The success of new sales reps that you’ll be bringing into your team in 2020 will largely depend on how well the sales onboarding process is organized and executed. Bringing a new salesperson into an already-established sales team can be daunting—for both your business and the new hire. Will they be a good fit? How will clients react to the new face? What information do they need to succeed?
First, take a deep breath. The good news is, you don’t have to roll the dice. With some organized planning and an understanding of sales rep onboarding best practices, you can be confident that you know the answers to these questions long before your new salesperson hits the streets.
There isn’t a magical introduction that leads to exponential sales team productivity. But you can line yourself and your new rep up for success with a well-thought-out and executed strategy--all without driving up training costs. This will help ensure the continued growth of your company.
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What Is Sales Onboarding?
Sales onboarding is the method companies use to bring new sales reps into their team and train them with the skills, tools and knowledge they need to succeed within the organization and advance the team towards their goals.
The process includes training on your products, technology, and company values. It should also involve selling techniques and tips to give your sales team everything they need to succeed. Your onboarding for reps should increase your retention rate and boost productivity.
The right onboarding process is vital to your organization’s health. A poor onboarding process can create disengaged employees and a high turnover rate. This is a costly mistake for companies. The average turnover costs approximately $115,000 per sales rep. Between the cost of to find, hire and train a new sales rep, plus the lost sales in the territory while getting a new rep into place, turnover can be a significant cost.
In addition to keeping new employees, the right onboarding process will help boost their productivity. New employees don’t have to waste time and resources trying to find the best way to accomplish their job. They can glean from the experience of others and build off of their knowledge. As a result, they can take your company to new heights.
The onboarding process for new sales reps is more than handing them an employee handbook and access to your CRM. According to a survey of 384 companies, the average length of time it takes to ramp up a new sales rep is 4.5 months. However, almost 20% of companies take longer than seven months to get their sales reps up to speed.
That's why planning for an efficient sales rep onboarding process is so important. With the 30-60-90 day onboarding plan for sales reps, you can spend less time onboarding and more time selling.
30-60-90 Day Sales Onboarding Plan for Reps
You may be wondering what the best onboarding strategy is or how long onboarding should be for a sales rep according to best practices. If you are not using a 30-60-90 day onboarding plan yet, you should be.
A 30-60-90 day sales onboarding plan turns a murky onboarding process to a clear-cut, black and white course of action for your new sales employee. It defines a concrete action plan and lays out a clear vision for one’s abilities and the expectations of them.
The onboarding plan should be laid out for your new employees no later than for the start of their first week on the job. We’ll help you do it! This article will share with you tips for setting up a sales onboarding plan and take you through a complete 30-60-90 day sales rep onboarding checklist, step-by-step, based on onboarding best practices. Let’s take a look:
Tips for Setting Up a Sales Training Plan
When it comes to sales training, there is no one size that fits all. Each company has its own set of goals, needs and values. But, no matter what, there are several key things to keep in mind to ensure you are setting your onboarding plan, your sales team, and your new reps up for success.
Tip #1: Have a Team-Focused Approach
While sales is a relationship-based business, the objective is to build a relationship between the client and the company rather than the company and “their rep”. This starts at the very beginning during the initial onboarding.
Involve the entire team throughout the onboarding of your new reps and this team mentality will be present throughout all aspects of the sales process moving forward. This means it will also be evident to your clients and customers.
Be intentional about presenting a complete sales team and a unified front to leads and clients in each territory from the very beginning.
That’s why one of the best possible plays is having your seasoned sales reps introduce the new sales reps to the established clients in the territory. With a little luck, your clients will welcome your new salesperson with open arms.
Tip #2: Easily Share (and Protect) Collected Data To Build Knowledge & Foster Relationships
When your new reps are in the early onboarding stages, having them base their learning on real prospects and clients will allow for a better understanding of your company’s target market, processes, and products.
So it is important to be able to quickly and effectively share data with new reps when you need to. As well as being able to protect sensitive data if needed.
One of the cleanest, easiest ways to do this is by keeping all client information in a centralized, easy-to-access database with controlled permissions.
As a sales manager, you should be able to toggle on and off access to all information, like contacts. Your new salespeople can have immediate access to anything and everything they might need.
With Map My Customers, for example, you can immediately give the new hire access to the information that is pertinent to them, like:
- Contact information
- Relationship history and related notes (purchases, value, etc.)
- Lead Stages (who is cold, who is ready to bite, etc.)
- A visual representation of their territory (with your contacts depicted as color-coded pins)
The added bonus of seamlessly passing on this information relates to the first point: maintain a cohesive brand image. By getting your salesperson completely up to speed, you help them maintain a uniform appearance and quickly win the trust (and ease the nerves!) of your valued customers.
Tip #3: Create a Seamless Brand and Culture
You want to be confident that every single salesperson and employee is an extension of your business’ brand and culture. This is another reason bringing everyone into the onboarding process is valuable.
