One of the most significant challenges for sales leaders isn’t losing clients — it’s losing salespeople. A survey of 406 executives by The Bridge Group reveals that the average tenure of a salesperson is approximately 1.8 years.
With employee churn at a record high, companies must focus on retaining high-impact employees such as account executives.
Raises, perks and positive reinforcement are great ways to retain existing staff. But when you’re hiring new salespeople, it’s essential to create an effective account executive onboarding plan to ease them into their role.
Curious to learn how?
Here are 10 actionable steps to help you create the ultimate onboarding experience for new account executives.
10-Step account executive onboarding checklist
Creating an account executive onboarding plan that’s repeatable yet customizable is key to ensuring success.
Here’s an onboarding checklist that shows you how to do it.
1. Welcome them to your company
Moving to a new company is a significant change. But you can ease this transition with a welcoming work environment. Don’t send a welcome email and call it a day. Instead, consider sending an onboarding kit to help them feel like a part of the team from day one.
Schedule introductions with the entire team so they can start building relationships with their teammates. A quick welcome call with the rest of the sales team on Google Meet or Zoom can help you get the ball rolling.
2. Share your vision and outline expectations
In addition to the onboarding kit, share a comprehensive onboarding schedule that outlines short- and long-term milestones. Encourage active participation and request feedback on your account executive onboarding plan.
New account executives must have enough context to get in the right mindset on the first day. You can use Google Docs and Google Slides to create shareable presentations while collaborating with other stakeholders such as account managers and sales managers.
3. Set challenging yet realistic goals
Naturally, you want account executives to hit the ground running and step into their new roles as soon as possible. But it’s important to be realistic about when and how.
Set goals that are challenging yet achievable. This balance is vital because achieving goals provides a sense of accomplishment and boosts employee satisfaction.
4. Give them access to your internal tools
Share access to all the tools executives need, such as an email account and an account in your sales CRM. You might even use tools they’re not familiar with. So make sure you set them up with product documentation to learn those tools.
You don’t need to spend hours creating training modules. Use Scribe to create shareable guides in minutes. Here’s a Scribe that was made in under a minute to demonstrate the steps to create an account in Salesforce.
5. Explain your sales processes
Besides new clients, new executives will also take over existing customer accounts by the end of the onboarding process. Familiarize them with your company’s sales pipeline and process so they can do that without impacting the customer’s sales experience.
Explain how the sales to customer success account handoff works and which teams are responsible for tasks such as product demos, upsells and cross-sells.
6. Conduct sales training sessions
Sales coaching sessions are a crucial part of onboarding account executives. Conduct training sessions to teach new hires about your company’s sales cycle and how to conduct outreach and nurture lasting customer relationships with new clients.
One of the best ways to show how your product solves customer problems is by sharing customer case studies and reviews. A comprehensive understanding of your product and target audience will likely help them sell faster.
7. Organize mock sales presentations
Once your account executives understand the ins and outs of your product and target audience, it’s time to proceed to role-playing customer onboarding processes. Organize mock presentations and sales calls to help them prepare.
Make sure they mirror real-world scenarios and rotate roles between team members so they understand what it’s like being on both sides of the call. Provide honest feedback to help them identify strengths and weaknesses and share tips on how they can improve their sales skills.
8. Encourage cross-functional team collaborations
Sales development isn’t an isolated business function, and you shouldn’t approach it that way. Ask new hires to work with SDRs, product development and customer success teams as part of the account executive onboarding process.
Cross-functional collaborations help break the ice between distributed teams and create opportunities for lasting business relationships.
9. Track their progress
As account executives make their way through the onboarding process, you need to take a step back and evaluate their progress at regular intervals.
Schedule weekly follow-ups with team leaders and bi-weekly meetings with account executives to track their progress and address onboarding problems.
10. Get out of their way
By the end of the onboarding process, strive to give your account executives the autonomy to do what you’ve hired them for — sell your products.
Every salesperson has their own style of selling. Micromanaging them or forcing them to adapt to a style that isn’t natural will hurt their productivity and your sales. Focus on key performance indicators and give them the freedom to achieve your company’s vision.
Final thoughts: The ultimate account executive onboarding checklist
Analysis by the MIT Sloan Management Review found that toxic corporate culture was 10.4 times more likely to increase employee turnover than compensation. Therefore, it’s essential to create a positive work environment where employees thrive.
Make sure you set challenging yet achievable goals that positively reinforce desired outcomes. The collective goal, after all, is to help new hires hit the ground running. The account executive onboarding process is just a tool that helps you get there efficiently.