In today’s hyper-competitive business world, effective sales enablement is critical to any organization’s success. Without a well-structured and standardized approach, sales teams can become overwhelmed with the onboarding process, which can lead to decreased productivity, reduced efficiency, and lower sales performance.
In response to these challenges, AvePoint refreshed its sales enablement approach for new and veteran sellers in 2022 by creating a standardized and scalable program to help sellers achieve their goals.
The refined approach culminated in a 90-day sales onboarding program consisting of lead generation and prospecting, qualification and discovery, and closing and pipeline management phases. To scale effectively for our global organization, the program reduced high-touch program administration while providing ground support to our worldwide sales teams. New hires became part of cohorts who met monthly and received ongoing coaching, tips, and tricks based on insights gathered from AvePoint sales veterans.
To support this program, AvePoint invested in a full-time sales enablement team and instructional designers to perfect the approach and effectiveness of our program over time. We invested in an intuitive, extensible sales enablement platform to create a roadmap of coaching content and track important analytics.
By providing a clear path and transparent KPIs (key performance indicators), the program created alignment among sales enablement, new hires, and managers.
Now that we’ve had several quarters to implement this new approach, here’s what we learned, what our sellers have to say about the program, our results, and what’s next as we continue to evolve our approach.
Transparency, Consistency, and Focus on Outcomes
Nothing is ever done well when it’s a mystery. So, in addition to the defined programs we put in place, we also made clear from Day One what our new sellers could expect as they underwent their training.
Each month had a dedicated plan, and a common set of KPIs we’d measure to assess our sellers’ progress. This was clear to our sales enablement team and hiring managers and salespeople. This alignment is crucial, so everyone understands what success looks like and quick support can be provided to new sellers who aren’t achieving the KPIs we set forth. For example:
- Month 1: Establish who AvePoint is, what we do and our sales methodology
- Month 2: Become familiar with our sales tools and process
This wasn’t just a slide we showed on Day One and then dusted off at the end of each month. We took this, as well as all the training modules, and built it into a sales enablement platform that all our sellers – and their managers – could access so that it was abundantly clear what needed to be done each day, week and month.
In doing this, we also gave our hiring managers the opportunity to create supplementary tasks to bring the training to life – whether it’s listening in on sales calls, attending meetings and so forth – to create a more curated path for the new hire.
Playbook, Practical, Positive
This process isn’t just new to the onboarding colleagues – it’s also new to our managers. To help support their journey, we also built a playbook for managers of new hires which clearly outlined their roles, responsibilities, and checkpoints throughout the process so they could build upon our training to offer the best possible onboarding experience for their new hires.
Another important lesson learned through this process is the importance of making the training itself practical and outcome-based, and less about mastering concepts and theory. Practical and applied learning helps new hires understand their roles better, which leads to higher productivity and faster time to first sale.
Employee feedback on the new program has been overwhelmingly positive. Employees have praised the program for its structure, clarity, and practicality. The onboarding experience has been described as surpassing anything they’ve gone through before, and the short, sharp, and to the point courses have kept engagement high.
“The onboarding experience at AvePoint surpasses anything I’ve gone through before.” – Steven Bollig, Distribution Business Manager
Stronger, Faster, Together
The theme that ran through each of our global sales kickoff meetings earlier this year also applies to the results we’ve seen to date with our new approach.
One of our goals was to make our sales onboarding programming more consistent, responsive, and scalable to the requirements of our global business. Keeping people in a seat for hours is a productivity loss.
Globally, our onboarding time has been reduced by 66% – saving 1,344 hours that they can instead spend applying the skills they learn in a more translatable way.
That translation for sellers is, in other words, closing deals. Those who completed the new onboarding program made their first sale faster at a higher value than those who completed our legacy program.
Continuously Evolving the Sales Onboarding Program
While we’re happy with the initial results, we’re not satisfied.
We will take the outcome-based approach a step further by packaging our journey into achievement-based learning modules. Each module ends with a practical assignment, and you can only move to the next module when you’ve achieved the outcome from the previous one. We believe this will create a more outcome and support-based enablement model that helps sales teams achieve their goals and improve their overall performance.
We’re also going to incorporate gamification into our approach going forward. Statistics find 83% of employees who experience gamified training feel motivated, while only 61% of those who receive traditional training feel the same.
In the U.S. alone, nearly 70% of people prefer to learn using methods that incorporate elements like rewards and competition.
Sales professionals are by their very nature competitive, and we will tap into this by enabling our sellers to earn badges for the training they complete and celebrate their achievements through their social media platforms. We’ll also roll out a global enablement leaderboard so everyone can see where they stand and encourage one another to continue maximizing the training opportunities we make available to them.
Moving Forward With Successful Sales Enablement
Bringing it all together, our sales enablement approach is driving solid results so far, yet we know we have many areas we can continue to evolve. By creating a standardized, scalable program that focuses on practical and applied learning, we’ve improved performance, reduced onboarding time, and increased productivity.
If you’re ready to thrive in a company that values enablement and onboarding sales professionals, learn more by visiting our Careers website.