The story is familiar, you recruit a stellar new sales rep. Their resume is full of quantified successes and they bring a book of business you can’t wait to sink your teeth into. But after the ninth month, this rep still hasn’t achieved set goals, and this isn’t the first time this has happened to your team…

The Investment’s Been Made
Your gut reaction: maybe the problem is in recruitment and you should re-focus sales hiring practices. This is a possibility, but not likely the source of the problem. And the investment has been made. Average sales training spend is $5000 per new sales rep, not including standard HR on and off-boarding costs.

According to Forbes, sales turnover across the US is on average 25% annually, which means that the equivalent of your entire sales organization must be hired and trained about every four years. And turnover can cost up to 200% of an employee’s salary. As a sales executive, you know that every day a sales rep is not producing is a day of lost revenue opportunity, but clearly turnover can be even more costly.

Taking this into consideration, retention and improvement are the goal so it’s time to take a look at your onboarding process and ongoing training strategies to achieve faster sales rep effectiveness.

Solution: Onboarding + Ongoing Training
We’ve all sat through the standard two-day classroom-style company orientation. In some firms this is classified as sales onboarding, though it’s been proven that large group classroom-style training is ineffective: 87% of what is learned in the classroom is forgotten within three months. Though in some cases, this “onboarding” and one annual sales meeting is the extent of sales training.

According to the Sales Management Association, 33% of sales people still lack fundamental selling skills after participating in onboarding. Onboarding programs are best suited to provide content knowledge related to internal company resources, with the sales skill building left for ongoing training and development. Classroom training was among those judged “least important” in an ongoing training program by sales reps in a study performed by the Sales Management Association.

With many organizations using outdated methods and programs, it’s no wonder it takes a new sales hire over 381 days to reach the same levels of productivity as tenured reps.

Where To Start: Key Goals for Sales Onboarding From Startup to Enterprise
No matter the growth stage or size of your organization, to set your sales team up for success you need to clue them in and make sure they understand what is important to management and what is not.

Download this free guide to define key sales onboarding initiatives at any size organization.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at
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