You’ve taken the necessary steps to effectively hire a salesperson. Now, that they’re onboard; you just have them shadow you on a few of your sales calls, then let them take a stab at it, right? Wrong! This is about the worst way to train a salesperson because it forces them into months of being absolutely silent, not showing you any skills, not proving any sales acumen and learning all of your bad habits.
Instead, let’s just try baptism by fire. They came in as a successful salesperson. Just put them to the test and watch what they can do! Also, a very bad approach. This is the fastest way to burn deals, get a salesperson overconfident with no substance to back them up and set them up to do all the wrong things – selling something you cannot support, overpromising under delivering, relying on price to close deals.
We prefer the third way. We call it the Salesperson’s Roadmap. For the first 45 days of employment, our salesperson doesn’t meet with a single prospect. In fact, they don’t even reveal that they work for our company on social media. They are heads-down in an immersive training program filled with tests, checkpoints and role play to make sure they’re on the right track. Our goal? Create a successful sales superstar, or get them to fail early so we can cut them loose.
Here’s a breakdown of the program:
Week 1: Company Orientation
This begins with your basic HR introduction, including all the appropriate new hire paperwork. Introduce the employee to everyone at your company through a tour, but then take it a step further. Set up 15-minute interviews with each of your managers. This is a two-way interview where the salesperson gets to know how they will interact with the manager and the manager gets their first impression of the salesperson. Gather feedback from each manager after the interviews. Was the employee engaged? Did they ask good questions? Are they likely a fit long term fit at the company? This is the first opportunity to make a go or no-go assessment. Conclude this week with any line of business application training and training about company basics (i.e. history, product overviews, major policies, and procedures).
Week 2: Company and Competitor Deep Dive
In the first week, the salesperson meets the managers. This week they begin shadowing each department that they’ll work with on a regular basis. Focus specifically on any other salespeople, account managers, marketing, projects and the NOC. This is more than a sit for 15 minutes shadowing. Instead, schedule half a day so that they can really get a feel for the department, learn their operations and start to make important connections with the personnel.
Also, dedicate some time this week to competitor familiarization. The salesperson should study and report on at least three of your biggest competitors. They should be able to tell you major product lines, key marketing messages and (if they’re really good) pricing structure based on incognito calls. Set a clear deadline for these competitor reports. If they don’t come through, that’s their ticket back out the door. We firmly believe that this is the honeymoon period. If they can’t meet a deadline now, they won’t meet one later.
Week 3: Product Knowledge and Offering
At the end of this week, your salesperson should know your product offering like the back of their hand. They don’t necessarily need to know all the bits, bytes and technical details (sales engineers can come in to support this); but they should know your hardware standardization, what they’re authorized to sell and pricing quirks. This is particularly important if the salesperson came from another MSP or has any sort of technical background. These individuals tend to sprinkle their flair into their deals, rather than stick to your approved solution stack. Like the competitors, expect reports, even daily summaries to ensure that the salesperson is heading down the right path.
Weeks 4 and 5: Sales Process and Methodology
We rely on our clear sales process to keep our close ratios high. We’ll be the first to admit that our process is not for the faint of heart. That’s why we spend two weeks drilling the methodology into our salespeople’s heads during onboarding. This time is spent watching videos in CORE, learning scripts, role playing, reading books like Secrets of Question Based Selling, and preparing to come out to the CharTec Sales Lab.
Week 6: Final Tests
This is the final proving ground before we send our new salesperson out to meet with prospects. They are required to pass the CharTec Sales Lab, as well as perform a full test run of the sales process in front of your company executives. If you want to buy at the end of the day, they have successfully passed onboarding. If not, it’s time to begin the hiring process over again.
You may be thinking that this process is way too intensive. You want sales now, not 45 days after hiring if they are even successful in passing the program. We assure you spending the time in the first 45 days forcing a salesperson to prove their value will save thousands of dollars in salary and wasted revenue in the future. To get started, download a quick guide to the salesperson training program.