4 critical sales activities for new reps

Expectations for new sales hires are extremely high, especially in the SaaS industry.

Most companies have a pre-screening and interview process that is so demanding and thorough, hiring managers hesitate to pinpoint red flags in their candidates –  an error which can lead to bad hires. What’s really scary is that the average cost of a failed ramp-up or miss-hire can be six times base salary for a sales rep, and 15 times base salary for a manager. Crazy!

4 critical sales activities for new repsThat’s why a significant amount of time, resources and costs are dedicated to making new batches of fresh sales hires successful. So much so that some organizations now require new-hire contingency plans in case a rep doesn’t focus on the right sales activities, isn’t a fit with your culture or simply underperforms on quota.

That being said, new sales reps need to take responsibility for their success and future growth. Period. No excuses.

There are many approaches to find success as a new hire. Here are four sales activities that I’ve found valuable during my 10 years as a sales professional.  

Sales activities to ensure success

1. Clearly understand expectations

Your success as a sales professional depends on how well you understand expectations from your new employer and management team. This includes:

  • Company and product knowledge
  • Company training
  • Systems and/or ­­tools requirements
  • Coaching cadence
  • Pre-ramp daily activity levels
  • Fully ramped activity levels

… and, of course, drum roll please: monthly, quarterly and annual quotas.

If no guidelines or expectations are provided, seek out a new hire plan/schedule from your human resources team. If no documentation exists (shame, shame!), then please say something! Bring up suggestions about why this process should be implemented for new hires and how it can decrease employee churn.

2. Seek out a mentor

When starting your new role, buddy up with one of the tenured employees or top performers in the business.

Most companies require “rep shadowing” as a pretty common new hire exercise. A mentor relationship or in-house program allows reps to develop key sales skills and competencies in a forum other than traditional sales coaching.

With a solid mentorship plan, there’s a tremendous opportunity for continued growth and collaboration well past the new hire schedule. (Just be ready to buy a few coffees for early morning mentoring sessions.)

3. Understand the right KPIs and stay focused

What do I mean by the right KPIs? There’s a good chunk of companies today that understand the key performance indicators that lead to success from a team and individual contributor perspective.

An approach I’ve taken in the past is to spend ample time with the most successful reps, the most consistent reps, and the most knowledgeable sales operations leaders. You will understand the secret sauce to their success — how top-performing reps spend their time, what specific metrics drive success and how leadership tracks and measures their success.  

4. Add value outside of your role

If you were the CEO of a fast-growth software company, which employee would you find more valuable to your business?

  1. A hard-working sales rep who hit or exceeded their quota 10 out of 12 months   


  1. A hard-working sales rep who hit or exceeded their quota 9 out of 12 months, but is also a part of the culture committee and contributes monthly to the company blog

I’m typically not a betting man. However, I would wager the CEO would rank the second option over employee option numero uno. My point is if you’re truly passionate about your team, business and future of the company, then add significant value outside of your individual role.

More and more companies are expecting this from their new hires and veteran employees. Be engaged. Be vocal. Be creative. If you’re about to start the next chapter in your career, put some additional thought around a few of these suggestions.

With these sales activities, you could find yourself positively contributing to your company faster than your leadership team expected. (Pssssst! That’s definitely a good thing.)

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