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Glossary » Sales Onboarding

Sales Onboarding

Hiring new salespeople is a challenging process, particularly for smaller business-to-business (B2B) organizations that don’t have much prior experience. But it’s only half the battle—helping new sales reps learn the sales process is key to success.

Sales onboarding is the process of getting new sales reps up-to-speed on their company, its products, and its processes. It’s a crucial step in ensuring that new hires can hit the ground running and start contributing to the company’s bottom line as quickly as possible.

What Is Sales Onboarding?

Onboarding is the process of integrating a new employee into an organization. Sales onboarding specifically refers to the process of orienting new sales employees and getting them up to speed on company products, policies, and procedures. The goal of this process is to help new hires learn about the company, the culture, and the sales playbook so that they can hit the ground running and start selling quickly.

Sales onboarding typically includes a mix of formal training, such as product knowledge sessions and role-playing exercises, and informal learning, such as shadowing experienced salespeople and mentorship from a more senior colleague.

By taking the time to properly onboard new sales hires, companies can set them up for success and ensure that they can contribute to the bottom line from day one.

Synonyms

  • Sales Training: The process of teaching new sales reps the skills they need to be successful in their role. This can include product knowledge, industry trends, and best practices for selling.
  • Sales Orientation: A formal introduction to the company that covers topics such as the company history, culture, values, and mission.
  • Formal Sales Training: structured learning that covers the basics of the sales process, product knowledge, and company procedures.
  • Informal Sales Learning: Learning takes place through observation and mentorship from more experienced colleagues.
  • Sales Mentorship: A more experienced sales rep acts as a coach and mentor to a new hire, providing guidance and advice on the sales process, company culture, and product knowledge.

Benefits of Effective Sales Onboarding

Sales onboarding plays a critical role in the success of new sales hires. A few critical benefits of an effective sales onboarding program include:

Sets Reps Up for Success

In many cases, sales reps are one of the first points of contact for potential customers. That’s why 49% of top-performing reps consider the availability of onboarding to be a major factor when considering a new job. By taking the time to onboard new hires, companies can ensure that they are well-prepared to represent the company and sell its products or services.

An effective sales onboarding program ensures that new reps are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in their role from day one. By taking the time to onboard reps properly, companies can avoid the costly mistakes that come with on-the-job training.

Builds a Strong Company Foundation

A well-run sales onboarding program instills company values and culture in new hires from the very beginning. This helps create a strong foundation for the sales team and ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals.

It also helps to build a sense of camaraderie and teamwork within the sales department, which is critical for success.

Reduces Ramp Time

Onboarding new sales reps takes about three months on average. This varies depending on the company, the size of the sales team, and the complexity of the products or services being sold.

The goal of onboarding is to reduce the time it takes for new hires to reach full productivity. By equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful, onboarding can help new reps ramp up quickly and start selling sooner.

Higher Retention Rate

93% of employers say that an effective onboarding experience significantly increases employee satisfaction and willingness to stay. When companies invest time in getting their employees up to speed, those employees are more likely to stick around for the long haul.

And since sales reps are major contributors to the company’s revenue growth, keeping them happy is essential for the continued success of the business as a whole.

Higher Sales Efficiency and Productivity

When new sales team members are able to ramp up quickly, it leads to higher sales efficiency and productivity. This isn’t just because faster ramp times equate to faster revenue generation—it’s also because onboarding can help new reps avoid the common mistakes that often plague those in the early stages of their career.

By getting new reps up to speed quickly, companies can avoid lost sales and decreased productivity due to rookie mistakes and accelerate the sales cycle.

Sales Onboarding Best Practices

For sales management to successfully onboard new reps, there are a few things they should keep in mind.

Establish Your Sales Process/Method

Without a clearly defined method for moving prospects through the sales cycle, it will be difficult for new sales reps to understand their role within the team. In addition, a lack of clarity can lead to frustration and confusion, ultimately resulting in a longer ramp-up time.

Before onboarding begins, it’s important to establish a sales process or method that all new hires will be expected to follow. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page from the start and that new reps understand their role in the team.

Use Content (FAQs, knowledge base, videos, process documentation, etc.)

Written and video content aren’t just demand generation tactics in the B2B buying experience. They’re also powerful tools that can be used to onboard new sales reps.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs), process documentation, and knowledge base articles can help new reps understand the company’s products or services and how to sell them effectively. In addition, videos can be used to show new reps how to use the company’s CRM or other sales tools.

By providing new hires with content that is relevant to their role, companies can help them ramp up quickly and start selling sooner.

Set Clear Expectations

Without clear expectations, it can be difficult for new sales reps to know what is expected of them. As a result, they may end up feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, which can lead to a longer ramp-up time.

To avoid this, it’s important to set clear expectations from the start. This means communicating what is expected in terms of sales goals, activity level, and accountability.

By setting clear expectations, companies can help new reps understand what is expected of them and give them the guidance they need to be successful.

