How Long Should It Take for a Salesperson to Get Up to Speed?

Hire the Best - Use for Web applications, emails, etcOn a late summer evening my wife and I were sitting on the patio with friends discussing what typical young families discuss, our children.  Two of our friends worked for the school district, providing learning resources for teachers, parents and students. One of them leaned over to me and told my wife and I that we’ll have challenges with our youngest child.  Based on her training and observation of our child, she had observed there may be a learning disability.  Our child was two at the time, and as soon as the age to be formally evaluated came around, we found out that what our friend had indicated was true.  Based on what we learned from the evaluations, a plan was put into place and resources were provided. Through constant monitoring of this plan, my wife was able to make adjustments through the years and our child graduated high school in the top of the class as an honors student, regardless of the learning disability.

At every phase of our life we are expected to know, use, and do certain things and activities.  For instance, you should not be in the 8th grade without knowing the alphabet.

Our school districts are guided by rules, regulations, laws and mandates to monitor the progress of students to ensure they are on track. However, in our businesses we take it for granted that our employees are progressing at the rate they should be and staying on track.  This is especially true during the onboarding of new employees.

Whenever we conduct an employee search at Performance Group for a client, we always ask how long the ramp-up time for new employees is.  Most common answer we receive is; “Well that depends on the candidate and how much experience they have.”  Translation of that answer is; “We don’t know.”  At its core the response is correct, but if clients really knew the answer they would be able to state in weeks or months how long it takes someone to get up to speed.

Calculating the Ramp-up Time Formula For A Sales Positions:

Learning Curve + Sales Cycle + 30 days = ramp-up time.

Learning Curve: (This should be separated into three phases)

  1. What new employees need to Know, Do, and Use to identify and start prospects through your sales process?
  2. What do they needed to Know, Do and Use to progress qualified prospects through your sales process?
  3. What do they need to Know, Do and Use to close deals from qualified prospects? 

Sales Cycle:  How long is it from the point of having an appointment to receiving payment take?

30 days: Orientation, getting familiar with office procedures, finding the restroom, etc.

Our friend knew our child would struggle in school because she had not progressed through certain developmental stages for her age.

How does this pertain to you with your employees?

Are your employees on track or off track with  your expectations?

What do they need to Know, Do, and Use, and by when?

If they are off track, why are they off track?

What resources need to be provided if they are off track?

If after the resources are provided and they are still off track, should they still be employed in that role?

It has been my experience that companies take up to 3 years to fire a salesperson for non-performance.

In reality, a non-performer can be spotted at the end of your ramp-up time, but only if you know what  your ramp up time is.