Getting more from the new guy


Companies that hire salespeople would be wise to increase both the length and quality of training to show them how to sell effectively, according to a 2012 Salesperson Onboarding Survey that polled more than 500 sales management executives and business leaders. A whopping eight out 10 respondents are not satisfied with how long it takes their new salespeople to get up to speed.

“Most companies leave a great deal of potential revenue on the table, experience high, unnecessary sales turnover with corresponding costs and risk reputation-damaging customer interactions,” the report stated. “All of these are the results associated with not adequately preparing their new salespeople to sell effectively for the company.”

The survey was spearheaded by Lee B. Salz, a sales management strategist. (Salz is a member of the editorial advisory board of Sales & Marketing Management.) Key findings from the 2012 Salesperson Onboarding Survey:

•  It takes salespeople eight months to more than a year to perform at the same level as their tenured colleagues. However, most employers devote less than two months to onboarding their new salespeople.

•  Salespeople who work for employers that are most satisfied with their onboarding processes got up to speed 34 percent faster — in other words, four months earlier — than those working for companies that reported being less satisfied with their onboarding process.

•  Executives reporting the greatest satisfaction (and greatest success) with their onboarding programs have longer onboarding periods that are highly structured and comprehensive.

•  Almost six in 10 (59 percent) of the most satisfied respondents reported engaging new salespeople in a sales simulation while only 24 percent of the least satisfied did.

According to the survey, those who were satisfied with how fast their salespeople got up to speed have a comprehensive onboarding program in place that leverages:

·  Mentors and in-person group training

•   A well-defined “first day program” that goes on for a meaningful amount of time

•   Testing results at the end of the onboarding period, and following through to help those that aren’t generating the same revenue as tenured reps

For a free copy of the full report on this survey, visit