Male mentor with male sales trainee meeting at a table

The Power of 1:1 Meetings in Sales Onboarding: A Guide to Success

January 9, 2024 – 8 min read

The sales onboarding process for new sales reps is a critical phase in building a successful team. An essential component of this process is conducting regular, 1:1 meeting—a personal, one-on-one conversation between a sales leader and the new team member. These meetings are invaluable for creating a smooth and engaging onboarding experience, ensuring that the new sales representative is equipped with everything they need to excel in their role.

The Importance of 1:1 Meetings in Onboarding

Onboarding is an essential step in fostering a productive, engaged, and dedicated employee. One of the most crucial components of this process is regular 1:1 meetings. This personal interaction forms the backbone of effective onboarding, setting the stage for further growth, engagement, and loyalty of your sales team.

  1. Building Trust and Rapport: As a leader, establishing a strong relationship with new sales rep is crucial. Setting regular 1:1 meetings from the very beginning sets the stage for open communication. This time allows the new team member to ask questions, seek guidance, and address concerns. This not only helps new employees feel more comfortable, it fosters trust and builds rapport and loyalty.
  2. Fostering Open Communication: Trust can only be established through open communication. When team members feel that there is transparency of information and openness to ideas from the onset, they are more likely to share and feel valued, further enhancing their level of engagement with the job.
  3. Nurturing Professional Development: 1:1 meetings are a great opportunity for leaders to guide and mentor their team members. This is a time when managers can observe an individual’s perceived strengths and weaknesses and customize their coaching approach to help their team members reach their full potential. Use 1:1 meetings to help sales reps set professional and performance goals and create development plans tailored to each individual.
  4. Reinforcing Company Culture and Values: 1:1 meetings are a platform for reinforcing the company’s mission, values, and culture. This sets the foundation for a sense of shared purpose and belonging, which can drive motivation and increase engagement and loyalty.

The Impact Plan

As a leader, it is essential to make the most of your time with new reps to ensure their long-term success. With a more formalized approach to your 1:1 meetings, you can create an onboarding experience that equips new reps with the information and support they need to excel in their roles.

The Impact Plan is an essential tool for successful onboarding. The Impact Plan focuses on the key elements that contribute to speed to proficiency, engagement, and motivation. Major components of this plan include:

Understanding the Business and Products: Clear and comprehensive understanding of the business and product line is paramount. Ensure your team members are working through the company resources and attending the required training to get them up to speed. During your 1:1 meeting, ask questions to ensure an understanding of the business and products and coach them to accelerate their success.

Setting Performance Goals: Set performance goals that are realistic as well as ambitious. Give them a clear idea about their responsibilities and targets that need to be met. Be specific about the activities they may be measured on—for example: quarterly quotas, calls/visits per day/week, revenue targets, etc.

Comprehensive Toolset: The impact plan should include any and all information that is critical to a new hire’s success, such as sales training, strategies, processes, tools, technologies, resources, tips for relationship building, and conflict resolution.

Regular Review and Feedback: Regular review and feedback play a crucial role in shaping a successful salesperson. It provides them with the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and improve their methods.

How to Prepare for 1:1 Onboarding Meetings

As with any meeting, proper preparation is vital for conducting productive 1:1 onboarding meetings with your sales reps:

  1. Get to Know Your Sales Reps: Before each 1:1 meeting, take the time to understand the new sales rep’s personal background, experience, and career aspirations. Knowing their strengths and areas of interest will help tailor the onboarding process to suit their learning styles and help leverage their strengths from the beginning.
  2. Create a Structured Agenda: Every meeting should include a clear agenda. This ensures that you maximize your time together and stay focused and productive. Share the agenda with team members beforehand to allow them to prepare for the discussion.
  3. Be Empathetic and Supportive: Approach 1:1 meetings with a supportive mindset. The onboarding process can be overwhelming for new team members, and offering a positive and encouraging environment during these meetings sets the tone for their overall experience.
  4. Utilize Technology: Leverage technology to enhance the effectiveness of 1:1 meetings. This could include video conferencing for remote team members and online collaboration tools for sharing resources.

