ShadowingEffectively on-boarding new sales hires is one of the most important steps an employer can take to achieve a high return on the investment made to find that person.

A simple yet very powerful way to do this is to have new hires shadow one of your most successful sales reps. Over the years, I have achieved good results with this technique.  When a new hire came on-board, I would pair them up with one of my reps that was not only a high achiever and a member of my team with model work habits, but who was also someone who could deconstruct what they do and explain it to another (believe it or not, some sales people are very good at doing the right things, but not as good at explaining what they are doing – they have a gift and things come naturally to them, but coaching is not one of their skills).

The new hire would attend sales calls with my existing sales rep, listen in on phone conversations with customers and prospects and watch while the experienced member of our sales team would prepare notes and strategies. Sometimes the new hire would be assigned legwork to support the work of the existing rep. This serves to accelerate the learning process, transfer our selling approach and best practices, demonstrate what it means to be successful on our team and immerse the new rep in the winning culture of our company and sales team. The shadowing would often be intense for the first 2 weeks and then less frequent over the next 90 days, with the existing member of my team becoming a resource that the new hire can call on whenever questions arise. The added benefit is that the existing member of my team had a vested interest in making sure that the new hire was successful which increased my management leverage and a strong bond usually formed which helped team cohesion.

If you do not have a a new sales hire on-boarding process and do nothing else, I highly recommend a shadowing program.

To your success!


photo courtesy of Ambro |


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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