MAY 3, 2023
When potential customers walk into a motorcycle showroom, the first person they are likely to meet will be the motorcycle dealer sales executive (DSE). This kick starts the chain of events that leads to the customer riding out of the showroom with the bike of their dreams. It highlights the critical importance of DSEs. A winning act from a DSE demands thorough knowledge about the product, market, and competition and smooth customer service skills. High-performing experienced sales executives keep winning most of the time. But, how do new hires learn the ropes quickly and smartly so your company does not lose momentum? The answer is signing up for an intelligent digital DSE onboarding program via a sales enablement platform.
In other words, a traditional classroom-based onboarding program, which usually runs for nearly a year, can slow down the productivity of new sales hires. Rather, DSEs should ideally be able to make headway in sales from Day 1 of onboarding and that is not a pipe dream. Modern, digital, automated, scalable and mobile-first onboarding courtesy sales enablement software can make your DSEs ‘Fit to Sell’ in 30 days.
What is wrong with traditional DSE onboarding?
Traditional onboarding typically means training by a coach in a physical classroom. In today’s digital era, it sounds more like an anomaly in a world run by ubiquitous mobile phones. Classroom training is fraught with many pain points for organizations. Some prominent mentions of these pain points are as below:
In the case of a classroom-based onboarding exercise, the training begins only if the classroom has a certain number of sales trainees. Let’s suppose that a trainee joins on the 1st of January of the year. And the minimum number of heads needed will happen only by the 1st of April. The trainee then has to wait for three months for the onboarding to start. The situation slows down various sales activities.
The quality of onboarding is hugely dependent on the quality of the trainer. Since trainers are mostly from third-party agencies, the company has no direct control over them. As no two trainers are similar in teaching methodology, the training lacks standardization. This leads to imbalances in functioning amongst the DSEs.
To execute blanket training of DSEs during product launches in a particular territory, a limited number of trainers travel from one location to another there. Hence, coaching happens slowly over a period of time. It is not feasible to allocate exclusive trainers for each location. Also, the expenses would be huge in terms of accommodation, travel and food; if the DSEs from all over congregate at a central location for training.
DSEs get to hear about company products, the market, competitors and selling skills during marathon onboarding sessions. Later, they lose the know-how gained during onboarding after the passing of a couple of weeks due to forgetfulness which is natural. They desperately need follow-up or knowledge refreshers down the line for better retention of information.
Even the predecessor of sales enablement, that is Learning Management Systems (LMS) has faced a lot of flak because of the:
- Cost Factor: LMS content is expensive to create and update.
- Slowness: Quick changes cannot happen and new content takes time to be put together.
- Device Hassles: Most LMS is available only on laptop or desktop computers and only a minuscule are mobile-friendly. Real-time content cannot be operative on a laptop or desktop and hence, on-the-go training of DSEs is not possible.
The challenges encountered during onboarding DSEs
Currently, there are emerging challenges pertaining to the poaching of DSEs by diverse industries immediately post-onboarding. Job hopping is happening from FMCG to banking to e-commerce to retail to telemarketing and so on. It is a grave and constantly looming threat as money invested in onboarding goes down the drain.
Another emerging challenge is remote onboarding which is on course to becoming an established norm, particularly in the post-Covid world. Onboarding happens without the ASM and DSEs meeting each other in person. Hence, it is prudent to outline the procedure of virtually onboarding DSEs in great detail. In fact, this will reassure them that they matter a lot to the company despite their remote position. Therefore, an effective onboarding process is a must to engage and retain new sales hires.
What is an effective DSE onboarding model?
Onboarding effectively is not a cakewalk. Traditional methods of onboarding have certainly hit a rough patch in the digital world. Adopting sales enablement technology is a proven way to enhance the quality of onboarding. Each DSE will have a different journey during onboarding keeping his or her strengths and weaknesses in mind. As each DSE progresses, inevitably the following requirements arise:
- Goal Posts: As the onboarding progresses, checkpoints or goal posts will inevitably be reached. These are turning points in the journey of each DSE. Further progress is dependent on the performance status at each goal post.
