Want to cut the failure rate of your sales reps? Set yourself apart from the average team where 25-50% of reps fail and exit during the first year? Include these steps in your on-boarding process and, assuming you picked right in the first place, almost every rep you ever hire will stay with you to become consistent and reliable producers.
1. Set them up to Succeed – bringing a new rep in and expecting them to succeed on their own is a recipe for disaster. You need to build a relationship with them to create the loyalty and commitment.Develop and support them by providing the right training and access to mentors. This will build confidence in the rep that you are as serious about them as they are about you.
2. The Right Training – telling a new rep to “read the company website and then let’s talk” is fine, but to accelerate the learning process have a structured training program with checklists of things that the rep needs to learn over the course of their first few weeks with the company. Document all the relevant scripts and knowledge someone must have in order to sell for you. Link them up with a good role model on the existing team who will take them on calls and give them rich insight into how you position the company and develop business.
3. Set Goals Early – New reps are often hired without a quota and the old adage holds true – you can get anywhere if you don’t know where you are going. Assign the quota immediately and don’t stop there. Make sure they have short term learning and sales activity goals and hold them accountable.
4. Be Ready Day One – Many new reps show up to a desk with no computer and no access to the relevant sales support systems so they spend hours twiddling their thumbs and nothing could make a first impression worse. Have cards printed, computer set up with network access and a schedule prepared for their first few weeks so they can get into the right mindset immediately.
Fail to perform these steps when you hire new people and you may be throwing your babies out with the bathwater when you cut failing reps from your team.
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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