“….the more places you’ll go.” Many of you will recognize that quote from Dr. Seuss – and those that don’t, you missed out on some excellent childhood reading. However, I also think you’ll agree that the passage, while directed at a young audience, applies to anyone at any age. In fact, questions about “everboarding,” “talent upskilling,” or “skills needed by my commercial teams to be successful in the future” rank in the top three for my call topics with sales and sales enablement leaders.
During these calls, we often talk about something I see more and more of; a refocus on everboarding. Like many organizations’ structured plans for onboarding, everboarding is a structured plan that helps existing sales talent acquire new knowledge and skills.
Identifying Everboarding Focus
But getting everboarding right isn’t easy. Sales and sales enablement leaders have to ask questions such as “What skills do my (insert commercial role here) need to be successful today and in the future?” and “Where are the biggest skill gaps I have on today’s more digital and data-driven selling journey?”
It also requires sales and sales enablement leaders to make everboarding effective. Should additional training opportunities be voluntary? Do I have people submit an application to be considered for an everboarding program? Will we mandate the learning? Answering these questions takes time and often a lot of cross-functional collaboration.
Delivering Effective Everboarding
Finally, no matter what the everboarding process looks like, it must include a blended delivery approach.
Effective everboarding requires asynchronous learning (possibly using existing asynchronous content from a higher-ed institution or online learning platform). It also requires synchronous learning, including discussions with internal SMEs and sales enablement team members. Finally, it requires opportunities to apply the learning, either in their current role or in a co-op-type arrangement in a position that heavily leverages the new knowledge and skills learned.
Getting Value from Everboarding
While building effective everboarding programs takes time, effort, and a commitment to the success of your current and future sales talent. It’s worth it. A recent study at Gartner showed that lack of professional development was one of the top categories demotivating sellers. Demotivated sellers are more likely to be actively looking for work and less likely to hit their numbers. And in an environment where it’s taking 60+ days to find talent and hitting growth numbers is much more challenging when you have open territories, isn’t it better to have a deliberate strategy to upskill your current talent? Effective everboarding programs help retain your sales talent, help build new skills within your organization and help attract new talent.
And, of course, the more your sellers know, the more places your sales organization will go.
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