It is no secret that getting new sales reps or reps that have been moved to new territories through their initial ramp up period can be time-consuming. But the trick is you want to be sure that they are effectively getting all of the necessary information and training to be successful without the ramp up time being too long. Sometimes, it can be hard to find that middle ground.
As we all know, some sales years are better than others. If you are trying to get new sales reps ready during a tough year, you don’t have time to waste when it comes to their ramp up period. In this article, we’ll break down exactly what is a ramp up period, quick tips and tricks to speed up the ramp up time, and tools to help you do just that.
What Is a Ramp Up Period?
A company’s ramp up period is the length of the time between a new sales rep being hired and them becoming fully productive and hitting full quota. A successful ramp up period includes initial new-hire onboarding, product training, and sales coaching. People sometimes confuse the ramp up period and onboarding program as the same thing. But your sales rep onboarding is only part of your ramp up period process.
A ramp up is also not just reserved for new hires. It also includes situations like when a position changes or when a field sales rep gets a new territory. In both of these instances, the rep will need to go through a ramp up period to reach maximum productivity.
Understanding exactly what your ramp up time is (and what it is not) and what it currently entails will help you pinpoint how you can reduce it. It will also allow you to accurately forecast and plan for capacity needs.
Strategies to Speed up Ramp up Time
The longer it takes your new sales reps to start meeting quotas, the more resources are used up and the more money it costs. But, you also don’t want to cram a ton of information and training into just a couple of weeks and overload your reps.
Here are some strategies to be more efficient and effective during your ramp up period and get your sales reps hitting quotas faster, especially during a hard year:
Keep Customer & Territory Data Easily Accessible & Shareable
In outside sales, a big part of reducing the ramp up period is your sales reps becoming familiar with the territory data and customers within that territory. No matter if you are ramping up new sales reps or shifting reps to new territories. Enabling them with the data and information they need is critical. Making it easy to access and share your customer and territory data is the most effective way to optimize your ramp up period.
To do this effectively, keep all of your customer and territory data organized in one easily accessible place. It should be able to be easily shared from this central hub so that the new rep can pick up right where previous reps in the territory may have started. An outside sales CRM will help you organize, store, and share all of this critical information on a mobile-friendly platform.
Define Clear Expectations
Your team’s ramp up period will last much longer than it should if your sales reps are not clear on what exactly is expected of them. Define clear, metric-driven goals that progress throughout their initial ramp up time. Then your reps will have both short and long term goals to aim for and they will be motivated to do so.
With everyone on the same page, both you and your reps will have a clearer picture of how well expectations are being met and what needs to happen to reach the next level.
Utilize a 30-60-90 Day Onboarding Plan
Part of having clear expectations for your new sales reps is a well planned and executed onboarding strategy. One of the best ways to achieve this is by using a clear-cut 30-60-90 day sales onboarding plan. The plan details exactly what your reps will be doing each day during their first 90 days. Not only does this keep everyone on the same page but it can greatly help speed up your ramp up period.
A 30-60-90 day plan for new sales territory will ensure your reps are armed with all of the necessary knowledge and training and feel comfortable to hit the ground running.
In short, your structured training plan should cover:
- Company overview
- Industry insights
- Customer profiles
- Product knowledge/competitive offering
- Sales skills
- Company-specific sales processes and selling tools
Check out our step-by-step guide to help you set up your 30-60-90 day plan.
Provide Video Training & Hands-On Workshops
The sales ramp up period will be reduced if your reps can take in, retain, and put into use the training information more efficiently. Compared to raw text data, humans absorb visual data quicker and more effectively. Customized video training modules are great for the fundamental information you want to convey about the company, your product or service offerings, and processes.
Providing your new reps with the opportunity for hands-on practice will also help reduce the ramp up time. Do this with the technology they’ll be using as well as through hands-on workshops together to practice the sales cycle and processes. By putting their training and techniques into practice, new reps can quickly become comfortable, learn what works for them, and what they need to practice more.
