What metrics should you be measuring specifically to really determine if your sales onboarding program is actually succeeding?
It amazes me how many people we get to speak to on a regular basis who are struggling to figure out exactly what they should be measuring in those early days and weeks of a new sales rep starting at an organization.
One of the things people will talk about and we'll ask is what do you consider as ramped? Different companies define ramped differently, and however it is that you choose to define ramp, it's important to have metrics that are tied specifically to what this means.
Many people often ask us if they should be qualitative metrics? Is it more of a quantitative thing that we should be looking at? What are the actual ramp metrics we should be talking about?
Having Meaningful Metrics In Your Sales Onboarding
Imagine if you were able to have specific types of metrics which could actually help you predict whether or not your rep was going to ramp on time, and almost act as a leading indicator as to whether or not this person's going to make it.
More importantly, for the ones that are tracking to not really ramp the way you want them to, to be able to get managers involved and intervene earlier to get the coaching they need to hit the numbers they want to hit.
The key thing is, whatever metrics that you choose to define, you need one to build on top of the other. So it's seamless for the rep, and it's also progressive in how they need to get there.
These metrics always should be leading towards “time to” some form of outcome.
I remember in the early days of our organization, we were building our onboarding process and one person we had hired was ramping in one way, and we had someone else who ramped completely different.
We made a massive mistake!
We, like many organizations, said just come on in and get to that first deal really quickly. But we forgot the things that happened before closing that first deal.
The rep didn't necessarily know exactly what to do. What we had found by looking at our own data was simple - the reps who got on the phone sooner were the ones that generated pipeline faster.
Doesn't sound like rocket science, does it? But, are you tracking it? What's the time to getting that rep on the phone for the first time?
Is it at the end of the first week? Second week? Second day?
Which, by the way, is what we would recommend. Get them on the phone real quick. Because listen, it's a sales job.
Get them on the phone. What are you waiting for?
That's like bringing someone into a job and on their second day, they're not doing what they're supposed to be doing. Why would you wait two weeks to get someone to start their job?
Give them the two weeks off, if that's the case.
Get them on the phone quickly.
The Progressive Onboarding Metric Slope™
Let me run you through this framework that's going to give you a sense right away on the types of metrics that you want to be looking for as you're building and implementing your sales onboarding program.
We call this framework the Progressive Onboarding Metric Slope™. We'll think of it just like an upgoing graph that you want to graduate people through. At the bottom, there’s “time to.” We typically do this like a time to X.
The first one is “time to first activity,” so TTFA. That's how we would use. We do TT whatever it is.
Let new sales hires know they need to be on the phone quickly. I don't care how long your onboarding is. I don't care if you have a one week boot camp, two weeks. You don't give people territory for four weeks, two months, whatever it is.
Get people talking on the phone right away. I recommend day two, even if it's just with tier-four-type accounts, because they need to tear off that bandaid of knowing that picking up the phone and speaking to people is absolutely instrumental as part of this role.
If you disagree and think you can make the sale on Twitter, then stop reading now because you're not going to like the rest of the stuff I have to say.
Okay. Let's keep going here.
The second metric is time to first meeting (TTFM).
Now, inside sales, outside sales, it doesn't matter. You need to be getting in front of prospects and customers, and you need to measure how quickly reps are able to do this.
It's not just about the first meeting. The first one is an important milestone, but what's key is tracking how many they have. Because at the end of the day, you need them to be getting more proficient and having conversations, whether it's for building pipeline, doing discoveries, moving business along, even for upsells.
You need people to have those first conversations quickly and have those meetings structured. Because if there's no meetings, there's no conversations, and no sales. It's a pretty simple calculation in that way. No rocket science.
The third section of the four is TTFP, so time to first pipeline. It's obvious. Without pipeline, there's going to be nothing to close. But you see how the slope, each of these metrics, build up to each other.
Which leads to the last one. We like to call it TTTD, so time to third deal. Not time to first deal. Not time to second deal. You can measure those as well, so you can add TTFD, TTSD, TTTD, so time to first, second, or third deal.
Time to first deal, depending on your sales cycle, there's always risk because it could've been in the pipeline already. It could've been a bluebird, pure luck. Arguably, second deal could be something similar, could be an add-on sale.
Ramp Can’t Take A Backseat
Every single sales leader wants to reduce sales ramp time. It's a proven thing, but it often takes a backseat because they still have quota to manage and people and deals to close this week and this quarter. Ramp can’t take a backseat, it's essential to have the metrics in place for three reasons:
Having a few key metrics that you're tracking will really help you have a predictive model, so cohorts of people, whether it be two, 20, or 200 people that you've hired, can all ramp in a consistent way. So be sure you're calculating the time to outcomes. We've talked about different conversations, meetings, first deal, second deal, whatever it is, but have very clear time to (TT) outcomes such that you can really define what winning onboarding looks like.
To learn more about how to create better sales onboarding programs, download our latest ebook here.
Hope this was helpful. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.
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.