- Buddy Pairing: It makes good sense to pair the novice DSE with an experienced sales hand for mentoring and knowledge transfer purposes. Buddy arrangement accelerates the learning process with minimum mistakes.
- Feedback: An open channel should be given to and from your DSEs to voice doubts and receive feedback on their performance. This gives them an opportunity to improve their craft.
The proof of the pudding lies in its eating. Similarly, an onboarding program is effective when the coveted result materializes, that is, high-performing DSEs.
Make your motorcycle DSEs sell in their first 30 days
A structured, sequential and milestoned onboarding program is motivating for the DSEs. Only if they achieve a certain score, can they get to cross a milestone, and further upgrade themselves to a higher milestone. Let’s look at a segmented onboarding journey, powered by an industry-standard mobile-based sales enablement platform as below:
The first milestone
Induction starts right on Day 1. DSEs get access to content which starts with a welcome note from the senior management and has instructions on how to navigate the app. They learn about their roles and responsibilities; product knowledge; and sales tools. Once they complete the content, they have to answer a quiz on the same. If the DSE manages to pass the quiz with the minimum score, then it paves the way to cross the first milestone.
The second milestone
Moving ahead, the second milestone is typically a ‘Sales Course’ which deals with modules like the selling process, overall brand and product information, communication skills and other selling and soft skills. Each module is presented with bite-sized chunks of information for easy and self-paced learning. An introduction is given to all the processes and systems. During this period the DSEs get practical experience by functioning on the shop floor. Later automated assessments are conducted and if the deemed score is reached, the DSEs get to cross the second milestone.
The third milestone
In the journey towards the third milestone or the ‘Advanced Course’, DSEs get to interact with the customers. They are guided on how to handle demands from varied customers with various tips and tricks of the trade. Each DSE regularly receives personalized nudges and AI-enabled notifications addressing their performance gaps. They are intimated of their skill score which helps them realize where they stand in terms of their learnings. Once that is addressed and assessments are completed with adequate scores, the third milestone is achieved. Now, the DSE is just one step away from being certified.
The final assessment: Knowledge check
Ultimately, the last leg of the onboarding program awaits the new DSE. Before they are certified as ‘Fit to Sell’ they have to complete the final two-pronged assessment: a ‘Knowledge Check’, and feedback from their buddy and assigned ASM. If this final assessment is successfully completed, certificates are awarded to the DSEs.
As part of the assessments, DSEs must be benchmarked on certain key performance indicators (KPIs) which decide their scores. These include:
- time to the first sale;
- net promoter score (NPS) to ascertain the customer experience they are providing;
- the number of test rides;
- conversion of walk-in customers and online leads;
- customer-facing time;
- and the number of potential customers met.
The adoption of a structured onboarding program for DSEs, helps them to be aware of how to perform and reach targets. The winning outcomes help arrest churn as DSEs are now motivated to perform more and tackle challenges head-on after tasting success. It increases their proactiveness and helps them deal independently with a varied spectrum of customers in different situations over a period of time.
With the support of a potent structured onboarding program, motorcycle DSEs can be adequately prepared to sell bikes within 30 days of onboarding. They need content support for customer queries that can be accessed whenever and wherever they are. In a nutshell, they aspire for a 24×7 pocket friend, which is a mobile app dealing with a sales enablement platform.
The StreamzAI App could be an answer. A new DSE, after joining a company, can immediately log into the app and begin his or her training right away. They don’t need to wait for classroom training. The content is standardized taking into account all the best practices. There is no time lost between a DSE joining and learning. The onboarding can be personalized to each DSE, rather than pushing for a mass onboarding of a cohort or group of DSEs. Streamz gamifies the bite-sized micro-learning content which is on-demand and AI-enabled to drive engagement. Excited to know more? Do check out our solution here!