What do you need to do to really engage your sales managers to be part of your sales onboarding program?
So what are things that you could be doing to really get your managers involved and ensure they're coaching and participating to keep this experience consistent?
Imagine if all of your sales leaders were completely bought into the sales onboarding program that you've dreamt up.
Imagine if they were completely on board and, when they left your onboarding program, that you knew that the follow-up was there, the accountability was there, and the consistency was there across all of your sales managers.
Sound realistic? Maybe, maybe not.
But I want to give you a couple of tips that really can help drive this forward.
I remember early in my career, I was on the sales floor. A new rep just came back from bootcamp. They went to head office, came back and, not a joke, the sales manager pulled this new rep over and said, "Hey. I'm glad you're back. Hope you had a great trip. Hope you enjoyed all the things you got to do at head office. Let me sit down with you now and tell you how this job works in the real world."
As if the onboarding didn't even matter.
Forget accountability, there was no alignment from the manager, not even taking it seriously. It was as if the rep was away on a vacation of some sort and, now, the sales manager was going to teach them exactly what they needed to do.
Let's not have that happen for your sales onboarding.
The Manager Engagement Pyramid ™
I'm going to walk you through a framework that's going to help you start getting your managers completely aligned with how your onboarding is meant to drive the outcomes everybody wants.
It's called The Manager Engagement Pyramid ™.
At the foundation, at the bottom, we've got alignment on metrics. It's kind of like what metrics are important to the managers, what they want, right when people are coming through their onboarding program. Get the managers aligned so that the program ultimately is going to drive those metrics. These are the targets that you want your reps driving.
Without an alignment along the metrics you want to drive, the pyramid falls.
The second step is having a mutual plan, such that the managers and yourself agree on the milestones that the reps need to hit in order to get to these specific metrics to drive the outcomes you want.
Then, on top of that, you have the content buy-in. You want the managers to see the content, buy into it, really understand the training content surrounding the onboarding is going to be relevant to everything they're going to be doing following the onboarding reps have been part of. You also want to get managers totally excited about it. Position it such that it's going to make their jobs, as managers, easier.
Always be selling, you have to be explaining to the managers, as you're working through it with them, "Here's how this content is going to drive the metrics that we've agreed on, and make your life easier as a manager as you need to ramp these new reps."
The next level having a scorecard. What you need is for the managers to come together and create a consistent set of attributes or criteria you want the reps driving towards. It could be for different coaching sessions, if you're getting people practicing how they're doing phone calls or whatever it is. Have consistency around a scorecard, such that everyone is pushing the same message.
Then, the final step is having a review. You'll want to have a regular review with the managers, such that they see how this is moving into play, how their efforts are going, and how all of their reps are ramping.
Don’t Build It Alone
Unfortunately, there are so many sales enablers and ops people that think they can build a program on their own.
It's so busy, it's hard to get everyone's attention. But don't go at this alone. It's essential not only to have the sales managers completely involved in whatever program you're developing, but also the art of it all is really making the sales managers feel like it's them that built it.
They're the ones that came up with this master plan, and you were purely on the implementation side. Everyone knows the best idea is their own, so let's take it from there and keep pushing that forward.
Getting Managers Engaged In A Way That Lasts
If you're struggling with getting your sales managers to stick to the plan, the key is to get them focused and get them aligned and bought into what it is you want to be doing. Have a mutual plan towards the metrics that you all agree you want to drive, and get them super excited about the content and the training you're building. Have them input on what type of scorecard you want reps being ranked on and then, most importantly, review and iterate often.
Check in with these managers, ask them how it's going. Ask them areas you can improve to just make onboarding so much better and productive for both yourself, the manager and, most importantly, getting that new sales hire to where they need to be.
To learn more about building sales onboarding programs, you can download our latest ebook here.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
David Bloom is the CEO & Founder of LevelJump, a sales onboarding and enablement solution built on the Salesforce platform. Prior to founding LevelJump David built and sold a corporate training company and held a variety of sales and marketing leadership roles at Fortune 500 life sciences and technology companies including Salesforce.com, GSK and Pfizer.