, videos, and music throughout the session for semantic association
  • Recording quick updates in podcast format to be consumed on the go
  • Using a variety of presenters across sessions
  • Leveraging gamification and rewards during live sessions
  • Introducing ad-hoc questions and assessments

Mindtickle customers leverage a variety of content delivery mechanisms to keep sellers engaged during training. Cole Lindbergh, sales enablement manager of revenue operations at ChowNow, prides himself on creative and interactive training content that uses a balance of business focus and silliness to boost engagement while contributing to his team’s success.

“When people are surprised and caught off guard, they are more willing to engage. If you can add a level of ‘good chaos’ to what you’re doing, I think that gets people to buy in,” he explains. “And that’s extra important right now as more and more people are working from home — that’s going to impact how people do training in the future.”

This doesn’t mean every session needs to be fun or silly, and don’t mistake this approach for clowning around. But introducing more variety into your content, and coupling it with some interactive or exciting surprises, you can ensure your training is likely to be remembered and applied.

Your sellers aren’t coached on training application in the field

Many businesses don’t know whether their training and talk tracks are being applied in the field. We’re all familiar with the adages “what they don’t know won’t hurt them” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is a mentality that sellers may naturally fall back on post-training if they know their sales leads don’t have visibility into whether they are applying new methodologies or messaging when they’re speaking to prospects.

Conversation intelligence changes that by unlocking valuable insights into real-world customer conversation and enables leaders to understand whether sellers are or aren’t applying their training and the potential impact of this on deal performance. With insights into sellers’ calls, you can help coach them on how to best apply their new training in the field the right way, right away, so they don’t revert to their old ways after one misstep. Conversation intelligence, however, is meant to create a culture of continuous coaching and collaboration, not create a Big Brother atmosphere; so while in-field spot-checking and accountability are critical to training success, be conscious of seller paranoia and be thoughtful in your approach when taking action.

Will you remember all that?

You invest too much time, sweat, and tears into your sales training for it to not be remembered and used in the field by sellers. Hopefully, with some tweaks to your approach to practice, reinforcement, content delivery, and in-field coaching, you can create training that’s remembered for years to come.

To learn more tips and to hear best practices on how Mastercard applies practice and role-plays in their organization, check out our webinar, “Putting Practice into Action: How to transform sales role-plays from forgettable games to game changers.

We Asked Top Sales and Enablement Leaders What They Do to Achieve Sales Readiness. Here’s What They Said.

Wouldn’t it be great to get a peek inside the minds of some of the most successful sales enablement leaders in the business to see the tricks and tools they use to make their sales forces function at the top of their game? Consider your wish granted! We spoke to some of the top minds in sales enablement and asked them how they do what they do. Here are their recommendations…

Know your sellers and individualize training to their particular needs

Sales reps are individuals. They come from different backgrounds and have different levels of experience. They also learn in different ways. So, to help them achieve a constant state of sales readiness, their training needs to be personalized.

When onboarding new reps, many organizations place a premium on speed — and don’t get us wrong, speed is important. What’s more important, though, is ensuring that new recruits truly understand the training. Just because they’ve read all the product info and completed a few mock calls doesn’t mean they’re fully ramped. True ramp-up time shouldn’t be viewed as when a new recruit has closed their first deal. It’s when they’re consistently learning and replicating the winning behaviors that drive bottom-line results.

To ramp up reps faster and more effectively, Marcela Piñeros, Head of Sales Enablement at Stripe, has new employees do a sales assessment and personality test in their first week. New reps upload a video of themselves delivering a pitch so managers can see their baseline skills in action. The assessment not only uncovers where each seller needs individualized coaching and training; it also becomes a benchmark Stripe uses to evaluate the rep after their first year.

“Faster ramp times come from helping salespeople understand — and then utilize — their training,” says Piñeros.

The best sales readiness strategies use data to help managers diagnose where a rep is struggling and how to help them achieve success, says Piñeros. “Data should be used not only to help individuals improve, but also to inform future development of the sales readiness and enablement programs,” she says.

Assessment of an individual’s progress is key. “Good assessment programs show reps what they need to do and measure how well they do it,” says Piñeros.

Be creative, targeted, and consistent with training programs

Gone are the days where sales training consisted of a generic slide deck and a team lunch. These days, sales enablement leaders are using a wide variety of tools to help their reps perform at the top of their game — from microlearning to role-playing to social and gamified training.

Sales readiness requires understanding the different ways people learn, what kind of information they’re digesting, and the best ways to provide that knowledge — including methods such as videos, quizzes, games, and self-paced learning.

