Wednesday, May 23, 2018

        

  1. Hire the right people. Don’t rely on your “gut.” Sales people are good at selling – so don’t let a candidate sell you on something they can’t do! Use state-of-the-art assessment tools to help uncover what they DON’T tell you about themselves in the interview – how quickly they learn new ideas, how much they can handle, how they interact with people, and if they truly LIKE sales.

  2. Formalize your new hire training. Give them a training program. Don’t rely on OTJ training with only experiential situations and observation as the basis for their learning. Even the most experienced sales reps need a foundation about the company, the product, their role and their responsibilities.

  3. Give them concrete and measurable goals. Break down the daily activities required to meet their overall monthly or annual goals. Most sales reps can’t visualize the detailed actions required to get to their ultimate sales goal. Give them the number of prospects they need to call or call on, the contacts they need to make from those prospects to get the number of proposals sent out to get the total number of sales.

  4. Use successful sales reps as their role models. Identify the most successful sales reps in the company to be the role model and mentor for a new sales rep. Make sure that role model is in compliance with all the activities, procedures and messages you want conveyed to prospects and customers. Using just any sales rep to help a new sales rep can cause bad habits to be spread to new reps very quickly.

  5. Use a robust customer contact database for prospect information capture and activity management. This type of customer relationship database allows sales reps the ability to stay on top of all their activities, but ensures all prospects and customers are the property of the company if a sales rep leaves. There are excellent applications available to small companies that offer shared calendar, drip marketing, and many other easy-to-use features. Outlook is NOT recommended as the prospect database for these types of professional relationship management.

  6. Implement accountability and tracking. Require every sales rep to report activity for the week. A good customer contact database will allow sales reps to record EVERY activity – phone calls, emails, appointments, proposals, and sales – in one application and report all those activities on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Knowing what each sales rep is doing and identifying problem areas is critical to managing the sales efforts of the team.

  7. Create effective “scripts.” Provide tools for each of their key activities. A “road map” for the teleprospecting and appointment setting calls. A check list for the “drive-by cold call”, an outline for the first face-to-face presentation, a format for proposals, and sample emails for follow-ups. Don’t assume that they know how to do all these activities because they have prior sales experience. And quality check emails periodically for spelling and grammar. A good sales presentation can be undone by the follow-up emails!

  8. Coach them. Observe or review EACH of the above activities to ensure they are following the models/scripts you have created for them and to provide direction when they are not. Monitor their phone calls (both sides) to provide insights on handling gatekeepers, qualifying for needs, and securing the appointment. This activity is CRITICAL. In most businesses, sales rep appointments are the “tail that wags the dog.” If they can’t get in front of their prospects, they will NOT get sales.

  9. Provide meaningful recognition in addition to commissions. Ask them what THEY would like (tickets to ball games, gift certificates to nicer restaurants, coupons to ________.) Create fun contests (most proposals in a week, most NEW appointments for a week) and give the visual recognition by posting their successes PLUS an appealing reward. This step is especially necessary if the sales cycle is long. Reward and recognition for the positive behaviors and activities will keep up their momentum and motivation until that commission check is paid!

  10. Eliminate high-maintenance reps sooner rather than later. Use a formal warning process that keeps a tight timeframe on demonstrating improved performance. Don’t let a sincere like and caring for the employee cloud the issue of poor performance that is draining your resources and cutting into company sales revenues. 90 days MAX and sooner in an “at–will” state.