When Dave and I co-founded Unboxed, we were inspired to create a modern training and technology company that would help employees acquire the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to succeed through fun, engaging content and delivery systems.
Over the past 9+ years, Unboxed has grown! Our unconventional approach to training and technology has been supported by an incredible customer community. As we continue to grow and innovate, we will further integrate our brand and ecosystem of products and services to educate and empower people in unconventional, uncomplicated, and unrivaled ways.
In light of that, we have decided it’s time for a fresh look, one that better illustrates our industry-leading employee training and sales enablement solutions.
Our new logo honors our “box” while pushing the boundary of what’s expected with a playful nod to “thinking outside” the box and discovery. We want our clients to feel our values of respect, excellence, simplicity, and trust in the look, feel, and sound of our new brand’s visual and verbal communication.
Today we’re launching our new website and you’ll begin to see our new look come to life! I hope that our clients and clients-to-be identify solutions they are excited about with clear explanations and helpful resources.
We also are growing our thought leadership webinar series and providing learning from our clients of all sizes across a wide range of industries. Our goal is to be a consultative resource you come back to time and time again. If we are doing our jobs right, we are growing your business, which is what training is all about.
Thank you for your commitment and continued support!
U.S. companies spent 20% more money in 2017 to train their salespeople than they did to train workers in all other functions. Given that level of financial commitment, organizations need to ensure they’re investing in the best sales training and maximizing their ROI.
The best sales training should inspire, ignite, and even invigorate; helping your organization build a company-wide sales culture where team members speak the same language and relationships form easily across sectors, departments, and divisions.
While some training leaders believe they must choose between a custom-built program or an off-the-shelf solution, we believe in combining the strengths of both into one powerful program.
So, to help you select the best sales training for your organization, we’ve broken down the comparison between the two into five simple categories:
• Behavior focus
• Delivery methods
Let’s explore each to see how the two compare.
Implementing off-the-shelf sales training is often a quicker fix than creating something custom, meaning you’re able to start delivering training sooner.
In contrast, creating custom training means a few additional weeks of lead time before the program can be rolled out. The tradeoff here, though, is that custom-built programs typically have 3X the longevity when compared to off-the-shelf options.
With a lower initial price tag, off-the-shelf solutions are appealing for many when comparing the higher up-front cost of custom sales training.
However, it’s important to be mindful that off-the-shelf training typically comes with recurring subscription and licensing fees, meaning that over time, your total expense is likely to match that of a custom option. With custom training, you aren’t subject to those recurring costs as you’ll own the training outright.
Here are some quick numbers as an example. An off-the-shelf solution may cost $50,000/year, which sounds like a deal compared to the $125,000 price tag of a custom-built program. But remember, a custom program typically has a 3X longer shelf life when compared to off-the-shelf sales training. All of a sudden, the cost of the off-the-shelf solution has exceeded the cost of the custom-built program. It’s something to consider as you plan and budget.
The beauty of off-the-shelf training solutions is that they offer a one-size-fits-most option, addressing needs and skill sets common to most sales teams.
Custom training takes things one step further with content tailored specifically to your organization’s business needs, products/services, brand, and culture. The benefit is learners see themselves in their training and will be better prepared to apply what they learn to their day-to-day.
Need proof? Read about how 98% of reps at Berkshire Hathaway Media Group agreed their sales training was immediately useful because it was custom-built for them.
While there is no denying that knowledge and skills can take you far in the world of sales, not all team members are natural-born sellers. Sales behaviors, though, can be taught and refined—making them a critical tool for developing and enhancing your team’s performance while improving the customer experience and positively impacting your bottom line.
Both custom training and off-the-shelf content can address this, though their approach and level of depth differ.
Although custom training more often uses modern delivery methods like interactivity, video, gamification, and social learning, some off-the-shelf solutions do incorporate some of these options as well.
However, you likely will find that the training delivery methods used in custom-built programs generate higher levels of engagement, satisfaction, and training completion than those in their off-the-shelf counterparts.
For example, AppNexus employees enjoyed their custom-built employee training videos so much, completion rates exceeded 70%. Oh, did I mention the training was optional.
What’s the Best Sales Training For Your Organization?
Here’s a quick recap.
- Quicker to implement
- Shorter shelf life
- Longer to build
- Longer shelf life
- Less up front
- Ongoing subscription and licensing fees
- Higher initial cost
- No subscriptions or licensing fees
- Addresses needs common to many organizations
- Built to match your company’s culture and goals
- Focuses more on knowledge and skills, broadly addresses behaviors
- Focuses on developing great behaviors in addition to building knowledge and skills
- May not incorporate as many interactive elements
- Incorporates modern methods of eLearning to drive higher engagement
Bottom line: training drives results.Whether you opt for a custom-built solution or an off-the-shelf option, you can’t go wrong. Consider your timeline and specific needs to identify the best sales training for your organization.Not sure where to start? Let us help! We have nearly a decade of experience delivering client-driven sales training solutions. Connect with us today to see what we can do for your team.
You invest time and money recruiting for an open position in your organization. At last: the new hire’s first day. Even if they walk through your doors with industry experience, they are essentially a newbie. How do you ramp them up to speed so they reach their A-game faster?
Following these employee onboarding best practices is a great place to start!
Whether your newbie makes $15/hour or $150,000/year, every employee deserves a thorough, informative, and fun onboarding experience. It reflects well on your company and pays off in the long run.
Don’t Confuse Onboarding with Orientation
Yes, they both start with an O and are crucial to new hires, but they’re different.
Orientation is more of a checklist, a company-centric event. Similar for employees in all levels of the organization. Compliance, benefits, emergency contacts. Email, computers, calendars. Orientation is a nuts and bolts activity that ends when all boxes have been ticked.
