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Sales Onboarding and Training
You’ve hired a great new talent and you’re excited for her to hit the road selling. But before she can be productive, she needs to complete her training program. The training was created by the corporate office and is distributed to all sales managers with specific procedures that need to be followed. It consists of product information, videos, meetings and tests. Her first day is spent filling out paperwork, obtaining a company badge, computer and office supplies. This type of orientation is boring, cumbersome and outdated.

If you’d like your new hire to become productive quickly, and have a lot more fun while learning, invest in a comprehensive onboarding program. Often “training” and “onboarding” are used interchangeably when describing the new hire process. They are not synonymous and you should know the difference. Successful onboarding requires the backing of everyone who has an interest in the new hire’s success. That includes human resources, managers, trainers, and the direct supervisor. The onboarding process takes time and should last more that a few days. In some instances onboarding can last up to a year. Welcome your new hire into your workplace family, inspire the performance you desire, and your effort will be well rewarded.

Traditional Training and OrientationOn Boarding
Operationally drivenPart of strategic process
Pile of paperwork to fill out the first dayPaperwork sent to employee prior to first day
Supply information to the new hireCreate a good impression of the company
Universal to all employeesTailored specifically to individual employee
Formal socialization – office introductionsInformal socialization – team lunch
Employee Handbook for proceduresImmersion in company culture and procedures
Stress as employee “figures out” the jobConfident sales person that is coached by a mentor
Rep selling immediatelyRep shadowing a senior team member
Productivity after several monthsImmediate productivity
Lasts several daysCan last several months to a year
Inexpensive to implementRequires an investment
High turnoverHigh retention

Onboarding may be the last step in recruitment, but it is the first step in retention. After you have devoted time, money and energy to compete for the best talent, you don’t want turnover you want success. True winning workplaces know that the onboarding process is never really over. It’s not about supporting the employee for a determined amount of time and then leaving them on his or her own. It’s about sticking with them offering continual help and support.


Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.

He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.

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