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Several of my recent conversations with sales leaders have focused on how to quickly and effectively and efficiently get new salespeople up to speed and help them to have an immediate impact. Quickly and immediate are relative to the learning curve and the sales cycle but are still the key outcomes.
Most companies combine some kind of classroom training with self-directed online training, shadowing an experienced salesperson and coaching. While all of that helps to pass on important knowledge, it does little to quickly ramp up a new salesperson. What does? I'll share that next.
Your classroom training and self-directed training are totally controlled. But the time spent with other salespeople is the complete opposite. There is no control. It's not scripted. Your best salespeople often go rogue. You have no idea what will happen, what your new salespeople will see and hear, and whether you want them exposed to it. So most sales leaders minimize, discount and undersell the joint sales call.
In my experience, sales leaders fail to leverage a new salesperson spending time with and following an experienced salesperson. It's not just one of the things that should be included as part of your on boarding - it's the most important thing. But if you don't set the proper expectations, provide a framework, and properly debrief, bad things will happen. Consider these four points:
- Before you send Bob, your new salesperson, to shadow Rick, your seasoned salesperson, you'll want to teach Bob the sales cycle, messaging, phone calls, sales meetings, conversations, objections and outcomes that are typical for your business. Only then will his time with Rick make sense and have a proper context.
- All of your veteran salespeople are different, with various strengths and weaknesses. It's crucial that you prepare Bob for his time with Rick by saying, "I want you to watch Rick when he begins to ask questions - that's his greatest strength. And when Rick goes off track, starts rambling and telling stories, ignore that. It's not something I want you trying to emulate."
- Explain to each new salesperson the difference between your company's sales best practices - that everyone must follow - the seasoned salesperson's best practices - which Bob should attempt to emulate - and Rick being Rick, which Bob should ignore.
- After spending a day or two with Rick, you need to debrief Bob and ask what he learned, what he thought was important, what he liked, what he didn't like, what he learned about your business, what he would do differently and why. It's the last two questions - differently and why - that provide you with insight into Bob's beliefs and how they might sabotage his performance.
Follow these four points to leverage your new salespeople's time with veterans salespeople and help them get off to a quick start.
Want another great way to on board your new salespeople? Have them participate in my top-rated, live, interactive, 12-week online sales training program where we bring to life the concepts of Baseline Selling. You can learn more about the program here and if you're interested in having salespeople attend, drop me an email and I'll help you get preferred status to the best sales training around.