You Will Change New Hire Onboarding After Reading This

Viktor Hatfaludi
March 12, 2023
6 minutes

Intro

Most companies throw new hires into the deep end expecting them to swim.

This lack of proper onboarding is why their reps start making money later - both for themselves and for the company. Let’s put things into perspective!

Each week you spend onboarding a rep with a 1 million dollar quota costs you 20k in opportunity cost.

That’s right. It’s a lot!

The process at my previous company was among the better ones and took 6 weeks to fully onboard new enterprise account executives, but by the time I was done with it new reps were up and running in just 4 weeks all the while the quality increased.

In this post I’ll show you how you can do the same - let’s do this!

Overview

Any onboarding you do will have a general and a role-specific part.

In my experience the reps that are crushing it excel at 2 things:

1. they know how to get things done internally which will differ from company to company, and

2. they know how to run amazing discovery calls.

We’ll break down both of these areas but if you want a deep dive into how to run outstanding discovery calls I’ll leave a link in the description to a past video of mine.

General onboarding

There’s no need to overcomplicate general onboarding.

To get things done new reps will need a sense of direction so clarify what’s the vision, mission, and goals first.

Then give them structure by walking them through what the org chart looks like and where they fit in. This way they won’t feel lost and will know who to get help from with different kind of questions. This includes where to find and how to navigate the company knowledge base as well let’s say if they’re looking for a process documentation that can be anything from time off requests to how to book a deal so it gets invoiced.

Discovery on the other hand is more nuanced so be ready to document a handful of processes and other assets. I’m talking a heat map of your ICP, which personas you’re targeting, and anything Sales-process related.

To give a few examples it could be the sales methodology you’re using, what tech stack enables them in the day to day to be effective and what the recommended workflow is to be efficient.

Sales is not a 9-5 job and you want your team to work smarter, not harder.

The general rule I have for you is to onboard in groups whenever you can otherwise it’s difficult to scale.

It’s still possible and I’ll show you how I did it at the end of the video but it’s waaaay easier to hire and onboard in groups for 3 reasons.

Number one: People make friends faster and will be happier and more confident as a result so it’s better for culture.

Number two: they will ramp faster. Only 10% of how we learn is classroom-style learning, 20% is peer-to-peer and 70% is learning by doing. If you hire solo you’re missing out on 20% of how people pick up new skills.

And lastly it’s better for time management because you can tackle Q&As as a group instead of addressing the same questions over and over again.

In our onboarding not all of these were structured in a logical way at first and that’s one of the reasons why it took 2 weeks longer than it should have.

Before I share my onboarding plan it’s important to call out that

the flow will be different for skilled reps and those with less than 1 year sales experience.

Juniors will need around 2 weeks of dedicated practice.

Practicing the product, practicing discovery (ring ring), practicing messaging, generic sales skills like cold calling, emailing, tooling, etc.

With seasoned reps the challenge is different: they’ll arrive with their own set of experiences and habits which often die hard and you’ll need them to adopt the new way of working because unless they’re coming over from a direct competitor of yours or a company of the same size, the way they’re used to working won’t get the results you’re looking for.So how do I recommend structuring the onboarding?

Role-specific onboarding

Week 1

Week one is for general onboarding so they can start meeting the team PLUS get familiar with industry, the ICP, the Personas and their challenges. Lastly you want to cover the product itself - not just how it works but specifically how it helps overcome the challenges your Person as and ICP have.

By the end of week one reps should be able to pitch what your company does.

Week 2

Week two is for getting familiar with the sales process, tooling, and discovery.

By the end of this week the reps should be able to understand and keep up with the pace of customer conversations and know how to collaborate throughout the entire sales cycle.

This is where knowing the org chart, owners, and navigating the knowledge base comes into play.

Week 3

Week three is for shadowing calls and learning how to demo.

By the end of this week reps should be able to run a business discovery call and a high-level product demo.

Enterprise reps likely won’t run their own demos and instead partner up with a Sales Engineer, but they still need to know how to create interest and need by connect pain and impact. Knowing how to run high-level demos lets them do this well.

Week 4

On Week four reps should receive their ramped quota and relevant sales metrics like average deal size, conversion rates, time to close, etc. By the end of this week they should have a territory plan in place and have a good idea of where their pipeline is going to come from.

Sales is a team effort so the week ends with them presenting their territory plan to the GTM team calling out where they need support. In this case we can leave out Product and present to Sales, Growth, and Customer Success so the rep is enabled as they execute on their plan.To make the onboarding successful you need 3 things.

Number 1: you should put regular 1:1s in place from day 1.

Number 2: include tests at the end of each week to verify that the reps are on track, and

number 3: assign a buddy from week 1 who they can turn to for questions and whose example they can learn from.

I personally had a 30 minute time block with new hires at the end of each day on week 1, then 3 a week as they got their grips, and a weekly 1:1 after completing the onboarding. Whenever the reps didn’t prepare any questions it was an immediate red flag so I would randomly test what they retained from the day.

The only thing worth doing differently when onboarding Junior reps is week 4 and 5 are for PRACTICE and on week 6 they start having customer calls with a buddy shadowing and giving feedback after each call.

Onboarding on the fly

So far this is what onboarding looks like in an IDEAL world but things aren’t always ideal, are they? I know it wasn’t for me!

I was behind on regional quota and needed good reps to start as soon as they could so I ended up onboarding a new rep each month.

This means as soon as I onboarded one rep I started with the next. And I did this 7 times last year while working 65 hour weeks so I had to be efficient - in the process I ended up reducing onboarding time for closers (meaning SMB, Commercial, and Enterprise AEs) from 6 down to 4 weeks.

You can do this too in 3 easy steps:

1. Create an MVP onboarding document with the sections we just walked through,

2. onboard your first hire manually and ask them to make suggestions to improve on the MVP, and

3. have the rep you just onboarded ONBOARD THE NEXT REP and have the new rep improve on it further.

By the 5th iteration you should have a top tier onboarding process in place.

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Viktor Hatfaludi
March 12, 2023
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Meet Your Trainer

Viktor has 10+ years of full-cycle experience in tech sales.

His latest contribution was helping Bitrise (YC W17) scale from 3M to 20M+ USD in recurring revenue.

Today he’s a Sales Consultant and Trainer at Revenue Ramp helping B2B Startups go from $0 to $10M ARR.

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