Studies show great employee onboarding improves employee retention by 82%. When considering the average cost of replacing an employee is ~$30,000, you will recognize how vital good onboarding processes are.
Despite this, 88% of organizations don’t onboard well. This is a major problem burning holes in a lot of pockets and a reason why sales onboarding is so important.
In this Process Street article, you’ll learn what sales onboarding is and the benefits good onboarding brings to a business. You will find out key skills to be identified and nurtured during the sales onboarding process before being granted access to Process Street’s Sales Onboarding Checklist for free. This checklist is uniquely designed to help you develop effective sales onboarding processes.
This article has been written to assist in the creation of a leading sales team. To do that we give you our top 11 template resources. You can click on the links below to be directed to these templates, or scroll down to find out more.
- Sales Onboarding Checklist
- Diversity Hiring Process
- Ari Meisel’s How to Streamline the Hiring Process Guide
- Code of Conduct Policy Adherence Process
- Employee Background Check
- Employee Developmental Plan Template
- Employee Satisfaction Survey
- Performance Management
- Performance Review Template
- Training Plan Template
- Sales Manager Job Description Template
Click on the relevant subheader below to jump to the section of choice. Or, as recommended, scroll down to read all we have to say regarding sales onboarding.
- What is onboarding (in the context of sales)?
- Case studies: Companies with the best onboarding programs
- Use Process Street for your sales onboarding (& more)!
What is onboarding (explained in the context of sales)
Onboarding is the process of introducing a new employee into an organization. It is about familiarizing the employee to company-specific customs, values, and cultures, whilst providing effective training for them to succeed in their role.
In this article, we look specifically at onboarding in the context of sales. That is onboarding new sales reps into your team.
You want to get your sales onboarding process right to create your next generation of sales leaders.
The question is, how do you get it right? 🤔
Before you think about that question too much, check out Process Street’s Sales Onboarding Checklist. A carefully crafted checklist machine that holds the secret to getting your sales onboarding processes right.
Hold up, hold up…
Let’s take a step back before we rush into things. Keep the Sales Onboarding Checklist open, but before you swing into action, you must understand:
- The importance of a good sales onboarding process 👍
- How to hire the right talent and nurture that talent for rockstar performances 🎸
The benefits of an effective onboarding process
These are discouraging statistics. Despite ruthless selection processes, it seems that nearly half of all businesses are hiring the wrong candidates.
Or are they?
You can hire the right candidate, with the right skills and experience, but if you don’t have an effective employee onboarding process, expect that talent to fade with neglect.
To hammer home my point, think of your newly hired talent as a plant. Failing to provide a plant’s needs will cause it to shrivel away from flourishing potential.
Talent needs to be nurtured to bloom. This is where carefully planned and tailored employee onboarding processes come in – like our Sales Onboarding Checklist given above. With this checklist, you can expect to reap the following benefits:
- Attraction and retainment of top talent: 40% of employee turnover occurs within the first month. Companies with the best sales onboarding programs keep high-performing sellers engaged over the first 30 days and beyond.
- A decrease in sales turnover: Effective employee onboarding processes are shown to increase the likelihood an employee remains in a company by 69%.
- Improvements in brand message consistency: Companies with effective sales onboarding processes realize a 6.7% improvement in quota attainment and lower turnover rates.
- Happier managers: 20% of managers reported satisfaction increases when employees had formal onboarding training.
- Improved employee engagement: Organizations with a standard onboarding process see 50% higher productivity from new hires, with increased employee engagement.
- Data can be used for further benefits: With a documented onboarding process such as our Sales Onboarding Checklist, areas for improvement can be identified and tracked.
- Reduced ramp time: The longer it takes to get your sales reps up to selling speed, the greater your onboarding costs. With a solid workflow, such as our Sales Onboarding Checklist, your sales reps will be generating sales sooner.
- Greater sales results: Companies using a structured onboarding process for training new hires boosted sales success rate by 14%.
The numbers are in and the reports confirm the importance of having an effective sales onboarding process. To be effective sales onboarding processes must attract, retain, and nurture the right talent with the right skills. To do this, you need to be aware of the critical sales rep skills needed.
Incorporating the sales skills required
When running our Sales Onboarding Checklist, you are prompted to give sales-specific training. When it comes to incorporating the sales skills required, think about what skills are needed in your team and for your unique sales position.
As a prompt, I have listed common sales rep skills to consider. These skills are given by Insight Squared.
- Product knowledge: You need sales reps to understand exactly what they are selling. Product training will give your sales reps such skills.
- Strategic prospecting skills: Prospecting is the first step of a sales process, a step where potential customers – aka prospects – are identified. Provide your sales reps with the right prospecting knowledge and skills.
- Rapport building on the call: Some sales reps have a natural ability to build a rapport with a prospect on the phone. For others, this is something that has to be taught. Have your new hires listen to effective sale calls as part of their training.
- Buyer-seller agreement: Your prospects should learn how to create a buyer-seller agreement. These are verbal agreements at the beginning of the sales process. These agreements help the prospect feel comfortable and understand what is coming next.
