How To Onboard Remote Sales Hires

How do you onboard new sales reps who aren't in the office? That are remote?

Imagine a scenario where your team is growing. You have inside reps, you have outside reps, all over the country. Does this sound like you?

Because if it does, then this article is definitely for you. Now, we all know you can't fly cohorts into HQ all the time. It starts to get expensive. You can't be doing this every month. Just because you've received growth capital doesn't mean you want to burn it on bringing everyone into head office.

You have hiring quotas to hit, and maybe you can have cohorts, but sometimes it doesn't always line up. So how do you make sure that everyone that you're bringing into the team is getting a consistent onboarding experience, even though they're not necessarily in the same office?



Centralizing Everything Onboarding

Imagine having a central repository of all of your onboarding content in one place, that every single rep can go through. Having management fully buy into everything that you've put together.

All the training, all the coaching, that every single rep will receive. And having the manager who are not in the office actually be a part of executing on that training and coaching.

Imagine having clear milestones, so that managers know what they're pushing towards, the new reps know what they're pushing towards and understand what's required of them regardless of what role they're in, and where exactly they're located.

I've had the great pleasure of working with a real forward-thinking sales enabler, who has a massive challenge because not only is the sales team national, there's also multiple languages. And they've done a terrific job of bringing all of the content they need in one place, and also getting complete management buy-in so everyone knew exactly what the expectations were both from the rep and the management team as well.

They've had tremendous success scaling this and they're seeing great overall improvement in productivity of the national sales team.

The Scalable Sales Onboarding Formation™

Let me walk you through a quick framework where we've seen companies achieve onboarding at scale. We call it the Scalable Sales Onboarding Formation™.

scalable sales onboarding grid

In quadrant number one, we have process, because you're going to need to standardize sales onboarding. It can be by a role, or by region, however you chose to do it. But it needs to be prescriptive so everyone knows what they need to do, and they're all on the same path.

We’ve talked about the Profitable Ramp Quadrant™ in the past to walk through this. But what you want to have here is standardization, you want it consistent, and you want it prescriptive.

The second quadrant is getting management buy-in. When you're trying to scale, you will absolutely need management buy-in to make this work. Without manager buy-in, the wheels are going to fall off. We've talked about another framework in the past to help with this, the Manager Engagement Pyramid™. This is really how you can scale your remote onboarding, through the managers that are remote as well.

In the bottom left quadrant we have infrastructure. The reason is you need a system of record that's going to track all of sales training, so you can't scale without this. You need a system of record. It's really a library for hosting all of your content, whether it be videos, call recordings, win stories. All the things that your sales team is going to need to succeed, and it needs to be accessible from anywhere, because we're talking about a remote team.

The final quadrant is the feedback loop, because you need to create different mechanisms for feedback between the reps and the managers.

Some of these mechanisms would include things like certifications, or video practice and upload. You can have quizzes and surveys, those are good for sort of quick short feedback. I'm personally not the biggest fan of quizzes, but in a small scenario for quick things I do think it's appropriate. You'll also want to add the quantitative reporting, so things like are reps doing what they need, when they need it.

You can do skills assessment. Having these types of reports are really great for giving the reps quantitative feedback, so this here makes up the Scalable Sales Onboarding Formation™.

Don’t Do It Alone     

The worst thing that can really happen when you're trying to scale a remote team is having either that sales leader, or even just one sales enabler, thinking they can do it all themselves.

This is a team effort, when you've got a dispersed sales team. There's no way it's going to happen without a complete vision and complete buy-in of that vision. And there's also no way for anyone to be able to achieve this without the right technology in your organization.

Google Sheets might get you up and going when you're small, and the occasional classroom training as well. But these things in the long run are not going to cut it.

You need to go far beyond just Google Sheets and one-off classroom training.

You've got this growing team all over the country. When you're trying to scale onboarding, whether it be national or international, you have to remember you're going to need a lot of help to make this happen. You're going to need support from various leaders within the organization to pull this off, and pull it off right.

So make sure managers are fully bought-into this process, and that you have the right infrastructure in place so it's really easy for both the reps and managers who are going to be supporting them to execute on this onboarding program.

If you want to learn how to build an effective onboarding program, you can download our latest ebook here.