According to an industry survey, 74% of sales reps, sales managers spend anywhere from zero to three hours coaching newly onboarded reps. By contrast, 45% of sales leaders say they spend that amount of time coaching onboarded reps.

Meeting Frequency and Length

The length and frequency of 1:1 meetings depends on the end in mind for the meetings. Most 1:1 meetings are between 30 and 60 minutes. When considering meeting length consider what time is needed to allow for some personal catch-up, discussion of main meeting topics, sharing feedback, and setting action items. Begin by starting with a shorter meeting and then assessing if this is enough time to cover all topics without feeling rushed.

Use a similar approach as it relates to the frequency of meetings. If you’re meeting on activities that need more frequent monitoring, then a weekly cadence may make the most sense. In onboarding, it’s best to start with more frequent meetings and then taper back as employees become more familiar with their roles and don’t require as much guidance.

Regardless of whether you choose to meet weekly or bi-weekly, for 30 minutes or 60 minutes, or somewhere in-between, always be respectful of people’s time. This means coming prepared to the meeting with a clear agenda, starting and ending meetings on time, and allowing enough time for discussion and feedback.

Periodically assess if any of your 1:1 meetings need realignment as needs, priorities, roles, and projects change.

10 Insightful Questions to Ask During 1:1 Meetings

Here are some questions that can enhance your 1:1 meetings with team members:

  1. What are some professional or personal wins from last week?
  2. Can you share any specific challenges you encountered in your activities? If yes, what strategies did you use to address them?
  3. How confident do you feel about your current sales targets, and what support do you need to achieve them?
  4. Are there any valuable insights gained from your client interactions that could benefit the entire sales team?
  5. What areas could you improve upon, and how can we work together to enhance those skills?
  6. Can you share any successful sales techniques or strategies you’ve utilized in closing deals recently?
  7. How do you prioritize your sales activities and manage your time to ensure maximum productivity?
  8. What feedback have you received from clients recently, and how do you plan to incorporate it into your sales approach?
  9. What motivates you to excel in your sales role, and how can we continue to foster that motivation?
  10. What are your goals for the upcoming week or month, and what action steps will you take to achieve them?

The Impact of 1:1 Meetings on Onboarding Success

The impact of 1:1 meetings on sales onboarding success is undeniable. These personalized interactions between sales representatives and their leaders have far-reaching effects on individual performance, team dynamics, employee engagement, and overall sales outcomes.

Additional benefits include:

  • Accelerated Onboarding: Personalized guidance and regular feedback through 1:1 meetings significantly reduce the time it takes for new sales representatives to become productive. This results in faster ramp-up periods and quicker contributions to the organization’s sales goals.
  • Increased Confidence and Motivation: 1:1 meetings boost the new sales representative’s confidence and motivation by providing a supportive and nurturing environment. Feeling valued and recognized for their efforts, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their role.
  • Improved Sales Performance: The targeted skill development and continuous feedback offered during 1:1 meetings lead to enhanced sales performance. Sales representatives become more effective in their sales strategies, resulting in increased revenue generation for the company.
  • Enhanced Sales Team Cohesion: Regular 1:1 meetings foster a strong manager-rep relationship, leading to better team cohesion. Open communication and support create a positive sales culture, encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing among team members.
A 1:1 onboarding meeting with a male sales leader and sales rep

Companies with a formal onboarding program report that 60.7% of reps reached full productivity within the first six months, and 85% of reps reached full productivity within the first 11 months. For those without a formal onboarding program, those numbers were 42.8% and 67.8%.


1:1 meetings are pivotal in the sales onboarding process, offering personalized guidance, building trust, and clarifying expectations. By including goal setting, performance feedback, role-playing exercises, and Q&A sessions in these meetings, sales managers can create a supportive and productive environment for new sales representatives. Proper preparation for 1:1 meetings, coupled with the use of technology, ensures a seamless onboarding experience that leads to accelerated learning, improved sales performance, and enhanced team cohesion.

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