January 30, 2020

4 Ways to Ramp Sales Reps Faster

4 Ways to Ramp Sales Reps Faster


4 Ways to Ramp Sales Reps Faster

You hired Janice as a new sales rep and she starts Monday. How long will it take her to ramp, or start selling at her full capacity? There are several ways to calculate ramp time. A common method is to assume it will take one sales cycle plus 90 days of sales training and coaching to reach full productivity. But, every organization is different and how you measure it isn’t as important as figuring out how to cut that time down. After all, the faster a rep ramps, the faster they generate revenue.

But you have to be careful. Push people too fast without giving them a solid onboarding, sales enablement, and coaching foundation and they may get off to a quick start but end up being less effective. Take too long and reps lose heart and your revenue suffers. 

While ramping new reps may not feel like a revenue-driving activity, when you optimize the process it stops being a cost center and starts to truly drive revenue much faster. 

So, how can you ramp reps faster? 

Here are 4 key ways that can significantly cut down sales rep ramp time while empowering reps and coaches to be more effective.

1. Use Benchmarking to Know What “Good” Performance Looks Like

You can’t know how well someone is ramping if you don’t have reliable benchmarks from within your organization to compare initial performance against and base decisions on how to specifically coach them. Benchmarking within your organization lets you separate high performers from low performers and identify specific behavior patterns to help you set reps up for success from day one.

When sales managers benchmark based on data collected from sales rep’s activities (as opposed to emotion or taking a rep’s word for it), you’ll know the answers to: 

  • How much time do your top reps spend sending emails vs your low performers? 
  • Which activities consume significant amounts of time, yet yield few results? 
  • Which type of activities and what cadence should new reps be focused on to immediately start reaching quotas? 

Once you’ve isolated the ideal behaviors of your high performers, you will know how to better train and ramp new reps for faster success. 

2. Put the Buddy System to Work for New Reps    

One of the best ways to speed up sales ramp time is to pair new hires with high performing mentors. In a Wharton Business School study of Sun Microsystems, it was found that individuals who had a mentor had a 23% higher retention rate with the company and were five-times more likely to get a promotion. Meaning, that they not only stayed longer, but they also outperformed their peers. 

But not all reps should be mentors. 

Sales leaders should look at reps who perform the right types of activities to close deals, rather than simply looking at the reps with “lone wolf” tendencies who might also win the most business. Typically, behaviors from this type of rep rely on their network and personality which are not scalable nor coachable. 

Using data to benchmark your sales org will help you distinguish not just the top-performing reps, but the top performers who exhibit the right types of workflows and habits. 

Just because you had a rep pull in a “bluebird deal” with a lucky email, doesn’t me you want them coaching your team. 

3. Coach Based on Leading Indicators, Not Past Performance

Sales coaching has long been based on reps’ outcomes over the past weeks and months. What did they do and not do? What worked and didn’t work? Coaching based on outcomes puts managers in a reactionary disciplinarian role, rather than a proactive one. When you use activity data to capture insights on the types and cadence of reps’ activities, you discover key leading indicators that let you course-correct with actionable coaching. This not only makes reps more productive but can also shift the trajectory of at-risk deals. 

4. Increase Coach Effectiveness with Data

Sales managers often rely on asking reps to self-report on their performance and deal progress, which can be subjective and overly optimistic. “Blue-skying,” where sales professionals allow their positive attitude to color their evaluation of prospects was rated the No.1 most significant problem with sales forecasts in a CSO survey, with 47 percent of companies responding that sales teams are just too subjective in their close projections. It can also lead to coaches misidentifying true coaching needs and spending time on areas that overlook underlying needs. 

When coaches have access to data, they can stop asking reps how deals are going and start monitoring them. One-on-ones can be spent reviewing account strategy and creative plays to engage the buying group, rather than having reps use their best guess on the likelihood of a deal closing. 

Start Ramping Faster and More Effectively Today

It's difficult to coach and set your reps up for success from a stance of "gut feelings" of what good looks like. When you use data-driven knowledge to discern what top performance consists of, and what behaviors are scalable, you can not only ramp reps faster but also scale your team more effectively.

By automatically capturing sales rep activity, and giving sales leaders the insights they need to benchmark successful reps, People.ai can help you not only ramp reps faster, but also increase your team's overall quota attainment.  

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