A 30/60/90 Day Plan for Onboarding New Sales Reps

Picture this: Your hiring process has brought in a promising new representative for your sales team. He or she has the credentials and experience you were looking for, impressed you at every step of the interview process, and is eager to be a member of your team.

You know this person has remarkable potential, but there is so much for them to learn about your organization in order to actually start winning new business. The average sales rep at a SaaS company takes 5.3 months to reach full productivity, with other industries seeing similar trends (link). How will you close that gap?

The right talent is only as successful as the onboarding process that supports them. If you are preparing to hire a new sales team member, follow this 30/60/90 day plan to establish clear expectations, performance criteria, and goals to get them up to speed quickly and efficiently.

Phase 1: Day 0 – Day 30

As with any new job, your new employee will spend their first month becoming immersed in your business: learning your values, systems, procedures, people, products, services, and software. Each of these is critical to full productivity, but is understandably daunting to take in at all once.

To avoid overwhelming the employee, structure the first 30 days around 5 goals:

  1. Learn and effectively use CRM software: Accurately create or modify account information and log activity, including cold calls, emails, appointments, opportunities, and follow-up tasks
  2. Learn appropriate techniques to effectively prospect: Become competent in your organization’s approach to identifying new prospects in each of your business segments
  3. Understand key opportunities within territory: Leverage CRM software and other tools to develop a comprehensive understanding of current activity within the new employee’s territory
  4. Learn to perform effective prospecting and cold calling: Demonstrate an ability to establish what (or if) there is a current service or solution in place, identify key decision makers, and schedule first appointment with those contacts
  5. Learn discovery questions specific to each business segment: Understand the business needs of each business segment within your customer base and your value propositions unique to those segments in order to ask appropriate questions while prospecting

To accomplish these goals, your new sales representative will need to spend time shadowing and in the field with your sales manager or senior sales representative. Ensure that this person also understands these objectives and what they are expected to gain from these interactions in order to support their progress.

By the end of week 2, the employee should be prepared to make calls within his or her territory. After 1 month, they should be capable of achieving a weekly minimum of cold calls and appointments. These numbers will vary based on your business, but should be in line with what will be expected of them at full productivity.

At the end of Phase 1, evaluate your new representative on the 5 goals. Identify areas of weakness and provide coaching, homework, and follow-up evaluations accordingly.

Phase 2: Day 31 – Day 60

This phase should focus on appropriate behavior when conducting appointments with prospects. This requires a deeper understanding of your organization’s value drivers, messaging and positioning, and product offerings. While much of this is likely available in onboarding materials, the learning experiences in the field with a sales manager or senior representative will be considerably more impactful and memorable for the new employee.

Leveraging the discovery questions learned in Phase 1, the employee should be able to help the prospect better define the criteria by which they select a vendor or product, and ultimately increase their likelihood of closing the deal.

  • Account intelligence: Developing a holistic understanding of the prospect’s needs, structure, and processesWhat is the economic position of the prospect?
    • Who is involved in decision making, and what nuances exist in that process?
    • Who are the competitors also vying for this prospect’s business? What are their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?
    • What are the criteria that will ultimately drive the buying decision for this prospect?
  • Account strategy: Establishing a clear plan for connecting, communicating value, and making the sale
    • Creating financial justification for your offer
    • Meeting the economic decision maker
    • Establishing the decision criteria against which you will be measured
    • Identifying the process for decision-making within the organization
    • Differentiating against the competition

At the end of Phase 2, the representative should be able to clearly differentiate your product or solution from a competitor’s offering, gather the above intelligence, and articulate a meaningful sales strategy.

Phase 3: Day 61 – Day 90

With an established understanding of the prospecting and discovery process, the employee should begin to obtain knowledge of how to prepare a proposal and close business. With the support of your sales manager, the objective during this phase is to effectively prepare and present proposals.

In order to effectively develop a proposal that meets the expectation of the customer and has a high probability of closing, it is critical to leverage the information gathered in phases 1 and 2. The following items are vital to a successful proposal:

  • Reiterate understanding of the business
    • What are the business issues or goals the company is trying to solve by considering your solution?
    • Is their current vendor is not meeting quality or service expectations?
    • Is the internal solution currently in use creating inconvenience or wastes time of employees on staff?
  • Position yourself as the only qualified option
    • Why is your solution uniquely qualified to meet the business need, goal or problem for this customer?
    • What about your service or product did you differentiate during conversations with the customer or decision maker, and how does that create value for them in solving the business issue explained above?
  • Provide clear and easily understood details of implementation and cost
    • If you have properly understood the needs of your customer and truly differentiated your solution, the likelihood of closing the business is significantly higher. Confidently present those so that they are easily digested and understood.
  • Ask the customer or prospect if they have questions and if everything you presented meets their expectations
    • It is never safe to assume. Taking the extra step to ensure your proposal is aligned with the customer’s expectations builds trust in their relationship with you as a new salesperson.

Oftentimes, the person receiving the proposal will take this to other individuals in the business for approval. In other cases, cases, there may be multiple decision makers. Formatting the proposal as outlined above will clearly articulate the value you will create for their business and help your contact educate their peers on why your solution is the best fit, even if that person has never spoken with you before.

The employee should now have closed their first sale after completing the prospecting, discovery, and pitching processes learned in the previous 60 days.

At the end of this 90-day probationary period, we recommend completing a formal review that evaluates them against the goals from in phase. Your sales representative should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a foundational understanding of your organization
  • Effectively prospect and create a sales strategy
  • Create, present, and close contracts

Now, they will be ready to begin managing his or her territory and attaining weekly and monthly goals on a consistent basis — ultimately realizing that potential you saw in them from the beginning.