Fun sales onboarding fact: on average, it takes between six and nine months to turn a new sales recruit into a savvy seller at full productivity.
So landing that new job? It’s just the beginning. And that length of time? It can feel long – like, a one-way trip to Mars long. But think of it this way: it’s also a one-way trip to Mars’ worth of time you can spend making as much as possible out of the onboarding process!
While we can’t tell you exactly what that process looks like – every company has its own approach, geared to its products, culture and needs – we can tell you that onboarding isn’t just something that happens to you. It’s something you can actively own and make the most out of, both to develop your own selling prowess and hit your potential faster.
How? Here are six ways you can take initiative and rock your first days, weeks and months in your new sales job.
1. Get involved before day one
No one expects you to be the top seller on the sales floor from day one – that’s why training and onboarding exist! But you can make the onboarding process smoother and make a killer impression by doing a little homework ahead of time, so you show up on your first day prepared, curious and eager to dive deeper.
Uvaro pro tip: Read up on publicly-available information like your company’s mission, the products it offers, and the content they are publishing. While you’re at it, jot down any questions that pop up during your research and bring them with you on your first day. Knowing how they speak about themselves and their industry will accelerate everything else.
2. Set clear expectations
Expectations are a two-way street. Your new company will likely set expectations with you about company goals, the onboarding process and your performance targets – all-important, for sure. But just as importantly, you need to know what you can expect from your employer, too.
Uvaro pro tip: Make sure you agree early on about:
- How communication will flow between you and your manager
- Key dates in your progression
- What supports and resources are available to you
- Opportunities for skills growth and professional development
- Where to turn if you have questions
3. Seek mentorship
Who better to learn from than someone who’s mastered the craft? Mentors are powerful for two reasons: they accelerate your on-the-job learning, and they’re a treasure trove for advice on career advancement, new connections and lessons learned from personal experience.
Uvaro pro tip: Take initiative! If your employer doesn’t have a mentorship program in place, ask your manager to recommend someone who would make a good teacher. If mentorship is already part of the onboarding process, request someone with a specialty you’d like to learn more about.
4. Work the buddy system
Mentors can show you the ropes of your career; a peer buddy can show you the ropes of your company and its culture. How do reimbursements work? What’s the best way to reach out to your IT department? Where do people like to grab lunch? All perfect buddy questions!
Uvaro pro tip: Try to connect with at least two kinds of buddies: one inside your team who can answer job-specific questions, and one from another department in your organization who can provide an outside, cross-team perspective (and help you see where you fit in!)
5. Practice makes perfect
Knowledge is power, but without practice, it’s power untested. While it may be a few weeks or months before you’re unleashed on live prospects, you can still start building your sales muscles through regular practice – whether it’s recording your pitch and watching it back, or working with others on your team to role-play scenarios.
Uvaro pro tip: Forget silence; feedback is golden! Ask for it (and ask often) and you’ll suss out the secret sauce of what makes the top sellers, top sellers… and whether you’re on the right track to get there yourself.
6. ABL – Always Be Learning
We know – you have enough to learn in your first weeks and months on the job! But learning isn’t a one-and-done sort of deal if you’re aiming to be your best (and an overall more valuable rep for your company). So keep that learning going through books, online courses, certifications, podcasts and advice from sales experts even after your training program is done.
Uvaro pro tip: Hard skills like negotiation, prospecting, social selling, pitching and objection-handling take work. So do the soft ones, like curiosity, empathy, resilience, problem-solving and emotional awareness. Develop both sides for the ultimate combo!
How will you use the next six to nine months?
Ultimately, onboarding isn’t all about being productive fast or making quota ASAP. It’s about creating a solid foundation upon which you can grow through your early days – and continue growing throughout your career. In other words, it’s for you as much as it’s for your company. So if you’ve got a one-way ticket to Mars’ worth of new hire onboarding time to spend learning the ropes, why not make the most of it?