Sales onboarding is the process of getting new sales reps up to speed and acclimated to their new role. The three phases of sales onboarding are orientation, training, and integration. I remember when I went through my own sales onboarding process many years ago. It was a lot of information to take in all at once, but it was also exciting to start my new career journey. My manager did a great job walking me through each phase and helping me feel comfortable with the material.

Sales Onboarding Explained

The traditional way of training a sales rep is by having them shadow experienced colleagues, study customer data, listen to recorded sales calls and practice on live ones, and work on perfecting their sales pitches.

Onboarding is regularly done through traditional methods, such as in-person presentations and online webinar classes.

Sales training, while essential, is also often dreaded by new sales reps.

When important information isn’t organized and accessible, it can slow up decision-making processes.

If companies don’t take steps to correct frustrations, they can become ingrained in the company culture and affect their sales.

Learning experiences, like trips, start where the student is now, and end when they’ve achieved their goal.

The end game isn’t just learning more, it’s putting that knowledge into action.

The length of your sales training process will vary by industry, but whichever one you’re in, you’ll want to avoid long, drawn-out training sessions that disrupt your sales team.

Ongoing training is essential for any sales team. By constantly reviewing your sales methodology, you can ensure that your team members are always performing to the best of their ability. This will ultimately provide long-term value to your organization.

What Causes Failure in Sales Onboarding Programs

Your employees’ feelings towards your company are a direct reflection of how customers feel about your business. If they feel unappreciated, so will the customers.

The success of your sales teams will be determined by how well they are onboarded.

If your new hire training only focuses on introducing them to tools, then there’s little chance they’ll be able to learn them effectively.

By not providing adequate training, sales organizations lose valuable reps and incur the cost of hiring and training new ones.

The disadvantages of traditional sales training methods are amplified by the rise of remote work.

Sales training should be thorough but not overwhelming. If there’s too much of it, it loses its impact, and your reps won’t retain it.

Traditional methods of training include classroom and on-the-job learning.

Classroom training is when a company gathers their employees together in one place for presentations, while a job shadow is when new sales reps spend a day with experienced ones to learn the ropes.

Both webinars and in-person training are effective ways to deliver information, but for those who struggle with retaining auditory data, both methods can present a challenge.

Employees get together to roleplay various situations.

While allowing employees to work from remote locations is convenient, it can create issues when organizing meetings with remote workers.

Sales training fails for three major reason:

Sales onboarding programs fail for three primary reasons: an overemphasis on academic knowledge, integration deficiencies, and inaccessibility during the workflow.

Sales Onboarding Process

84% of salespeople forget what they learned in the first three months.

The steep learning cliff doesn’t have to be your sales team’s downfall. With digital sales training tools like the gamified platform, spekIt, you can reduce that ramp-up time by breaking information down into small, digestible chunks.

The best sales training programs provide reps with real-time, in-context coaching.

Sales rep onboarding can be a confusing process, with lots of different steps and tasks to keep track of. But with Spekit, you can get easy-to-follow directions that make the process simpler. With our platform, you can:

9 Tips for Successful Sales Onboarding Processes

“A company’s ability to quickly learn and then put that learning into action is its greatest competitive advantage.”

Jack Welch, ex-CEO of General Electric

Sales onboarding programs must be tied to performance expectations, integrated and accessible within the workflow. These steps will help you build your onboarding program.

1. Determine baseline performance

Before you start building an onboarding program, take the time to assess the proficiency of each role. Notably,

  • How long does it take for new account executives (AEs) to reach the quota? What is the conversion time from Stage 1 to Stage 2 for new sales reps?
  • How long does it take for a Business Development Representative (BDR), to get their first appointment?
  • How long does it take for an affiliate to make their first sale?

These metrics are essential to evaluate the impact of your new onboarding program. You can measure your baselines more accurately and more thoroughly to pinpoint what needs to be changed as the program goes live. This will allow you to see how your program impacts revenue, which is a crucial metric for revenue leaders.

2. Emphasize performance expectations

Performance expectations are the foundation of any effective onboarding strategy.

