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On- Boarding a New Sales Representative

August 2, 2013

 

On Boarding

57% of new sales hires last less than 1 year, according to one report.  Many companies have elaborate hiring processes, including behavior and values assessments, and stringent qualifications for experienced sales reps and yet this statistic remains.  Through my 30+ years in sales I have witnessed many difficulties in hiring and maintaining a sales force; whether it’s been me being hired, being the hiring manager or helping my clients hire sales people.

Companies have developed good processes and have done a good job in hiring good sales people.  However, there has been a lack of focus in the on-boarding process.  These are some of the on-boarding issues which can lead to new hire failures.

  • No training, just sell.  After all, the person we hired has experience and should know what to do.
  • No training on the reasons businesses buy the product and services, but a lot of technical training.
  •  No clear targeting and understanding of the prospect profile.
  • The sales process and cycle is not well-defined.

You can do something to change this.

Following is an on-boarding process, which I am sure any business can benefit from.

  1. From day one, talk about company and sales culture, expectations, and messaging. Hopefully, a behavior and value assessment was taken, and should be reviewed and discussed.  Discuss the positives, but also discuss what areas to watch out for in communicating with each other and the team.  Review the goals of the company and collaborate on what goals you feel a sales rep should have for the first year.
  2.  A visit with every department in the company should occur the first week. The new hire should understand who does what, how, and why.  The purpose is to set-up great lines of communication with internal staff and to create a good overall understanding of the company and how it works.
  3. Technical and Business Training:  Minimum of 1 week on understanding the given feature and benefits of products.  Keep them away from too much technical information.   As a test, have them develop a list of why they think a customer should buy from them.  Help them create a list of a minimum of 10 client issues with 10 possible solutions.
  4. Have them complete a minimum of three visits with established customers.  You want them to go without you or another sales rep so that they can formulate their own opinion.  This is where I think most companies fail, because they do not trust new sales people with their customers.  Big mistake.  This is a huge opportunity.   Send the new sales person with the following questions:
    • I am new; I would like to hear from you (Mr. /Ms. Buyer). Why have you been buying from my new company?
    • If you would be a new sales rep for this company, who would you be targeting for new clients and why?

5. Review what the sales rep learned from the customer visits.  Call the customer and ask their opinion.  Get this quickly.  If there was              an unfavorable impression, you have not wasted a lot of time in training and development.

6.  Before sending them out into the field, do an intensive review of the Sales Process.

      •                 How to get leads
      •                  How are leads handled
      •                  Preparation for the sales call
      •                  Maximum and minimum expectations
      •                  How negotiations and closing are handled
      •                  What is expected from them as far as customer retention.
      •                  Getting Referrals

7. Sales management should go on sales calls with sales person for the first two weeks.  Make sure that they are doing the talking and                 you are mostly doing the observing.

         8. Follow up. Follow up. Follow up.  – All the above is wasted, if you do not have a system to constantly follow up with the rep on a                     regular basis.  Some employees may need help longer than you think.   Utilize an individualized Sales Plan as described in my Post                   Stop Fighting It and Write a Sales Plan on a monthly basis.

  1.  Click Here On-Boarding

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim Hall permalink
    August 6, 2013 10:33 am

    Allan,

    Thought you may want to comment on this post, http://linkd.in/14gSYtr.

    Jim

    Jim Hall Agent * J Maxx* 623-396-6299 JHall@JMaxxB2B.com * * *Providing Merchant Services, Telecom, Hosted VoIP and Fulfillment/3PL. J Maxx is an independent sales agency representing **Digital Financial Group, **Compass Communications Inc., One Stop Voice, and PMA Fulfillment.*

    On Fri, Aug 2, 2013 at 3:27 PM, Sales Coach AZ

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