Here are a few best practices for setting up expectations with new reps:

  1. Define what ” success” looks like in specific terms. This may include a certain number of sales, a certain amount of revenue, or a certain number of new customers.
  2. Be clear about what is expected in terms of activity level. This may include the number of calls that need to be made, the number of emails that need to be sent, or the number of meetings that need to be attended.
  3. Explain how new reps will be evaluated. This may include weekly or monthly check-ins, performance reviews, or quota attainment.
  4. Set realistic goals that are achievable in the short and long term. This will help new reps stay motivated and focused on the task at hand.
  5. Provide feedback regularly. Setting up weekly 1-on-1 conversations with sales reps and providing feedback on their performance is a great way to help them understand what they’re doing well and where they can improve.

By setting clear expectations, companies can help new reps understand what is expected of them and give them the guidance they need to be successful.

Assign a Sales Mentor

When new hires can learn from already-successful sales reps, they’re more likely to ramp up quickly and hit their stride sooner.

A sales mentor can show new reps the ropes, provide guidance and support, answer questions, and give feedback. In addition, a mentor can help new reps understand the company’s culture and how to be successful within it.

Mentors can also provide encouragement and motivation, which can be helpful when new reps are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.

Evaluate Performance Regularly

Having a 30-60-90-day plan is one of the most simple yet effective ways to onboard new sales reps and help them ramp up quickly. This type of plan outlines what is expected of new reps in the first, second, and third months on the job.

Typically, the first month involves learning about the company, the products or services, and the sales process. The second month focuses on building relationships with customers and prospects. And the third month is when new reps start to close deals.

Use Sales Enablement Technology

Sales enablement is the process of providing sales reps with the tools, training, and content they need to be successful. Sales enablement technology may include CRM software, a sales intelligence tool, or a proposal generation tool.

Part of the onboarding process should involve training new reps on how to use these sales acceleration tools. Whether it is company-produced training content, training resources provided by the software provider, or third-party training, new reps should be given the opportunity to learn about and practice using these tools.

Continuous Training

Sales training is not a one-time event. In order to be successful, sales reps need to continuously learn and develop their skills.

As part of the onboarding process, companies should continue to provide their employees with new opportunities to grow and listen to advice from more experienced sales reps.

Technology Trends in Sales Onboarding

Like many other business processes, sales onboarding is being affected by advances in technology. Here are a few trends that are changing the way sales onboarding is done:

LMS (Learning Management System)

An LMS is a software application that can be used to create, deliver, and manage training content. LMSs are often used to onboard new employees and provide them with the training they need to be successful in their roles.

CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a must-have for sales automation. CRM software helps sales reps track their interactions with customers and prospects, manage leads, and close deals.

Most companies use some kind of CRM, and the onboarding process should include training new reps on how to use the CRM software so they can hit the ground running and start using it effectively from day one.

Performance Tracking

By monitoring the right key performance indicators (KPIs), companies can identify which sales reps are struggling and need additional training or support. Additionally, tracking performance can help companies identify onboarding processes and materials that are ineffective and need to be improved.

Sales Analytics

Sales analytics tools can help sales reps and managers identify trends, track performance, and decide where to focus their efforts.

When used correctly, sales analytics can be a powerful tool for improving the onboarding process and ensuring that new reps are successful.

CPQ

Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software can help sales reps generate accurate quotes and proposals for customers. CPQ software often includes features such as a sales playbook and guided selling, which can be helpful for onboarding new reps.

Each of these things can help make the onboarding process more effective, efficient, and successful.

People Also Ask

Why is sales onboarding important?

Onboarding is an important process for any company, but it is particularly crucial for sales teams. A successful sales onboarding program can help to improve retention rates, increase productivity, and accelerate the ramp-up time for new hires.

By providing new sales reps with the tools, training, and support they need to be successful, onboarding helps to set them up for success from day one. Additionally, onboarding provides an opportunity to instill company culture and values in new hires.

What should be included in sales onboarding?

When onboarding new sales team members, it’s important to set them up for success by covering all the essential information. First, they’ll need to be familiar with your company’s products or services. This includes understanding the features and benefits, as well as the target market.

They’ll also need to understand the sales process itself, including any steps or stages that are unique to your company. They should also be familiar with any relevant tools and resources, such as proposal templates and pricing sheets.

To help them understand their client-facing role, some companies also provide customer service training. This can be helpful for teaching them how to handle customer inquiries, complaints, and requests.

How can the sales onboarding process be improved?

All too often, the onboarding process is rushed and fails to give new salespeople the foundation they need to succeed. There are a few key ways that the onboarding process can be improved.
Give new salespeople enough time to learn about the product. They should be given ample opportunity to ask questions and get a thorough understanding of what they are selling.

Focus on developing essential sales skills. New salespeople should be given opportunities to practice their pitches and learn how to handle objections properly.
Provide ongoing support throughout the onboarding process. New salespeople should have a dedicated coach or mentor who can answer their questions and help them navigate any challenges that come up.

By making a few simple tweaks, the onboarding process can be transformed from a liability into an asset.

Is sales onboarding the same as training?

Sales training is a part of the onboarding process, but it is not the same thing. Sales training is focused on teaching reps the specific skills they need to be successful in their role. It includes activities such as role-playing, product demos, and learning about the company’s sales process.

In contrast, sales onboarding is a broader process encompassing everything from introductions to the company culture to learning about the competition. While sales training is an important part of onboarding, it is only one piece of the puzzle.