Why the Best Sales Rep Onboarding Includes Training on Tech Skills [And How to Do It]

Oct 5, 2021

Source: Brainshark

Long gone are the days of keeping track of things manually and expecting to succeed in the world of sales. In today’s ever-increasing digital environment, sales tech is one thing that helps set the most successful sales teams apart from the rest. From CRMs to apps for route optimization and everything in between.

Leveraging technology not only allows sales teams to streamline activities and glean actionable insights, but also provides increased visibility into your customers. This type of data can help supercharge your team’s productivity and sales effectiveness more than anything else.

So, if you want your team to perform at a high level, then you need to be utilizing sales tech. A huge part of this starts at the very beginning, during sales onboarding of new reps. In this article, we’ll break down why that is the case and how you can do it effectively.

The Importance of Including Tech in Your Sales Onboarding Checklist

As mentioned above, sales tech can provide you and your team invaluable assistance in meeting the needs of your clients and growing your business. It can automate processes, improve pipeline management, reporting forecasting, and more. It also allows your team to build and share robust customer profiles.

But, what you get out of the software will be determined by how well it is being used. That is why top sales teams know that in today’s sales environment, tech skills and training are definitely included in the onboarding checklist.

To ensure your reps will be able to fully leverage your sales software, the reps you hire need to be comfortable with using technology in the first place. Then, your onboarding process needs to include effective training on the specific tech skills needed for the chosen software.

Making tech training an integral part of your onboarding process will significantly reduce the chance of encountering low long-term adoption rates for your CRM and other sales tech. It will also boost productivity and increase sales rep retention. This is because there will be far less chance that reps will feel lost and overwhelmed with software. Employees who are confident in their knowledge of your company’s software will continue to be productive and add value.

Source: The Brooks Group

How to Effectively Include Tech Training in Your Sales Onboarding

So, how exactly do you ensure the successful adoption of sales software? It needs to be worked into several stages of your sales onboarding process. This will ensure your team is comfortable using and adopting sales technology.

The most important thing is to make sure that the whole onboarding framework follows a structured approach. This will help keep the whole process as effective and productive as possible.

Here are some specific things to do throughout the process to include tech in your sales onboarding:

Provide Access to the Tech on Day 1

You want to make sure your reps have any login credentials they will need to access your sales tech on their first day. This can be provided to them at the beginning of the day and/or before they start their first day.

Each rep’s company email can be set up before their onboarding starts, access given to the reps at the beginning of their onboarding, and their tech logins could be waiting in their inbox as the first email they will receive.

Your reps may not be diving into the software on day 1, but they should be ready to go for day 2 and beyond. You don’t want to waste time on that first day trying to get them set up in the systems.

Start Tech Training Early on and Utilize Multiple Methods

Usually, in the first 30 days of onboarding, the focus is on your reps getting to know the company, its products/services, the sales process, the competition, etc. This phase is all about understanding. So, your sales tech should be a big focus of this time as well.

Training reps on the different software should be started within the first couple of days, especially if many of your sales processes are intertwined with the sales tech.

It is also important to utilize multiple different methods of training for the initial tech training. Examples include:

Keep in mind that your reps will be taking in a lot of information within the first couple of weeks. So, you want to make things as easy as possible to start retaining critical tech processes early on. Utilizing multiple types of tech training will help you do this.

Source: Map My Customers

Hands-On Training in Sales Tech is Crucial

Hands-on training is one of the best ways to ensure high retention of information and keep your reps engaged in the technology. Remember, you want your reps to get as comfortable as possible using the software for your sales processes, as quickly as possible. Many people learn faster by trying to actually do it themselves.

So, work relevant hands-on, process-based training sessions into their onboarding in addition to the types of training mentioned above. This means having them go through the process of adding customer data, adding a new contact, logging communication or other activities, route planning, etc.

Many sales tech tools provide the opportunity for a test or training account to be used. Then new reps can learn the software without messing anything up if they make a mistake in the process.

Utilize Reps Who Have More Experience

If you have reps on your team who have more experience with the sales software and have been using it already, they can also be a valuable asset in the onboarding process. Pair your new reps up with an experienced rep for walk-through guidance and Q&A sessions.

This will allow new reps to amplify their level of comfortability in using the tech, while also emphasizing a team-focused environment.

