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6-Point Checklist to Make Your Sales Onboarding a Success

Has retaining your sales force become difficult? Are you missing your annual revenue targets due to the job-hopping of your sales reps? Then it is time you check the quality of the induction training imparted to your freshly-recruited salespeople. Crafting a stellar sales onboarding process is pivotal in ensuring your new recruits seamlessly integrate into the high-paced, competitive landscape. In this blog, we present a comprehensive 6-point checklist designed to elevate your sales onboarding from mundane to magnificent.

Understanding Sales Onboarding in Detail

Sales onboarding is a strategic and structured process designed to integrate new sales team members into an organization, providing them with the knowledge, skills, tools, and resources necessary to become effective and productive contributors quickly. The primary goal of sales onboarding is to reduce the time it takes for new hires to reach peak performance and to ensure they have a solid understanding of the company's products, services, culture, and sales processes.

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Here's a detailed explanation of key elements in an effective sales onboarding process:

1. Orientation and Company Introduction

  • Company Overview: Provide new hires with a comprehensive understanding of the company's history, mission, values, and overall structure.
  • Introduction to Teams: Familiarize them with various departments and how they collaborate within the organization.

2. Product and Service Training

  • Product Knowledge: In-depth product training on the features, benefits, and unique selling points of the company's products or services.
  • Competitor Analysis: Understanding the competitive landscape to effectively position the company's offerings in the market.

Check out this informative podcast to understand more about product knowledge training.

3. Sales Process and Methodology

  • Sales Training: Train new hires on the company's sales process, methodologies, and best practices.
  • CRM and Sales Tools: Provide hands-on training for any customer relationship management (CRM) systems and other tools essential for the sales role.

4. Role-Specific Training

  • Territory or Industry Insights: Tailor training to the specific market or industry the salesperson will be working in.
  • Target Customer Personas: Help salespeople understand their target audience and how to approach different customer personas.

5. Skill Development

  • Communication Skills: Enhance verbal and written communication skills to effectively engage with clients.
  • Negotiation and Closing Techniques: Provide training on negotiation strategies and effective closing techniques.

Here are a few in-demand skills to excel as per current industry standards -

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6. Mentorship and Coaching

  • Assign Mentors: Pair new hires with experienced mentors to provide guidance and support.
  • Regular Feedback Sessions: Schedule regular feedback sessions to discuss performance, address concerns, and set goals.

7. Continuous Learning and Development

  • Ongoing Training Programs: Offer continuous training opportunities to keep the sales team updated on industry trends, product updates, and sales tactics.
  • Access to Resources: Provide access to a repository of resources, such as sales playbooks, case studies, and relevant documentation.

8. Performance Measurement and Adjustments

  • Metrics and KPIs: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of the onboarding process.
  • Feedback Loops: Collect feedback from both new hires and mentors to identify areas of improvement and make necessary adjustments to the onboarding program.

6-Point Checklist to Make Your Sales Onboarding a Success

1. Give a Broad Picture of Your Industry

If your new sales reps are fresh out of college, they won’t have knowledge of the industry. So, it’s better to provide them an overview of your industry, in the onboarding program. Apprise them of the latest developments in the industry. Good knowledge of the industry and its trends will surely help your sales reps provide expert advice to prospective customers, thereby gaining their trust.

2. Share Your Mission, Values, and Goals

Knowing your company’s mission, values, and goals can go a long way in helping new sales reps quickly get into the grove. Adding a mission statement and listing the values in your employee handbook is a good thing to do. If you don’t have that, provide a printed copy to the sales reps or explain it in the orientation session. You can also try to design crisp microlearning modules to share the required information to the modern workforce because of their reduced attention spans.

3. Explain Sales Targets

Once you share the company’s goals, clearly explain the individual sales targets to the new sales reps. Set the weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly targets, and apprise them of the same. This helps them understand what is expected of them. Here’s how you can motivate your sales reps to perform better.

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4. Impart Basic Training on Code of Conduct and Compliance Aspects

Sales reps are the face of your organization, so it’s necessary to train them on how they should conduct themselves with prospects and customers. New sales hires should be acquainted with the basics of applicable laws and norms, as they have to comply with these regulations while selling. Apart from a few entry level compliance training sessions, sales reps should also get given some personalized custom sessions to ensure they have all the required information. One of our clients in the medical device space provides an overview of the laws pertaining to off-label marketing to its new medical reps, to prevent violations.

5. Throw Light on Products and Competitors

We all know that products are the lifeline of organizations and good knowledge of products will help sales reps perform better. See that you provide an overview of the products you offer in the sales onboarding program. You need not delve into the features of each product, but make sure that the new salespeople have a basic understanding of your product portfolio.

6. Provide Information on Employee Benefits

Ensure the onboarding program provides clarity on what your company offers in terms of career and growth to your sales reps. Share details about monetary benefits, such as salary, incentives, and bonuses, in the onboarding program. You should also clearly explain your policies regarding leaves, medical expenditure reimbursement, and so on.

Wrapping Up!

By investing in a robust sales onboarding process, organizations can accelerate the integration of new sales team members, increase their confidence, and ultimately contribute to the overall success of the sales department and the company as a whole. Here’s a free checklist for you to develop your sales training programs effectively or any sort of online training in general.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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