Get Your New Sales Reps Up to Speed in a SNAP!

August 30, 2016 - 3 Comments

One of the biggest challenges for Cisco Partners is ramping up new sales people and getting them productive quickly and efficiently. According to the 2016 Sales Benchmark Index, ramp-up time for sales reps varies but here are the responses from 736 companies surveyed:

  • 7.3% in < 3 months
  • 50.7%  in 3-6 months
  • 18.8% in 7-12 months
  • 23.2% in 12+ months

Consider the wasted money knowing that many companies terminate newly hired sales people after only three months. If less than 7.3% of sales reps get up to speed in 3 months, good sales people are being fired needlessly, most likely due to ineffective onboarding.


Ramping Up

So what’s the answer? First, sales managers need to understand the required ramp-up time for their new sales reps. This will allow you to make more informed hiring decisions and more accurate forecasts.

Ramp-up = Average length of sales cycle + 90 days

The downside to this is that the 90 days is an arbitrary number. So really take a look at the complexity of the types of sales, average customer size and the experience level of the sale rep. For a more junior rep in a complex environment, you’ll want to add more than 90 days. So using this rule, the ramp-up for a Cisco midsized customer-focused partner might look like this:

Ramp-up Junior = Avg Sales Cycle 120 days + 120 days = 8 months

Ramp-up Senior = Avg Sales Cycle 120 days + 60 days = 5 months

So understanding the appropriate time it will take an individual to get up to speed with your company is critical to maximizing your investment. When you consider the cost of recruiting, training, and lost revenue while getting a new individual up to speed, the emphasis is even more critical.


Training Effectively

The next challenge is getting reps trained effectively without taking too much time away from prospecting. Sending them away to off-site training can be impactful but this is usually very expensive and they are pulled out of the field for the entire time. Shadowing more senior reps in your company can also be effective but the training will only be as good as the senior rep and the wisdom imparted will be in direct proportion to the generosity of that experienced rep.

Most companies are using a mixture of training methods to onboard their new reps and keep them current on market trends and changes. One of the most efficient training mechanisms is online training. A good online training program will incorporate assessments, video, interactive modules and a variety of other media to engage with participants.


SNAP – At Your Fingertips!

SNAP, Cisco’s new Partner online training program, is an excellent resource for getting new sales reps up to speed. This versatile training focuses not only on Cisco products and services, but also on sales fundamentals and skills that will help differentiate and boost confidence. Access to SNAP can be found in the Cisco Sales Connect Platform and the best news is that it is absolutely free for Cisco Partners and all their employees!

SNAP training is set-up with training modules focused on various topics including selling skills like “Learning to Speak Cisco” and “Using Presentations to Drive Results”. Partners can also dive into Cisco architectures like Collaboration, Data Center and basic LAN and Enterprise Networking just to name a few. Each of these topics include multiple modules of increasing difficulty and complexity with an assessment at the end of each to determine comprehension. These modules can be completed at the sales rep’s own pace, at any hour of the day. So productivity in the field doesn’t have to be impacted by ongoing training.

Hiring a new sales rep is an important investment for any company and getting reps up to speed quickly and efficiently is critical. Make sure your expectations for ramp-up time are reasonable and put together an onboarding system that will ensure the ultimate success for both the sales reps AND the company. For Cisco Partners, getting your sales team in shape and keeping them there is now just a “SNAP” away with our new sales onboarding system. Good selling!

How do you get your sales team up to speed? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Excellent mathematics to define the time for new sales people, I agree with the article contents. I need to add that for good results, “On Job training and Coaching ” it’s very important. Thank you for sharing this valuable resource.

  2. Good resource for our partners!

  3. Enjoy reading these blogs. I pull at least one new thing into my playbook each time.