Does Your Sales Onboarding Process Need a Reboot?

BY Kathy Crosett
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The first few weeks your new sales rep spends on the job are critical. That’s when he’ll get a feel for your company’s culture. He’ll also be figuring out exactly what is expected of him. Make sure he gets the right message. Diane Valenti reviewed the critical components of a good sales onboarding program for the Association of Talent Development recently.

Large and Small Details

Every employee, including sales reps, needs to understand the mission of the organization they’ve joined. Onboarding processes should include a discussion of where the company fits in the industry and where it’s going. Once your new sales rep has that picture, you need to talk with him about his role. Give him specific targets to reach. Does he need to use the in-​house CRM? If so, provide training. Does the typical sales cycle at your company take 90 days? You might give a new rep a little longer to close those first few deals, but make sure you communicate your expectations regarding number of calls made, deals in pipeline, deals closed, etc.

Reverse Shadowing

There’s nothing like watching a top performer in action. Allowing a new rep to shadow a pro is a fast way to provide expert training. The strategy also gives your rep an idea of what your organization expects from him. To be sure the rep is absorbing the information, change up the shadowing after a few days. Ask an experienced rep to shadow the new hire’s performance and to offer helpful tips and suggestions.


Some organizations are tempted to provide an intensive, often off-​site onboarding process. There’s nothing wrong with this strategy. The problem is, as Valenti reminds readers, we can only learn so much in a short period of time. Your goal is to make sure your new rep learns enough to excel in his position. After the initial onboarding process, schedule regular training and development sessions, either in-​house or with a service provider.

There’s nothing like the opportunity to make a good first impression, whether it’s with a prospect or your new sales rep. Don’t blow your chance. Reboot your onboarding process to make sure everyone in your organization is on the winning team.