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What is Sales Onboarding? Follow the Three R's. And the Three C's.

Jan 08, 2024
4 min read
Companies need a strong employee onboarding process to train new sales reps effectively. Follow these tips to ensure your Sales team is onboarded strategically.

Sales onboarding is the method companies go through to bring new sales reps into their organization and help them gain the skills, knowledge, and behaviors needed to perform effectively and reach their goals.

However, adding sales staff alone won’t enable companies to reach their financial goals in the short term. In fact, it can take an average of 3.2 months for a new rep to reach total productivity. In today’s competitive market, companies simply can’t wait that long to get sales reps running at full potential. This is where a strong sales onboarding program comes in.

The Three R's

When structuring your sales onboarding process, you want to focus on consistent strategies that position your new sales reps for high growth potential.  Adopting these simple onboarding best practices will help you create a clear path towards results:


Employee onboarding is one of a sales rep’s first experiences with a company – and as the adage says, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” A recent Forbes article quotes that, “81% of employees felt overwhelmed during the onboarding process.” 

With all the trouble and cost associated with hiring qualified sales talent, it would be a shame to get off on the wrong foot with a haphazard approach to getting them integrated into the team.

Ramp Time

Unfortunately for many companies, the employee onboarding process has continued to follow the old playbook of a sales kickoff meeting: painful all-day immersion sessions and a week of shadow selling with another rep. But is this the most effective approach? Probably not.

Think about it; can you recall even half of what you learned or did last week? The most effective employee onboarding methods should provide new reps access to smaller, more consumable training materials so they can constantly go back and refresh their knowledge and aptitude on different products, new offerings, etc. Not only does a slow ramp time hinder a rep’s ability to start generating sales, but it can also have a negative impact in terms of what you are paying them in sales draws.


A 2023 State of Sales Enablement Report found that organizations are 10% more likely to see high rep engagement when enablement leads sales training efforts. 

By integrating ongoing, real-time sales coaching and onboarding training, sales reps have a toolkit needed for ongoing success, empowering them to constantly align their efforts with your company’s sales priorities.

Want more? Read about sales onboarding best practices.

The Three C's

If your goal is to achieve sales growth in 2023 (and we assume it is), hiring more sales reps alone won’t help you get there. It’s critical to also get those reps up to speed quickly by modeling the behaviors and objectives that align with your overall corporate goals. Following these three C’s will help you see results faster:

Cut the Content Overload

Similar to the previous point on ramp time, science has proven that if we are not repeatedly reviewing information, we can forget up to 40% of it in the first 24 hours and up to 60% in 48 hours.

Reps – brand new or seasoned veterans – need access to smaller, more digestible training materials to refresh their knowledge and aptitude on different products, new offerings, etc. For example, offering on-demand personal training can help reps refresh themselves on key benefit messages in the moment as they are about to pick up the phone for a sales call.

So here’s the point: ditch the “data dump” and focus on a more actionable, ongoing sales enablement strategy. 

Coach for Sales Success

Coaching has been found to have the biggest impact on sales performance – and is one of the best ways to get new reps up to speed and revenue generating quickly. But again, too many companies rely on immersive coaching sessions over a short period of time. For the best success, coaching should be an ongoing practice.

Coaching is a long-term process. Sales enablement should be no different. And who better to help coach your reps than your star players? By integrating social technologies with stellar sales coaching skills, your top reps can easily tape their best sales pitches and conversations to give their peers real and actionable training on what works. In tandem, new reps should be encouraged to tape themselves and seek peer feedback from tenured reps so they can fine-tune their delivery and message. This kind of review is a critical, but often overlooked part of an effective sales onboarding process.


Most importantly, all this information needs to be at a rep’s fingertips. For sales, time is money. Reps need to be able to quickly access training materials and peer-coaching feedback no matter where the job may take them.

At the same time, there is nothing more motivating for a rep – new or tenured – than to be able to see how they are performing against their own personal objectives, as well as against the broader team. By providing reps an automated dashboard that links everything they need in one location – from CRM and CPQ, to sales performance, commission payments, and onboarding all in one location – they will be well equipped to dramatically cut the time it takes to get up to speed and start successfully selling. Not to mention, management will have a central location to analyze what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to sales onboarding and sales performance.

Refine Your Sales Onboarding Process with Xactly Forecasting®

The Xactly Forecasting Coach feature provides a centralized location for sales leaders to access an in-depth understanding of team and rep performance to enable impactful conversations and outcomes. It provides a unified view of rep performance that enables sales leaders to uncover data to drive strategic outcomes, access insights to win more deals, and identify and automate coaching opportunities.

  • Software
  • Cloud/SaaS
  • Sales Coaching and Motivation
  • Sales Performance Management
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Xactly News Team

The Xactly News Team reports on the latest product, events and market trends taking place within Xactly and throughout the revenue intelligence industry.