When he’s preparing his sales force, Derek Rahn, Head of Sales at Elevate Brands, tries to be creative. “People really learn quickly when you make it a game or give them information in short bites,” he says.

Rahn likes to use call coaching and call recording to help reps understand real-world sales challenges. Recordings of real sales calls can capture great insights into handling tricky scenarios. And Rahn has become particularly adept at leveraging conversational intelligence to identify new objections that can be workshopped during sales team meetings. Conversation intelligence technology finds relevant topics or phrases, records competitor mentions, locates objections, and identifies how to move a deal forward.

And when it comes to making the most of sales enablement, training can’t simply be a one-off activity. It needs to happen regularly.

“In school, you get homework for a reason,” says Michelle Dotson, Head of Sales Enablement at Zoom. “You listen to the teacher, you go home and practice, you try, and you try again until you understand the concept you’re learning.”

For information to truly stick, people need to actively digest it, says Dotson. “They need to do something, come back to it, talk about it, and do it again,” she says. “Nobody just tells you something and then you know it.”

Measure the right competencies

For Rehan Chishty, Enablement Platforms Manager at Okta, the two key components of sales excellence are knowledge and skills. When he sets out to help his sellers obtain excellence, he sets goals in the form of a certification program for sales reps.

Establish what information your new reps need to retain about your company’s products, says Chishty, and then develop levels of certification and training. For example, you can use novice, intermediate, and advanced level certifications for each product or product group.

It’s all about knowing your company’s needs and your reps’ abilities and matching the two.

Stripe’s Piñeros looks for the specific competencies and attitudes that she wants to nurture in her reps. She has identified 21 competencies she thinks help her understand a reps’ potential — everything from a willingness to be disliked to the ability to prospect. Against these qualities, Stripe looks at the world through four lenses — the worker, the work, the workplace, and the world — to understand how to onboard new reps.

When she looks at an individual seller — the worker —she wants to understand what knowledge, skills, and attitudes they have, and how these qualities can potentially help or hinder them in being good salespeople.

“When I look at the work, it’s about how those skills and attitudes translate to their day-to-day,” says Piñeros. “Any training you do needs to be geared to helping the rep improve their skills and attitudes in a way that matches the work required of them.”

To Dotson, sales excellence is when a rep performs according to established metrics and keeps performing consistently and reliably over time.

“I want to create sustainable quality, not a team of one-hit wonders,” she says.

Know your sellers and individualize training to their particular needs. Be creative, targeted, and consistent with training programs. Measure the right metrics. You’ll be well on your way to helping your organization achieve sales readiness.

Want to read more about how these sales readiness pros are getting their teams ramped and productive? Click here to download Ramp Time to Productivity: Why Sales Everboarding is the Key to Your Success.

What Every Sales Enablement Leader Needs on Their 2022 Wish List 

Well, 2021 is in the books. If you’re like most sales enablement teams, you’ve onboarded tens (or even hundreds) of sellers globally, enabled and certified your revenue teams on new messaging, positioning, and product knowledge, and crushed your 2021 revenue goals.

But 2022 marks a new year, with aggressive goals and challenges, and without some changes to your resources, processes, or technology, you might be unsure you can do it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could somehow get everything you need to achieve your 2022 goals? Well in case that happens, we’ve drafted this list to ensure you cover all your bases.

And if any of these seem unreasonable, don’t panic. The Mindtickle Sales Readiness Platform can do all these things (and more) so your 2022 goals might just be an evaluation process away.