- Active listening: Some sales reps will already have adequate listening skills. For others, these skills may need to be taught. Active listening involves listening with a strict focus and asking intelligent follow-up questions. Be sure to train your new hires if this skill is absent.
- Communication: Speaking on the phone demands the right tone, volume, and pace. Sales reps should subtly replicate their colleague’s tone of voice and talking style. This helps prospects feel familiar around you and supports rapport building.
- Qualification questioning: The right questions need to be asked to a prospect to dig deep and find out what their needs are. Discovering a prospect’s pain point and acknowledge how your product or service can help is a skill. Teach your sales reps how to qualify a prospect for Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline, Competition, and Buying Process.
- Time management: Good time management skills are key to being highly productive. Train your reps to sort through leads and prioritize the most promising ones.
- Objection prevention: Train your reps to think ahead and be strategic. With the right skills, it is possible to be proactive and address potential objections before they arise.
- Demo skills: Sales reps not only need to understand the product, but they also need to show it off through an effective demo. A demo should show how a product or service provides a solution to a prospect’s need. It is important not to throw in too many features at once, overwhelming, and confusing your prospects.
- Gaining commitment: Reps must continually ask questions such as is this helpful? Or is this what you envisioned? Such questions drive a prospect quickly through the sales funnel.
- Closing techniques: Sometimes prospects might try to prolong the time until the sale is closed. Sales reps must learn how to push a prospect to close the deal as soon as is possible.
- Post-sale relationship management: Customers are sometimes forgotten once a sale has been made. Appreciation, courtesy, and politeness are skills many sales reps have or can learn. Sales are also about maintaining relationships even once the sale has been made.
What’s featured in the above are important skills for any sales rep. These are skills reps could already have or are skills that can be taught during the onboarding process. Regardless of the means, each skill must be considered with high regard, with the intention of your sales reps possessing these skills at the end of the onboarding process.
Case studies: Companies with the best onboarding programs
We have already explained the benefits of effective employee onboarding, but to repeat the importance we will explore some real-life examples of onboarding done right.
The below 3 case studies are perfect illustrations of the long-lasting benefits good employee onboarding brings in a general sense. These benefits apply to the specifics of sales onboarding.
Case study #1: Quora
As a company, Quora knows the value of investing in a good onboarding program. New hires are allocated a personal mentor and are considered a priority. Key aspects of Quora’s onboarding processes are recognized:
- Understanding: Lower productivity rates – a decrease of 25% – are acknowledged, planned, and accounted for during the onboarding process.
- Meaning: Quora is a fast-paced startup environment that values productivity. New hires are pushed to make meaningful contributions by tackling a management project by the end of week 1.
- Training and education: Teaching is placed on a pedestal, with around 10 onboarding talks organized over the first few weeks. New hires are taught the fundamentals for success, key concepts, and how to use the sales tools they need.
- Culture and values: Quora views its onboarding program as a means to steer new employees towards what the team believes matters most.
Since its launch in 2009, Quora has surpassed manager expectations and now has 693 million monthly users. Developing a leading sales team is a significant contributor to Quora’s success.
Case study #2: Zappos
- Training and education: New hires are trained up on best practices that form an important part of Zappos’ identity.
- Culture and shared values: 10 core values are delivered during training, and the history of these examples are explained. This is used to ensure shared value systems. After one month, employees are provided the option to quit and receive $2000. This is an act used to protect the company’s culture.
Zappos has grown from a struggling start-up in 2000, to obtaining an acquisition deal from Amazon valued at $1.2 billion in 2009. Placing a strong emphasis on the delivery of effective onboarding processes is considered key to Zappos’ success.
Case study #3: Google
During the 4th year of my degree, I moved away from Science to study Business Management. During this 4th year, the tech giant Google cropped up again and again to exemplify the importance of strong company culture and exceptional employee care. This care begins at Google’s onboarding processes.
- Understanding: One day before the new hire joins, the new hire’s manager is sent an email with five small tasks that need their attention, such as, to help the new hire build a social network, and to match the new hire with a peer buddy.
- Culture and values: The onboarding process places a strong focus on company culture. Google believes the people make Google the kind of company it is. Google wants to maintain a fun-loving nature regarding its working space and can spend up to 2 weeks immersing new hires into its culture.
- Training and education: Google takes a hands-on educational approach for new hires to dive into tasks and learn as they go.
There is little doubt that Google is a magnum opus of the business world. With its strict onboarding process, Google’s onboarding results are 25% better than average.
The above case studies demonstrate the business benefits that come from a strong onboarding focus.
On studying these case studies I have drawn a consensus between the onboarding processes of Quora, Zappos and Google. Each has designed their onboarding processes to focus on 2 or more of the following areas:
- Training and education
- Culture and shared values
In light of this, our Sales Onboarding Checklist has been designed to encourage understanding, meaning, training and education, and culture and shared values for the onboarding of your new sales reps.
Use Process Street for your sales onboarding processes (& more)
At the beginning of this article, you were introduced to Process Street‘s Sales Onboarding Checklist. This checklist has been specifically designed to assist you in the effective onboarding of new sales staff. But this is just one piece of the puzzle so to speak when it comes to developing an effectual sales team.
