How to successfully onboard sales management

Most hiring best practice guides focus entirely on locating, interviewing and onboarding sales reps. Very few focus on onboarding an even more important role: sales management.

Sales leaders have a notoriously high turnover rate, and employee turnover is very expensive. That’s why creating a comprehensive onboarding process for sales managers is critical. Of course, your process will include the traditional parts of any onboarding strategy: an introduction to the team, tools and technology; an overview of sales and marketing operations; and an explanation of processes and metrics.

But sales management onboarding requires a bit more than that. We tapped Varsity Tutors Director of Sales Joshua Schwartz for advice. This is what he said.

3 steps to enrich your sales management onboarding process

Step 1: Onboard sales management like any other sales rep.  

Josh recommends putting new sales managers through your standard sales rep onboarding process. Let them learn about your organization through the perspective of the people they will be leading.

“They have to experience all of the sales roles to understand what they entail and earn some respect from their peers,” he said.

This helps new managers understand the day-to-day activities, interactions and frustrations of reps at your company. If you have multiple sales roles, such as sales development, sales and account management, give them time to experience each one.

The more your new manager connects with sales reps at your organization, the better leader they will be.

Step 2: Establish weekly one-on-one sessions with sales management.

You expect your managers to have weekly one-on-one sessions with each member of their team, so you need to do the same. Sit down with your sales managers once a week for 30 minutes or once every two weeks for sixty minutes.

“Ask to see the sales coaching plan for each of their reps. Hold them accountable for it,” Schwartz said.

Discuss their team’s performance. But also establish yourself as a resource for them. Ask what’s working for them right now and where they need help. Then review metrics and provide feedback.

Step 3: Coach sales management on critical leadership activities.

Coach your sales managers the exact same way you want them to coach reps around calls, meetings and other sales skills. But sales management coaching needs to focus on the most important parts of sales management, including hiring, onboarding and coaching.

Don’t micromanage your managers. Give them a chance to learn and make mistakes. Schwartz recommends letting them build their own team, instead of inheriting an already existing one.  

“If they make a bad hire and it hurts their team, they’re going to learn from that,” Schwartz said.  

Most importantly, coach your sales managers on how to coach their reps – especially if they were just promoted from an individual contributor role. Even the best salespeople still need to learn how to teach others to sell.

Another way to help new managers is to provide a sales management playbook. This serves as a resource that they can access at any time. Of course, these are only a few tips for onboarding sales coaches. We’d love to find out which tips you’d recommend below.

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