Sales Onboarding: 30-60-90 Day Plan

30-60-90 On-boarding PlanAs part of my guest blogging series for Seismic, I recently wrote about the challenges of on-boarding new sales reps

In the article, I mention a checklist of topics (with accompanying documents and videos) for new sales reps to learn on their first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job. I organize that checklist into (1) process-related tasks to master, (2) product-related topics to understand, (3) sales tools to learn, and (4) industry knowledge to get proficient at. The details for each of these will be different for each company, but I’m sharing my framework and rough outline here to help spark a conversation with other sales enablement leaders to share some best practices. Click on the image for details or contact me for a version in Microsoft Word.


4 Ways Marketing Fails Sales–My Dreamforce 14 Presentation

man in the middleThis week at Dreamforce ’14, I presented with Peter Mollins from KnowledgeTree about the gaps between sales and marketing, and how make those gaps easier on everyone. The session title was "4 Top Ways Marketing Fails Sales: And How to Fix Them"

I give Peter credit for the slightly controversial title, which was described as "The #1 job of marketing is to help sales sell more. Hear the 4 most common failures for marketers, and how to address these issues fast. Special guest Brian Groth, sales enablement manager from hyper-growth company Xactly. He’ll explore a real-world example of how to synchronize how marketing and sales communicate with prospects."

You can download my presentation at SlideShare

To summarize, the 4 gaps that I discussed are:

1. Content Creation:

  • Marketing is focused on creating content that positions products, services, and the company
  • Sales is focused on creating, or having, content that advances the sale
  • To address this gap, sales enablement needs to define clear ownership and input for creating customer-facing content

2. Content Management:

  • Marketing is a bit more focused on managing content types (videos, case studies, etc.) and channels (newsletters, Facebook, blog posts, etc.)
  • Sales is focused on having the right content at the right time during the sales cycle
  • To address this gap, sales enablement can help marketing think of the sales team as another channel that needs quick responses, because they’re trying to close deals as fast as they can.

3. Motivation:

  • Marketing is often motivated by the reach and usage of the content they create
  • Sales is motivated by specific rewards and recognition for closing deals
  • To address this gap, sales enablement needs to educate the marketing team on the variables in the sales commission plan so they know what sales will be focused on

4. Sales Process:

  • Marketing touches the sales process in the pre-sales stage to drive leads to sales
  • Sales owns the remainder of the sales process, working to close sales opportunities
  • To address this gap, it’s best to have shared metrics between marketing and sales, such as Sales Accepted Leads (SAL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

6 Steps to Handle Sales Objections

Sean Murray from Xactly recently shared some great insights for Selling Power about a process to handle sales objections. Search for objective handling on the site to see the video, which I summarize here, using the common objection of price ("it’s too expensive"):

The high-level flow of handling objections:

1. Empathize with the customer
Example: “I can see how price can curb you from buying today”. However, do not agree with the buyer at this time, instead, move on to confirm and listen…

2. Confirm what you heard and listen closely
Example: “I can see how pricing would get in the way of purchasing from me today. Let me make sure I’m hearing you correctly. The only reason you would not purchase from me today is because of price. Did I hear you correctly?”

3. Isolate the objection
Example: “Other than price, what other hurdles would keep you from buying from me today?” Let’s assume they say their IT department has too many other priorities right now. So, move to quid pro quo…

4. Quid pro quo
Example: “If I can show you how other customers have worked with their IT departments and found our solution beneficial, would that be a useful way to spend the next few minutes?”

5. Deal with it
Example: Complete the quid pro quo discussion by determining if price is really the problem or if the IT issue is the real challenge to address.

6. Confirm the resolution
Example: Keep track of the objections and resolutions during the sales process so you end up helping the prospect buy the solution (versus being sold to).

Organizing Sales Content

OrganizingContent I recently started guest blogging for Seismic Software, which will be a series of articles all focused on the challenges of sales enablement, with the first article being about why content creation is a challenge.

Related to the challenge I outline there is the understanding of how to best organize content for a sales organization. I’m sure there are many options for that, but here’s how I think about it:

Sales Presentations
– Customer-ready slides
– Training options so sales reps can get good at presenting the slides
– Guidance as to which slides to use when, why and to which audience

Product Materials
– Customer-ready videos, datasheets, whitepapers, etc.
– Price sheets, detailed info that may require an NDA, and other sensitive items
– Training options so sales reps can understand materials and the products

– What to know and what to discuss regarding the competition
– How to have the "build versus buy" conversation
– References to 3rd party product reviews, such as G2 Crowd for SaaS solutions

Sales Guides
– A variety of guidance and training options for topics, such as:
– Territory and account management
– Sales skills
– Role guides (SDR, SMB, Enterprise, etc.)
– On-boarding checklists and guidance
– Industry and information specific to your topic or solution areas
– Sales tools
– Partners (who, how to engage, when, etc.)

Resources by Sales Stage
– Many of the items listed above, but organized by sales stage and activity per sales stage
– Example documents and templates, such as an RFP template
– Training options so the reps can improve skills required for each activity in the sales process, plus opportunity management, CRM data entry requirements, etc.

