The best sales managers know how to hire enthusiastic people who have the right attitude and want to take advantage of a great opportunity. But even the best new hires usually lack many key skills. Where does a sales manager start? Here are three critical skills you should coach your new hires on.
Do you remember when you were new on the job? Did you know how to recognize prospects that could turn into good clients and those that would just waste your time? Neither did I!
Too much valuable time is wasted on low potential accounts. New hires need to learn how to weed out under-qualified leads faster.
Your role? Especially with new hires, you as the sales manager want to get involved early in the sales opportunity. Talk to rep about a prospect and ask specific questions such as “Is this an organization that is a good fit for us and our products/services?” Then ask them to explain their answer. What are they seeing or not seeing that makes them think the company is a good or poor fit? If it is a good fit, ask the rep, “Where is this customer in their buying process?” and “What factors did you use to determine this?”
Developing Strategy/ Process
When new hires lack a defined sales process, they have no strategy for success. If ramping your new hires to success faster is a goal, your company may very well need an eSales Playbook that captures best practices used by your senior reps. The playbook should document both the general sales process your want reps to use plus examples of what successful reps do in a variety specific situations, such as selling different types of products/services to specific types of decision makers. Once you have the documentation, make it available to your new hires online.
Having the playbook isn’t enough, however. To become proficient and confident in selling situations, new hires must practice the steps of the sales process, determining where a customer is in their buying process, and work on problem-solving skills and questioning techniques— while also appearing confident on knowledge about your company’s solutions. Surely you would rather they gain this practice through role-plays with you than when dealing with customer! If you have your company’s sales process “baked” into the playbook, you have a ready source for developing role playing scenarios that you can run with new hires. A little “flexibility training” is essential in role playing also. Offer scenarios that are unexpected, questions out of left field etc.
Understanding Company Expectations
Success in sales is not just what one does, but how. Being a successful salesperson takes a mix of consultative selling skills and attitudes, performing to high expectations, and meeting the needs of an employer not just customers. Many salespeople, and especially new hires, lack a vision of what their company expects. As a sales coach, take time to develop a Success Profile that defines all these elements then share that list with your team. You can use this Success Profile as a coaching tool. Use it to launch discussions with each rep about their professional development and attitude improvement goals. The profile might also suggest to new hires what criteria a company may use to look for in people they consider for promotion.
Qualification, process, and expectations. If you can help your new hires master these three areas, they will have a solid foundation for a great sales career.