A successful sales onboarding program is key to reducing attrition, increasing productivity, and decreasing ramp up time. So why do mangers often ignore this crucial step?


What we’re going to cover:

  • Why is it so difficult?
  • What happens when you change?
  • Three Step Process.



Why is it so difficult?


No investment.

“There is very little investment or no investment at all. It takes time and effort. It’s about time and productivity, getting everybody involved.

They view sales onboarding through a very narrow scope and they’re not broadening their vision as to what it should be or could be and they don’t invest the time or the effort it takes to be successful.”

Product training.

“A lot of folks focus on things like HR or product training, “Well they know the product they can get up and running, they can sell because they worked somewhere else and had some success and it said so on the resume and I liked them in the interview…” Okay but they don’t know your sales methodology or your sales process or how to get things done in your company, they’re not part of the culture yet, they might understand the product but is that what you want? Them just dumping product information on people? That’s not going to sell a lot.”

Hire wrong salespeople.

“Even a great sales onboarding program isn’t going to help somebody be successful who isn’t supposed to be successful, aka the wrong person. But it will  help you find out earlier if they’re going to be unsuccessful and then you can decide in 30-60 days versus a year from now when you’ve lost a ton of money.”


“The assessment is part of the hiring process, it tells you what this person is capable of, it’s not the answer, go back and listen to the 6 step sales hiring process. The assessment is a real key indicator to whether this person can make it in a company or not.”


What happens when you change?


Reduce attrition.

“Okay yes you make bad hires, yes people leave companies for various reasons but it has nothing to do with your company. Instead, you can relate attrition to poor onboarding. It just starts the relationship off on the wrong foot and it never gets you on the right track. You put someone through a world class sales onboarding program and they’re ready to face the challenges of the world in front of them in your company.”

Increase Productivity.

“Think about all the people internally and externally that a new sales rep affects. And then ask yourself is it possible to increase productivity , prospects, selling, business or is it possible to increase productivity internally? Because internally they don’t have to babysit the new sales rep who doesn’t know anything. Productivity increase is not just for the number, the sales rep, or the sales manager, it increases across the board.”

Shorter ramp up time.

“That’s what we look at in the assessment, in our assessment we look at the ramp up time. Let’s say you have somebody that’s recommended and they score well, everything else works out, the ramp up time is going to be shorter and the return on investment is going to be a little shorter. And you’re going to increase that turn on investment.With a good sales onboarding program in place you’ll realize those numbers.”


Three Step Process.


Internal Interviews.


Current salespeople.

“You want to learn how your sales onboarding program can be improved, what’s working and what’s not working, ask your current salespeople. And you have to start with the premise of I’m not going to take this personally but I want to know what the company did and didn’t do well, what I did… I want every part of it. Walk them through the whole thing, pick their brain. You’ll be amazed at the kind of responses you get.”

Department heads.

“Start with the department heads, anything that’s sales rep facing you want to talk to them on what works and what doesn’t work. ‘When we bring in a new rep what are some of the things you notice when they interface with you?’ ‘Well they don’t know this, they do know this, this is where we could use some help, this is what’s working, this is what isn’t'”

Works with salespeople.

“Make it clear to them that this is not a session to complain about salespeople. What we’re here to do is figure out how we can get them up to speed faster and make your job easier, increase your productivity, make your life easier. Tell me how we can improve that. Now your setting it up for the long-term conversation and pulling them into the process, but you learn a lot about what’s going on. Who works with the salespeople?”




Clearly defined.

“I need to build out my program and I need to know what the end result looks like so I need to clearly define what the goals are. I want a vision for the outcome and I want to make sure it lines up with the goals of the company. And if this requires a brainstorming session then get together and do a brainstorming session.”


“I need to know what it’s going to take for long term success in my salespeople. Who’s going to be involved in it, what are the financial implications, what does that look like and is everybody able to support it?”




Who do they need?

“The way the plan works, the way you work a plan, is by asking what do they need? What do they need to be successful?”


“So, If I have all this company knowledge and messaging what does that look like and then how do I make that work? Something like navigating the waters of the company, how people like to be communicated with, what’s protocol? How do they get things done and keep things moving throughout the entire process?”


“Maybe they know what they’re selling and who they’re selling it to. They don’t need to be the most proficient in the product but they need to get a mix of exactly what it is they need to know on the product that they’re selling and how to sell it. So, mixing that up but building the plan to do that what does that look like?”


“They’re experienced they know what they’re doing, they go out, they sell that’s all I need. Really? You get ten people selling on ten different methodologies and you’re trying to manage that? Good luck, you’re going to pull your hair out. They need to know your sales methodology, how you sell. They need to know your sales process bench-marked against how your buyers buy and the buyer personas.”

How do you deliver it?

“You can do some of it but do you have the kind of time necessary it takes to be successful? Do you have a support system in place? Do you have a tool like an LMS system to back you up? They need to understand how to line all that stuff up and what’s going to work. If you have a plan for them they’ll dive right in, if you leave it up to them to plan what’s going to happen is they’re going to work on the things that they think are important versus the things you think are important. You need to drive this. I don’t care how experienced they are. You want them onboard with your process, your methodology, and how you do things.”



Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.


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