Your business has a particular way of running. You’ve developed a culture for client relations, a protocol for warming up leads, a communication strategy for prospects, and a “vibe” or personality for your business overall. Even though nobody could ever expect (or want) each salesperson to be a clone of one another, the interactions should feel relatively consistent across the board.
This can be done through your mission statement. Your mission statement is more than a couple of sentences on your “About” page. It’s what powers your business’ selling engine.
With a solid mission statement, your new rep can immediately wrap their head around your company’s “why”. When your sales team understands this fundamental piece of your business, they can have the ability and freedom to make intelligent decisions based on a set of shared values.
Instead of just leaving it up to your new hire to determine the best way to approach targets or clients, a mission statement guides them and they immediately know what their expectations are.
Take some time to write up a solid mission statement. Then, find opportunities to remind your sales team of it every single day. And, the next time you hire, make sure you find people who can understand and fit into the work culture you’re promoting.
Tip #4: Use a New Hire Checklist Template
To make the new hire onboarding process easier, more efficient and more organized, look into using a new hire checklist template. Using a checklist helps you ensure that you are training each and every one of your new reps in the same way and covering all of the material they need to succeed.
We've put together a comprehensive checklist of the considerations you should keep in mind at every step of the onboarding process. Your sales reps onboarding checklist, based on the checklist laid out in the next section, should be tweaked based on your company and specific needs. Let's get into it.
30: The First 30 Days of Sales Onboarding
During the first 30 days, this is where the solid foundation is built. Much of this first month should revolve around information gathering and your new rep learning everything they possibly can about the company, the products, the target market, your sales process, as well as getting to know their colleagues. This can be done through both in-person meetings and training sessions as well as the reps independently going over material that has been put together for new hire training.
Visual data is absorbed more efficiently and effectively than raw text data, so video training modules are great for the fundamental information about the company, its offerings, and its processes that you want to convey. It is important to keep any videos you use concise and to the point. It’s also more effective to use videos of people/employees explaining the information versus simply using slides.
Sales Onboarding Checklist Template for the First 30 Days
Company — Introduce the new sales rep to your company's values, culture and goals
|Break down the details about your company, values, and culture through a library of videos and stories, detailing the latest core company goals and objectives|
|Give new sales reps the opportunity to meet and have one-on-one conversations with each primary team member to understand current roles and the team dynamic|
Product — Familiarize the rep with what they're selling
|Demo the product to instill an understanding of product capabilities, either through videos or in-person demos from team members/leadership|
|Outline what sets your product apart and makes it different from the competition|
|Ask new reps to review current customer use cases of products to expand on product knowledge and understand product application|
|Give new sales reps the opportunity to begin independently demoing and testing the product to start preparing for future product demos (if your company offers SaaS or tangible products)|
Customer — Know who you're selling to
|Utilize customer stories of existing customers and include detailed industry, segment, geography, and product use information — new reps can use these examples in their customer conversations and prospecting efforts|
|Have reps participate in in-depth conversations with sales leaders about these customer stories and use cases to discuss contract values, how they purchased, why they purchased, sales cycle, etc.|
|Ask new reps to review several examples of existing contracts to learn and understand your company’s common business terms and conditions|
|Have reps do customer calls and other status calls as observers to gain further understanding of customer point of view and day-to-day customer interactions|
Sales Cycle — Know when to sell
|Detail each phase of the sales cycle using rich visual depictions|
|Have reps go through exercises, team-work, discussions, and role-play through each phase of the customer journey and sales process|
This is best achieved by utilizing real accounts and having new reps go through the motions. Here are some examples of common cycle stages and sales rep onboarding work to do:
- Research prospective companies and contacts and draft prospecting emails
- Write out examples of discovery and qualification questions
- Create a customized sales presentation based on a chosen example customer and practice presenting it. Feedback provided from peers and you as the sales manager
- Create a fully customized proposal with solution details and pricing
- Map out the sales acquisition process for a real deal
Pipeline — Organize your sales goals and targets
|Have new reps create two lists of target prospective accounts and contacts within those accounts|
|Determine the total number needed for each list (it is recommended that there are at least 25 on the first wave list and at least 50 additional on the second wave list)|
|Approve lists by the end of the first 30 days so lists can be added to the CRM and outreach can begin|
|Ask new reps to plan and share a general approach for outreach and how to build a pipeline with sales leadership|
|Discuss the plan and any rooms for opportunity or improvement|
Software — Use technology to make the process more efficient and productive
|Approve and give sales CRM access to new reps — CRM should be set up under their usernames with initial lists of prospects uploaded|
Culture — Welcome to the new reps to the family
|Give each new sales rep a warm welcome to the team — you can use a new hire onboarding kit to celebrate the new team member and share the company culture|
Testing Understanding — Make sure reps are picking up what you're putting down
|Create and utilize quizzes or certifications that are mapped to the company overview information, sales stages, and the entire sales process|
Topics can include the corporate overview, initial opening sales pitch, first in-person meeting sales presentation and product demo, second meeting presentation, and objection handling.
