onboarding salespeople

Onboarding Salespeople vs. Orientation

Posted in: Hiring Salespeople

Onboarding Salespeople Successfully Requires More Than an Orientation Program

Don’t confuse onboarding new salespeople with conducting an orientation session.  With an orientation program, you present the company and describe the benefits.

Orientation is just part of the onboarding process. Onboarding includes much more and has a much longer-lasting impact on success.

In an onboarding program, you give new sales hires the base they need to succeed at your company.  You build a solid base by giving your new salespeople the right knowledge, skills, and tools.

You should provide great onboarding to all new hires, even those with similar industry and product experience!

The chart below contrasts traditional orientation and onboarding for a sales team.

Comparing Traditional Orientation with Onboarding

Peak Sales Recruiting developed a chart to contrast the elements of a traditional training/orientation program with a solid onboarding program in a blog post.

As the post mentions:

When the job market is tight for salespeople, retaining new hires will be critical for your sales team’s success.

onboarding vs orientation
Source: Peak Sales Recruiting

Everyone Needs Onboarding (newbies and veteran salespeople)

New salespeople can come from several different backgrounds. You should tailor your onboarding to each individual’s background.

A recent college grad, new to sales, has different needs than an industry sales veteran from one of your competitors or a veteran salesperson from a different industry.

When you tailor your onboarding program for an individual, consider these three types of new salespeople.

A veteran from your industry

If you’ve managed to grab an experienced, successful salesperson from a competitor, good job!

These veterans will still need an onboarding program, which explains what makes your company successful. You probably won’t need to explain your industry to them.

To onboard veteran salespeople from your industry, you should

  • Educate them about your uniqueness
  • Explain the competitive advantages of your product or service
  • Clarify the steps in your sales process
  • Provide all the info they need to understand how you do things and how to be productive in your environment

Make sure you don’t underestimate the effect of “fit” for them in your company’s culture.

This group has the potential to get up to speed the most quickly. Therefore, the time you spend teaching them about the nuances of your company will be incredibly valuable.

A veteran from another industry

When you hire a veteran from another industry, they may understand basic sales techniques. They may not know your industry very well.

To onboard veteran salespeople from a different industry, you should:

  • Educate them about the unique nuances of your industry
  • Explain the competitive advantages of your product or service
  • Discuss your sales cycle, if it’s different from their prior industry
  • Teach them about your company’s processes and culture

When you hire a veteran from another industry, you may be able to skip the basics. However, these veterans do need a comprehensive onboarding program to be successful in your company and to understand your industry’s culture.

Be sure that they are fully comfortable with your products and services before they begin selling.

Sales newbies

When you hire a salesperson fresh out of school or a person new to sales, you will need to do the most extensive onboarding.

To onboard folks new to sales you should do all the activities listed above, and you should:

  • Teach them how to be successful in a professional environment
  • Provide basic sales training
  • Team them with a mentor

For more information on how to create a great onboarding program for your sales staff, request a free copy of Guide for Successfully Onboarding Salespeople.