Sales Executive Onboarding: Professional Services

On-Boarding New Outside Sales Executives at a Growing Professional Services Firm

Client Case Study

Situation

This technology industry service start-up grew quickly as a forerunner in a new and quickly expanding market segment. Infused with external capital and charged with quickly growing revenue, the company embarked on a strategy to hire senior level Sales executives that would bring demonstrated success with large, complex sales.

In addition, a large part of the company’s success to date was attributed to their proprietary business practices which are an integral part of the sales process and highly interdependent with multiple functions within the organization. Given the breadth and complexity of the sales process the company’s original plan called for a 12 week on-boarding process that would “certify” a sales executive’s knowledge and understanding of how the company sales and does business.

The goal of the On-boarding program was to ensure that new sales executive attained productive, on the job performance as quickly, effectively, and efficiently as possible in three areas:

  1. Ensure that participants could demonstrate their understanding of company’s sales process and business practices
  2. Establish a cross-functional orientation to selling and build relationships with key sales process partners
  3. Reduce the formal On-boarding learning process form 12 weeks to 5 weeks

 

Complications

  • Compression: Create the experience and learning of a 6-9 months sales cycle in 5 weeks
  • Information: Communicate a significant amount of company information that directly influences the executives performance in this program and in the field
  • Individual Just-in-Time: Conduct the Onboarding program for one Sales executive at a time and/or multiple staggered executives
  • Senior Executives: Hold the attention of experienced senior level Sales executives in the learning process when they want to be out selling

Approach

The senior new hire on-boarding program approach blended various learning methods within a structured framework of eLibraries, presentations, meetings, real-world tasks, shadowing, mentoring and apprenticeships.

The underlying context of the On-boarding approach was a Sales Cycle Simulation based on the sales process used to acquire one of the company’s largest clients. Sales Cycle activities, deliverables and presentations were blended into the 5-week learning process and provided realistic “performance tests” at each phase of the Sales Cycle. Areas covered within the Sales Cycle included:

  • Performing due diligence on a perspective client
  • Creating perspective client account plans
  • Developing a pitch and several contextual value propositions
  • Delivering the pitch and value propositions to a panel of experts
  • Designing an implementation solution with the account service team
  • Recommending a pricing scheme for a specific solution
  • Crafting and delivering a proposal presentation to the perspective client (played by company executives)

Approach (cont)

Participants were also immersed into “on the job” learning contexts in numerous functional organizations such as, Marketing, Inside Sales, Account Management to meet key counterparts and learn about the different functions, roles, responsibilities, challenges, targets, and key projects.

Within account management new sales executives:

  • Worked with an assigned primary account team
  • Participated in account-specific training
  • Conducted research and quote preparation
  • Shadowed reps making calls
  • Prepared team analytics with Team Leads
  • Presented an overview of the account to the account leadership team
  • Worked with a channel account team to understand the nuances of the channel business
  • Worked with “support team” members from across the company to participate in cross-functional meetings and activities

In the late stages of the new hire On-boarding program new sales executives worked as an apprentice to an experienced Outside Sales Executive, slowly weening off until both the new hire and the Outside Sales Executive agreed that the participant was ready to call on clients and lead his/her team.

Participants moved through the On-boarding process as quickly as they were able to demonstrate pre-determined learning objectives by completing varying types of performance tests. Most performance tests involved being observed performing a task or presenting back to a subject matter expert or group. In these cases the primary focus was to give and receive feedback to aid the learning process.

Performance tests associated with key steps in the Sales cycle were evaluated more critically by company executives using several client focused presentations during the Sales cycle simulation.  The program culminates with a full proposal presentation to the perspective clients executives (played by their senior executives). While the On-boarding program was not intend to develop sales skills, the performance test did allow company executives to assess sales skills of new hires.

Results

  • 89% decrease in speed to productivity (from 36 weeks to 4 weeks)
  • 97.3% participant satisfaction
  • Early termination of 10% of new sales hires saving time and money on new hires that did not meet expectations

Related Information

Having a training outsourcing partner like LSA to support our talent management needs has been a real blessing. In an emerging company where typically you can’t afford the infrastructure necessary to provide a full range of offerings, having an external partner like LSA has been a blessing.

They deeply understand our business and our culture.   They do a great job on a wide range of customized training, consulting, and coaching solutions for us.

For us, they are definitely better than having our own internal Training and Organizational Development function.  They always do what it takes to hit the mark.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

LSA Global has been a great partner in helping us move toward being “the leading developer of talent in the service performance management industry.”

I have engaged LSA to help develop best-in-class programs in the areas of: Executive On-boarding, Manager Training, Sales Training and Coaching, Employee Engagement, and Instructional Design.

