Prepare your sales hires for optimum performance with these seven tips.
The faster you can ramp up new sales hires, the faster they can be out there closing deals. However, it's not just about getting bodies on the phone to sell your product or service. Even the most talented sales hires need exposure to your target buyers, the buying cycle, product features, competitive landscape and how to overcome objections. You want to ensure that ramping up your hiring process gives sales reps everything they need to succeed.
Check out these seven tactics that prepare your sales hires for optimum performance.
1. Maximize onboarding and coaching efforts through the use of recorded sales conversations and transcripts.
Considerable time goes into the onboarding and coaching process, as this dictates how quickly and effectively a new hire will ramp up. It can be time-consuming to create the training materials for this process. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when the material you need is already within your organization.
By utilizing existing recorded sales conversations and transcripts of those discussions, you can provide examples from your top sales staff about how to engage with prospects, the types of questions to ask, how to best demo the product, how to create alignment and how to drive the next steps. These conversations are coaching "gold" that you can mine and use to ramp up sales hires with the best practices.
2. Use real world examples rather than classroom stories.
Stories from within your organization offer the best examples of what works. Sales hires are eager to hear these examples and the voice of the customer, too – as long as they're real. Most sales reps can tell if a scenario was fabricated by the product marketing or sales enablement team.
Your top sales reps have great stories that they can come and share with sales hires that will inspire and teach them how to approach different types of prospects. Involve them in the ramping-up process, which will help the sales hires as well as empower those already on the team.
3. Leverage other resources if you are too busy to create your own sales materials.
Finding time to create onboarding material is hard. There are companies like Chorus.ai that automatically create onboarding content based on sales conversations. They record, transcribe and summarize your sales calls automatically, and can find the examples new hires need to hear around discovery, product demos, objection handling, and competitors. Additional sales and marketing tools can be found on this list from Huffington Post.
4. Be prepared for a wide range of learning styles and accommodate these in your training strategies.
Not all sales people have the same approach. There is no one way to do sales successfully, because there are too many types of prospects and customers to deliver a generic sales strategy.
Therefore, it's good to spend time understanding some of the learning styles that sales hires may display so you can shape your coaching to address that learning style for greater success.
While some new hires like to have written scripts in front of them, others like to listen and see videos that show real examples of a successful sales team member delivering a pitch. By observation and communication, you should be able to detect the type of learning style and customize your own training delivery method. You can also ask sales hires about their preferred learning method so you can include that in the process.
5. Allow for questions and suggestions from new hires to shape the onboarding process.
Just like prospects and customers, sales hires will benefit from being able to ask questions and give feedback. These questions and comments will help you determine what they understand, what needs clarification and what else you may need to do to ensure they are prepared to strike out on their own.
You may be able to immediately provide them with the information they need, as you have a sales system in place that catalogs and disseminates various sales topics and issues commonly based on your team's collective data and previous conversations with prospects and customers. They will appreciate your willingness to listen and return with the information they need.
Sales hires will also feel good that you considered any early feedback they offered about the process that you can consider for future coaching sessions, or even for the sales process.
6. Create an inclusive environment and team culture.
According to Carolyn O'Hara, a contributor to Harvard Business Review, "One simple way to make employees feel more included, particularly if they are more introverted, is to ask for their input and opinions in front of others. Listening to employees not only signals to them that you value their contributions but also demonstrates to other employees that everyone has value."
Make all sales hires feel immediately included in the culture you are building by sharing it with them and explaining how they can become a part of it. The rest of the sales team also has a role to play here in making the sales hires feel comfortable. They can do this by including them in social events or hosting some type of welcome event. This sense of inclusion allows sales hires to integrate faster so they can get involved early on and collaborate on achieving the sales goals.
The speed at which new hires become part of the sales team determines how quickly their performance can flourish. This sense of inclusion allows sales hires to integrate faster so that they can get involved early on and collaborate on achieving the sales goals.
7. Clearly and consistently communicate objectives and the assessment process.
Nothing helps sales hires more than receiving clear and consistent information. They need to know what they are doing, what tools are available, the level of expectations they must deliver on, the quantitative goals that need to be achieved and whom they can turn to for help.
Sales hires also need to understand the assessment process that is used to gauge sales performance. Without this type of information, they can essentially wander aimlessly out there in their sales territories, unsure as to what they really need to accomplish.
Although there is a framework you should follow for sales hires to give them direction and provide a consistent environment for them to perform within, as you scale up and as the sales environment evolves, there may be changes that you make for ramping up sales hires and even those already on the team.
Ensure you explain the rationale for changes and get the support of your existing team in making the necessary changes to stay relevant for prospects, customers and the sales talent you hire.