As the sales team manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that new sales reps are properly onboarded and trained. Onboarding is the process of bringing a new hire up to speed on the company culture, values, systems, procedures, and products.
A good onboarding program will help new sales reps hit the ground running and make a positive contribution to the team from day one.
Here is what you need to know about getting your new sales team up to speed efficiently and the best strategies to make it happen.
4 Key Phases of Onboarding
Sales onboarding works through four phases as the new hire gets the administrative work done and begins moving into their new role with confidence.
Phase One: Pre-Onboarding
Pre-onboarding is the period before the new hire’s first day when you as the manager should prepare them for what to expect. When onboarding salespeople, send them information about the company, their role on the team, who their manager will be, and what to expect.
Pre-onboarding is also an excellent time to introduce them to other members of the sales team virtually so they can begin to build relationships.
Phase Two: Orientation
Orientation is the first day on the job when you will complete all of the administrative work, such as onboarding paperwork and getting them set up with the necessary equipment and account access.
You shouldl also give them a tour of the office, introduce them to other new and current team members, and review the company’s policies and procedures. Orientation usually serves as your “first impression” on a new hire despite having already connected, so make sure each hire feels welcomed and valued.
Phase Three: Training
The training phase is when you will teach the new hire the skills they need to be successful in their role. During this portion, you may include activities and tasks such as product training, sales process training, and role-playing exercises.
The training phase can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the sales rep’s experience and job requirements.
Some companies prefer to use a pre-made training program, while others work hands-on and within their systems to learn the ins and outs of the role and all its intricacies.
Phase Four: Integration
The integration phase is when the new hire is finally ready to start working independently and taking on their sales. At this point, your salespeople should have a good understanding of the company’s products and services, the sales process, and their role on the team.
The integration phase is an ongoing process as the new hire continues to learn and grow in their role.
How To Create a Sales Onboarding Program
Now that you understand the different onboarding phases, create a sales onboarding program for your team.
When creating your onboarding program, consider what type of information new sales reps need to know and in what sequence they need to learn it. Aim to tailor your onboarding program to your company’s specific products, services, and sales process.
Here are a few elements to consider adding to your onboarding program:
New hires need to understand the company’s culture, including its values, mission, and vision to be true advocates for the brand.
Products and Services
New sales reps should have a strong understanding of what your company offers to sell it confidently.
Teach new sales reps your company’s specific sales process so they know how to approach prospective customers and close deals.
Administrative tasks include onboarding paperwork, company policies, reports, and more.
Systems and Procedures
New salespeople need to know how to use your company’s CRM and other programs used by the sales department so they can efficiently do their job.
Make sure that new sales reps know where they can find information and help when they need it.
The onboarding process does not need to be complicated or lengthy–the goal is simply to set new sales reps up for success.
The Importance of Having a Strong Onboarding Process in Place
When onboarding salespeople, a strong program will also help new reps feel more comfortable and confident in their role, which makes them more satisfied and helps you retain talent.
The last thing you want is to spend time, energy, and money welcoming a new team member, only for them to turn around and hit the road a few weeks later.
Another benefit of a strong and repeatable onboarding process is that it can help you attract top talent. When prospective sales reps see that your company takes the time to onboard new hires and help them be successful, they are more likely to want to work for you.
Finally, onboarding new sales reps is good for business. Studies have shown that companies with a structured onboarding program see better results, including increased retention and productivity.
Some of the Best Ways To Onboard New Sales Hires
There are a few key things you can do to onboard new sales hires effectively:
New sales reps should know what is expected of them in their role to meet your requirements consistently.
Be Clear and Concise
When onboarding salespeople, be clear and concise with your instructions so there is no confusion. Repeat important sections if necessary.
Give Adequate Training
Sales onboarding programs should include comprehensive training on your company’s products, services, and sales process.
Onboarding is a process, so be patient with new sales reps as they learn and grow in their role. They might get confused or take a bit longer to catch on than you initially anticipated but your patience goes a long way in helping them feel comfortable enough to ask questions and put in the effort.
Ways To Improve Your Sales Onboarding Process
If you are not happy with your company’s current onboarding process, there are some easy ways to make improvements.
Whether you feel like it is lacking a formal structure, needs more training modules, or could use input from your current sales team, here are a few ways to give your sales onboarding process the edge it needs:
Make It More Structured
If your onboarding process is currently unstructured, consider making some changes so it is more organized and efficient.
Add More Training
If new sales reps are struggling to ramp up, you may need to add more comprehensive training to your onboarding program.
Get Input from Sales Reps
If you are not sure what is working and what is not, ask your current sales reps for feedback on how to improve your onboarding and training.
Use Onboarding Software
Use onboarding software programs to help fill any gaps in your process.
Training Inexperienced Salespeople During Onboarding
If you are onboarding relatively inexperienced salespeople, go the extra mile to provide adequate training so they can be successful in their role.
Some of the best ways to train new sales reps include:
- Providing comprehensive product training
- Thorough sales process training
- Training on CRM
- One-on-one mentoring
- Pairing new reps up with seasoned reps for shadowing
By taking the time to onboard and train new sales reps effectively, you empower them to be the best salespeople possible and help your business reach new heights.
They might need more time and attention than an experienced salesperson, but the effort usually pays off through their performance and eagerness to please.
Tools To Use for Sales Onboarding
Some helpful tools for onboarding salespeople include:
- Job aids
- Process maps
Job aids explain how to do something specific at work through step-by-step instructions. Cheatsheets could contain quick ways to overcome objections or practical terms that are useful for a newcomer.
Process maps provide a full-picture view of the sales strategy and how to transition between steps. Finally, scripts help new salespeople know exactly what to say on initial calls until they gain confidence.
Using these onboarding tools can help new sales reps learn their role more quickly and efficiently–and help your business onboard more effectively.
The Importance of a Sales Onboarding Checklist
A sales onboarding checklist is a critical tool for onboarding new sales reps. It can help ensure that you cover all the important topics and do not forget any key steps in the onboarding process.
A few things you may want to include on your onboarding checklist are:
By having a sales onboarding checklist, you can avoid any onboarding mistakes. Use it as your guide as you work through the process and cover each portion in-depth. Before moving on to the next part of the checklist, verify that there are not any lingering concerns or questions.
You want your team to feel confident going into new content with a firm grasp on what is already been reviewed.
The Bottom Line
A strong process is critical to the success of onboarding salespeople. By taking the time to onboard new hires effectively, you can help them ramp up more quickly, build confidence, and close more deals.
A strong onboarding program will also help new sales reps feel more comfortable and confident in their role, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and retention rates.
If you are looking to restructure your onboarding process, consider our course, Secrets for Onboarding & Mentoring New Salespeople. Designed to equip you with the right knowledge and tools so you can be sure you are welcoming new salespeople to your team properly and setting them up for complete success.
What is in it for you? Your business will thrive with the additional support and work of a well-onboarded sales team!