Sales Recruiting 101: The Basics Of Sales Onboarding

The Ultimate Onboarding Guide For New Sales Reps

Onboarding new sales reps is the first step to a well-functioning sales organization. It’s where they begin to become productive in the sales process and help you build a long-term sales pipeline…but it’s really easy to make mistakes that leave your new salesperson overwhelmed, and you with unmet expectations.

The best onboarding practices go beyond creating a welcoming environment for your new employees. 

Of course, you should introduce them to the team, treat them well, and make an effort to get to know them as a person…

But successfully onboarding a new salesperson means you provide them with all the tools and support they need to be successful – you can’t just expect them to figure out everything all on their own. You should train them well so they can be effective and learn new things quickly.

This article will help you understand how to create the best onboarding experience possible for your sales team. Discover how to onboard new reps in a way that works for everyone…and practically guarantees your new hires’ success!

Step 1: Set Clear 30, 60, and 90-Day Expectations 

This is actually part of Improve Growth’s hiring practices…before you ever onboard a new hire, you should explain to them what your expectations are – it’s one of the best ways to avoid problems. Explain the goals clearly and consistently, and put them in writing so that they can be referred back to and referenced as needed.

Be honest with your candidates and new hires…what do you want and what do you expect from them? Let them know before they accept your job offer so they can decide if the’re up for the challenge. 

Once they’ve accepted your offer, reiterate your expectations as part of their onboarding process. 

Also, make sure that the entire sales team is aware of the training objectives and that everyone is on the same page. This allows for accountability and team building as everyone works together to make sure the requirements are met.

Step 2: Create a Training Plan That Reinforces The Expectations and Goals

Once you’ve determined the goals you want a new sales hire to meet, you need to create a training program that allows them to achieve those goals.

Look at where you want them to be at the end of their initial 90-day period, and work backward from there. Make a list of everything a person needs to know to succeed working for your unique company, then determine if there is a particular order they need to learn things.

Teach them the specific things that are unique to your business: your CRM software; sales scripts, processes, and guidelines. Introduce them to any important members of the team they may not come into contact with organically. Have them shadow any departments you want them to understand more fully – customer service, marketing, or manufacturing, for example. 

They should be given training that helps them build on their strengths and eliminate any weaknesses that were present during their application process. 

Even if there were no glaring challenges, a bit of general sales support training can make a huge difference in their ability to sell well. This gives them the opportunity to work closely with the sales manager who will be overseeing them, while promoting teamwork and creating a sense of group cohesion. 

Also, find ways to help your new hire become more confident and motivated as a salesperson for your unique products! They may have sold similar products before, but make sure they know what makes you and your company different so they can communicate that to your customers.

The more that you can teach your salespeople, the more successful you’ll both be.

Step 3: Determine If They’ll Succeed 

How do you do that in the first 90-days?

Simple: you get them on the phones from their very first day!

Your new hire should spend about half their day in training, and the other half on the phones, canvassing the area or developing their network starting on Day 1.

This is hands down the best predictor of sales success, but something we don’t often see businesses doing.

If new salespeople are consistently making connections and getting themselves out there, you know they will be able to succeed for you. If they are wishy-washy or unmotivated to get on the phones because they lack the confidence needed to sell, that may go away with training, but it probably won’t…

You didn’t hire them so you could pay them to sit around for 90-days learning – they’re on your team to sell! Give them the chance to do that from Day 1.

And if they do manage to land a sales appointment before they are ready to handle it on their own: great!

Have the sales manager or another senior sales rep go with them to the meeting and let the new hire see how it’s done…it’ll be a great training exercise. And it’ll give them a quick win (plus a huge confidence boost) that they got their first sale before they were out of training.

Step 4: Track The Right Metrics

If there’s one thing you know about Improve Growth, it’s that we love metrics and data…and for good reason…

You can’t argue with them! They take the emotional component out of the sales hiring process and help us make decisions that aren’t based on subjective feelings.

This holds true even after you’ve onboarded a new sales hire and they’re in the first 90-days of employment with you. These are just some of the metrics we suggest you track:

  • How are they working to overcome objections – what are they doing, and is it effective? 
  • What do they do to move the needle for their prospects and get them towards a “YES!!”?
  • Are they willing to get on the phones, network, canvas the area, make connections, and set appointments? If they aren’t – you need to find out why! This is a huge potential issue and you need answers ASAP.
  • Can they effectively manage themselves or do they need significant support to stay on track and meet expectations?
  • Do they do the “right things” to be effective? Are the observable signs of future success there, or are they just hanging out, grabbing a paycheck as you pay them to learn?

Finally, the most important question: How many appointments have they set up? Use this to have a concrete measure of their activity that you can refer back to. 

Remember, measurable and observable behaviors are a significant predictor of how successful a new salesperson will be in your organization. If they’re doing the right things from the beginning, success becomes inevitable. 


There are two components necessary to succeed at sales recruitment: hire salespeople who will perform well, then train them to thrive on their own. 

Once you’ve recruited your new team, the sales onboarding process is the foundation of a successful sales training program. Without a well-structured sales onboarding process, a sales training program can end up being little more than a series of disconnected exercises. 

But, with a good sales onboarding process, a sales training program becomes a tool that can transform a new sales representative into a sales superstar.

Once you have your onboarding process clearly defined and ready to implement, finding and retaining top-tier talent becomes easy! 

Drop a comment below and let us know: Do you have a strong sales team onboarding process for your business? What type of difference has it made for your team and their numbers?

You know how much we love that kind of data. 😉

And, as always, if you need support getting your team set up with top-tier sales talent who exceed expectations (and revenue goals!), you can contact us here to discover how we help find the right sales professional for your business, the first time.

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