They have consistently met or exceeded my (very) high expectations and are always responsive to my needs to increase performance, engagement, customer satisfaction, and sales growth.

Mike Normant
Senior Director, Training & Development

Service Source

We have found LSA to be highly responsive to meeting our unique needs in learning and development. Their passion for high levels of business relevancy, customer satisfaction, and quality align very closely with our core values and talent management strategy.

Kudos to LSA Global.  They delivered exactly what I wanted under ever-changing conditions.

Laura McHugh
Director of Training and Organizational Development

Gilead

We have had a very beneficial partnership with LSA. Their recent Leadership Development Program helped us to identify, develop, and retain top leaders. It was instrumental in helping take our company and our key people to the next level. I would recommend them to anyone looking to truly develop and retain top talent.

Steve Janowsky
Vice President of Operations

Proxicom

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner helping us to build leadership and management capacity while strategically investing in our people.

LSA’s flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans and talent management strategies.

Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate high impact Management Training Programs has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner.

LSA has delivered top notch management development programs and worked with key teams to build the targeted skills they need.

LSA understands our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.  They have been a real blessing for our L&D team.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

LSA has a very unique and powerful methodology regarding learning. Their ability to overcome skepticism, obtain executive support, and create an aligned learning strategy that provides measurable business impact is second to none.

They understand your goals, flex to your needs, and solve problems. They certainly help make my job easier and are a pleasure to work with.

I highly recommend LSA to anyone trying to connect the dots between strategy, skills, knowledge, and results.

Noelle Van Vlierbergen
Human Resources Director

AKQA

The experiential New Employee Orientation was an incredible success for 2,500+ new hires over 4 years spread across the globe.

LSA partnered with us to create an innovative solution on very short notice and added a huge amount of value.

We could never have done it without their unmatched combination of expertise, professionalism, and creativity that aligned everything with our unique culture and growth strategy.

Even our executives and experienced hires were blown away!

Brenda Wagner
Founder and President

Proxicom

Thank you! Your learning strategy insights flipped our approach from a content-driven design to one where business strategy and relevancy drives the leadership programs we aimed to redesign.

This investment more than proved its worth – not only did it improve our leadership development program redesign, but it also was like a mini executive seminar that stretched our experienced L&D team’s thinking.

Richard Morse
Senior Director Talent Management

Gilead-Sciences-Logo-LSA-Global

We have partnered with LSA for years.  Our organization’s learning needs have increased, decreased, and increased again over time.

The beauty of LSA’s business model is its flexibility and depth of their expertise.

When we need strategic or tactical outside help that we can trust, we use LSA knowing that we can depend on outstanding quality advice and targeted solutions every time.  You cannot go wrong with LSA.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

We looked to LSA Global as a consulting partner to help us explore innovative and scholarly approaches to promote employee engagement and sustain the unique culture we’ve built over the last decade.  LSA helped us perpetuate coaching as a discipline across the organization by integrating our core values, goal setting, and performance management.

We appreciate LSA’s commitment to cutting-edge practices to help keep us a step ahead during this time of rapid change.

Rosalyn Chan
Vice President, Human Resources

Redwood Trust

I’m not sure if I’ve run across a company that can match the depth and quality of LSA’s consultants and facilitators.

I highly recommend LSA to anyone seeking a trusted training, coaching, and consulting partner to improve performance – at both a tactical and strategic level.

They really get talent, learning, and performance.

Jeff Coon
VP Human Resources

Exelixis

We turned to LSA Global to help take our behavioral interviewing process to the next level in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness. LSA quickly understood our unique culture and challenging requirements.

They immediately helped us to improve our ability to continue to hire top talent that fits our culture and talent management strategy as we rapidly scale.  Thank you!

Julie Pearl
Technical Program Manager

Google

The quality of LSA’s Leadership Training Programs and facilitators is always top notch. We recognize and appreciate the hard work LSA always goes through to align to our unique culture and meet our specific requirements. Thank you for regularly going above and beyond. Your support and dedication, both on the strategic and tactical side, have been outstanding!

Anna Meyer
Leadership Development

Intuit

The refreshing thing about LSA is that they focus on understanding our business situation and helping me succeed instead of selling stuff. Their experts are an invaluable resource that help me deliver higher quality results faster. I recommend them to anyone looking to improve the performance of their workforce.

Stacie Rodgers
VP of Human Resources

Cutera

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Get key strategy, culture, and talent tools from industry experts that work

More

Health Checks

Assess how you stack up against leading organizations in areas matter most

More

Whitepapers

Download published articles from experts to stay ahead of the competition

More

Methodologies

Review proven research-backed approaches to get aligned

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date on the latest best practices that drive higher performance

More

Client Case Studies

Explore real world results for clients like you striving to create higher performance

More