Every sales manager knows the value of a team that's quick to find its stride. Accelerating new-hire ramp-up means accelerating revenue —but that’s only one benefit among many.
Some quick definitions before we dig in today: “Ramping up” is the process of onboarding new salespeople — including product training, company culture integration, and sales coaching — and new-hire ramp-up time is the amount of time it takes a team member to complete their training and reach full productivity.
Often, this process can take months. And when ramp-up times lag, opportunities may slip away.
We already mentioned accelerating revenue as a key benefit to ramping up reps faster — but here are a few more pros to getting reps to full productivity ASAP:
- Direct savings: The longer a new salesperson takes to become proficient, the longer your organization will be investing in them without getting an immediate return. A more efficient onboarding process reduces these costs.
- A rising tide lifts all boats: When a new team member becomes effective quicker, it creates positive momentum not just for the individual, but for the whole team. When veteran reps see new members contributing earlier, they feel invigorated and motivated, which improves team morale and brings in more sales.
- Competitive edge: Companies that can get their salespeople up to speed faster than competitors have a distinct advantage in the marketplace. They're able to respond to market shifts promptly, seize new opportunities, and maintain a consistent sales strategy with minimal disruptions.
- Better hiring: Hiring based on anticipated ramp time means you can have new sellers at (or near) full productivity even if you experience unexpected sales turnover.
Convinced it’s time to speed things up for your new sales team members? Great. Here are some practical strategies you can use to shave time off your new-hire adjustment period and set reps on a path to success.
1. Create a Structured Onboarding Program
Organized onboarding is the key to speeding up ramp-up time — but let’s take a step back before we start talking about the nuts and bolts.
What I want you to think about first is your new sales rep’s motivation.
Every new salesperson who joins your team really, really wants to transition smoothly from learning to closing deals. They want to excel. They want to meet (and surpass!) their targets.
So if you know that’s what they want (and that’s what’s good for your sales organization, too), plan on directly aligning your onboarding program with these ambitions.
Streamline the onboarding process by weeding out any redundant steps or information, so your new reps can focus exclusively on tools and training that propel them closer to their goals.
Once you’ve got that in mind, take these steps to create an efficient, effective onboarding program:
Precisely define the role
From day one, each new hire needs to have a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities. Make sure to go over these in detail and document them so the rep can refer to them at any time.
This transparency eliminates ambiguity so the rep can concentrate on the core aspects of their training.
Teach them everything about your products and services
Every rep needs to know your products and services inside and out if they’re going to successfully sell for you. Design your onboarding program so they can quickly and easily learn the features, benefits, and value props of your entire catalog.
Demystify sales ops
Guide your new hires through the web of your organizational sales procedures.
Each rep needs to understand:
- How leads are generated
- How to qualify leads
- The steps involved in closing a deal
- How to navigate post-sale customer relationship management
Immerse them in your company culture
Beyond skills and processes, it’s often company culture that dictates the success (or failure) of a new employee. Does your onboarding process include an introduction to your company’s mission, vision, and values? Do they understand what your company is doing — internally and externally — to reflect those values?
A genuine connection to the company can awaken a new rep’s sense of purpose and belonging, which will make them a happier, more engaged, and more productive team member.
2. Prioritize Tech Training
A salesperson's toolkit extends far beyond charm and product knowledge — they’re going to need a deep familiarity with your everyday workflows, tools, and sales technologies.
Equip your new hires with these indispensable skills:
- CRM mastery: Your onboarding process needs to include a deep dive into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Make sure every new hire can seamlessly manage leads, document their interactions, and extract meaningful reports.
- Email automation: If email automation tools are a big part of your sales process, every rep needs to understand how to use them to segment audiences, nurture prospects, and personalize follow-ups.
- Sales analytics: Train new hires on your analytics platforms so they can monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and get actionable insights from their sales activities.
3. Build an Invaluable Sales Playbook
Creating a sales playbook is like drafting a manual for success. It's a resource that curates the collective wisdom and strategies of your sales team and ensures that new hires have a consistent and effective process to work from.
Here are some things to consider adding to your own sales playbook:
- Company mission, values, and USP
- Features, benefits, and pricing information
- Key characteristics and pain points of buyer personas
- The sales process, from lead to close
- Pitch frameworks for presenting your products and services
- Responses to common objections and FAQs
- Competitive analysis
- Case studies
- Email templates and call scripts for outreach, follow-up, etc.
- Tools and resources, including software, sales collateral, and training
- Deal closing techniques
- Post-sale processes, including onboarding, upsells, and referrals
Here’s a bonus hint: You can use Showcase Workshop to create interactive sales playbooks that help information stick for new hires. After all, Showcase is a platform designed for intuitive, visually engaging presentations and resource guides!
4. Track Your Success
Carefully curated performance metrics can act as the compass guiding new sales hires toward their professional North Star.
It’s an old standard, but it still holds up: SMART goals work. Make sure all your new hires’ objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
As they ramp up, incorporate periodic performance evaluations into the onboarding process. Don’t just check boxes in these sessions — give detailed, constructive feedback that identifies areas where they’re excelling (and where they can improve).
Incentives like bonuses and recognition can be powerful catalysts during onboarding. Positive reinforcement boosts motivation and can help instill a sense of achievement and purpose.
Use milestone tracking to compare a new hire's performance achievements with those of other reps at similar junctures. Benchmarking like this can give managers a nuanced view of a rep’s progress toward full productivity so they can set realistic expectations and fine-tune the onboarding process.
5. Set Up Feedback Loops for Continuous Improvement
If you’re going to improve your onboarding and decrease ramp-up time for new hires, you’re going to need consistent feedback.
Set aside dedicated one-on-one or group sessions to listen to what your team has to say about the ramp-up process. Make it a safe space where they can share experiences and discuss challenges.
And these feedback loops shouldn't be static — they should inform the training process itself. Actively integrate insights from these sessions and continuously iterate on your training materials and procedures.
Use the trending satisfaction score of post-onboarding new hires as a measure of their experience. Analyzing these scores across different cohorts over time to shed light on learning gaps and areas for improvement.
Positioning New Sales Reps for Triumph — Right From Day One
Streamlining the process for new sales hires isn't just about speed — it's about setting your new reps up for lasting success so your organization can thrive.
By creating a comprehensive onboarding program, building a rock-solid sales playbook, tracking your progress, and implementing effective feedback loops, you pave the way for a highly efficient, motivated, and productive sales team.
Showcase Workshop can be a powerful tool for strengthening your sales training program. We put the right sales content right at your reps’ fingertips, through every step of the onboarding process.
And with our interactive, personalized presentations, new-hire onboarding will actually be (dare I say it?) fun.
Get a free trial today to find out how Showcase can help you make more sales (and ramp up those new reps faster).