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Sales Manager Onboarding Plan

Sales Training
Chris Orlob
October 23, 2023

Despite estimated average annual spending of more than $2,000 per employee, new hires consistently flounder without an appropriate onboarding strategy for the first 90 days. Failure rates can be even higher for sales teams hiring their first or second sales managers.

The not-to-secret way to avoid this fate is to build a rock solid sales foundation. In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a comprehensive onboarding plan to make sure your new sales managers have everything they need to hit the ground running.

Why Onboarding New Sales Managers is Important

Onboarding new sales managers is important for several reasons:

  • It helps new hires ramp up quickly and start contributing to the team sooner. A well-structured sales onboarding checklist will provide new sales managers with the information and resources they need to get up to speed quickly, including product knowledge, sales processes, and team dynamics. This can help them start making an impact on the team and the company's bottom line sooner.
  • It helps to improve new employee satisfaction and retention. New hires who feel supported and valued during onboarding are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and stay with the company longer. This is especially important for sales managers, who play a critical role in leading and motivating their teams.
  • It helps to create a more productive and cohesive sales team. When new sales managers are properly onboarded, they are better equipped to lead and support their teams. This can lead to improved morale, productivity, and results.

According to a study by BambooHR, organizations with defined onboarding processes can improve new hire retention by 82% and boost productivity by over 70%. This is a significant improvement, and it shows that investing in onboarding pays off.

New sales hires who undergo a rigorous sales onboarding process can drive employee performance by up to 15% in terms of efficiency and have even been shown to work 57% harder at their respective roles. This is a significant increase in productivity, and it shows that effective onboarding can have a major impact on the performance of the sales team.

6 Steps to Build an Effective Sales Manager Onboarding Plan

Effective sales manager onboarding is typically structured as a 30-60-90 Day Plan. This is often included as a test project for top sales manager applicants to outline in the final phase of the interview process.

Crafting a 30-60-90 Plan to onboard a new sales manager creates a realistic view of what your organization expects for the first, second, and third months of employment. It also gives your organization a better idea of how successful or satisfied a new hire may be in the long run.

1. Establish clear expectations from day one

Clearly defined expectations help new hires understand their role and responsibilities, ensuring a smooth transition.

Onboarding Checklist:

  • First Day: Company orientation, team introductions, and initial training sessions.
  • First Week: Product training, CRM familiarization, and initial sales meetings.
  • First Month: Goal setting, performance reviews, and advanced training.

Resources: Offer resources like reports or guides that can help new managers understand best practices for their initial days, like this one.

2. Clean up the CRM for new hires

A well-organized CRM is essential for tracking leads, managing customer relationships, and forecasting sales. Getting your sales managers up and running quickly on the CRM is crucial.

Pre-Onboarding Tasks:

  • Audit existing data for accuracy.
  • Consolidate duplicate contact records.
  • Set standard operating procedures for CRM usage.

3. Clarify team-wide workflow management

Your workflow management should ensure consistency, reduce errors, and increase efficiency.

Optimization Steps:

  • Identify repetitive tasks and automate them.
  • Document standard procedures for common tasks.
  • Train existing team members on optimized workflows to ensure consistency.

👉The more you can streamline your workflows before onboarding a new sales team member, the less likely you’ll avoid these common sales hiring and training mistakes.

4. Create a plan for communicating product details and tribal team knowledge

Product knowledge is essential for sales managers to effectively sell and handle customer inquiries.

How to Create Documentation:

  • Detailed product guides.
  • Unique value proposition (UVP) and pain points addressed.
  • FAQs and troubleshooting guides.
  • Knowledge Library: Centralized repository for all product and sales tool documentation.
  • Multimedia Training: Use platforms like Loom for video demonstrations, and consider collaboration with IT or marketing for comprehensive training.

5. Implement a program where new hires shadow others on the team

The benefits of shadowing other sales reps or sales managers can’t be understated. Shadowing works because it:

  • Provides a practical understanding of daily tasks.
  • Facilitates team bonding and networking.
  • Allows new hires to learn from experienced team members.

How to Implement Shadowing:

  • Pair new hires with seasoned team members.
  • Rotate shadowing sessions to expose new hires to different sales styles and strategies.

6. Develop educational role-play techniques

Role-playing as a training tool helps new hires practice handling objections and scenarios in a controlled environment. Some of its benefits include:

  • Building confidence in handling real sales situations.
  • Allowing for immediate feedback and coaching.
  • Encouraging peer learning and sharing of best practices.

