“I can’t make my number.  I have a new guy on the team.  He can’t hit the assigned quota and my other reps are maxed out.”  Said a sales manager last week I spoke to in the field. 


But why should you spend time onboarding someone up quicker?


Fast facts:


  • Quota attainment improves by 50% when a new sales person beats the average.  (This is called Making the Number)
  • Compensation OTE is achieved 23% sooner.
  • Sales Management overall quota attainment exceeds 78%.
  • New hire turnover (measured as Ramp Failure rate) is reduced over 23%.


Do you know how long it takes to Onboard your sales reps?  That is, how long it takes for them to hit their annualized quota?


Most sales leaders give me “Well, let’s see, probably about 6-9 months.”  A lousy answer to a very important question.  This tells me they don’t track it nor have a defined onboarding program.


Why?  The average cost of miss-hire is over $500K.  (Recruiting, salary, benefits, severance and lost customer opportunities)


What can you do to onboard sales reps quicker?


4.25 Ways Sales Management Can Decrease Onboarding for New Sales Reps:


  • Create a Personalized Custom Onboarding Plan.   You are different.  Your sales person is different.  Jamming someone into a generic, ‘one size fits all’ onboarding plan is like telling your spouse they are like the other people you have met before. Not good for your marriage….and not good for your new hire.  The ‘generic’ onboarding cranked out by corporate doesn’t work and leads to failure (and in both cases a heck of a lot of money. Think: ‘Someone else is cashing your check’).  Use the new person’s strengths to help them overcome their weaknesses by writing an onboarding plan that will challenge them to hit their quota (it’s all about hitting the number).
  • Quick Wins. Get a sale.  Throw them a bone.  Get them to celebrate success.  Remember the ‘snowball’ theory.  Gets the positive momentum going and it will gain more speed and traction soon. The feeling of success breeds success.  They will get over their fear of failure, know how to preform and allow you a coaching moment for months to come.
  • OTJ. Throw them to the wolves. You cannot learn anything in a classroom or online without applying that learning in the field. Too many times onboarding is ‘read this book’; study this marketing material; pass this test about the product.  How does that relate in the real world?  Get them in front of customers.  (The key here is actually being with them when they are.  This is called Sales Management Coaching and Developing.  Also known as: Being a good sales manager) When they try to relate the feature/benefit the outdated marketing department cranked out in a glossy eyed product sheet, you can help them translate that into customer value.  THIS IS THE KEY TO QUICKER ONBOARDING!
  • High, Wide and Deep. Get them embedded into your organization. Assign a mentor.  Ensure they are engaging with them.  Communicate everyday early on. Have your boss (Director, VP, CEO, Owner) take an active role.  Onboarding is not just your job, its every person’s responsibility.  Make sure you have milestones and check points.  How are they doing against their personal goals in onboarding?  Catching a miss early on is key.
  • Celebrate the Failure (the quarter point). People learn much more from failure than they do success.  They more failure you celebrate, the more risk you are willing to take knowing that you are not going to be punished for trying something different or new.


Need help with a customized onboarding plan?  Having trouble getting sales people ramped up quickly? Rick Johnson at Epicor can help.  He has successfully hit his numbers while ramping new hires up.  How?  Customized onboarding that has a new rep in the field within 15 days. Yep, sitting in front of a customer within 15 days of getting hired.  Challenging?  You bet.  Risky?  No doubt. Rewarding?  Ask Rick.  He has CRUSHED his numbers this year selling ERP systems to small and medium size businesses. 


Lead Generation, Compensation challenges, Sales Force Sizing and Structure issue, Territory Design in congruency, Channel Management concerns…..the list goes on and on.  BUT onboarding new hires (whether that is an internal promotion or external hire) is critical.  It will make or break hitting your number.


Sales Management has a lot of items to juggle. 



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