Onboarding your sales reps is always a race against time. Recent research1 has found that the ramp-up time for sales reps averages around 27 weeks, which is just over six months. Simultaneously, sales rep tenures have shrunk compared to five or ten years ago, currently averaging about 1.8 years.2
Given the all-too-short window for companies to benefit from sales reps' full productivity, rapidly bringing them up to speed is vital - especially given the new norm of remote onboarding. The quality of onboarding matters. Research by Training Industry indicates that a structured process can bring up to 60.7% of sales reps to full productivity within the first six months, compared to just 42.8% of sales reps in companies without a structured onboarding program.3 Yet, 62% of companies consider themselves ineffective in this process.4
How the pandemic has hit onboarding
As if onboarding wasn’t already a difficult proposition for most firms, the accelerated shift to remote work in the COVID-19 era has completely upended standard processes. In the pre-pandemic world, new hires attended boot camps, shadowed mentors, had face-to-face 1:1 conversations with managers, and participated in team-building exercises to get up to speed. Now, sales leaders must bring all of that knowledge, training, and assessment to remote reps virtually without the benefits of intensive in-person sessions. Manually assessing rep onboarding and sales readiness can be extremely inefficient and time consuming for sales managers.
Fortunately, there is another way!
How AI can help
Traditional onboarding programs often are lengthy and inefficient because they are devised as a once-and-done exercise involving outdated LMS platforms that overload sales reps with information. They rely on unwieldy content formats, such as PDFs, and are not customized to suit the individual learning needs of sales reps.
Modern AI-enabled tools and platforms provide answers to these problems:
a) Role-based onboarding: AI-enabled tools can custom-design different onboarding programs for different sales roles using a variety of use cases. They can also build readiness content suited for different stages of the buyer journey so that sales reps can start selling effectively to buyers across the sales funnel.
b) Individualized training: One of the biggest advantages of AI is customization at scale. Instead of one-size-fits-all initiations, AI-powered tools can individualize training journeys based on each rep's learning styles, capabilities, and needs. Further, AI and machine learning allow analytics of onboarding programs to go beyond mere consumption metrics and analyze actual absorption and integration of content.
c) Continuous learning: With AI-powered tools, just-in-time learning becomes simple and seamless. Based on each sales rep's learning journey, such tools can bring together updated information in bite-sized modules designed to build knowledge iteratively rather than dumping it all in one go. This allows reps to quickly absorb new skills and capabilities and integrate them into their work.
d) Pitch Analysis: This is one of the most potent benefits delivered by AI, helping to overcome sales managers' and leaders' inability to comprehensively and objectively analyze the sales readiness of reps. Modern sales training and coaching platforms with built-in video capabilities support creating and exchanging training content, such as demo calls and role-plays, which allow sales reps to practice, perfect, and record their sales pitches via video and share them with their coaches. Using AI/ML technologies, sales managers can evaluate these pitches at scale across several critical dimensions, such as tone, delivery, use of keywords, active listening, questioning skills, and objection handling, and quickly identify which sales reps are ready to pitch to prospects and which reps require more coaching and training. Pitch analysis is one of the cornerstones of effective sales onboarding programs and is essential before reps speak to prospects live.
With sales roles growing more challenging and sales tenures shrinking, it’s vital your new sales reps don’t spend weeks muddling through their onboarding phase. AI can make all the difference in accelerating them to their first sale by enabling role-based onboarding, individualized training, continuous learning, and pitch analysis.
To know how Nytro.ai can help you with onboarding, schedule a call with us today.