At Process Street, we have been working hard to develop and deliver free templates uniquely designed to help you create an effectual sales team. Use these templates along with our Sales Onboarding Checklist to create strong sales leaders.
Diversity Hiring Process
Having a diverse sales team brings forward a wealth of skills, talent, and experience. Consider your team as a unit. Diversity increases the likelihood that your team is equipped to master any problems thrown their way.
Run our Diversity Hiring Process for diversity and inclusion. Launch this process every time your company is looking for a new hire to add to your sales team.
Ari Meisel’s How to Streamline the Hiring Process Guide
Use this Ari Meisel’s How to Streamline the Hiring Process Guide to hasten your hiring process via automation. After setting up the required automation, you can run this checklist whenever you need to hire a new candidate for your sales team.
Code of Conduct Policy Adherence Process
Without having guidelines to refer to, how will your sales team know what conduct is expected from them?
Have your new sale employees adhere to your code of conduct policy by launching checklists from this Code of Conduct Policy Adherence Process during onboarding.
Employee Background Check
When hiring new sales reps, it is important to exercise caution and due diligence by uncovering potential complications a person may have in their past that they could potentially bring into the workplace.
Run our Employee Background Check process when hiring your new sales staff, to perform an employee background check.
Employee Developmental Plan Template
If you want to attract and maintain your newly hired sales reps, make sure to keep them motivated through a self-developmental plan.
This includes providing employees with opportunities to develop, whilst making sure the company is achieving its goals. With this Employee Developmental Plan Template, each step has been carefully designed for you to do that.
Employee Satisfaction Survey
Employee satisfaction is about evaluating employee engagement within a company, allowing the company to understand how their employees feel about coming to work.
Our Employee Satisfaction Survey is a great checklist to incorporate during your sales onboarding process as it will highlight key concerns of employees right from the start.
Employee performance management is a process that establishes a shared workforce understanding about what is to be achieved at an organizational level. It is about aligning organizational objectives with employee agreed measures, skills, competency requirements, developmental plans, and results delivery.
Start using this Performance Management template during the initial stages of onboarding your new sales reps.
Performance Review Template
During the onboarding process, you will want to give your sales employees constructive feedback to make sure the business is working to the best of its abilities. Think about giving yearly, semi-yearly, or quarterly performance reviews using our Performance Review Template starting as your onboard your new sales reps.
Training Plan Template
Research shows a 24% higher profit margin for companies that invest a lot in training relative to those that don’t.
Use our Training Plan Template to prepare a training plan for your new sales hires, to make sure they develop the skills necessary to succeed in their role.
Sales Manager Job Description Template
Onboarding new sales reps means hiring the right talent with the skills, experience, and personality traits it takes to succeed. As already mentioned, some skills can be taught during the onboarding process. Other skills, experience, and personality traits cannot be taught, and so you may want to filter out candidates based on these.
Use our Sales Manager Job Description template to do this, to onboard a new sales manager for your team. You can also adapt this template to create a more general job description for other sales roles.
A deep dive into Process Street (and how it works)
Process Street is superpowered checklists.
For more information about Process Street and what we offer, watch our below webinar: An Introduction to Process Street.
In this article, you’ve been provided with 11 free top templates, uniquely designed to create the sales team you need to succeed. These process templates (along with the hundreds of others in our premade template library) make use of our powerful feature set, including:
- Stop tasks to ensure task order,
- Dynamic due dates, so no deadline is missed,
- Conditional logic, creating a dynamic template that caters to your needs,
- Role assignments, to ease task delegation within your team,
- Approvals, allowing decision-makers to give the go-ahead (or rejection) on important items. Also, the necessary comments can be provided,
It is with these features that our checklists can be considered as adaptable, dynamic machines, making them superpowered!
For more information on how to create templates using Process Street, watch the below video: Basics of Creating and Editing Templates.
Develop a leading sales team with effective sales onboarding processes
Establishing a leading sales team starts with the implementation of effective sales onboarding processes. Process Street has a wealth of template resources to help you get started. These templates are ready for you to use right away and can be accessed for free.
For more information on employee onboarding, creating a leading sales team, and sales processes in a more general sense, check out the below resources:
- 6 Checklists to Perfect your New Employee Onboarding Process
- Why Google’s Onboarding Process Works 25% Better Than Everyone Else’s
- Why Scaling Your Sales Team Isn’t Just About Adding Reps
- 9 Checklists to Drive Your Sales Processes
- How to Build a Kick-Ass Outbound Sales Team for Your Startup
- 22 B2B Sales Management Statistics, and the Processes You Need to Survive
- 8 Ways to Improve Sales Productivity with Consistent, Repeatable Processes
- Managing Your Sales Funnel With Process Street
- Effective Team Management at a Busy Software Company
- 14 Best Online Team Management Tools for Productive Teams
What strategies do you use to onboard new sales reps in your team? What problems and successes have you faced? We would love to hear from you, so please comment below.