How to Implement Role-Play Scenarios:

  • Identify common objections and scenarios.
  • Schedule regular role-playing sessions.
  • Review and provide feedback after each session.

The Role of Sales Training Programs

While you can expect that recently hired sales managers come equipped with a wealth of knowledge, that knowledge is not particular to your company nor your defined processes.

As you design an onboarding program, do not neglect the importance of having a dedicated sales training program. The more you involve new hires in sales training programs, the more you embed your organization’s mission, values, and identity in their daily tasks. 

  • Hands-on experience through sales calls. Being that 33% of new hires want their manager or direct supervisor to show them the ropes, hands-on training boosts new hire confidence. 
  • Regular check-ins and one-on-one sessions. Routine communication creates a more positive onboarding experience, which forges a 3-times stronger commitment to a new employer. 
  • Developing competency through quizzes and role-play. Engaging new hires in real-world selling scenarios and process-focused playbooks can increase performance by 22% and prepare them to hit the floor.   

👉Enroll in our Sales Hiring Masterclass today and learn how to build a high-performing sales team!

The First Day Onboarding A New Sales Manager 

Welcome new team members with a company-wide announcement, either on the shared Slack channel or in a morning standup.

This is a great way to introduce the new sales manager to the team and make them feel welcome. Be sure to share their name, role, and any other relevant information. You can also encourage team members to reach out to the new sales manager and introduce themselves.

Introduce new hires to your company culture, mission, and organizational goals, making sure to share any related documentation.

This is an important step in helping the new sales manager understand the company and their role within it. Be sure to share your company's mission, vision, values, and goals. You can also provide them with any relevant documentation, such as the company handbook, employee handbook, or code of conduct.

Gather the necessary paperwork and create any required accounts for the new sales manager, including but not limited to:

  • Create a new company email address
  • Set up a workstation and establish a phone extension
  • Review and file I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification
  • Review and file Form W-4 and Form W-2 documents
  • Complete direct deposit or payroll paperwork
  • This is essential paperwork that the new sales manager will need in order to start working. Be sure to have all of this paperwork ready on their first day so that they can get started right away.

In addition to the above, here are some other things you can do to onboard a new sales manager on their first day:

  • Give them a tour of the office and introduce them to key team members. This will help them to get familiar with their new surroundings and meet the people they will be working with most closely.
  • Schedule a meeting with them to discuss their goals and objectives for the role. This is a good opportunity to get to know them better and to understand what they hope to achieve in their new position.
  • Provide them with access to any relevant training materials or resources. This will help them to get up to speed quickly and start contributing to the team as soon as possible.
  • Set up regular check-ins with them to see how they are doing and to provide support as needed. This will help them to feel comfortable and supported in their new role.

The First Month of Onboarding (Most Important for Ramp-Up Time)

Attend company orientation sessions and review the sales department's mission and goals.

This is a good way for the new sales manager to learn more about the company's overall mission and goals, as well as the specific goals of the sales department

Schedule one-on-one meetings with each team member and attend or lead a sales team meeting.

This is a great way for the new sales manager to get to know their team members and their roles. They should also take this opportunity to learn about the team's successes and challenges, and to get feedback on how they can be a more effective leader.

Familiarize yourself with the company’s product offerings, USPs, buyer personas, and attend sales management training sessions if available.

The new sales manager needs to have a deep understanding of the company's products and services, as well as the target buyer personas. They should also be familiar with the company's unique selling propositions (USPs). Attending sales management training sessions can help them to develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their new role.

Meet with marketing, support, and product teams and understand inter-departmental workflows.

The sales department does not work in a vacuum. It is important for the new sales manager to understand the roles of other departments, such as marketing, support, and product, and how their teams interact with each other. This will help them to be more effective in their role and to collaborate better with other departments.

👉Collaborating with other teams? Come prepared and familiarize yourself with all the terms they’re using.

Have regular 1:1s so you gauge their comprehension of your product offerings, pricing strategy, and work with them on key objection handling.

Regular one-on-one meetings are essential for the new sales manager to get to know their team members and to assess their progress. They should use these meetings to discuss the team members' goals, challenges, and areas for improvement. They should also work with the team members on key objection handling.

Establishing regular metrics and designating specific milestones to monitor progress, such as sourcing three new leads by day 30.