Provide Ongoing Training
One of the biggest causes of a poor sales ramp rate is when training is only provided during onboarding. Continue a clear, structured training plan past the onboarding phase. Also, continue to use video modules during the ongoing training when you can.
If training and opportunities to practice sales skills and company-specific processes are continued as sales reps ramp up, they’ll feel more comfortable and supported. Quickly speeding up your ramp rate and optimizing sales performance.
Provide On-The-Job Coaching
Providing sales reps on-the-job coaching, in combination with ongoing training, is critical to seeing consistent improvements and decreasing the ramp up time. Watch their sales metrics during the ramp up period, analyze their strengths, and look for opportunities for improvement. Then provide targeted on-the-job coaching based on those things. During the coaching, always make sure clear, detailed instructions are provided, track the relevant metrics afterward, and continue coaching as needed.
For outside sales, pairing new reps with more experienced reps in the same territory to do reverse shadowing on several occasions will create great coaching and mentorship opportunities. With any inside sales, ongoing call coaching is a great way to provide on-the-job coaching based on metrics. You can record calls, review them with your sales reps, score them, and coach on different approaches.
Make All of the Training Content Readily Accessible
Another way to help reduce the sales ramp up period is to make sure your sales reps have easy access to all of the training content in one place. Then they don’t have to take more time trying to find information, email people in other departments, or wait for in-person meetings. Make all of the material, including video materials, available on-demand and mobile-friendly so it can be accessed on the go as well.
New sales reps that have access to an on-demand sales education will feel empowered and comprehend the best practices and product offerings more quickly. Your reps will be able to skillfully apply the right content at the right times, reinforce desired sales behavior, and meet sales quotas faster.
Tools to Use
In today’s technological environment, utilizing the proper training and sales tools is pivotal in reducing the sales ramp up time. Here are just a few of the tools you can use to ensure your ramp up period is optimized:
Map My Customers
The all-in-one outside sales solution Map My Customers provides you a mobile-friendly central hub to store all of your territory and account data on one platform allowing you to onboard new reps quickly. The existing sales data can be easily switched to new reps, enabling them with everything they need to hit the ground running and be successful faster.
Sales managers can easily view the team, their territories, and their daily sales activities via the mobile or web application and get a birds-eye view. Allowing the possibility of coaching from afar without too much interruption.
A sales readiness solution, like Brainshark, will help with the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of your sales training programs. Not only does it help with the completion of the training but, more importantly, it emphasizes sales-readiness while also providing video coaching capabilities. Reps will have access to all training materials, even on mobile devices on the go, and it integrates seamlessly with many CRMs.
It can be tough to find the time to create and put together comprehensive onboarding materials like examples of sales calls or communications and real customer profiles. Save time by using a company like Chorus that can streamline and automate this process. Chorus integrates with your CRM and helps capture and analyze customer calls, meetings, and emails to create training material, drive process and behavior changes, and increase sales productivity. You can also quickly identify what top performers do differently so you can replicate successful sales behaviors across the entire team.
The learning and retention of how to use specific sales software or tools is something that can directly affect the length of the ramp up period. With a tool like WhatFix, you can streamline the process and close the gap between learning and implementation. The WhatFix platform is an end-to-end onboarding and training solution that provides in-app guidance and performance support for web applications and software products. It will help you easily create interactive walkthroughs that appear within the applications your reps may be using. Like Salesforce for example. This allows your new reps to get comfortable in the flow of work and retain the software training faster.
Optimize Your Sales Ramp Up Period for Peak Efficiency & Productivity
Especially during a tough year, doing what you can to reduce the sales ramp up period can have great positive impacts on your team’s sales productivity and the revenue coming in.
Setting clear expectations and making your training easy to digest and access will help your reps retain more of it. Then, the opportunity to practice those skills hands-on will help them refine it. Finally, reinforcing what they learned and continuing to coach reps during real-life situations will help them apply it. Together all of these things, plus the tools to enable them, will help reduce the ramp up time for your reps and give them what they need to succeed.