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Sales On-Boarding: New Hire Success or Failure

One of the most important  tools I have created is a three-week "New Salesperson On-Boarding Plan," which contains what I believe are the necessary skills and knowledge that any new salesperson needs prior to selling a product or services. 

The plan ensures they know how to use the telephone, CRM, contracts and marketing tools, as well as gives training so they can clearly sell your organization and understand your products and services. Each item must be signed off and dated by the appropriate person. It is one of the most popular tools in my Sales Management Tool Kit.

On Friday it failed.

Normally, each new hire must listen to the president sell the company, listen to other salespeople sell the company, make a few "ride-along" sales calls and practice selling the company to other salespeople before making a formal presentation to the president during the third week. This would be the graduation point -- if the presentation was done correctly. The salesperson usually does a fine job, but the president normally recommends doing it one more time, the following week.

This particular salesperson thought he could fluff his way through his training period. I have seen this often with experienced salespeople who believe their past work will carry them through the sales process. They begin to struggle because they cannot sell the company they work for or understand how the company's products and services can serve their prospects. The red flag popped up last week during the weekly review when we noticed that some of the "sign-off boxes" were open or uncompleted for that week.

This salesperson's appointment to sell the president went poorly. My client recorded the presentation so both the salesperson and others could listen to it. It was tough to listen to.

The lessons: 

  1. We failed to manage his training during Week One or Week Two.
  2. We may have mis-hired.
  3. He now knows my client is serious about professionalism.

He is on a very short leash this week but the learning curve of the client and the salesperson has improved. Now, both better understand that on-boarding is a critical success factor in building a high-performance sales team.

Posted by Ken Thoreson on June 03, 2013