It is important to set clear expectations and goals for the new sales manager. This includes setting regular metrics and milestones to monitor their progress. For example, you might set a goal for the new sales manager to source three new leads by day 30.

Assuring an in-depth understanding of your organization’s sales process through shadowing senior leaders and outreach with current customers.

The new sales manager needs to have a deep understanding of the company's sales process. This includes everything from prospecting and qualification to closing and follow-up. They can gain this understanding by shadowing senior sales leaders and by reaching out to current customers to learn more about their experiences.

Understand the sales pipeline and familiarize yourself with the CRM system.

The new sales manager needs to understand the company's sales pipeline and how to use the company's CRM system. This will help them to track the progress of leads and opportunities, and to manage their team's workload.

Review last quarter's sales data, identify top performers, and areas of improvement.

The new sales manager should review last quarter's sales data to identify top performers and areas of improvement. This will help them to develop a plan for improving the team's performance.

Review sales call recordings and set up calls with customers to better understand their goals, needs, and pain points.

The new sales manager should review call recordings to identify areas where their team members can improve. They should also set up calls with customers to learn more about their goals, needs, and pain points. This information can be used to develop more effective sales strategies.

By taking the time to properly onboard your new sales manager in their first month, you can help them to get off to a good start and to become a valuable asset to your team.

The Second Month of Onboarding

By days 31 to 60, your new hire should be acclimating to their new role—and new teammates—and be significantly more comfortable with your company’s product offerings and sales processes. By the end of this period, a new sales manager should be able to successfully execute 80% or more of their daily work without supervision. 

Action items to include for the second month of onboarding a new sales manager include:

  • Scheduling role-play sessions with senior leaders and fellow team members to build a new hire’s confidence and prepare them to lead a team of their own. 
  • Providing additional hands-on experience interacting with prospects, either through interviews and surveys or with real-time guidance on sales calls.
  • Creating a record or journal of recent sales activities to become familiar with company standards and identify areas for improvement.
  • Designating specific sales goals, such as setting certain sales quotes for day 60 or tracking the timeframe for customer conversions.

The Third Month of Onboarding

By the end of day 90, a new sales manager should have more clarity around all aspects of their role and should be able to carry out the vast majority of their job responsibilities. 

Action items to include for the third month of onboarding a new sales manager include:

  • Observing and recording the daily activities of the sales team to identify skill gaps among team members or troubleshoot ineffective workflows.
  • Setting new, measurable goals for the sales team based on the metrics analysis and specific sales goals from the two months prior.
  • Beginning to implement changes in team-wide processes or workflow to support a more streamlined or successful sales cycle.
  • Creating a plan of action for the next 30 days, which, while not related to onboarding, will be their official roadmap to continued sales success.

Sales Enablement and Employee Engagement

Sales enablement tools provide new sales managers with the resources they need to succeed right away.

These tools can help new sales managers to:

  • Understand the company's ideal customer and tailor their brand messaging accordingly.
  • Connect with leads more effectively.
  • Improve the onboarding experience.
  • Be incorporated into role-playing scenarios and other hands-on experiences.
  • Encourage ongoing engagement with sales enablement tools.
  • By providing new sales managers with the proper sales enablement tools, you can help them to get off to a good start and to become valuable assets to your team.

👉Learn the key differences between sales enablement and sales training, and why this matters to the growth of your sales team.

Evaluation and Feedback After the Onboarding Process

After the onboarding process, it's essential to set milestones to assess a new hire's performance, such as sales quotas or key performance indicators. Regular feedback from their peers can also provide valuable insights.

You’ll also want to schedule consistent check-ins with new hires to understand their comfort and satisfaction with the onboarding process. These sessions not only foster continuous learning but also offer opportunities for the entire sales team's growth.

Moreover, they provide insights to refine the onboarding process for future recruits.

The Bottom Line: Sales Manager Onboarding Matters

Onboarding processes are longer 'nice to have'—they are indispensable.

A robust sales manager onboarding program not only familiarizes new hires with your company culture but also delineates the benchmarks for future achievements.

Finally, a comprehensive sales onboarding plan is the cornerstone of constructing a formidable sales team. Instead of squandering their initial months chasing unqualified leads or stumbling during discovery calls and demos, a well-structured onboarding propels new hires to become proficient salespeople swiftly.

Ready to elevate your sales team's performance? Dive into's courses, crafted by the top 0.01% of sales practitioners globally. Don't let your team miss out on the best kept secrets of the elite closers.

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