AE onboarding in Mindtickle

  1. Automate, personalize and scale onboarding. If you’re like other sales enablement leaders, you want to spend less time hand-holding and more time strategizing programs that drive ongoing seller performance beyond the first 90  A sales readiness software automates your onboarding process end-to-end and individualizes training based on each sellers’ background and experience.
  2. Capture, analyze, and score buyer interactions. While it’d be nice, it’s not possible to ride along on every call with every seller to document everything that’s said and give them personalized feedback – but with conversation intelligence, you can. In 2022, it’s all about identifying and replicating the winning behaviors of your top reps.
  3. Make your sales kickoff one for the ages. You’re probably already planning a 2022 hybrid sales kickoff that’s impactful, fun, and memorable. To help kickstart this planning, you can use an SKO toolkit that provides a framework with best practices for pre-work, breakout sessions, and post SKO activities.
  4. Get a sales content solution that’s actually designed for how sellers interact with content. Best-in-class sales readiness platforms have a smart search capability with deep indexing that goes beyond just titles or metadata, so sellers always find the best, most relevant content. Sales content management solutions also have a smart search capability, so it’s easier for sellers to search.
  5. Know what sellers are actually doing in the field. Let’s face it – right now you don’t know whether your talk tracks, content, or training best practices are being utilized or are helping close business. With a conversation intelligence tool in place, you can gain powerful insights to improve your sales enablement and marketing efforts.
  6. Ideal rep profile competenciesGet the formula for the ideal sales rep. You know your ideal customer profile (ICP), but like most sales teams, you probably don’t have a clue of what your ideal rep profile (IRP) looks like. With this recipe, you can understand the key skills and performance benchmarks of your peak performers and then create enablement and coaching programs that replicate those behaviors across the team.
  7. Measure the impact of your sales enablement initiatives. With everything else on your plate, it’s sometimes difficult to take a step back and understand which sales enablement activities are making an impact and which ones need to be re-evaluated. This can be the year that you are able to tie enablement efforts to business outcomes like revenue and ramp time.
  8. Finally get your content organized. You can’t snap your fingers and retroactively manage content the right way, but the right sales content solution can streamline your process and end the version control nightmare for good. Finally, perform a content audit. It’s possible to get insight into the content that’s actually being used – even those pieces used in training courses. This can be the year you implement a sales content solution that automatically updates content instantly, everywhere it’s being used.
  9. Sales coaching in MindtickleCoach your coaches. To meet your goals this year, you need to make sure your frontline managers are sales coaching superstars. Make it a priority to teach managers to tailor their coaching to individual rep strengths and weaknesses.
  10. . Quickly and easily roll out new sales enablement programs. Make 2022 the year you’re able to better anticipate all the programs you will have to launch this year in response to your competitors and market. Or leverage a platform that lets you quickly create and introduce new programs in minutes – not hours or days.
  11.  Make sales training stick. Right now sellers forget almost 90 percent of what you train them on in 30 days, and you need a way to reinforce concepts over and over until they finally remember so they can apply them in the field. With adaptive, spaced reinforcement quizzes, it’s possible to cement seller learning into long-term knowledge.
  12.  Practice pitch in Mindtickle Make it easy for sellers to practice their pitches. 2022 should be the year that your sellers stop practicing their pitches on buyers. You can implement an AI-powered practice technology that enables them to practice on their own, anytime, anywhere, and get immediate feedback for improvement.
  13.  Hit your massive 2022 revenue goal. Eight out of 10 sales teams hit more than 75% of their quota when they prioritize individual seller productivity and efficiency when tracking overall seller performance. So by tackling the goals above, you can stop relying on 20% of your sellers to hit 80% of your sales goal and create a well-rounded team of high performers.

Want to see for yourself how the Mindtickle Data Driven Sales Readiness platform can make all your new year wishes come true? Schedule a demo today.

Why Sales Enablement Is More Than Just Onboarding

There’s no denying that a good sales onboarding program is vital for new reps. A well-developed program will not only provide sales professionals with information about the products they’ll be selling, and the prospects they’re pitching. It will also equip them with the right questions to ask, and the likely objections they’ll face. Reps will understand the market and the best ways to deal with situations that may arise during the course of a prospect engagement. Onboarding is the foundation for success.

Onboarding is just the beginning, but too many teams stop there, neglecting the next step: sales everboarding.

If the goal of sales enablement is to equip sellers with the ability to sell, then it can’t stop at onboarding.

Every time a seller goes out into the field or picks up the phone to make a pitch, they face a fundamental problem: Which tools in my sales toolbox will help me close this particular client?

What sales enablement leaders are saying about onboarding

In today’s world, the modern seller has so many tools to use that they can struggle to pick the right one. Nick Salas, Head of Sales Readiness at Mindtickle, calls it the “moment of truth.” The point of sales enablement is to help sellers recognize that moment and prepare them with the tools to best respond to close the deal.

Salas sees two keys to closing. Sellers need to connect with the buyer, and communicate a value proposition that resonates and solves the buyer’s problem.

But they also need to handle the prospect’s objections and questions about competitors — and that requires quick-thinking and a good handle on the products and services they’re selling.

“Every second they’re in front of a prospect, they’re juggling a whole lot of stuff in their brain, and it can be hard to keep track,” says Salas.

Whether they’re newbies or veterans, sellers face these challenges every day of their careers. No matter how experienced they are, there is always a new product, new competitor, or new market change around the corner.

If these are the challenges for individual sellers, imagine how this problem multiplies for revenue leaders who may have hundreds or thousands of sellers to train, support, and keep productive.

