Sales Ramp-Up Time is a Crucial Metric
When you understand it, you can make more informed forecasting, hiring, and even firing decisions. By routinely paying attention to your sales ramp-up time, you’re also able to better predict your monthly, quarterly, and annual sales. If you need to hit a number by the end of the year (and stay within budget), knowing your ramp-up period is essential.
Unfortunately, many sales leaders aren’t tracking it.
The simplest definition of sales ramp-up time is the length of time it takes for a salesperson to reach full productivity after hiring. Although it’s a simple concept, there is no single, ubiquitous formula for calculating sales ramp-up time.
To make it easy, we’ve gathered three methods of calculating your own ramp-up and have offered the pros and cons of each.
3 Ways to Calculate Sales Ramp-Up Time
Method 1: Sales Cycle
Ramp-Up = Length of Sales Cycle + 90 Days
Pros: This formula is possibly the simplest method of uncovering your ramp time. If you know your average sales cycle, you’re golden. As an example, let’s say your average deal takes three months to close. The sales cycle method would bring you to a sixth-month ramp ( 3 months + 90 days = 6 months).
Cons: Depending on your business, product, or service, 90 days may either be a reasonable or ridiculous number. Since 90 days is somewhat arbitrary, it may not reflect the training period of your business and could skew your results.
Method 2: Quota Attainment
Ramp-Up = Length of Time to Reach 100% Quota
Pros: Another easy concept to grasp. This formula allows you to calculate ramp-up for salespeople who don’t directly sell a product or who don’t have an average sales cycle (think appointment setters or development reps). The quota attainment method allows the most flexibility, as it begins with an understanding that not all reps will start off with the same accounts.
Cons: There are a few flaws in this design. Often, a new sales rep will take over existing opportunities. With a little bit of luck, they will prematurely hit the 100% quota once and then not hit it again for months. On the flip side, you may have reps that only ever hit 95% quota, where they are strong performers, but have never officially “ramped up.” This method is also pretty time-consuming to track properly if it’s not automated within your CRM.
Method 3: Training & Tenure
Ramp-Up = Training Period + Length of Sales Cycle + Experience
First, a few definitions: Training Period is the amount of time given in a training program and experience refers to a baseline adjusted for sales background. The more experienced the sales rep, the shorter the time period added for experience. For example, you might add two weeks if your hire has previous experience in this territory. Alternatively, you may choose a more forgiving two months if they’re new to the game.
Pros: This formula has the potential to be much more accurate than the first two. This method creates a ramp-up time adjusted based on experience, which can be one of the most telling performance factors.
Cons: Not all companies have a defined training program, and determining the experience variable requires some experimentation at first.
Tips, Tricks & Best Practices
If these methods seem overwhelming, there is good news. More and more tools are beginning to crop up to simplify the process and ensure a smooth onboarding experience for everyone.
No matter which method of calculating ramp time you choose, your sales tech stack needs to show up for you. A successful sales ramp will begin and end with the best way to measure success. Solutions that offer Performance Scorecards are vital in the process, allowing everyone—reps and managers alike—the right amount of visibility into key activity metrics.
As previously mentioned, calculating ramp time can be time consuming without automation in place. Easily rely on the LevelEleven Performance Index (LPI) Score to see how an individual is performing against their own assigned metrics.
Efficient onboarding also relies heavily on open communication and a sense of support. Setting up one-on-one coaching sessions with an emphasis on success plans is crucial for a rep to be fully ramped. It is also important to celebrate wins early and often, as combining constructive feedback with reward/recognition will always be the best one-two punch. Your CRM needs to allow you to do just that.
At the end of the day, sales ramp-up periods are not one-size-fits-all for companies. You can find a formula that fits your specific needs, but you just have to be prepared to dust off your thinking cap to profile your new hires and current employees.
This process can lead to notable changes in your forecasting and hiring strategy.