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How to Onboard New Sales People Efficiently

By David Jacoby

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Here is a troubling statistic: the average sales person stays with a company for about two years. Considering all of the costs associated with such turnover – recruiting, sales training, salary, missed sales, lost time, etc. – effectively knowing how to onboard and hire sales people is critical. 

The goal of onboarding new sales people is to have them emotionally invest in your company and perform their jobs as soon as possible.

So how can you develop an efficient onboarding process?

Four Basic Questions that Most New Hires Have

  1. What do I need to know?
  2. Where is the information?
  3. Who can I contact to get things done?
  4. How do I perform the processes to get things done?

These four questions provide a useful framework for a successful onboarding program since they represent the major sources of frustration and anxiety for new hires. They should guide you to:

  • Better assist new hires navigate within your company to sell your products
  • Determine who your customers are and what they care about
  • Compete
  • Employ your sales processes and tools
  • Drive new revenue.

The root cause of many turnover issues can be traced back to poorly designed onboarding programs, and, ultimately, one of these four questions not being adequately addressed. For example, perhaps the onboarding program didn’t provide the new hire with sufficient selling skills, knowledge and/or product training to successfully enable new hires to sell. Or perhaps such information was made available but just not readily accessible.

In most cases, the most appropriate individual for onboarding new sales reps is their immediate supervisor, the sales manager. We recommend sales managers follow a milestone-based onboarding plan that details clear expectations for the new hire’s first year on the job, including checkpoints to monitor progress against specific goals. A key underlying assumption, of course, is that the sales manager knows how to coach new hires.

Lastly, an effective onboarding program should provide evaluation and metrics to demonstrate return on investment.

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About David Jacoby

David Jacoby
As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.

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