This is why genuine sales readiness needs to be a continual process of learning, reinforcing knowledge, changing behaviors, and ongoing preparation.

“When that moment of truth comes, the rep is confident and ready,” says Salas.

Constantly equipping reps to succeed

Rehan Chishty, Enablement Platforms Manager at Okta, believes that the idea of sales readiness is to be constantly helping reps succeed in their current role, and prepare them with what they need to get to the next level — whether that be as a manager, an account executive, or whatever their career goals are. Chishty says with that in mind, onboarding is a good start, but it’s a bad place to stop.

Similarly, Damon Jones, Head of Global Strategy & Growth at Sandler Training, says sales enablement training needs to be delivered continuously to drive long-term success. For Jones, the best enablement programs incorporate repetitive activities designed to develop, test, and improve seller behaviors. At Sandler, he makes sure training modules speak directly to real-world interactions because sales enablement is about understanding the behaviors, techniques, and knowledge required to be ready to sell, no matter the situation.

“Sales reps learn what’s directly applicable to the job they’ll do out in the field — otherwise, why are we teaching them?” Jones says.

When it comes to working with reps, Michelle Dotson, Head of Sales Enablement at Zoom, starts with setting goals and then measuring their success over time. That means going beyond onboarding, because goals simply aren’t relevant unless they’re personal, actionable, and followed up on over time. Expectations need to be transparent and attainable, so she makes sure to give clear expectations from the start. But it doesn’t stop there.

“Telling someone about a goal once won’t help them achieve it,” says Dotson. “Training needs to be reinforced to be successful.”

Sales enablement requires understanding how to make reps successful

Gopkiran Rao, Chief Strategy Officer at Mindtickle, says the best sales everboarding comes from having a true understanding of what it means to be a successful salesperson and building training around those qualities.

“For any given role, start by interviewing top performers. Look at the patterns of what they do at every stage of a winning customer engagement,” says Rao.

He says sales excellence starts with a basic premise: Don’t rely on assumptions. Prepare, test, train, and repeat.

Sales enablement training can’t be a one-off, and it can’t be done on the fly. Sales leaders need to break down what reps need to know into discrete learning outcomes, then develop an ongoing curriculum to teach, test, and reinforce those outcomes over the course of the rep’s career. These learning outcomes need to be understood in terms of what a rep needs to exhibit and accomplish. And it’s important to remember that everyone learns differently, so managers must provide varied ways to learn the same thing.

For Mindtickle’s Salas, sales readiness starts even before the rep starts their first day. It’s about collecting as much data as possible to understand a sales rep’s individual training needs, and developing a long-term program for them. In fact, sales enablement data is the most valuable tool for sales excellence, says Salas. It not only helps everyone understand the progress of individual reps, but it also helps managers determine what areas of their training program require the most attention across the board.

How does your team compare to these best practices? Help your sellers be the best sales professionals they can be by using continuous learning and data driven sales enablement to be ready for anything.

When that moment of truth comes, will your team be ready to meet it? To learn more from these leaders, download our eBook, “Ramp Time to Productivity: Why Sales Everboarding is the Secret to Your Success.”

Top Three Tips to Planning the Most Effective Sales Kickoff

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” for most of us, but for sales enablement professionals around the world, December and January usually mean one thing — sales kickoff planning season.

A sales kickoff (SKO) can be the most important sales event a company hosts, making it high stakes for the sales enablement teams responsible for coordinating and executing them. The ultimate goal of an SKO is to bring the revenue team together, celebrate wins, and align on how you’re going to tackle the upcoming year or quarter. But it’s a challenge to strike the right balance between throwing a big party and preparing to crush your numbers.

Whether your 2022 sales kickoff will be in person, virtual, or a hybrid, thoughtful and strategic planning is critical to success.

In our Virtual Sales Kickoff Kit, we share a framework for planning a virtual or hybrid sales kickoff, including checklists, event planning tools, pre-, and post-work exercise ideas, and advice from Mindtickle’s own sales enablement team.

Sales kickoff playbook download button

Here are three tips to help get your planning underway.

Unify SKO activities into one platform

One of the first steps in planning a kick-off event is to identify the right technology to execute your vision. You should use a platform that enables you to unify all activities for the event in one place and make it easy to engage both virtual and in-person attendees. It’s important to start with a software solution where you can author and host content, build and manage course sessions for live events, keep reps engaged (gamification, competitions, interactive questions, etc.), and enable reps with learning and training sessions both during the event and afterward.