But post-orientation, let’s say Day 4, is your new hire a fully functional member of the team?
That’s where onboarding comes in. Onboarding is a process that (ideally) creates a confident, engaged, and valuable contributor. It’s job-specific, and represents an employee’s path to productivity.
It often lasts longer than we think: from Day 1 until the newbie is a productive, contributing member of the team. That can be 30, 60, 90 days – or up to two years! ‒ depending on job complexity. This period is crucial for new hires. It’s an opportunity for your organization to connect in a meaningful way to help the employee gain confidence in their role, become engaged with the company, and maximize productivity.
So, what are some employee onboarding best practices to help you achieve these objectives? We have some knowledge to share.
Create an Inventory of Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviors
Onboarding should cover the basic knowledge, skills, and behaviors (KSB) necessary for an employee’s specific responsibilities. A best practice is to create an inventory and strategic assessment of the KSB needed for the job – to define the fastest path to productivity.
Much of the early job knowledge training can be experiential, self-paced learning. New employees need info, but can discover it themselves through interactive teaching tools, rather than having someone “teach” them. Unfortunately, thick binders and PowerPoint presentations are the norm in most companies.
But do you really want to be most companies? We didn’t think so. Create high-quality training that engages learners, helps knowledge stick, and streamlines the path to productivity.
Mix it Up with Blended Learning
After identifying training topics that support the required knowledge, skills, and behaviors your new hires need, consider offering engaging content in multiple modalities, to reflect the three types of learning: visual, kinesthetic and auditory.
The trick is to select the learning modality that best aligns with each of the job’s KSB topics.
We all have different learning styles. Blended learning works so well because it touches on each different style, for more comprehensive training. A mash-up of learning modes such as e-learning, instructor-led, interactive workbooks, videos and animations, keeps learners engaged and helps information stick.
Blended learning becomes a new hire training best practice when it combines both the personal engagement of face-to-face training with self-guided learning. Incorporating various styles helps learners consume, retain and apply the knowledge to their jobs.
Increase Speed to Competence
Onboarding is about how efficiently a new hire becomes productive. The longer it takes, the more it costs the organization in lost time and revenue. The goal is to help them hit the break-even point – fast.
We recommend giving new employees enough information to get started in their role as quickly as possible, so they can put what they’ve learned in motion. There’s value in testing new knowledge situationally in their daily work.
But it’s a fine line: don’t let newbies loose before they are competent, or you risk damaging both the organization and their confidence.
New hire onboarding best practices also include on-the-job training and job shadowing, which can hasten productivity.
Make it Social
The best onboarding programs incorporate a high-touch from leadership, which instills in the new employee the importance of their role as viewed from the top. Don’t just leave it to HR: the department manager and team should participate.
According to The Definitive Guide to Onboarding, “56 percent of new employees thought assigning ‘an employee “buddy” or mentor’ was one of the most important things a new employee needs to get up to speed and begin contributing quickly.”
It’s comforting to have a resource who can answer questions along the path to competency.
ATD’s TD magazine describes how employees at Buffer, a social media management tool, get three buddies during their 45-day Buffer Bootcamp: a leader buddy, a role buddy and a culture buddy. We give this well-rounded approach a fist bump.
Meet and greets are another smart way for new hires to expand knowledge while building relationships horizontally and vertically across the organization.
Don’t Ignore Culture
Don’t underestimate the important role company culture plays in onboarding. Not all cultural norms are written; some must be experienced first-hand. There’s a lot more involved than just logging in and working. Are there Friday team lunches? When and where is cell phone use appropriate? What’s the deal with the break room fridge?
Cultural information isn’t always in the training manual, but is crucial to a new hire’s organizational engagement. Sharing beliefs and rituals helps newbies adapt faster.
According to Forbes, “a company’s culture is its only sustainable competitive advantage and should therefore be the centerpiece of its onboarding program.” Because, the most talented people want to work for the most desirable companies. And those talented people will drive your ongoing success.
Follow-up. Reinforce. Validate.
A BambooHR poll respondent suggested a “30-day review . . . [because] when new, you may miss important facts that make sense more once you are acclimated to a new position.”
We couldn’t agree more. Whether Day 30, 60 or 90, when your new hire starts performing their daily tasks, onboarding still isn’t complete. Continued monitoring ensures that behaviors are on-message with company expectations.
In this phase, incorporate a validation component of the training completed so far. Whether a ride-along or deep dive session with a direct manager, assess the new hire’s KSB as reflected in daily job activities. This presents an opportunity for either validation of current KSB level or follow-up with additional training as a course correction, if necessary.
One final action: when your newbie is meeting job quotas, socially engaged with the company, and officially “one of us,” it’s time to get their feedback. Ask for input about their onboarding experience. Where did you nail it? Where could you do better? Their qualitative, first-hand reviews are invaluable.
When onboarding is successful, new hires feel valued, appreciated and warmly welcomed. They know the inside jokes, what’s ok to say, and who it’s ok to say it to. They’re officially on board!
Seek Experienced Guidance
Feeling lost? Think of us as your onboarding best practices GPS: we can guide you. To get started, check out our free Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist.
Aligning KSB with various modalities of learning is our specialty. And we’ve made a splash exploring key training concepts like live action video vs. animation, microlearning and the role humor plays in learning.
We can help you craft a custom onboarding training program to skyrocket your organization’s onboarding quality and efficiency. Our custom training solutions empower newbies to experience your company culture while learning best job practices in an engaging, informative and relevant way. What’s not to love?
What are your company’s onboarding best practices? Share your feedback in the comments below or on Twitter @unboxedtech.
Ready to revolutionize your organization’s onboarding? We’ll make it happen. Let’s chat! (888) 723-9770