November 10, 2023
Make The Most Of Sales Ramp-Up Period
According to The Bridge Group, the average ramp-up time for a Sales Development Rep (SDR) is slightly over three months, and just under five months for Account Executives (AEs). Beyond onboarding and training, sales managers want to know where their new hires stand in terms of their capability to move toward expected sales goals. Sales managers should pay ample attention to the ramp-up period because these first months can be crucial for the sales rep’s success. Almost immediately, sales managers should be looking at key performance indicators (KPIs) and sales behaviors that signal to them the new rep “gets it.” Sales managers’ expectations of new reps evolve as they reach 30, 60, and 90 days beyond the hire date. And the sales ramp-up looks different for each organization. To truly make the most of the time, sales managers can gain a firm understanding of critical details to form a ramp-up process that works for their team. Below are the factors that go into a successful ramp-up and launch.
Knowing What To Look For
Sales managers must understand and outline the appropriate team behaviors that yield expected results. Sales cycles vary by industry, thus influencing KPIs. A one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t work to bring about insights managers need to make progress. Sales managers should track and analyze the activity data of all their reps to arrive at accurate benchmarks for new reps. Activity data can also help managers formulate a clear finish line when the rep has reached full capacity. Understanding the level of experience each team member has can add a level of insight to activity data and can further increase accuracy when setting expectations for an incoming salesperson. Their own experience level may adjust expectations up or down. Activity data that matters includes:
- The average time for the first deal to close
- Conversions, touchpoints
- Appointments and presentations
- Deals added to the pipeline
- Deals illuminated from the pipeline
Managers should monitor these informed KPIs on a regular basis. If a new salesperson isn’t hitting satisfactory KIP’s managers should dig into the matter with the salesperson to uncover the specific issue. The beginning months offer managers the chance to sharpen new reps and identify pain points that can stall their progress toward full capacity. It’s at this time the manager also has the opportunity to form an ideal working relationship with their new team member. Their willingness to hold new hires accountable for their growth coupled with their willingness to help them overcome challenges builds trust and loyalty in the new employee.
Help New Reps Reach Sales KPI’s
The following are behaviors that support the acquisition of a new customer and are critical to identifying whether a salesperson can hit expected benchmarks. They tell managers how effectively a rep is able to move closer to achieving a new customer acquisition goal. In time, new reps should demonstrate more of these skills which ensure they reach the expected KPIs:
Know their plan- Ask them to create their plan of attack. Reps should know the activity level that brings them closer to a closed deal in terms of call preparation and execution. Reps should be hitting goals around activities set forth by managers.
Effectively execute the sales script- Executing the sales script or sales process in a methodical well-known way at this stage makes it possible for managers to troubleshoot and coach on the most problematic competencies. Knowing the script communicates a sales rep’s willingness to commit effort as well as buy into the process.
Anticipate issues and solutions- See them anticipating and proactively addressing potential issues with prospects before they arise. Talking them out with the manager, and reasoning through issues correctly demonstrate they have a grasp on performance expectations.
Maintain control- Conducting meetings with a manner of control that ensures a more meaningful and measurable outcome. This does not equal talking over prospects but has more to do with the line of insightful, questioning intuitive well-planned discussion.
Time management – Sales reps should be spending time on the most impactful tasks/behaviors:
- Qualifying leads
- Making presentations
- Managing accounts
- Continuous education
- Building relationships
- Demonstrating value
- Serving customers
- Managing territories
- Executing sales strategies
Be an Encouraging Sales Coach
Sales teams can make quick progress when a coaching session is geared towards encouragement and pointing out strengths. Sales managers can address weaknesses with an encouraging tone that keeps new reps open to growth. They can point out what a new rep is doing right, that is getting them closer to their goal, before discussing the barriers they see. Sales reps come away from positive coaching sessions feeling motivated, rather than fearful of making another mistake.
Make A Judgment Call
Sales managers want to give every new salesperson a good chance to succeed yet identify bad hires quickly. A new hire may have interviewed well and earned a spot on the sales team. But if they still struggle with critical behaviors and aren’t reaching KPIs after the ramp-up period has passed, managers must address the problem sooner rather than later. For most sales managers, the quota changes as their team grows. And that makes it hard to let go of someone filling a seat on their team. But an unproductive salesperson can demoralize the team if they’re permitted to stay. Their growth needs can also take too much time away from managing the people who do produce.
If a sales rep is continuously weak in one or two given competencies, it may mean they are not a good fit for the role of sales rep. But perhaps they might be better in another area of the sales process such as sales development or sales aftercare. Knowing these key indicators will help managers to keep good employees and place them where they are most effective, including a position outside of the sales department.
TaskHuman offers full-scale sales coaching support that can help sales managers fully embrace the ramp-up period. This specialized line of coaching can improve sales managers’ ability to navigate ramp-up with their new hires with coaches for their needs and the needs of their team. New reps can internalize helpful sales behaviors with an added layer of individual support that personal sales coaching provides. Managers can rely on sales management coaches to push them in a healthy direction toward leading strong sales teams full of fresh and ready talent.
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