Mindtickle for Sales Kickoffs

You should leverage the existing sales enablement or readiness platform for SKO wherever possible. Sellers already use a multitude of different systems on a day-to-day basis, so asking them to log into and use another platform can feel cumbersome and jeopardize their engagement before, during, and after the event.

With a comprehensive sales readiness platform like Mindtickle, you can create, organize and house all SKO materials and activities in the same system sellers already engage for training and sales content, making the technical overhead for participants easier. And for sales enablement teams, using your existing platform means that, instead of spending time figuring out how to set up and build everything in a new event point-solution, you can focus on designing the content itself, finding the best speakers, and creating the most impactful session content possible. It also means it will be easier for sellers to access content in the future and enables you to better leverage SKO content from year to year.

Define an SKO theme and stick to it

Defining a theme for your SKO helps to refine your messaging, solidify objectives, and, ultimately, make the event memorable. Typically, themes are centered around motivation or growth but are general enough to bring together multiple messages and takeaways through the event’s presentations and activities. From your session titles to your decor, awards, gifts, and team-building activities, you should tie back to your theme as much as possible. So whether your theme is related to climbing Mount Everest, launching into space, or going for the gold (2022 Winter Olympics theme, anyone?), pick and stick to one consistent theme.

You should meet with your chief revenue officer and other sales leaders to gather ideas, align behind a theme, and discuss how to mobilize and energize the team with the highest-impact sessions.

The following discussion points can help facilitate your conversation with sales leadership to define your theme and develop ideas for accompanying session content:

  • What competitive, market, or internal obstacles stand between us and hitting this year’s revenue goal?
  • What does our sales team need to do differently or stop doing this year?
  • What tools or skills are our sales team lacking?
  • What knowledge, skills, and behaviors from our top performers do we want to replicate across the sales team?

Clearly communicate expectations and assign prework

Players don’t arrive at the stadium on game day without having done some individual prep. On day one of SKO, your sellers should be warmed up after having done some prework and should know exactly what’s expected of them during the event.

Ensure you are sending an agenda at least one week prior so that sellers know exactly where to be and when. Creating a comprehensive agenda will accomplish two key goals: it’ll align team expectations, and also get reps excited for what’s to come.

A pre-event communication to sellers usually includes:

  • Agenda and links to the different virtual sessions and resources
    • For hybrid events, include all relevant information for in-person meeting rooms, accommodations, travel logistics, meals, and more
  • Session materials and a what-to-bring checklist
  • A welcome video from leadership to set the context and build morale
  • A gamified knowledge challenge for participants
  • How-to guides for any tools sellers will need to use during the event

And depending on the SKO’s focus, a variety of different pre-work activities can engage sellers before the big day. This ensures sellers are ready to jump right in, cuts down on the time the sales enablement team needs to spend setting context and giving instructions for different sessions, and helps the event move more smoothly overall.

Examples of pre-work activities you can assign each rep include:

  • Pre-recorded territory plans: Record a territory review before SKO, enabling productive discussions. Remind sellers that the goal of the activity is not to talk through slides, but to think through their priorities strategically and provide the thought processes behind their plans for the quarter. Make sure you have reps complete their videos at least a week prior to the event so you have time to review ahead of time.

Mindtickle Practice Pitch

  • Research for group breakout: Complete competitive or market research about a specific area to be used during hands-on group breakout exercises.
  • On-demand training video: Watch a pre-recorded training video and be prepared to discuss it during an SKO session.

Be ready for a smooth SKO

While SKO planning can be stressful for sales enablement teams, with effective planning and prework, you can do the heavy lifting on the front end to ensure a smooth event. That way you can show up, execute, and enjoy an epic event that’s guaranteed to energize your team to break new sales records!

Looking for more SKO tips beyond planning? Check out our Virtual Sales Kickoff Kit for advice on how to engage your sellers during the event, leverage content post-event, and ensure that the momentum generated during SKO continues throughout the year and translates into sales results.

Building Seller Knowledge: The Key to Sales Readiness

Countless professions — from doctors to teachers to pilots to electricians — require years of formal training, hands-on practice, and official assessment of skills, and have further requirements for continuous education to maintain their licenses. Regardless of discipline, professionals must have a solid foundation of knowledge to be successful in their roles.

Too often, though, sellers aren’t held to those same requirements for continuous learning and certification. While formal seller onboarding is more commonplace today than in the past, it’s still not unusual for sellers to be hired, handed a digital folder of company, industry, and product information, and sent to their task. This is especially frequent in high-growth, start-up sales teams.