Dreamforce ’14 Sales Enablement Sessions

Here’s my suggested list of sessions to attend if you’re in a Sales Enablement role and you’re attending’s Dreamforce event this year. There is certainly quite a bit of overlap on Monday, so hopefully these will end up being repeated later in the week if there’s enough demand. Look for me there!

Monday, October 13

  • Fastest Path to Pipeline – Best Practices for Inside Sales Teams at  9:00 AM – 9:40 AM
  • Gain Critical Selling Insights with Premium at  9:00 AM – 9:20 AM
  • Grow Your Own: Developing Salesforce Talent Through Training at 9:30 AM – 10:10 AM
  • Get More Sales Opportunities, Shorten Your Sales Cycle, Optimize Performance at 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM
  • Engaging, Motivating, and Training a Winning Sales Force at  12:30 PM – 1:10 PM
  • Grow Your Pipeline with Prospector at 1:30 PM – 1:50 PM
  • Sales Summit -5 Strategies CSOs Uses to Drive Results: Mark Hunter & Jill Rowley at 2:00 PM – 2:40 PM
  • Best-in-Class Sales Enablement Through Analytics and Mobile Apps at 2:30 PM – 3:10 PM
  • Effective Territory Management Using Salesforce at  2:30 PM – 3:10 PM
  • Hands-on Training: Automate Your Business Process with Visual Workflow at 3:00 PM – 5:30 PM
  • How Trains Its Fast-Moving Small Business Sales Teams at 3:00 PM – 3:40 PM

Tuesday, October 14

  • 12 habits of highly collaborative organizations at  11:00 AM – 11:40 AM
  • Social Selling: A Live Conversation with Jill Rowley and Koka Sexton at 4:00 PM – 4:40 PM
  • Six Simple Steps to Success with Chatter at 4:15 PM – 4:35 PM

Wednesday, October 15

  • Hands-on Training: Set Up Collaborative Forecasts at 1:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Who Owns Career Development?

Shared career developmentThe development of sales rep careers is shared with the sales rep, their immediate manager, and sales enablement. It can be confusing to know who takes the lead and owns the career development, but at a high-level, I think of 4 buckets:

On-Boarding: To introduce and train the rep on Tools, Mentoring with a buddy/peer, and Role-Specific activities. This should be owned by the sales manager, with sales enablement assisting as needed.

Boot Camp: To introduce and teach new sales reps about the Sales Process, Activities, Pipeline Management, Forecasting, and Product Messaging. This should be owned by sales enablement, with the sales managers assisting and pulling in subject matter experts as needed.

On-Going: To re-enforce the company’s Sales Activities, Pipeline Management, Forecasting, Product Updates, and Product Messaging. Sales enablement fully owns making this happen, pulling in subject matter experts as needed.

Coaching: To drive improvements in the rep’s Sales Skills, Deal Skills, and overall Career Development opportunities. The sales manager fully owns making this happen, since it requires the manager to observe the rep with customers and regular one-on-one meetings with the rep. As part of coaching, the manager may help promote the sales rep to a new position, in which case, a new sales boot camp might be needed.

The Foundation for Sales Enablement

Lego BlocksA primary function of sales enablement is to ensure that the sales organization succeeds. However, when I step back and think about what needs to exist at a company to really make a sales org succeed, I think about the foundation to build on, the interactions between other organizations and all of the details that need to come together. I refer to these details as “characteristics”, for lack of a better term.

Foundation for Sales Enablement

The bulk of the work for sales enablement is to make sure all of those characteristics are defined and have clear ownership. My brief explanations of these are:

  1. Incentives to drive the desired behaviors to hit the goals
  2. Processes to guide the behaviors and activities per role and account relationship stage, which is clearly defined and aids, not block, the goal.
  3. Guidelines for customer “ownership” and hand-off from one role or team to the next
  4. Activities with the customer at all stages, which support the processes
  5. Measures to know if the organization, and each team and person are on track and the related data to measure the activates and the process, to help identify areas of improvement and to forecast future results
  6. Tools that enable customer interactions, manage the process, collect and report the data. All integrate with the CRM so there remains “one source of truth” for customer data and interactions
  7. Content to pitch, present, demo and share
  8. Skills to competently accomplish the activities, work through each process, and keep the customer happy
  9. Rhythm of business reviews, training plans, and coaching or mentorship meetings
  10. Training of sales skills, competencies, content and tools, which includes sales coaching and the skills managers need to be good coaches
  11. Methodologies, such as the Challenger Sale
  12. Certifications on the corporate pitch deck, different modules of it, and industry-specific topics

These characteristics are built on the foundation of the company:

  1. Culture of trust of each other, healthy competition between teams, agile and willing to change, fun and open, celebration of success, learning from failure, continuously improving (not being complacent) and a shared focus on the customer
  2. Mission that everyone can be excited about with clear goals to work towards
  3. Strategy that outlines the segmentation and territory plan that makes the goals achievable, which aligns teams to accounts by location, industry, size, systems, partners, etc.


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