What is Sales Onboarding? | The Sales Connection

What is Sales Onboarding? | The Sales Connection

Learn about what sales onboarding is, why it's important, and how to implement a successful sales onboarding program for your business.

Kayvon Kay
Kayvon Kay

December 1, 2022

Two people giving each other a high-five while smiling.

A modern sales onboarding plan builds a connection between you and your new employee. Investing in their training shows them that their work matters and that you want to help them succeed.

But you can't build this connection without carefully constructing your onboarding plan first. If you push new sales reps to start calling prospects too quickly or overburden them with training materials, they can get discouraged and may end up quitting. Moreover, replacing them will far exceed the cost of improving your sales onboarding plan.

Keep reading to learn how to onboard salespeople successfully, so they feel confident in their role, helping your business clear revenue targets faster.

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6 Steps for Successfully Onboarding Sales Reps

Many stages of the onboarding process are rich opportunities to build a relationship with your sales reps. Consider these steps as a sales onboarding checklist to help you optimize every stage.

1. Start at the First Point of Contact

The sales onboarding process doesn't start on an employee's first day — it begins with their first impression of your company. The hiring experience can influence the way an employee perceives their job.

To give a great impression during the hiring process, keep these points in mind:

  • Make sure your website is clear and informative
  • Keep in touch with all candidates throughout the hiring process and let everyone know if there are any unexpected delays
  • Allow candidates to meet a variety of employees when they come for on-site interviews so that they can build unique memories and connections from their experience
  • People who had lengthy interactions with candidates can send them an email letting them know it was good to meet them, along with a congratulatory email after a job offer

After extending a job offer, hiring managers should stay in touch regularly with the new recruit. This makes new members feel more welcome in your company and gives them someone to answer any questions they may have.

2. Let New Hires Know the Schedule for Day One in Advance

New employees are always nervous about their first day. Keeping them in the loop about what to expect will help them have a smooth onboarding process. Some things to do in preparation for their first day include:

  • Have hiring managers call new hires to welcome them to the team and get to know them on a personal level
  • Make sure the new employee's workspace is clean
  • Get all necessary security badges and parking permits to the candidate
  • Check that all technology they'll use is working properly
  • Connect their phone to your corporate network and set up their email
  • Have them sign and return all paperwork ahead of time, so they don't need to spend time on it on their first day
  • Ask some employees from the current sales team to drop by and introduce themselves without overloading the new hire

3. Use Technology To Streamline the Process

You can make your sales onboarding program more enjoyable and engaging if you incorporate technology correctly. Here are some ideas you can try while training new salespeople:

  • Gamify the process, integrating challenges that they can engage with into the sales training
  • Add videos to your training modules to make your presentations more interesting and help new hires retain the information
  • Use your scheduling and agenda tools while onboarding new sales rep to help them get familiar with your workflows
  • Let them use your software during training modules, and maybe even turn it into a game like a puzzle that requires them to use all the tools they'll need for their role

4. Let Trainees Explore Your Products in Detail

Employees will perform better if they're confident that they understand your product, how you set yourself apart from competitors, and what customers love about your brand. Here are some ideas that can help new employees learn about your products:

  • Give them time to explore products and all their features on their own so that they can learn about them in the best way for themselves
  • Have engineering and product development team members present training modules so that they can answer questions on design choices and upcoming changes
  • Show them customer testimonials and, if possible, have them talk directly with your best customers, so they can understand what people love about your company
  • If they're new to your industry, give them some resources or a training module with an industry crash course to help them catch up with industry trends

5. Give New Sales Reps an Appropriate Ramp-up Period

Correctly pacing the sales onboarding process is a tricky challenge. Fortunately, data from past onboarding experiences can help you figure out the right milestones to set. Make sure you communicate these markers clearly with the new hires and give them the guidance they need to meet them.

Here are some tips to ramp up new employees appropriately:

  • Identify how long past hires took to reach their full quota and their general trajectory to get there. Focusing on high-performing and average-performing hires helps you set reasonable targets.
  • Consider your sales cycle length when you set goals. If they have to make large deals that take months to close, their ramp-up period shouldn't look the same as it would for a company that makes transactional deals. A good rule of thumb is to make your ramp-up period as long as your sales cycle plus 90 days, though you should also consider new hires' prior experience.
  • Offer them flexible compensation plans at the beginning of their onboarding period. That way, they can focus on their training without the pressure of closing a sale early to pay their living expenses.
  • Regularly meet with new sales reps to assess how they're doing.
  • Gradually increase their sales quota so they feel ready by the time they hit their full quota.

6. Help New Hires Learn From Present Employees

New employees can quickly settle into their role if they have a senior employee they can talk to. There are two ways you can help them foster this relationship: shadowing and mentorships.

A shadowing program lets new hires understand how your best employees do their job. This helps them set personal goals to aspire to. Here are some shadowing activities you can offer new hires:

  • Have your sales manager select one of your best sales reps to give them a full sales presentation and let the new hire analyze why the presentation was strong and what they can bring to their own style
  • Later in the onboarding process, let the new sales rep listen in on different sales calls, like a cold call, a call with a prospect in the middle of your sales cycle, and a call with a prospect at the late stage
  • Even further into the onboarding process, have them give a sales presentation to your best sales reps and let them try out mock calls with an experienced employee like your sales leaders, giving them feedback on their performances in the sales process

Setting up new hires in a formal mentorship shows that you're investing in their career progression. Many employees will appreciate knowing that they matter to your company. Here are some ideas to effectively implement your mentorship program:

  • Match mentors and mentees based on personality, career goals, and communication styles
  • Train mentors before they enter the program so they understand their role
  • If you're a smaller company, you can instead assign them a workplace buddy who can answer practical questions like how to get reimbursed for expenses

Make Deeper Connections and Close More Sales

The onboarding process is only one aspect of building relationships with your prospects. You can close even more sales by connecting with the right prospects for your business. Book a meeting with our experts to learn how The Sales Connection can connect you with the perfect sales representatives for your company and boost your sales.

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Kayvon Kay

Kayvon Kay

Kayvon has over two decades of experience working with high-level closers and perfecting his sales methodologies. He has earned the title of Canada’s #1 pharmaceutical sales representative and continues to share his expertise as a keynote speaker and through his multi-million-dollar coaching program.

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