Onboarding is the Best Indicator of Future Sales Success


When a salesperson joins a new company, the most critical time period for evaluating whether he or she will be successful is in the first 90 days. This is true whether an individual is a rookie or experienced originator. Why? Because it is easy to be impressed by personable candidates who interview well but who may be able to disguise the fact that they don’t have the internal drive to be successful in the difficult world of origination. If hiring managers are not good interviewers and there are no objective pre-hire assessments in place to identify who can sell and who cannot, the issue is further compounded. This is why using the 90-day probationary period to uncover whether the new hire is a mistake is essential for future sales success.

Unfortunately, in the mortgage banking industry, onboarding is often defined in terms of HR orientation, learning how to operate the computer and CRM systems and getting a loan booked. Rarely do I see companies using these days to determine whether they made the right hire.

One of the reasons sales organizations don’t want to take a hard look at new hires is because they have already invested a lot of time and money recruiting. To determine after the fact that the new hire was a bad decision takes a lot of nerve. What I often hear is managers defending the initial hiring decision with a litany of excuses on why it is taking so long for the salesperson to ramp up.

When it comes to rookies, the excuse is usually some version of “the mortgage business is hard to learn and that you have to give the newbies time.” With experienced originators, a common warning sign is failure to prospect for new referral sources.

One way to combat the issue is to set performance standards for all new hires, whether they are rookie or experienced originators. If you miss this opportunity during the onboarding process, it will take another 12 to 18 months of documentation to move a poor hire out of the sales organization. An effective onboarding process establishes which sales activities originators should be performing and then holds them accountable for these actions.

Today is a great time to review your onboarding process and make any necessary adjustments.