It has been a few weeks since we have touched on the subject of onramping of salespeople so it is time to return to this topic. All too often we see management waste an opportunity to set the proper tone with their new hire. They then spend months, even years, trying to correct bad behaviors they allowed in the first place.  If you do a search on onramping or onboarding on the web, you will find many articles and all of them at some point will discuss the fact that setting the tone early is very important.

So why is this a reoccurring issue for so many new hires?  In my reading the past few days I came across this article on CareerBuilder titled  A Manager’s Guide to Planning Your Employee Onboarding Process.  I recommend you read the entire article, but I would like to  highlight 7 rules from the article:

  • Start at the beginning: The onboarding process should begin the moment the new employees accept your offer.
  • Begin with the basics: Don’t overwhelm your employees with too much information at once.
  • Pencil in some playtime: Break up the monotony of the meeting-, paper work-, and presentation-heavy first few days.
  • Make it a family affair: Think of ways to involve the new employee’s family.
  • Find out how they see you: Use surveys and one-on-one interviews to gain feedback and then use those recommendations to improve your onboarding program.
  • Stay in it to win it: Change your onboarding program as needed.
  • Know your velocity: Measure the impact of your program.

Over the past several months we have been dealing with managers that are struggling with their salespeople – from bending rules to not providing call reports to not coming into the office on a regular basis.  The one common fact through all of them has been a lack of setting the tone early.  Each one of these managers failed with rule number 1 in some respect.  Some made no effort at all with the onramping program, others only put in effort when they had the time and others ignored issues at the time they first surfaced.

I’m not condoning the salespeoples’ behaviors, but many of these issues could have been negated had the sales manager simply spent time early on setting expectations, rules and guidelines.  An old commercial tagline comes to mind, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.”  Same holds true for the onramping process.  At some point you are going to have to invest time and effort in your employees and it is always best to make that investment at the beginning.

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