Too often growth companies neglect their Onboarding Program in favor of other areas. The overwhelming demand creates a constant sense of urgency. The arrival of new reps cannot come soon enough. And once those reps arrive, they’re thrown into the mix and expected to contribute. Immediately.


As the Sales Enablement Leader, you are accountable for the Onboarding program. That means getting those new hires up-to-speed as quickly as possible. You want to be a catalyst for the team’s success. And help the company hit the revenue number. 


Is your Onboarding Program providing new hires with the means to be successful? And is it focused on the 4 areas most pertinent to a rep’s success?


Read page 49 to find out. You’ll see how the top 10% of Sales Organizations onboard their new hires. And where they are focusing Onboarding efforts.



What are the 4 keys to new hire success?

Our research identified the top Onboarding Programs touch upon these areas:



Of course the information will vary from company-to-company. But Sales teams who ramped reps faster than their competition focused here. 


Let’s dive into each area in a bit more detail.


1. Product

What is it? Product is quite simply what your company is selling. 


Why is it important? Product knowledge is essential to a rep’s success. Buyers expect reps to be educated. Surface level knowledge of a product will never cut it. Reps must know how the product can solve the buyer’s problems. 


Onboarding Tip. Develop Product Portfolio guides. These are simple documents which outline: 


  • The market segment the product fits into.
  • The persona, or key buyer, of the product.
  • The market problem that the product is focused on.
  • And how the product solves that market problem.


Think of it as a one page manual. This is a great technique for quickly increasing new hires’ product knowledge. And fits right into an Onboarding Program. 


2. Customer

What is it? The Customer topic is about understanding who it is that the company sells to. 


Why is it important? Knowing the customer is essential to making the right recommendations. Rep’s with detailed levels of customer knowledge don’t pitch products. They determine what the company needs and align a solution to solve their problem. This is the value add customer’s expect. 


Onboarding Tip. Spend time in the field with new hires during their early days. Help them figure out who is a “good” customer and why. Push them to focus on solving business problems and not pitching products. This high-touch activity will develop good habits early on in the rep’s tenure. 


3. Personas

What is it? Personas are the individuals who utilize your product or service. They can either be the people who you actively sell to (Buyer Personas); or they can be the users of the product (User Personas). 


Why is it important? Knowing who the Personas are is Sales 101. This context lets you understand what the persona’s objectives, obstacles and needs are. With that insight reps are able to speak in terms which are relevant to them. 


Onboarding Tip.  Develop Personas for the Onboarding Program. These tools are great for new hires to learn about the Buyers and Users. It’ll keep the rep focused on solving the problems of the individual; not pitching a product. 


4. Process

What is it? Process, in a sales context, is focused on two topics. First, how a rep effectively prospects to generate new leads (Prospecting). Secondly, how a rep sells to a potential customer (Sales Process). 


Why is it important? Teaching reps how to effectively generate their own leads is a high return activity. This reduces the dependency on other departments and adds a level of self-sufficiency. You can then pair that knowledge with the ability to execute a Sales Process. And sell the way a customer wants to buy. This will be hugely valuable to early success for the new hires. 


Onboarding Tip. Implement a certification program relative to these two areas. Track the new hires’ progress as they perfect the skill. This approach will enable you to pinpoint areas where additional development will be needed. 


Key Takeaways

Is your Onboarding Program setting up new hires for success? Do reps exit with the knowledge on the product, customer, personas and processes? 


If not, expect a longer ramp time and less productive new hires. 


Ensure that will not happen. Improve your Onboarding Program ahead of your next new hire class. Give them the knowledge needed to be productive ASAP.


Daniel Korten

Helps companies make their number and grow revenue by using a data-driven approach to solving problems.

Dan joined SBI in 2012 and has mastered many roles within the firm’s Consultant Team. Most recently he became Client Success Manager, where he oversees and ensures project quality, consultant team development and client satisfaction.


Dan is an expert problem solver, which he achieves through data-driven decision making. When advising clients, he incorporates market segmentation, account segmentation, revenue & budget planning, sales organizational strategy and sales operations strategy.


Dan has also deep experience solving multi-functional organizational alignment issues impacting revenue growth. Expertise in private equity due diligence & screening, product strategy, buyer segmentation, demand generation strategy, sales territory optimization and talent strategy round out his broad base of knowledge in problem solving.

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