One of the Top Complaints of Sales Reps … and How to Solve It

It can take several months for a new sales rep to get fully up-to-speed in your company. And the longer it takes, the more money that sales rep is costing your business in compensation costs PLUS missed sales opportunities.

One of the top complaints shared with me by sales reps is that they didn’t get adequate training when first hired. Even after years of being with the same company, they still don’t feel as knowledgeable as they’d like to be on products and processes. This results in sales reps lacking confidence in their day-to-day sales work, which directly impacts your bottom line.

The solution is to have a detailed, documented onboarding process in place. This allows you to avoid an ad hoc approach to getting your new sales rep up to speed so they can generate sales as quickly as possible. There are many other benefits to having a documented onboarding process including:

  • You know that new sales reps are onboarded consistently, reducing the likelihood of “lone wolf” sales reps doing things out of step with your company
  • It makes the sales manager’s job more efficient because he/she knows exactly what do to and when with new sales reps. It simply becomes a matter of implementing the process with the new reps.
  • Done right, it establishes accountability with the sales rep from day 1, a key quality in successful sales reps.
  • It creates a stronger sales team culture because all sales reps will have gone through the same onboarding process
  • It keeps ongoing sales rep training needs top-of-mind with sales management

Creating an onboarding process for sales reps invariably becomes something of a discovery and action exercise for your business. As you fill in the blanks on what sales reps need to learn and do, you will uncover gaps in your business that need filling. For example, that sales rep complaint I mentioned earlier about lack of training? That’s one of the key categories that needs to be completed for effective onboarding. If you don’t have a training plan in place for new sales reps, the onboarding process will force you to get it done.

A good onboarding process should include the following at a minimum:

  • A discussion of your company’s missions statement, values and culture
  • Expectations of sales reps
  • Training Program (including on any sales technology to be used)
  • Technology overview and accounts set-up
  • Schedule of ongoing 1-on-1 sales coaching sessions

To be clear, the onboarding process is organic. It’s not a static document. It will be improved upon, added to and edited as your operations change over time. But having one in place now is essential to getting your reps closing sales as quickly as possible.


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Photo credit: Yan Krukov

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