Registration for Inspire 2024 is now open!

Register now

9 Sales Onboarding Best Practices for Sales Organizations

• 6 min read

As you bring new people onto your sales team, you’ll need to engage in effective employee onboarding to ensure they fit in with the rest of your organization. The sales onboarding best practices you follow can make all the difference.

Recent statistics prove the effectiveness of implementing sales onboarding best practices. G2 found that the top-performing sales onboarding programs lead to more productivity 3.4 months sooner than poorly developed and implemented programs.

You may already understand the importance of smooth processes to onboard new sales reps and leaders. But you may also be unsure about how to approach the onboarding process.

What is sales onboarding?

Put simply, the sales onboarding process entails helping new salespeople prepare for their jobs based on sales team and company-wide goals. In the process, you’ll educate and train your new sales team members on:

  • Sales techniques
  • Certain sales enablement tools
  • Your company’s processes and standards

Depending on the person and the nature of their job, it can take anywhere from days to months to onboard new team members. Knowing how to go about onboarding can go a long way in helping new sales representatives and others find their way upon hiring.

Sales onboarding best practices to implement in your strategy

Before you can get results from your new hires, you must know how to properly onboard them to facilitate successful sales that hit all targets. Taking the right approach will streamline the sales cycle. It will also help your new employees develop their core competencies and other critical skills from the first day on the job.

Here, we’ll review some of the most reliable sales onboarding best practices that can allow for long-term success.

1. Provide an overview of your company

New sales hires should have a good handle on your company and what it’s all about from the start. Lay out your company’s goals and objectives to get your employees’ journey off on the right foot.

You can introduce new hires to your company through a comprehensive yet concise overview that explores your organization from top to bottom. This overview could go over the company’s mission and values. It should also cover certain aspects of your sales department that differentiate it from those of your competitors. How do those values and your overarching mission tie into value propositions on the sales end? You’ll want to answer these and other key questions with your overview.

2. Create buyer personas for customer targeting

Guide your new hires in their messaging and general approach to sales. Make it clear which audiences you want to engage with in your best sales efforts.

As you identify your audiences, segment them and create buyer personas for each segment. Personas are fictitious representations of specific types of audiences in a defined personality.

For example, you might develop a buyer persona targeting busy students named Student Steph. This persona could have its own set of demographics, psychographics, and behaviors that differ from other personas, such as that of Professional Pat, which could target full-time professionals.

3. Use role-playing to your advantage

One of the most effective sales onboarding best practices involves role-playing different sales scenarios.

There are plenty of ways to use role-playing to help your salespeople practice sales calls and other communications with prospective customers, including:

  • Cold calling. If your sales team engages in cold calls, then you can prepare your new hires by practicing these calls as your staff work on their pitches and become more comfortable.
  • Deal closing. On the opposite end of cold calling is closing the deal, when people are ready to make a buying decision and your sales reps have nurtured leads. Using role-play to enact closing, reps can practice their sales tactics and techniques to close deals more effectively.
  • Ending relationships. Not all prospects will become viable customers. So it’s important to know when and how to step away from a sale. Using this role-play scenario, sales teams can learn how to end relationships on good terms. This will maintain the company’s reputation and potentially attract those lost prospects later.

4. Educate salespeople on your products

Your sales teams should also have an in-depth knowledge of your product or service offerings. This will help them determine how best to sell to different audiences.

Your new employees should know the ins and outs of all offerings to determine the best way to close deals and appeal to potential customers.

As you introduce new hires to your offerings, give them plenty of time to explore them and their features. In addition, you can connect sales with your marketing team to discuss unique features or value propositions that resonate most with prospective customers.

Another way to let new hires know what people love about your offerings is to show them customer testimonials. Hearing and reading what customers say about the products and services they use and what they like about them can inform salespeople on how to approach the selling process.

Also, don’t merely give your employees product knowledge—you should ensure they stay up to date on the latest industry trends. Your sales leaders and other employees should continually follow industry news and learn how to optimize sales performance based on those trends.

5. Ensure sales teams have a common definition of success

New employees and other sales team members should know what success looks like and be on the same page. What is the correct number of sales to target? How long should the sales cycle take? Also, what does an efficient workflow look like? What is the ideal customer experience?

The answers to these and other questions should be aligned across all teams to ensure real success. When your sales organization is moving in the right collective direction, it can follow the same playbook to achieve short- and long-term goals.

6. Engage sales reps early on

New employee engagement should occur as early as possible to begin getting results and allow efficient integration into the sales team.

When engaging a new employee in that first month, sales organizations need to define the new hire’s specific role. Consider how the sales employee will fit into the company and their specific responsibilities once on board.

As you integrate the new employees into the team, you’ll want to consistently provide them with feedback. Help them work on their strengths while improving upon their weaknesses. In the process, you can also ensure employees understand their position in the company and establish accountability.

7. Consider developing a mentorship program

Another of the most effective sales onboarding best practices entails developing a mentorship program. This strategy shows new hires that you’re interested in their development and progress.

Try to connect your new employees with mentors who mesh well with them and can give real guidance during check-ins. You can also provide your mentors with some guidance to help them connect with sales staff and get the best results from the mentorship. When the mentor connects directly with your new hires, let them get to know each other one-on-one and let things progress independently.

As the mentorship progresses, monitor how it’s going. Determine if any changes need to be made to the dynamic between mentors and employees. If needed, you might want to go with a different mentor that’s a better fit for your organization.

8. Use effective sales training programs and technology

One of the most critical sales onboarding best practices applies to training. Make sure your new sales team members have the training content and materials to help them develop their skills more fully.

Introduce materials that train using the right sales methodologies, helping with hands-on and real-world training. In doing so, you could incorporate learning management software (LMS) that facilitates informal training sessions, allowing employees to learn everything they need at their own pace.

Training modules and programs can go a long way in helping your sales teams develop and grow to the point where they get winning results and continue to close deals with more efficacy. Ultimately, good training programs and tech will take your sales initiatives to the next level as your teams learn everything they need to flourish.

9. Keep ramp-up time efficient during onboarding

The onboarding experience should be fast, but not too fast. After all, you should give your employees plenty of time to fully integrate. Keep in mind that only 37% of businesses spend more than 30 days on onboarding. This means that effective onboarding should take less than a month in most cases. But it will take even longer to maximize employee productivity beyond this period.

As you figure out what milestones to target during onboarding, there are certain things to consider to optimize ramp-up time. For instance, think about how long your sales cycle lasts. You might find that the ramp-up time varies based on the size of the deal and the respective time it takes to close.

Be sure to work with employees who fall behind on achieving certain milestones and help them optimize their performance.

Adhere to these and other sales onboarding best practices

By following the right sales onboarding best practices for your organization, you’ll have no trouble successfully onboarding new employees and driving their success.

With the help of certain tools, such as an LMS like Docebo, you can give your sales teams everything necessary to maximize performance during and long after onboarding.