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 f