So you want to go inbound with your sales processes. Good for you.
Embracing sales enablement processes and the software tools that go with it is the first step. However, the most important step is the onboarding or change management requirement that activate your most important inbound sales assets – your people!
This may sound like a cliché, however inbound is, at its essence, a humanity based approach. And we’d encourage your approach to the change management requirements to be just like you would approach your inbound marketing and sales. So why not start by building out a persona and journey map for your sales team – indeed also involve team members in Marketing and other related fields. This inbound approach focused on the pain and gain points of your team members is likely to resonate and emotionally engage. All essential elements of behaviour change!
7 steps to successfully onboard inbound sales
- Conduct a process audit and review of current sales behaviour state
It’s super important to conduct a thorough and unbiased assessment of your current sales process. This assessment will allow the best systems and practices of the past to be retained and inform which areas require re training and coaching. The assessment may take the form of qualitative interviews to understand the current approaches being taken to convert prospects to leads and leads to sales.
Ask questions such like:
- How is this conversion being measured?
- Is there a universal approach across the business?
Take the Sales Enablement Assessment and identify where your sales process can be improved.
- Agree on what will be improved
Like most initiatives, if you agree on the priority areas for change and establish S.M.A.R.T goals, then success has a greater chance of being achieved. This should include identifying the inbound sales content resources required and the team members that will lead and facilitate the education process across the business. Having clarity will create a solid foundation for a successful implementation.
- Inspire stakeholders on the business case for change
Onboarding is not only for the members of the sales and marketing teams but also for senior management who will direct and finance your case for change. They are ultimately going to be the champions of the ‘new normal’, however, do not assume they have the same knowledge, expectation and experience. It is imperative that you ensure you have their ‘buy-in’ and practice patience with the senior team as they are also learning new behaviours.
- Develop the roadmap for change
Having a solid plan is essential. A great way to develop the plan is to run a series of collaboration workshops. Rather than presenting a finished plan, co-create the plan with teams across the business that are going to implement inbound sales. Your plan should have a series of ‘multi-steps’ to ensure change is incremental and that there is the right level of education available for those is require it. Lastly, build patience into your plan, so short cuts don’t become the ‘new normal’. For example you could use agile development principles to break the implementation into a series of sprints where key tasks are prioritised and reviewed before progressing to the next stage. This way progress is achieved without overawing team members.
- Monitor, manage and review
Remember this is about CHANGE management. It is not easy. You’ll need to build in a continuous cycle of improvement to embed the new behaviours and adapt accordingly to be successful at on boarding. Receiving feedback from both your customers and internal team members is a certainty. This feedback is information that you can use to grow with through the revelation of 360-degree perspective of how your inbound sales onboarding is progressing. The most important aspect is to action the insights you gain from your monitoring and review. Managing team members is ensures that good behaviours are encouraged and coaching or scaffolding can be provided those struggling with the application of desired behaviours.
- Audit resources and data to identify critical content gaps
You’ve set yourself a goal, now audit your existing inbound content resources and information to work out where the gaps are. These could include human resources, software tools, and marketing content such as blogs, eBooks and product solution videos. From this audit you will be able to identify early wins, priorities for development and funding requirements.
- Communicate… all the time
Being a great communicator should never be underestimated. Team members want clarity around your inbound sales vision and they want ongoing leadership regarding their progress. So, establishing a ‘Smarketing’ team that meets regularly is a great start. The communication goal is clarity, however we also want to excite team members about change and what can be achieved. In the end success lies in the execution, of a solid strategy, so energy and enthusiasm are critical ingredients in successful communication.
Too often in business, we gloss over wins and achievements. Why not take a human approach and be overt in the celebration of wins? All it takes is effort. And isn’t that exactly what we are asking of our team members?
Tell us about your onboarding journey. Where were the successes and where were the challenges?