Enhance performance and retention: A guide to sales team onboarding 


21% of organisations cite onboarding as one of their top three sales challenges, and 62% rate their programmes as ineffective. 


84% of sales training is forgotten within the first three months of a rep's tenure. While this is a worrying stat for business leaders wanting immediate results from their sales teams, a structured onboarding process offers a possible solution. If executed well, new hire productivity can rise by 50%. 


Understanding onboarding for sales teams 


Onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into their roles, going beyond basic induction or training. Effective onboarding is crucial for sales teams, as inconsistent performance will impede returns, and each day of underperformance carries significant opportunity costs.  


"77% of new hires with official onboarding programs hit their first performance milestone" LinkedIn

The benefits of effective onboarding 

A structured onboarding programme can significantly enhance organisational efficiency by: 


  • Decreasing ramp time: Reducing the period for a rep to become productive. 
  • Accelerating quota attainment: Empowering new hires to meet their sales targets sooner. 
  • Fostering relationships: Enabling reps to build long-term connections with leads and prospects. 
  • Boosting customer satisfaction: Helping reps deliver a better customer experience and value faster. 
  • Increasing rep retention: Improving performance and job satisfaction levels, enhancing retention rates. 


"Companies with a structured onboarding program keep 58% of employees for three years" LinkedIn


Structuring onboarding for success 


With success and tangible benefits within reach, business leaders and their sales teams are more incentivised than ever. However, that motivation still requires a structured onboarding programme to be effective. 


Effective onboarding can be broken down into three phases: 


  • Orientation: Introduces the recruit to the company culture, facilities and team. 
  • Training: Develops essential sales skills and a deep understanding of company products, customer profiles and sales tools. 
  • Integration: Helps recruits establish critical internal and external relationships for long-term success. 


Addressing common onboarding challenges 


Implementing an onboarding programme has its challenges. Common hurdles include inconsistencies in training content delivery, varying levels of engagement among new hires, and difficulties in effectively measuring and tracking onboarding progress. 


  • Inconsistencies in training: Ensuring that all new sales reps receive the same quality of training can be challenging, especially across different regions or departments. Standardising training materials and methods is crucial. 
  • Engagement levels: Not all recruits will show the same enthusiasm or learn at the same pace. Personalising the onboarding experience and incorporating interactive and varied learning methods help maintain engagement. 
  • Tracking progress: Tracking an onboarding programme's effectiveness can be complex. Implementing regular check-ins and using clear metrics can help managers assess progress and make necessary adjustments. 


Best practices for onboarding success 


Facing these challenges and emerging unscathed requires a great deal of awareness and conviction. To ensure your onboarding programme is as effective as possible, consider these best practices: 


  • Structured yet flexible agenda: While having a structured plan like the 30-, 60-, or 90-day framework is essential, flexibility to tailor it to individual needs can enhance effectiveness. 
  • Use of technology: Leverage technology to deliver consistent training and to track progress. Tools like Learning Management Systems (LMS) can be very effective. 
  • Early and ongoing engagement: Engage with new hires before their official start date through pre-onboarding activities and maintain engagement with regular follow-up and feedback sessions. 


Advanced onboarding strategies 


Highly effective onboarding often adopts a clear structure, like the 30-60-90 day plan, a timeline that allows for measurable progress and adjustments: 


  • 30 days: Orientation and fundamental training are completed. The rep starts shadowing colleagues and attending sales meetings. 
  • 60 days: In-depth training continues, and the rep begins to operate independently, aiming towards initial sales goals. 
  • 90 days: By now, the foundational training is complete, and the rep should be leading client calls and crafting forward-looking sales strategies. 


“Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.”- Forrester

Continuous support and collaboration 


The best onboarding programmes are marked by continual collaboration and support, incorporating regular one-on-one coaching sessions. Sales leaders should set expectations clearly and early to minimise miscommunication, focusing on immediate goals and long-term development. 


Metrics to monitor 


Sales leaders should track several key performance indicators to gauge onboarding effectiveness: 


  • Time to First Sale—Measure how quickly new sales representatives make their first sale. This can indicate how effective the onboarding process is in preparing them for their role. 
  • Sales Ramp Time - Track the time new hires take to become productive (i.e., achieving targets). 
  • Quota/Target Attainment - Look at the percentage of new sales reps who meet or exceed their sales targets within a set period. High attainment rates can reflect a strong onboarding programme. 
  • Employee Retention Rate - Evaluate how long new salespeople stay with the company. High turnover might suggest gaps in the onboarding process or mismatched job expectations. 
  • Employee Satisfaction - Assess new hires' satisfaction with the onboarding experience and their role. 
  • Knowledge Retention—Measure how well new hires retain the crucial information taught during onboarding, which indicates the effectiveness of training. 
  • Performance Metrics - Conversion rates, average deal size, and sales cycle length can show how well new reps adopt sales strategies and perform in the field. 


Feedback from these metrics and direct feedback from new hires provides a comprehensive view of progress and areas needing attention. 


Sales enablement content: An essential tool for quick success 

Effective sales content is crucial for speeding up the onboarding process and helping new sales reps become productive quickly. These critical resources equip reps with the necessary knowledge and skills to make an impact immediately. 


“Buyer Enablement Content increases buyer decision confidence by 4x” Gartner

Key sales enablement tools 

Sales enablement materials simplify complex ideas and give reps quick access to essential information: 


  • Infographics and flyers: Help explain complicated product details in an easy-to-understand format. 
  • Guides and solution briefs: Provide in-depth information about products and solutions, helping reps address customer needs accurately. 
  • Battlecards and sales scripts: Offer strategies for handling objections and conducting persuasive discussions. 
  • Email templates and sales decks: Ensure consistent, high-quality communication with prospects. 


Integrating these assets from the start of onboarding allows new sales reps to engage effectively with prospects, reducing the time it takes to contribute to sales quotas. 


“82% of buyers feel that sellers are unprepared” Forrester

Sales content from AXD Agency 

At AXD Agency, we specialise in creating customised sales enablement materials that align with your needs. Our resources, designed and developed using strategies from top tech companies, give your sales team a competitive edge. Our clients see up to a 30% increase in sales within a year and a 50% reduction in onboarding time for new hires, saving significant costs. 


 Book a discovery call today to learn how we can tailor an onboarding strategy to your organisation's specific needs. 


Great content sets the best brands apart. Let's make you one of them.

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and optimise user experience. Read all about it here.