Increasing Retention & Revenue for a Human Capital Management Provider
How Paychex revamped their sales onboarding and achieved higher employee retention, higher revenue, and faster speed to competency.
Although the Selling Simplified training program was designed for the Small Business Market (SMB) segment of the Paychex sales force, they look to expand the use of Rehearsal for several new use cases.
Paychex is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance services.
After turnover increased for newly hired Small Business Market (SBM) sales reps and revenue did not meet the plan, it was time for Paychex to dramatically re-engineer its sales onboarding.
Their training goals were:
- Maintain 75% retention of new sales reps in their first year.
- Increase revenue per unit (average revenue per sale).
- Reduce time to competency from 17 weeks to 10.
Strategy & Solution
Paychex utilized the ELB Learning product Rehearsal.
Research findings were used to overhaul the new hire training program and create Selling Simplified, a 10-week onboarding program reflecting the current business landscape, workforce, competition, customer prospects, and what persuades them to buy now.
Selling Simplified concentrates on engaging the new employee by building confidence and accountability.
The blended learning approach includes:
- 35 self-paced eLearning modules
- A dedicated learning coach who facilitates ongoing virtual coaching sessions
- Social learning
- Video role-play assignments and certifications
- A Sales Skills Master Program (a compact 2.5 days of experiential learning), including objection handling and discovery
The modules and content help give new sales representatives the knowledge they need to have that first conversation with a prospect and make an appointment.
Several techniques have proven important. Learning coaches work closely with each new hire, which helps build confidence. Paychex uses single objective learnings to drive knowledge and skills retention. Single objective learnings require that employees master one skill before moving on to the next through a certification process that involves Rehearsal video-based practice assignments between instructor and learner. This process lets the employee demonstrate each sales skill with their coach, apply their learning immediately on-the-job, and continuously add new skills to their portfolio.
Rehearsal is instrumental in the Selling Simplified program. It gives sellers the opportunity to truly practice with the vast product/service offering, receive personalized coaching and feedback, and perfect their skills, increasing both confidence and competence. Rehearsal also drives accountability for both learners and instructors, while providing senior leadership visibility to the status and impact of video-based practice and coaching.
Due to the high-profile nature of this program, Paychex had to fully re-engineer onboarding with innovative techniques including:
- Replacing unwieldy 80-person classroom sessions with virtual, small cohort-based learning communities allowing for interaction during formal coursework and informally between virtual instructor-led sessions
- Supplementing the sales manager’s role with a learning coach who facilitates formal coursework, and serves as an on-call coach and mentor for learners by providing feedback, expert guidance, and reinforcement for new sales reps in the field
- Consistently using coaching calls three times per week during the first six weeks, then once per week through the tenth week, to discuss data and reinforce knowledge delivered by the sales tracking tool
- Adding certification via Rehearsal’s video-based practice tool which allows the learner to practice, perfect, and then submit presentations to the instructor for feedback
- Using single objective learnings which focus on critical topics such as setting appointments and discovery and gating topics until a new employee has been certified
- Designing a manager facilitator guide to provide guidance on weekly activities and expected skills attainment inclusive of checklists for 1:1 meetings and suggested activities for reinforcement
- Requiring manager-level certification to ensure compliance with the role of the manager and a comprehensive understanding of the facilitator guide
Short term and long term reinforcement were used in the program.
In the short term, learning instructors reinforce learnings three times per week over a 10-week period through coaching calls, conversation starters within LMS communities two times per week, and certifications via Rehearsal weekly, and learning communities allow for peer-to-peer reinforcement when instructors post questions or topics on the community board and ask the cohort to contribute to the conversation.
Long-term, Rehearsal is used for ongoing practice, coaching and feedback, perfecting word tracks, and validating knowledge and skills well beyond training.
The new program yielded an 8% increase in retention, 10% increase in business revenue, 41% increase in speed to competency, and 68% reduction in travel expenses.
Paychex achieved real results with the new program, yielding an increase in retention of 8% after a full year, exceeding their original goal of 75%. Their results didn’t stop there, they also experienced a 10% increase in business revenue during the training period when compared to the same timeframe for the previous instructor-led program.
This increase in revenue was the direct result of not only confidence but competence, as they were able to accelerate speed to competency for new hires by 41%, meaning they performed at a high level faster than that of prior training programs.
- Engagement and activity were higher
- Enabled virtual touchpoints as learners wanted more social and collaborative work
- Employee surveys indicate 79% of survey participants rated the Virtual Coaching experience as ‘Very Good’ to ‘Excellent’ and a majority of respondents said Rehearsal was one of the most beneficial training methods
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