Whoever said that 3.1 months was an acceptable sales onboarding ramp time must not have realized the implications of that statement, and they weren’t aware that many sales teams experience much longer ramp times. The reality is that this outdated standard is costing companies valuable time and money. Sure, it may have been unavoidable in the past, but with the advent of new technology, we can now cut ramp time in half.
It’s not just about productivity and revenue, either. Sales managers are constantly burdened with the responsibility of trying to train their new hires while also juggling the neverending quest for pipeline growth and revenue.
But here’s the thing: shorter ramp times are not just about making life easier for sales managers. It’s also the key to more revenue, lower churn among reps, and a better work-life balance for everyone involved.
So why are we still settling for 3.1 months? It’s time to shake things up, challenge the status quo, and demand more from ourselves and our industry. Let’s cut those ramp times in half and see what kind of real results we can achieve. It all starts with a proper sales onboarding blueprint and training plan.
Before you jump in, keep in mind that this isn’t the time for a trial by fire. While more experienced reps can benefit from a hands-off management style, new SDRs typically need as much support as possible. Keeping this in mind, we recommend daily check-ins for the first two weeks, moving to weekly check-ins after that.
Our six-week plan is designed to go from being highly structured at the beginning to less structured by the end, with the inflection point occurring when reps start to perform quota-carrying activities like cold calling and email outreach.
There’s also a built-in review of previous material throughout the plan, so that reps retain information in their long-term memory. This review is crucial to make sure reps don’t lose the benefits of their training later down the line, so we encourage you to schedule regular review sessions or exercises if you add additional material or adjust the later weeks to your needs.
In week one, focus on equipping your sales representatives with the essential product knowledge, competitor awareness, and the skills they need to deliver impactful demonstrations and calls. Alongside these key tasks, ensure that reps also complete necessary onboarding activities like setting up payroll and security, as well as completing bias training. Keep in mind that the deep-dive competitor analysis can be customized to fit your unique competitive landscape.
Week two culminates in a cold call certification, making it crucial to provide your reps with the practice and knowledge they need to confidently engage with prospects. Shadowing experienced reps or listening to call recordings from a library can be highly effective techniques for training. This week also emphasizes the review and reinforcement of past information.
Enhanced Sales Support with Cadence Software
As your reps progress to making calls and sending emails, implementing sales cadence software can offer valuable support. These technologies provide an organized and prioritized list of daily tasks for reps, such as contacting prospects or conducting research, based on the rules you establish.
Once your new reps have demonstrated readiness for cold calls, it’s time to introduce them to quota-carrying responsibilities. Set a target number of calls they should make each day and ensure they receive adequate training alongside these activities. This week is dedicated to building confidence in using all the necessary sales tech tools, both in terms of your tech stack and the prospect-facing materials created by your marketing team.
Tech Stack Exercises for Success
At Revenue.io, our SDRs undergo specific training exercises for our sales tools during this stage of onboarding:
So You Booked a Meeting… What Comes Next?
It is crucial for SDRs to understand how to properly route meetings to Account Executives. This involves considering factors such as segments, territories, vacation schedules, time zones, and headquarters locations. When booking a meeting for an Account Executive at Revenue.io, SDRs are required to include specific information:
Week four focuses on helping reps develop the skills to understand your customers’ mindset and effectively communicate through email. It’s essential for reps to excel in all communication mediums as they represent your company. Additionally, reps should increase the number of cold calls they make this week.
Tailoring the Experience to Suit Your Company
While our six-week sales onboarding plan provides a comprehensive framework, you can customize weeks five and six to align with your company’s specific needs. Options include:
This week, we are taking our outreach efforts to the next level. Your reps will now be able to engage with prospects through both calls and emails. We are setting specific targets for the number of calls and emails, and we are increasing the number of calls from last week. As a result, the time dedicated to prospecting will be greater than the time spent onboarding.
The main objective for this week is to provide your reps with a broader understanding of their role within the company and the potential career paths they can pursue as they develop as SDRs.
To kick off this week, we are raising the expectations for the number of calls and emails. We want your reps to perform at a level that aligns with a fully experienced SDR, as they are nearing the end of their training.
In addition, there are two key goals for this week:
If you are onboarding a group of reps, assign each individual the task of summarizing a specific principle from the onboarding process. For those onboarding fewer reps, they should choose the topic they found most challenging.
Throughout the week, each rep should also become an expert on a new topic that was not covered in onboarding. They will then present their findings to the group during the Onboarding Graduation Ceremony.
Don’t let your sales onboarding process end with the initial plan. Keep the momentum going by providing ongoing training for your sales development representatives (SDRs). Even experienced reps can benefit from continuous learning. Get your entire team involved in these exercises, including peer-to-peer training to foster leadership skills. Here are some ideas on what to focus on during ongoing training:
Stay up to date with new product releases and features
Learn about the latest marketing campaigns and content
Stay informed about new competitors in the market
Emulate the habits of your most successful reps
Master advanced sales techniques and training
Acquire skills for career advancement
With real-time guidance software by Revenue.io, we harness the power of proprietary AI technology to reinforce ongoing training in real-time on calls. Our system provides nudges and notifications to assist SDRs with competitor mentions, objection handling, and relevant content suggestions.
In both sales onboarding and ongoing training, it’s crucial to reinforce positive behaviors and address any issues promptly. Focus on improving outreach, messaging, and communication skills, as they are the most essential tools for sales reps. Follow these steps to reinforce desired behaviors:
Using a dialer or transcription platform can help you review more calls and catch problematic behaviors faster. Take it a step further with Conversation AI by Revenue.io, which uses AI to flag issues and identify patterns in calls.
At Revenue.io, we had a representative who excelled at building rapport with prospects but struggled to qualify or disqualify them based on Salesforce usage, a critical requirement for our solution. By reviewing call recordings, we discovered the issue: the rep was getting so engrossed in conversations that they forgot to ask about Salesforce.
To solve this problem, we reinforced the rep’s ability to connect authentically while setting up alerts through Conversation AI. With this solution, the rep could track their progress and ensure they mentioned Salesforce in every call. By the end of the first week, they were effortlessly qualifying or disqualifying every prospect. Problem solved!
Experience the power of ongoing coaching with Revenue.io’s Conversation AI and transform your sales team’s performance.
Heather Bakire is the Content Marketing Manager at Revenue.io, the complete RevOps platform for conversation guidance, sales engagement, and live call insights and analytics. Heather loves a good story, and she is passionate about international travel and all things outdoors.