Now Boarding: A Guide to Onboarding New Sales Reps

By Matt Suggs | June 9, 2016

Just as you welcome and onboard new customers, you should also roll out the proverbial red carpet for your new sales reps. After all, you hope to have a long, mutually beneficial relationship, and you want to start things out right. A well thought-out sales onboarding process helps all parties begin on a positive note, and it shortens the time until your sales rep reaches productivity.

Sales onboarding should be about more than just the necessary HR tasks of filling out tax forms and signing up for health insurance. It should be about getting that new person up to speed, ensuring all their questions are answered, and sending them out into the field with confidence that they can meet and exceed goals. Here are some ideas for an outstanding sales onboarding process.

The Stages of Sales Rep Onboarding

Though there are no hard and fast rules, it helps to think of the sales onboarding process as a series of stages. In the initial stage, you thank your new rep for joining the team and communicate what his or her next steps are. During this time you’ll also want to put together a list of key contacts within your organization, and inform all relevant parties that you’re bringing in someone new. Set up the new rep’s training and set goals for his or her first few weeks,

Of course you’ll also need to ensure that all the HR tasks are fulfilled and that your new hire has copies of all relevant employee resources. As your new rep moves through the sales onboarding process, gather feedback from him or her and from other affected parties. Here you can fine tune goals and make changes more easily than you could later on. And finally, to help ensure your new rep is satisfied and wants to stay, part of sales onboarding should include developing a plan for success and defining how to measure progress.

Follow-Through Is Important

When your new person completes sales onboarding, both of you will naturally feel a sense of accomplishment. But don’t be tempted to put everything on autopilot at this point. Everyone will benefit if you have a 30-day, one-to-one call or meeting to discuss feedback, successes, challenges, training needs, and goals that need to be fine-tuned. This follow-through also serves to strengthen your relationship and demonstrate your company’s commitment to getting great results. Prepare questions to which you want answers beforehand, be prepared to recap activities during the rep’s first 30 days, and when you conclude, leave things on a positive note of how much you appreciate his or her efforts.

Ways to Streamline and Simplify Sales Onboarding

Though the sales onboarding process can’t be completely “canned,” there are several things you can do to streamline the process and get consistent results:

Overall, you want to take steps to save time while demonstrating it’s worth their effort to stay with your company.

Seeds of Employee Turnover Are Sown Early

With SaaS turnover rates nearing 35 percent, the importance of the onboarding process to preventing sales rep turnover cannot be overstated. Things that happen during those first critical days and weeks can set the stage for a long and mutually productive relationship, or they can generate problems that must be overcome for your new person to reach peak productivity. Plan sales onboarding carefully, make sure all relevant team members understand their roles and responsibilities toward getting the new person up to speed, and encourage everyone to focus on desired outcomes. You can consider sales onboarding “complete” once they have achieved some initial success and are on the path toward bigger and better successes.

Sales onboarding is much more than ensuring all the legal and HR requirements are fulfilled. Devote time to an outstanding sales onboarding process and you can shorten the time until your new rep reaches productivity. Moreover, you’ll set the conditions for a stronger, longer, and more productive and profitable relationship between your company and your new sales rep.

Matt Suggs leads the sales and business development teams at Mediafly, driving overall revenue growth and guiding the company to better understand the enterprise sales cycle. Since joining the company in 2010, Matt has been integral in adding and growing the company’s customers across different verticals. As a member of the executive committee, he also guides the overall strategy for Mediafly.

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