Ramping Sales And Customers Teams In A Remote (WFH) World

By Elay Cohen
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This blog is written by Mark Siciliano from DemandBase.

Mark Siciliano


Vice President Sales Productivity & Strategy

Over these past many years (and I do mean many….I’m what they call seasoned), I’ve been very lucky to lead or work with many fantastic sales productivity leaders & teams; Oracle, Marketo, Demandbase, Drift and Sprinklr. Within each organization, we developed, facilitated and delivered some collaborative & incredible onboarding programs to ramp Sales & CX new hires as quickly & effectively as possible. As you know, the faster you ramp your people, the better the odds of hitting the company number and more. Nothing new here…

However, at no time in my career, has the thought of ramping new hires entirely virtually ever crossed my mind…until now! Even at the largest and most distributed of companies, there would always be some time that people would come together to collaborate, workshop and learn together. So, with the outbreak of COVID-19 and shelter in place restrictions, what now?

Today, we are living in a new reality where colleagues speak in Zoom rooms that look more like a Brady Bunch tic-tac-toe screen than a business meeting. Yet, business still needs to move forward and new hires still need to ramp quickly. But how do we do that in isolation? We must adjust. My stakeholders deserve the very best, in spite of tough circumstances.

At this time, with this virtual challenge in front of me, I challenged myself to think bigger with more ambition. And, as Henry Higgins said in My Fair Lady, “By George, I think she’s got it!”— We came up with a plan. We have put together a Sales Bootcamp to help my fellow sales and CX practitioners navigate this new reality. At Demandbase, we combined the idea of a “flipped classroom”(*) with video conferencing. Add our best practices for running a virtual meeting and you’ve got a world-class virtual Bootcamp. The results can be more meaningful in terms of relationships and, most importantly, ensure better comprehension than if we drove video learning the old-fashioned way.

I thought I’d share seven simple steps to get you thinking about enabling your teams in this new reality. If there is large enough interest, I plan on delivering a webinar on LinkedIn to share details with any sales or CX productivity leader. I’m sure I can learn from you as well. Remember, “If you’re worried about the cost of training your people well and some decide to leave, imagine the cost of not training your people well and they stay”.

So here goes, my seven tips to help you ramp your sales and CX teams for success in uncertain times:

1) Set expectations in a separate welcome call with all new boot campers (Videos on!).

2) Provide as much of the learning as possible (the what, why and how) as pre-work, preferably in digestible videos (10 minutes or less please, anything more becomes naptime).

3) Have new hires record specific deliverables as a baseline, whether it’s a pitch, product demo or discovery. (How do you improve when you don’t know where they are starting from?)

4) Create a fictitious company that is used throughout the Bootcamp to showcase use cases, unique situations, etc. Think strategically! Stop the bits & bites routine…. it’s tacky!

5) Virtual conference calls should not be longer than 3 hours with a 30-minute break after 90 minutes of work.

6) Only facilitate workshops, role-plays or objection handling sessions in the video conference. NO POWERPOINTS AT ALL. People should have all they need already; they did the lecture, now its homework!

7) Have peers involved in the learning, feedback, and review; leverage their professional expertise so all new hires can learn from each other. (it’s not about you!)

We use SalesHood’s Sales Enablement Platform to scale our sales onboarding programs, to hold teams accountable and to measure revenue outcomes. Check out our story here. There are more details to follow, but this is a great way to keep engagement high while forming a team bond in our new virtual reality. Stay tuned for more.


(*) Flipped classroom – A flipped classroom is a type of blended learning where new hires are introduced to content at home and practice working through it via video conference

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