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Why Sales Rep Onboarding Should Worry You

Whenever you hire a new sales rep, it usually takes a while before that new person is as productive as the veterans who have been part of your team for a while. It’s only natural. It takes some time to learn the product, understand the market, and become effective with the sales process.

Sales managers understand this, so many of them don’t sweat it when new hires take several months to meet their quotas.

Now, we don’t want you to put your new recruits under a whole lot of pressure. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are some things you can do to help your new hires get up to speed more quickly. And reducing the time that onboarding takes is good for the business and the reps too.

To explain what we mean, we’re going to use a real example from a B2B company we know. At this particular firm, sales reps were expected to generate about $100,000 in revenue on average each month. And when they hired new salespeople, it usually took about 9 months for them to hit that target.

But after improving their onboarding process, this particular company was able to reduce its onboarding time to about 3 months.

A graph of the improvement looks like this:


It’s easy to see from the picture that the company generated a lot more revenue when the onboarding process only took three months. But to see exactly how much more money, it helps to do the math. For the purposes of the example, we’ll assume that the ramp-up occurred at a steady rate.


Old Process New Process





































Total $796,000


Over the first year, the new hires onboarded with the new process generated $303,000 more in revenue, a 38 percent increase. For a small to mid-size company, that could be significant—and more so if the company hires more than one new person during the year.

That $303,000 difference is even more significant from the salesperson’s perspective. Depending on the compensation plan, it could represent a whole lot of commission income.

In fact, the company behind this example actually found that their retention went up when they improved their onboarding process. It seems that a lot of the salespeople who were leaving had gotten frustrated with how long it took them to get up to speed. So they moved on to other positions where they felt they had better earnings opportunities.

So what about your organization? Are you tracking your onboarding time?

If not, you should. It’s the first step towards improvement in this area.

If you are tracking onboarding time, are you doing anything with that information? Many companies don’t realize that there are a lot of things they could be doing that would help their sales reps become effective parts of the team more quickly. We cover many of them in the Express Guide Onboarding New Sales Reps for Success. It examines the most common mistakes that B2B firms make with their new hires and offers 10 proven tips for improving the process.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s nothing you can do to speed up onboarding. If you can get your new salespeople selling faster it will be very good for your company—and for them.

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