Mistakes to Avoid for Successfully Onboarding Sales Representatives

A structured onboarding program is crucial for any onboarding sales representative to deliver results as efficiently and effectively as possible. The onboarding process is all about developing and progressing behaviors that are fundamental for an employee’s longstanding and persistent success. The ill-effects of not investing in the development of an effective onboarding program is much more significant than losing and replacing new employees. 

A perfect recruitment process is a successful organization-specific sourcing model that aims to find the right fit for the right job at the right time. Furthermore, this can set reps up for success, promotes job satisfaction, increases time-to-productivity, and decreases the time-to-first deal. So how can onboarding sales representatives make sure their onboarding programs set reps up for long-term success? 

Here are a few sales onboarding mistakes to avoid that will take you closer to perfecting your hiring process:

1. Having a standardized onboarding strategy

Every onboarding program must vary to accommodate the various backgrounds or verticals of your organization. Avoid making the mistake of developing just one single onboarding program for every sales representative you hire. For instance, the newly hired sales representative who is an industry insider probably doesn’t require the same industry basics as a recent grad but needs development in the unique selling propositions and advantages of your company’s offerings.

2. Being unclear about requirements and prerequisites

When you hire a new employee or sales rep, you need to be explicitly clear about what you expect from them. If they’re expected to bring in new business, they must be well informed about how much business they are expected to bring. Educating them about the organization’s overarching goals and mission is important as they will then better understand and work towards it to achieve them.

3. Shadowing other teammates

Almost all organizations rely on shadow training. As easy and effortless shadow training is, it is highly recommended to avoid it at all costs. Shadow training often leads to new reps being informed about only those things that the trainer or other employee is comfortable and confident about. This means that the new hire will only get a partial glimpse into your overall sales process. Shadow training kills the productivity of your top performer and often bores the new sales hire.

4. Not assessing proficiency

Usually, once the onboarding program is completed, a sales rep is sent into the field, hoping to generate sales. There’s an important step missing, which is to assess their knowledge and skill proficiency. In most companies, a sales onboarding program represents the most training and development that will ever be offered to the salesperson. You don’t know there’s a weakness unless you assess proficiency through written exams and simulations. Not only will strengths and deficiencies be identified, but you may even find that you made a bad hire.

5.  Setting unrealistic and impractical expectations

While it’s okay to have aggressive goals for new hires, avoid making the mistake of setting unrealistic expectations. Always make sure that they are attainable, and you offer sales rep the necessary training required to reach those goals. Taking feedback from existing reps during goal setting is an ideal way to set realistic and achievable goals.

6.  Not providing support

Newly hired sales representatives will have a lot of questions during the initial days in the organization. If you are unavailable to answer those questions for some reason, you may deploy other resources to help them learn on the job. The internet may not allow the new rep to understand company culture and protocols, so providing appropriate tools and solutions to new hires is essential.

7.  Not taking feedback

Onboarding can always be improvised. At the end of onboarding, you should conduct a participant survey to get the information you need to enhance and improve the programs continually. When new hires first complete the program, ask questions to gauge their confidence when performing their functions. After three months, solicit their input again with a question that’s focused on recommendations to improve the program for future sales hires.

Organizations need to focus on a good onboarding strategy as it has become a relevant decision criterion for many applicants. In the case of sales onboarding, inculcating a culture and habits of focused practice to avoid mistakes is the perfect way to help reps have a long-lasting career. Furthermore, this helps positively impact your new employees’ experience and paves the way for successful collaboration.


About the Author

Kelly Barcelos is a content marketing manager for Jobsoid and specializes in HR. When Kelly is not building marketing campaigns, she is busy creating content to help people hire better. She shares tips, industry insights, innovations and several other topics that helps a wide variety of audience in their hiring efforts. As a working mom of three, she knows the importance of time management and counts on her multitasking ability to get her through her to-do lists.

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