Is Your Sales Rep Onboarding Process Broken?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Hiring the right sales rep to join your team is harder than it’s ever been. Keeping good reps is proving to be equally difficult. To improve your retention rate, you might want to update your onboarding process.

As Richard Ruff writes for salestrainingconnection​.com, your sales reps are one of your ‘competitive advantages.’ To stay ahead of the competition, you need to spend more time training them. Training and coaching should start during the first week on the job. The recently released white paper, What Your SalesPeople Are Afraid to Tell You, from SalesFuel​.com, reveals that 43% of salespeople only meet with their managers on a monthly basis. This kind of meeting and coaching schedule is no way to treat people who are representing your products and services on a daily basis.

Ruff points out that selling in today’s business climate requires an ‘encyclopedic’ knowledge. Think about the products and services your reps are promoting. Products loaded with new features are hard to sell if your rep doesn’t get why they are included in the new upgrade. Frequent and specific coaching during the onboarding process will help your new hires understand the nuances of the marketplace – the competition and where your offerings are designed to fit in.

Your onboarding process should also take age and experience of newly hired reps into consideration. Members of Gen Z are starting to enter the workplace. Like the millennials, these employees have expectations and needs that differ from their older counterparts. As relative newcomers to the professional world, they may require extra coaching and reassurance as they gain experience. Set up your onboarding process to encourage managers to formally meet with younger sales reps more frequently. These reps may be digitally savvy, but they may need to work harder at developing the kinds of interpersonal skills that are second nature to your more experienced reps. If you fumble this part of onboarding, you risk your millennial sales reps joining the 69% who have already left a company because they're dissatisfied.

Review your onboarding process and digital systems to be sure they allow for the flexibility your managers need to develop the new reps they hire. Then, make sure your managers are using these systems to track their progress and to identify and correct hiccups before they become huge issues.