Even companies with onboarding programs that build initial seller knowledge typically fall short when it comes to hands-on practice, certification, and the ongoing training necessary to keep pace with product, market, competitive, and messaging changes.

But, just like with other professions, continuously building seller knowledge is the key to sales readiness. To achieve it, sales teams need to develop a state of excellence to enhance performance, adapt to change, and — you guessed it — increase seller knowledge.

Many sales teams, however, lack the resources, tools, and processes to create enablement programs that build and increase seller knowledge. But with the following tips, sales enablement leaders will be on their way to creating a team of highly knowledgeable sellers ready to take on the competition and grow revenue.

Building initial sales knowledge

Building initial sales knowledge starts on day one, but traditional onboarding approaches typically fall short of arming sellers with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the field. An effective approach to building initial seller knowledge includes the following characteristics:


Every seller joins the team with a unique set of experiences. For example:

  • Seller 1 has 10 years of experience in your industry in other functions but is new to selling.
  • Seller 2 has been successfully selling for eight years, but never in your industry.
  • Seller 3 is a recent grad who is green in selling and new to your industry, but hungry and ready to prove themselves.

A one-size-fits-all approach runs the risk of under-preparing sellers in areas where they lack experience while boring and disengaging them in topics they’ve already mastered.  According to McKinsey, high-performing companies are two times as likely to offer personalized training for their sales reps. While this may sound unattainable, the best sales readiness software uses a combination of rules and adaptive intelligence to personalize training to individual sellers during onboarding and well beyond into continuous training.

Engaging, interactive formats

Even the most patient, engaged learner gets bored with traditional learning approaches. To build seller knowledge, you need to ditch the boring, hours-long e-learning courses, or days-upon-days of learners sitting through training, and opt for more engaging, interactive formats that leverage a mixture of presentations, hands-on exercises, and insights from real-world sales scenarios. This includes using things like:

  • Shorter, visually rich content sourced from different subject matter experts and successful sellers
  • Snippets from real-world sales calls
  • Gamified assessments and knowledge checks
  • Live challenges to assess knowledge in the moment
  • Hands-on practice exercises to prove a seller’s mastery and readiness in topics


Reinforce knowledge

Salespeople need to retain the information shared during training and move it to long-term knowledge if they’re going to use it in the field and succeed. But according to Gartner, nearly 90% of that training will be forgotten within 30 days if the knowledge isn’t reinforced over time. So starting at onboarding, incorporate strategies to build a knowledge base that will overcome the forgetting curve. Hands-on practice and reinforcement activities are a great place to start. Exercises like virtual role-plays force sellers to articulate concepts in their own words, building muscle memory and preparing them for the field. And bite-sized, spaced reinforcement quizzes provide a fun, on-the-go mechanism to ensure that no seller is off the hook until they’ve retained key information.

Ongoing sales knowledge

The tips above don’t start and end in the initial knowledge-building phase. To arm your sellers with the knowledge they need to succeed, apply those same concepts to continuous seller training. And incorporating the following tips helps your sales teams pivot quickly and continuously improve:

  • Just-in-time learning

The topics and content that sellers need to be enabled on are dynamic. A seller’s day-to-day job is prone to external factors beyond the company’s control. So sellers need quick access to just-in-time learning that’s tailored for the current selling environment and every selling situation.

  • Bite-sized microlearning in accessible formats

Sellers are typically on the go, with schedules at the mercy of customers and prospects. They might need to do training offline when on an airplane, or listen to training when driving between meetings in the field. So for ongoing training and updates, opt for formats like podcasts or short, micro-learning that can be consumed easily by sellers, no matter how much time they have or where they are.

  • Hands-on practice

Role-plays and practice exercises provide a great space for sellers to continuously build their knowledge in the context of specific deals or new messaging. Create a safe space for sellers to continuously practice beyond onboarding. Using a tool with AI insights enables sellers to practice on their own and get immediate feedback, in addition to getting coaching and feedback from their leaders.

  • Real-world call snippets

Sellers learn best when you take training concepts from hypothetical and bring them to life. That’s why leveraging snippets from real-world calls is key to building ongoing seller knowledge. When you incorporate snippets into training, sellers learn from peers what works and what doesn’t. And when you give sellers the ability to review the conversation intelligence from their own calls, you enable them to learn from their own experiences and open their eyes to knowledge gaps or key behaviors and selling skills they may need to develop.