Have Your Reps Walk Through a Demo

Once your reps have had the opportunity to go through several different methods of the tech training, especially hands-on, have them showcase what they’ve learned to sales leadership or senior reps.

This allows your reps to demonstrate that they have a good grasp on using the software for the sales processes they’ll be doing every day and can troubleshoot basic issues they may occasionally run across. Then they’ll be much more comfortable when they are done with onboarding and out in the field.

Make Sure Your Reps Have Access to Support

Throughout onboarding, it’s not uncommon (and should be welcomed) for reps to have questions about the software. If they do, it means they’re actively using the tools, which is exactly what you want.

So, it is also important to make sure reps know how to get support from the vendor or the company’s IT department when needed. This could be an online support center, online chat, email address, support phone line, or a combination of all of those things.

You want to make sure your reps have all the resources available to them during onboarding and in the future if/when they need assistance.

Source: Map My Customers

Take Advantage of Free Certification Courses for Sales Tech

After the initial onboarding and training and your reps have had a chance to start to dive into the sales tech they will be using, have them take a certification exam for it if it is available. This is especially prevalent for many sales CRMs that are available now, like these courses from Hubspot for example. It is a great way to ensure that your reps are comfortable with and understand the valuable software they will be using.

Include Reps Who May Not Be New Reps But Are New to the Tech

If you are introducing any new sales tech in your new rep onboarding, it is important to also include existing reps in that training. These reps may not be new to the team but if they are new to the tech, they can go through the same tech training part of the onboarding.

This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and increase the chances of full tech adoption across your entire team.

Continue With Ongoing Reinforcement and Communication

Your tech training should not be a one-and-done thing just during onboarding if you expect to maintain a high level of software adoption across your team moving forward. It is critical to provide ongoing reinforcement and continued communication.

Schedule periodic sales tech booster trainings for all of your reps, not just those who are fairly new to the software. This will reinforce how to use the software and create an opportunity for your reps to make sure they are comfortable with any new updates to the tools, changes in functions, etc. It also gives reps a chance to ask questions about capabilities or functions that they may have forgotten how to use or are not entirely comfortable with yet.

Also, make sure that any updates or changes to the sales tech your team uses are immediately communicated to them as soon as you receive anything from the vendor. You always want to keep the lines of communication open about your sales tech.

Sales Onboarding Best Practices When it Comes to Tech

If you work the above steps into your 30-60-90 day onboarding process, your reps will have a good understanding of the different sales tech applications they will be using and will be comfortable with them moving forward.

Source: PageUp

But, there are a few overall sales onboarding best practices that you should also keep in mind when it comes to your tech training:

  • Standardize the training process:

The more standardized you can make the training and onboarding process, the better. Especially when it comes to tech. Make sure your reps always have access to any training manuals, demo videos, and other onboarding materials.

A dashboard-style system can help keep everything organized in one place. Then, reps have an easy way to check back and review important info and process when needed. An effective, simple, and repeatable system of onboarding will help your new reps feel confident through the training process.

  • Keep your reps engaged with personalized and varied training formats:

We touched on this above, but when it comes to your tech training within your onboarding, using multiple different training formats will keep your reps engaged. It is even more helpful when the training follows the specific workflows and sales activities that your team will be encountering in the role daily. This will increase retention and improve the rate of full tech adoption.

Advances in not only sales tech but also sales training technology have introduced the possibility of an even more engaging and interesting onboarding experience. So, utilize the different types of training formats that may be available, including micro-learning modules, gamification, and interactive videos.

  • Provide continuous support:

Continuous support is critical to making tech training during onboarding stick. If you expect your reps to use the software moving forward for the long-term, they can’t feel isolated with it after the initial training ends. So, continue to provide opportunities for reps to access coaching for the software, ask questions, and easily keep up with changes in your team’s tech stack.

You Can Leverage Your Onboarding to Ensure Effective Sales Tech Adoption

The best sales onboarding gets your reps comfortable with everything they will need to be effective in their sales efforts moving forward. So, this should include training on the skills and knowledge they will need to fully utilize valuable sales tech. The steps and best practices we covered above will help you do just that while also keeping your reps engaged.

Then, you can be confident in knowing your reps will be as productive and effective as possible, are motivated by the support they have behind them, and will be consistently closing deals.

Start implementing effective sales tech training today!