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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistMon, Jan 1, 2018 4 min read

8 Keys to Sales Onboarding Success

{}When onboarding is done correctly, new employees report higher levels of job satisfaction and greater feelings of commitment. They are also less likely to churn and have lower stress levels and better performance ratings than employees with no formal onboarding. On the other hand, one third of new hires quit their jobs within the first six months of being hired—which can be directly linked to poor onboarding procedures.

If your sales onboarding isn’t at its best, it might be time to consider what you’re missing. Here are eight tips for sales onboarding success.

1. Understand What Onboarding Should Accomplish

Before you jump into the onboarding agenda, first understand what you want the training to accomplish. If you don’t have a clear understanding of what your new hires should understand, creating an effective onboarding program is going to be extremely difficult.

Spell out what expectations you have, what above-average and below-average performances look like, and how to achieve your quotas.

2. Lay out a Plan

In your onboarding program, don’t forget to include a plan that outlines key activities and expectations for the first six to 12 months. All new hires should know what to expect for their first few months on the job. Knowing a plan is in place can help new reps continue to succeed even when they’re feeling uneasy.  

3. Use Peer Mentors

The first few months are extremely high-risk for new sales reps. They’ll struggle with dozens of questions from customers, fail to reach quotas, and begin to feel discouraged. An effective and cost-free way to help manage the stress and turn things around is to assign an experienced salesperson to mentor your new hires. 

The open dialogue and regular communication will help the new hires feel more comfortable while also helping them achieve success.

4. Use Various Delivery Tactics

When onboarding, consider using a combination of different learning formats. From a classroom setting with handouts and materials to self-guided online classes with quizzes and questionnaires, different tactics are key for teaching different topics and different salespeople. 

Plus, changing it up allows your new hires to test their knowledge both on their own and in a group setting.  

5. Start with Baby Steps

It’s a bad idea to introduce your new sales reps to a long list of products to sell in their first few months of being hired. They’ll feel overwhelmed and thrown into the deep end, making them more likely to churn and less likely to succeed. 

A better strategy involves baby steps—giving your new hires a few simpler solutions to sell before introducing them to the big-ticket items. This helps them get to know your products and your selling process one step at a time, which builds their confidence.

6. Share Examples

Successful onboarding always includes examples—otherwise, how will your reps know what “right” looks like? Include sample emails, calling scripts, templates for presentations, and videos that showcase what your sales reps should strive for and previous examples of it being done right.

7. Include Real-Life Activities

Too many onboarding programs include role-playing scenarios and that’s it. The problem is real life isn’t a scripted situation that’s always neat and tidy. Plus, these activities don’t often take the stresses of an actual situation into account.

It’s important to allow new reps to engage in real-life activities, such as job shadowing, to better prepare them for any situation that arises.

8. Continue Training

Training shouldn’t only be for new hires. Onboarding helps prepare new hires, but regular training should be in place for all your sales reps. How else can you maximize your sales team’s potential?


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.