Be ready by building seller knowledge

The knowledge built amongst your sales team is critical in preparing them to tackle business and revenue challenges. When you build initial and ongoing knowledge and skills through enablement training, practice, and reinforcement, you arm your sellers with the key to unlocking real sales readiness. Want more tips on how sales leaders ensure reps receive the continuous training that’s vital to closing deals? Check out Ramp Time to Productivity: Why Sales Everboarding is the Secret to Your Success.

15 Stats About Onboarding Sales Reps You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Onboarding sales reps is essential to the success of any sales team. It sets the tone for new sellers and plays an important role in getting them acquainted with your company, its culture and their roles. Sales onboarding also equips reps with the knowledge and tools they need to hit the ground running.

A growing number of organizations are making investments in sales onboarding. And for good reason. Effective onboarding accelerates reps’ productivity — which means a quicker boost to the bottom line. What’s more, a strong onboarding program increases the likelihood that new reps will stick around long-term, which can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

We’ve pulled together 15 recent stats from industry-leading organizations that prove why now is the time to develop and optimize a great sales onboarding program that sets up your sellers (and your entire organization) for long-term success.

  1. Per G2, sales reps that go through the best sales onboarding programs are productive 3.4 months sooner, on average, than those who are onboarded at organizations with weaker programs.
  2. Research from CSO Insights found that effective onboarding services that meet or exceed expectations can improve quota attainment by 16.2%.
  3. According to Xerox, via Hubspot, 84% of sales training is forgotten within the first three months.
  4. SiriusDecisions research (via Hirebox) found that nearly half (49%) of high-performing sales reps indicate that whether or not a company provides onboarding is a very important factor when considering a new position.
  5. According to Aberdeen Research, only 37% of companies extend their onboarding programs beyond the first month.
  6. The State of Sales Enablement 2020, a report from Sales Enablement PRO, states that organizations with a sales onboarding tool and effective use of it experience win rates seven percentage points higher than those that don’t.
  7. The report also found that 21% of organizations indicate that one of their top three sales challenges is onboarding new hires.
  8. The average sales new hire spends 10 weeks in training, according to the Sales Management Association (SMA).
  9. The SMA also tells us that the average sales new hire only becomes productive after 11.2 months.
  10. According to the SMA, via Sales & Marketing Management, 62% of organizations feel their sales onboarding programs are ineffective.
  11. The Periodic Table of B2B Sales Metrics from the Bridge Group shows that the average tenure of a B2B Account Executive (AE) is 2.6 years. And on average, it takes these AEs 4.9 months to ramp up.
  12. Spotio reports that 65% of employees say the quality of training and learning opportunities available to them positively influence their engagement.
  13. According to UrbanBound, organizations with a standard onboarding process have 50% greater new hire retention than those that don’t.
  14. UrbanBound also reports that 49% of companies are currently investing money in updating their onboarding programs.
  15. Research from DePaul University found that it costs almost $115,000 to replace a sales rep.

Research finds that effective onboarding improves quota attainment.

Research shows companies think their onboarding programs are ineffective.

Position your sellers for success with a strong onboarding program
The pressure’s on to deliver onboarding experiences that engage sellers and equip them with the knowledge they need to achieve results — quickly. Ready to take your sales onboarding program to the next level? Download our Sales Onboarding Checklist to make sure you’ve got all of your bases covered.

Sales Onboarding: 6 Tips to Help You Ramp Up Your Sales Reps and Accelerate Revenue

It’s been reported by the Sales Management Association that the average sales new hire spends 10 weeks in training, only becoming productive after 11.2 months. Onboarding new sales talent is a huge investment for most organizations, and getting it right can be a make or break for your business.

It’s not surprising that effective onboarding services that meet or exceed sales reps’ expectations can improve quota attainment by 16.2%, but what is surprising is how many organizations aren’t truly maximizing their reps’ time during their onboarding phase.

In this post, we wanted to share our tips for getting your sales reps ramped up quickly and enabling them to start crushing revenue targets sooner.

1. Put people before processes

It may sound simple, but in order for your onboarding efforts to be truly effective, you want to make sure that you have the right people in the right roles. When you’re hiring new reps to join your team, it’s important to evaluate based on performance metrics from their previous roles, but also soft skills.

Your reps are the faces of your company in the market, so it’s important to ensure that on top of having role-related knowledge, you’re screening reps for qualities like empathy, grit, and creativity. Having the right people on your team will make them a lot more receptive to your onboarding efforts — and help you reach your revenue targets faster.

