Do more with less: Part 4 – Improving Sales Ramp Time

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Written by
David Levy

In Part-1 of our Sales Enablement Series – Do More With Less – we covered the importance of unifying your playbook across sales and customer success. In Part-2, we covered microlearning. In Part-3, we covered leading vs. lagging indicators, and the different types of metrics enablement and revenue leaders should consider. In Part-4 of our sales enablement blog series, we discuss improving sales ramp time and improving rep retention by offering your sales team stronger support. 

Improving Sales Ramp Time

It can take 3-6 months for a seller to ramp and close their first deal. This is a critical time, as companies are investing significant resources to get reps ramped up and producing, while sellers feel enormous pressure to bring in revenue while learning the product and market they are selling into.

Discover how to improve sales ramp time (time to first deal) and improve rep retention by giving your sellers a stronger sales onboarding. As we’ll discuss:

A Few Metrics About Sales Ramp Time

The rule of thumb to calculate sales ramp time is take your average sales cycle length plus 90 days [Xactly].

When you factor in that the average tenure of a sales rep is 18 months [Hubspot], you have on average 12 months of a fully productive rep before they leave.

Sales ramp is not just ramping new reps, but also ramping existing reps on new products. When our last company was acquired, tenured reps at the new company would hear analytics and think about use cases that were relevant to what they were familiar with, rather than the intended use case. 

If you are in a competitive and dynamic market and/or are hiring, sales ramp time is a metric that will always be top of mind.

Talent Is Harder To Find And Harder To Keep

You know how hard it is to find great talent and the macro picture isn’t making things easier. In what has come to be called the ‘Great Resignation”, up to 4 million people were leaving jobs in the US per month, with the record at 4.5M in November 2021.

From our experience, if reps don’t feel they are being supported to be successful in the first 3-6 months, they are at high risk of leaving, causing many negative downstream implications outside of the resources invested in the reps’ onboarding (i.e. team culture, recruiting, morale).

Hiring, Onboarding and ramp is especially acute amongst SDR and Commercial Sales teams, where they are literally training people to perform, only to get promoted to other parts of the business (enterprise, strategic, vertical selling, etc).

Build A World-Class Sales Onboarding Program For Your Sales Team

To improve sales ramp time, the focus should be on building a world class onboarding program. The aim is to achieve full sales productivity within 90 days. 

In addition to leaders from other departments, bring in at least 1 customer to speak with the entire sales onboarding class about why they purchased, the challenges they were facing, and what life is like now that they have your product/service.

Build champions on your sales and customer success teams that can participate in the onboardings. Have top reps teach the newer reps how they conduct discovery, how to qualify, and how to handle competitors. New reps will love hearing from their peers on the front lines, while those reps who participate will appreciate the recognition.

Use Just-In-Time Sales Enablement To Support The Rep During The Meeting Lifecycle

With regards to just-in-time, most companies today focus on meeting reps where they work in their CRM (Salesforce), of course an important channel.

It wasn’t possible even a few years ago, but now we have the ability to leverage AI to help reps during live customer conversations, and have tools built directly into your virtual meetings.

Consider the meeting lifecycle:

Pre-call prep: what should the rep know about the account prior to the meeting?

  • Recent company news
  • Have we spoken to this company before?
  • Relevant discovery and customer wins by industry

During the meeting: Real-time content to help support the reps when they need it most

  • Competitive intel
  • Discovery
  • Objection handling

Post-meeting: Ease the burden of follow-up with automated workflows

  • Notes: what was spoken about in the call?
  • Finding the content relevant to what was spoken about

From pre-call prep to real-time enablement and post-meeting summaries, just-in-time enablement supports sales reps every step of the way.

Integrate your CMS Directly Into Your Meetings To Support Your Sales Reps 

Revenue teams frequently have a content management system that they store all of their sales collateral, acting as a single source of truth for content.

The issue has always been getting this content to sellers when and where they need it most – to turn the relationship between sales and content from a ‘pull’ to a ‘push’.

Using real-time sales coaching software, such Aircover, our customers are able to manage their content out of their CMS, while using our AI to help them surface the right content at just the right time during a sales call based on the conversation.

The added benefit is, with out of the box integrations into tools like Highspot, teams are getting more value out of their existing investments into content and enablement. 

Most content in a CMS is long-form, not meant for just-in-time consumption. Using machine learning, we’ve built tools to auto-summarize the content, recommending keywords along the way.

Do More With Less: Key Takeaways

This 4-part blog series shows you how to do more with less to drive more impact with your sales enablement given the macro environment.

By unifying your customer success and sales playbooks, you can promote a growth mindset with an eye to expansion, while improving the buyer experience. 

Use microlearning content to enable reps efficiently and effectively, giving them snackable content that can be consumed live on a customer call.

Define and track leading indicators to remediate issues before they show up in your lagging indicators such as quota attainment.

Lastly, support your reps during the entire meeting lifecycle to reinforce selling best practices and improve sales ramp time. 

These sales enablement strategies all work together to help you design programs to enable your sellers to make the most out of every deal they come across this year. 

Get a live demo of Aircover today.