How Do You Calculate Sales Ramp Up Time?

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Calculate sales ramp upAlthough an extremely important concept in sales, how to calculate sales ramp up time is often unknown by sales leadership. Learning how to calculate your sales ramp up time allows you to make more informed hiring and forecasting decisions.

At its most basic, sales ramp up refers to the the time it takes a salesperson from when they are first hired to when they are fully productive. Although a simple concept, there is currently no industry standard and companies calculate ramp up in many different ways.

Why is knowing your sales ramp up important? It’s the necessary foundation of sales recruiting and accurate forecasting. If you need to hit a number by the end of the year (and be within budget) knowing your ramp up period is essential. New to this? Don’t worry.

Here are 3 ways to calculate sale ramp up along with the pros and cons of each:

Method 1:  Sales Cycle

From The Sales Readiness Group:

Ramp Up = length of sales cycle + 90 days

Pros: Very simple and easy to calculate. You really only need to figure out your sales cycle and you’re good to go.

Cons: 90 days is arbitrary and may not reflect the onboarding and training period of your business.

Method 2: Quota Attainment

Many companies use this:

Ramp Up = length of time to reach 100% quota

Pros: It’s an easy concept to grasp. This method allows you to calculate ramp up for salespeople who don’t directly sell a product or who don’t have an average sales cycle (e.g., appointment setters or business development reps).

Cons: Multiple flaws in this design. Often a new sales rep will take over existing opportunities, pre-maturely hitting the 100% quota once and then not hitting it again for months. On the flip side, you may have reps that only ever hit 95% quota and although strong performers, are never officially “ramped up.” Finally, it is extremely time consuming to track if not automated within your CRM or BI tool.

Method 3: Training & Tenure

From Salesbyte with a couple tweaks:

Ramp up = Training Period + Length of Sales Cycle + Experience

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 2 weeks if your hire has previous experience in this territory or 2 months if they’re new to the game.

Pros: Potential to be much more accurate than method 1 and 2, depending how well you define the Experience variable.

Cons: Not all companies have a defined training program and determining the Experience variable requires trial and error experimentation.


The future of Sales Ramp Up? Predictive Productivity

If these methods seem overwhelming or incorporate too much guesswork for your liking, there’s good news. Advanced methods of calculating sales ramp up exist as well as tools to simplify the process.

sales recruiting tool is able to incorporate aspects of the above but take the Experience variable to the next level. Productivity is predicted by an actual psychometric assessment of the person you hire and isn’t as one-dimensional as the methods above. Some tools also offer the ability to profile your existing team. With this data, you can classify your current sales team into profile buckets by sales experience, psychological profiles, social activity, etc.

What problem do these tools solve? Sales ramp up periods are not one-size-fits-all for companies. By profiling your team, you can hire salespeople that fit your company specifically, minimizing the sales ramp up time and maximizing revenue per salesperson. Ideally, this process will lead to notable changes in your hiring strategy that your competition may not grasp, bringing top talent to your company alone.

Are you using one of the methods above? Or one of your own? Let us know!

Bonus: For all the software as a service people out there, David Skok has a great blog post discussing the value of knowing your sales ramp up time for SaaS economics.

Are you looking for salespeople? Use Ideal to automate candidate sourcing and duplicate your top sales performers. Sign up for a risk-free trial now.

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Somen Mondal

CEO at Ideal
Somen is the Co-Founder & CEO of Ideal. Prior to Ideal, Somen served as Co-Founder & CEO of Field ID until it was successfully acquired by Master Lock LLC (a subsidiary of NYSE:FBHS) in December 2012. Somen’s leadership has helped earn Field ID a spot on the Profit Hot 50 and Deloitte Fast 50 Companies-to-Watch lists. In 2012, Somen was named winner of the Ontario Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the “Emerging Entrepreneur” category.