2. Establish what success looks like for sales onboarding

When we talk about success in the onboarding phase, we’re looking at two key outcomes. Firstly, a successful ramp-up period that gives reps a complete understanding of your business and how it operates. This can include sales processes like identifying qualified opportunities and market knowledge. Then, there’s long-term success. This includes things like revenue targets and quotas — the things your reps will be measured by when they’re fully on board.

If you’re not sure of what your targets are, there’s no way you’ll be able to empower your reps to work towards them. Make sure to take the time to set measurable goals so that your team has a clear understanding of your expectations from day one. Doing so will also help provide context as your reps move through the onboarding process.

3. Build a blueprint for sales onboarding

After establishing a clear set of goals, it’s important to ensure your onboarding program maps to the skills, processes, and content that will help your reps achieve those goals — both short and long-term. Organizing your onboarding program in this way helps to clearly define the competencies that are needed to succeed as well as helps you and your reps understand how far along they are in the onboarding process.

Within your blueprint for your sales onboarding, make sure you’re focusing on the knowledge areas that are most important to your business. These might include:

  • Addressable market (revenue opportunity available)
  • Your customers (who you’re serving)
  • Product (what you offer based on customer needs)
  • Sales motion (methodology, tools, and process)


4. Enable your reps with on-demand learning

By adopting an on-demand learning approach, you give reps the opportunity to learn at their own pace, rather than waiting around for calls to shadow or for a supervisor to walk them through a particular selling approach.

Enablement courses and role plays

Having on-demand resources available to your reps to review and even use for virtual role-plays will help your sellers get up to speed faster. It will also give them more confidence in their skills as they can be honed and evaluated in a virtual environment!

Some examples of common on-demand training modules include:

  • Industry news and trends: Help reps start speaking your prospects’ language from the get-go by familiarizing themselves with how to speak about hot topics in your space and navigate industry jargon.
  • Objection handling: Compile the most common objections that reps at your company face and provide strategies for overcoming them.
  • Pitch presentations: Give your new reps the opportunity to learn and understand how you present your product to buyers.
  • Veteran tips: Have your most seasoned sales reps provide their top tips for excelling in the field. It’s always great to hear advice from a high-performing peer!
  • Sales process: Provide an overview of what the sales process at your organization looks like, including what reps are expected to do at each stage.
  • Competitive insights: Ensure your reps have a strong understanding of how your product offering differs from your competitors and what makes yours stand out.

The best part about making these specific training modules available on-demand is that it doesn’t take time away from your high-performing reps who are already busy selling, and it also ensures consistency in the onboarding process.

5. Test and measure key competencies

When a sales rep isn’t fully prepared to answer questions and address the needs of prospects, they will struggle to hit their sales targets and quotas. In fact, in the last year, 57% of sales reps were expected to miss their quotas.

As your reps move through the onboarding process, it can be difficult to truly gauge their comprehension levels and how close they are to start driving revenue. What helps is being able to track onboarding session completion rates, as well as conducting knowledge tests along the way. This will allow you to identify knowledge gaps and give more training attention where it’s needed.

As a manager, some key knowledge areas you’ll want to test for include:

  • Product knowledge — especially the ability to effectively demo your product
  • Competitive intel
  • Pricing packages
  • Buyer personas
  • Post-sale services and support
  • Prospecting process
  • How and when to qualify a lead
  • Vertical- or territory-specific knowledge
  • Ability to use your CRM

Using data is really the only concrete way to determine how prepared your reps are to sell. A Readiness Index is a great way to get a holistic view of reps’ sales readiness, factoring in coaching, knowledge, and skill.

Mindtickle Readiness Index


6. Implement a sales everboarding strategy

On-the-job learning shouldn’t stop with onboarding. In the sales world especially, messaging, techniques, product offering, and strategy are constantly evolving. So it’s integral to ensure ongoing sales readiness with continuous learning programs.

There are a number of different ways you can promote ongoing learning within your sales organization, but some of our favorites include:

  • Micro-learning modules: These are great for quick tips and competitive intel
  • Certification programs: Ideal for new product and messaging rollouts
  • Quizzes: Perfect for gauging knowledge retention so sales leaders know when to coach
  • On-the-go learning: Provide mobile access to your training modules with an app or mobile dedicated site so they can be accessed any time, anywhere

As a sales leader, it’s important to recognize that the way you structure your onboarding program and enable your reps from day one has a huge impact on your bottom line. Taking these considerations into account will help you ramp up your sales reps faster and accelerate your time to revenue. Who doesn’t want that?

For more information, download “5 Must-Haves for Any Sales Everboarding Strategy Checklist.”