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

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people. LSA custom designed an impactful management curriculum to help upskill our key managers and leaders.

We consider LSA to be our trusted learning and development partner and a valued extension of our team as we rapidly scale.  Thank you LSA!

Lisa Bruun
SVP Human Resources

Ellie Mae

LSA’s ability to assess needs and develop targeted  leadership training has been a critical resource for me to help our teams to perform at their peak. 

I love that LSA focuses on training that truly makes a meaningful impact on the people and the business.

Noelle VanVlierbergen
Sr. HR Business Partner

apple client logo LSA Global

LSA Global brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for key executive positions that we needed to fill.  They helped us to develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities.

Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.  Thank you!

SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO

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

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

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

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 hired LSA Global to design and deliver a customized outdoor experiential new employee orientation program for our recent group of MBA new hires.

The program reinforced WIPRO core values, helped to build relationships with fellow associates, and enhanced the group’s ability to operate successfully in the global world.

I definitely recommend LSA for effective employee onboarding of top talent.

Vishu Venkat, PHR
Talent Acquisition

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

We partnered with LSA to help custom design, deliver, and measure an advanced new employee on-boarding process. It was well thought out and bought into by sales leadership.  The combination of targeted sales tools, technology, coaching, performance plans, training, and reinforcement made all the difference.  The solution quantifiably improved new employee and hiring manager satisfaction and increased the speed to sales quota for new hires.

I would highly recommend LSA Global for any sales enablement team looking to increase the engagement and speed to productivity of their sales force. We are excited to implement the program globally as we continue to scale.

Rochana Golani
Director, Global Sales & Technical Field Enablement

LSA’s action-learning leadership approach has been very beneficial to me, our leadership team, and the entire organization.

The balance of development and results has been excellent.

We have made huge progress, and I was also able to identify 2-3 high potentials while having the extra benefit of people stepping up to carry key strategic projects forward.

The experience was better than anticipated.  I could not be more pleased.

Heather Feltman
President & CEO

LSS

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

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

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

I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed working with LSA on the design and delivery of the experiential new employee on-boarding training.

I’ve been getting tons of positive unsolicited feedback.

You truly exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Steven Gray
US Enterprise Services

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