  • What are the responsibilities of a salesperson? What does it mean for them to make progress?

Start by identifying the measurable outcomes that you want each person achieve on their journey to success. Each milestone should be considered a major step towards the ultimate goal of achieving their activity/revenue quota.

A sales rep or business development representative might be expected to have scheduled five qualified appointments within a certain time frame. An AE might also be expected to have performed eight demos, four of which will advance to the next stage of the sales process.

3. Determine the timing

Once you have established the expected outcomes, group them into phases. Companies use a 30–60-90 day plan. However, this will depend on the business and the typical sales cycle. You may need to reduce or increase the onboarding time.

It is a good idea to combine the onboarding program and the average sales cycle so that new hires learn while they do the job and engage with customers.

You can break down a 30-day sales cycle into three ten-day phases, for example. Each phase leads to one or more outcomes and each becomes a milestone in your overall onboarding journey.

Every company is different in terms of complexity, cycle time, and desired outcomes. So tailor the timeframes to reflect your business and what you want your new hires to accomplish during their onboarding period.

4. List activities to each outcome

Next, identify the activities required to achieve each outcome. Many steps are required to bring something to fruition, or achieve a milestone. These sub-steps are important.

To identify and capture these key steps, work with top sales performers and sales managers. Experienced sales reps will appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the process and can champion the onboarding program once it is completed.

6. Organise these activities in a logical order

The order of activities should be clear and obvious for certain outcomes. This will allow the sales process to naturally unfold. Some people might find the list of activities overwhelming. In this case, more time should be spent on sequencing. Remember that the focus here is on activities and not information.

Some organizations use Microsoft Word, Docs or Excel spreadsheets to track their pipeline. Other companies choose instead to use spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets.

7. Learn the knowledge required to perform these activities

There will be prerequisite knowledge required for many activities. If you want your prospect to be able to schedule an appointment with your SDR/BDR, they will need to know who to contact and what they should be thinking about.

In this instance, the SDR or BDR would need information about the people their company sells to or uses the product most often.

8. Assign checkpoints to each

Every milestone in the onboarding process should include performance reviews to ensure that the new hire progresses as expected. This could be in a variety of forms such as:

  • Demo certification
  • Feedback and value story practice.
  • Coaching and listening by phone.
  • Pipeline reviews
  • Roleplay

You will need to track progress against each milestone when you implement your onboarding program. This will help you determine if a new hire might require additional support.

Your onboarding program blueprint is built from the information you have gathered up to this point. It is important to include key stakeholders.

9. Create your program

Now it’s time to start building your program. Each item on your blueprint should be considered a piece of content that you need to develop. You can save time by leveraging existing content or pointing to existing resources.

It might be a good idea to build your program in stages. It is possible that you don’t have the resources or time to build it all at once.

In such cases, you should start with the highest priority outcome to give you the most lift. Build the content and knowledge necessary to achieve that outcome and then expand.

Each item should be placed in the correct place based on the outcomes, the activities involved, as well as the knowledge required to complete each activity.

How do you onboard a sales team?

The best way to onboard a sales team is to have a structured process in place that covers all of the essential information and training that new members need to be successful. This should include an overview of the company’s products or services, its sales process, and any specific tools or resources that will be used by the team. New members should also receive guidance on how to build relationships with potential customers and close deals effectively.

What should be included in sales onboarding?

The basics of what the sales onboarding process should include are: -An overview of the company, its products and services, and its mission/vision. -A review of the company’s target market and ideal customer profile. -Compensation plan review including base salary, commission structure, and any other bonuses or incentives. -Review of quotas/sales goals for new hires. -Training on product knowledge, features and benefits, objection handling techniques, etc.


Sales onboarding is an important process that helps new sales reps transition into their role. It can be a lot of information to take in all at once, but it’s crucial for setting them up for success. By following these tips, the hiring managers can help make the process more manageable and ensure that their new hires are ready to hit the ground running.

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  • With the role of HR Manager
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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
This post was generated for LeadFuze and attributed to Justin McGill, the Founder of LeadFuze.