Check-ins — Open communication for better learning and accountability
|Keep a consistent schedule of weekly check-ins to allow your new rep to ask questions and hear from their peers|
60: The Second 30 Days of Sales Onboarding
Now that your new sales reps have gone through the onboarding process of building a solid foundation, the second month starts to put those company fundamentals in action and allows an introduction in the field.
During the “60” phase of your sales onboarding plan, reps will be practicing demos and presentations, shadowing current sales reps, and meeting prospects and clients and starting to develop relationships. They will also have the opportunity to further develop their understanding of the customer experience, including what’s working well and where opportunities may lie to better support customers.
Sales Onboarding Checklist Template for Days 31-60
|Frequently create, collaborate on and practice sales presentations and product demos to build competency|
This can be done either through in-person role play with other new sales reps and sales leadership or through the use of video coaching technology (like Showpad Coach). Through video coaching, reps can record a video of themselves doing a product demo or sales presentations and this is submitted to sales leadership for review and feedback.
With either method, it is important to assess the rep’s performance and pinpoint any rooms for improvement.
|Make it mandatory that new hires shadow as many sales peers as possible for calls and in-person meetings/presentations|
|Have new reps listen and ask questions|
This will also allow them to start to develop relationships with prospects and key clients and learn the territories. During check-ins with sales leadership, have the reps detail what they have learned while shadowing so far, how they’ll apply lessons they have learned, and what new opportunities they may have pinpointed.
|Have new sales reps perform daily prospect outreach, starting with the two lists they developed in the first 30 days|
|Check that additional outreach lists of target accounts and contacts within those accounts are being developed to foster the growth of new leads|
|Check that reps are identifying relevant opportunities to support their continued sales effort and career development|
Examples include networking groups to join, conferences to attend, etc.
|Continue to keep a schedule of frequent check-ins with new sales reps to evaluate their competency and provide support|
At this point, new sales reps should be getting good hands-on exposure to the sales process in live-action. They should have enough of an understanding of the business to feel comfortable to speak up, ask questions, collaborate, and engage in discussion in sales team meetings.
90: The Last 30 Days of Sales Onboarding
During the final 30 days of sales rep onboarding, your new reps should be to a comfortable point where they are ready to hit the ground running. During the “90” phase, the goal is to build on what the reps have learned already and make adjustments where needed.
Essentially, at this point, your reps will be learning through “trial by fire”.
Sales Onboarding Checklist Template for Days 61-90
Live Sales Calls
|Have new sales reps make sales calls on their own to the prospects they've been reaching out to and making connections with|
|Have reps use screen recording capabilities, through a tool like Brainshark, and record their screen during demo or sales calls — you or sales leaders can then review these recordings to assess the rep’s performance, deliver feedback, and provide constructive coaching|
|Have sales leadership listen in on reps’ sales calls or accompanies reps to several sales meetings/product demos — leadership should provide reps with continued feedback|
|Continue to prospect daily via multiple prospecting tools and channels including calls, email, and social|
|Adjust the expected outreach volume based on results — volume should increase if the rep’s outreach is not fruitful and producing quality meetings, and decrease per day if outreach is bearing consistent prospect meetings|
|Optimize prospect lists and zero in on larger, more strategic clients|
|Reps are actively seeking out and discovering relevant opportunities to support sales efforts and improve sales enablement|
|Continue to keep a schedule of check-ins with new sales reps to evaluate competency and provide support|
During this phase, check-ins can move to bi-weekly (or more frequently as needed). The most important thing is to make sure your reps still feel supported.
At this point in the 30-60-90 day sales onboarding plan, your reps should have a solid foundation and strong enough skills to perform critical sales tasks without a lot of hands-on support. Your reps should also have a strong network of peers established to ensure success and be very clear on where to go for questions or support.
This is by no means a definitive, set in stone 30-60-90 day onboarding plan. But, it is a great example of an effective onboarding strategy to get you started and allow you to optimize your onboarding process and get your new reps hitting quota faster.
Wrapping It All Up
Having new sales talent come into the picture is essential to elevating your business—but it can only work if you’ve created an environment where they can thrive. Much of this is established during the initial onboarding.
By utilizing a 30-60-90 day onboarding plan for new sales reps, clear and definitive objectives, expectations, and timelines are established and a supportive environment of learning is created. Communication is built-in to ensure success and a team mentality is fostered.
If you’re mindful of building consistency, confidence, and trust at each stage of your rep onboarding process, then your business’ relationships should grow even stronger with each new addition. Now, go get that new salesperson and help them rock their new territory—one sale at a time.