New-hire training is an important part of making sure you set your new salesperson up for success.
Use different tactics and ways to let your new hire get familiar with your organization and their new colleagues.
This includes things like sales training (yes, even for your more experienced seller), product training, sales process and ideal client profile are things that can be taught in a classroom setting.
Even if it’s one-on-one, walking your new hire through these key fundamentals is
important. I strongly recommend teaching this versus video-style training. This gives people the opportunity to ask questions, brainstorm ideas, and get clarification.
Job shadow opportunities
Ride-alongs, proposal-building, brainstorming sessions and client meetings are great opportunities to introduce your new sales person to how you do business. This is a teaching moment in many ways but also gives them the confidence that you have the infrastructure to fulfill anything they might sell. The more they can see your business in action, the faster they will learn your culture and your process.
Time with team members
Another way to make sure your sales person is confident in what they sell is to let them spend time with other team members. Introduce them to product owners, upper-level management and coordinators alike. Let them spend 30 minutes asking questions and learning their new environment and company.
Walk before you can run
Learning any kind of new job is a lot of information. It is important to make sure that there is ongoing training as your new hire ramps up.
For instance, there is no reason to teach order entry during their first week, if your sales cycle is three to six months. They’re already drinking from a fire hose — there’s no reason to add in any information that isn’t relevant in the next few days and weeks.
Make sure to schedule ongoing check points to teach skills like order entry, new client onboarding, billing, invoicing, etc.
Measuring and managing
Before you can measure OR manage a sales person, you need to be clear on the activity they should be focused on.
This will be different for each business, but the main areas to measure might be:
- Prospecting activity: emails, phone calls, networking
- New business meetings: in person or over the phone
- Pitch/recommendation/ask meetings: how often are we asking for money?
- Closing meetings: getting contracts signed, setting up onboarding, etc.
- New clients
You should be managing all of these things to some extent, but depending upon your business model, one or two might be more important than others.
Now that we know what to measure – how do we manage salespeople?
- 1 | Weekly One-on-Ones // Sit down with each member of your sales team every single week to do a quick pipeline review. This will help you manage the business, spot any “red flags” in your salesperson’s activity and find coaching opportunities.
- 2 | Ongoing Sales Meetings // At least once a month (if not twice) you should be sitting down with your sales team and going over the business. Celebrate wins, talk about challenges and get an overall feel for how things are going in the field. This is also a great time to disperse important information about business or process updates.
- 3 | Ongoing Sales Training // Sales training is one of the most critical pieces for success for your sales team. Make sure you’re taking time at least one a month to train your team. You will feel like you’re consistently training on the same things over and over again — do it anyway. Sales moves fast. We have a tendency to take short cuts and let our clients drive the process. Keep training.
- 4 | Ride Alongs // Whether you’re running inside or outside sales calls, you need to make sure you’re out in the field with your team regularly. This is a great way to coach, build relationships with clients and spend some one-on-one time with your team. From your least-experienced rookie to your most tenured sales pro, ride alongs are great opportunities to keep your finger on the pulse of what is going in the field.
Make no mistake, finding good sales people that are a fit for your organization can be hard. Making sure you’ve got the tools, resources and processes in place will help you KEEP the good ones and weed out the bad ones quickly.