Oftentimes, people come to work in sales from a variety of backgrounds. This can be great because it provides the industry with a multitude of perspectives and views, but it can also be tricky to train people who have never sold your product or anything similar before. One thing to consider when hiring those new to the industry is their general personality. Just because they haven’t sold before, doesn’t mean they don’t have the qualities of a good salesperson. These qualities include being a team player, having the drive to win, or having the ability to adjust in a fast-paced environment — all of which can be developed through a variety of careers.
In general, the average ramp-up time for salespeople is between six and nine months. This is valuable time, so you need to go in with a plan before your new hire even steps into the office. Follow these 10 sales training tips below to get your new hire ready to play ball.
- Immediately show them your software
Despite how simple or complex your sales software is, it’s important to introduce it to your new hire right away. It doesn’t have to be a full-on deep dive into every solution, but be sure to introduce the basics. This sets the context for the rest of the rep’s training, allowing them to learn more about the product through indirect activities and sources.
- Set expectations and goals
This sales training tip applies to both you and the rep. Before meeting with them, sit down and decide what you want reps to know and be able to do, in what timeframe. Make a 30, 60, 90-day plan for them to follow, breaking it down into weeks or days depending on how detailed you’d like to get. Then, present the document to your rep on their first day with time to review it. After that, take time to talk about the goals and expectations you’ve set to make sure you’re both on the same page before they officially begin training.
- Break the duller parts of training up
You may have long guidebooks for new reps or hours of training videos for them to absorb. While both of those things can be useful, they are only valuable in moderation. Set aside 2-3 hours, spread throughout the day for them to focus on more technical aspects of training. Bonus points if you use this time to catch up on your own responsibilities while they learn independently!
- Introduce reps to each department
This is not only a common courtesy, but also allows your new rep to better understand your organizational structure and how each department works together. For example, sales and marketing may work closely to create custom content for your prospects. It’s important for your new hire to understand where and who they can go to for help throughout the sales cycle.
- Familiarize them with your processes
How do leads flow through your funnel? Do they call or email first? When does a prospect get passed on to an Account Executive? These are all important aspects of your sales cycle that a new hire needs to be familiar with in order for them to be successful. Lay out your processes in an easy-to-understand manner for your new hire to learn as soon as possible to set them up for success.
- Have reps shadow live calls and demos
Shadowing calls is arguably the most important sales training tip you can implement for a person that’s new to sales. You can talk all day about processes, techniques, and the inner workings of your software but there’s nothing like seeing what a sales call is like firsthand. Have your new hires sit with multiple Account Executives (AE) or Customer Support employees because everyone has their own style. This allows your rep to see what goes into a call from a variety of standpoints, helping them to shape their own selling persona.
- Identify your ideal customers and those who aren’t a good fit
Your new hire has to know what they’re looking for before they go hunting. Set aside time to go over common buyer personas, both those that do and do not fit your solution. This allows new reps to practice looking for qualifying and disqualifying traits when making calls and sending emails.
- Make a script
Being brand new to anything is scary but sales can be especially intimidating. To help your reps avoid stumbling over their words and ease their fear of “messing up”, work with them to make a script for their calls. Put together answers to common objections or questions so your new hire can easily reference them as well as a quick blurb to introduce your solution or product. This gives them more confidence when making their first few dials and will eventually fade into the background as they adjust to their new role.
Let’s face it, rejection is scary and when you’re new to sales, especially if you are accustomed to it. Roleplay allows a new rep to practice different scenarios in a more comfortable situation with their managers or team members. This prepares them for different, real-life situations when they get on the phones. Have them roleplay with fellow team members as well to get them used to a variety of personalities. This sales training tip can be used to brush up your entire team’s skills if done in a weekly sales meeting or mentor setting.
- Avoid Information Overload
Starting any job is stressful, but starting a job in a new industry is even more so. To avoid your reps facing burnout so close to the start of their career, make sure not to drown them in information in too short a time. Using a 30, 60, 90-day plan mentioned above can help this effort. Lay out what you want them to learn and when but set realistic expectations so as to not overwhelm them.
Although it can be a challenge, training reps that are new to sales is worth it in the end. There is a good chance they will bring a unique set of skills and views to your organization, helping them connect with customers and prospects in a variety of ways. Use these sales training tips to help your hires that are new to sales reach success.
Looking for more information on enhancing your onboarding process? Check out our webinar, Onboard Your People in Half the Time, to learn more tips and tricks on successfully enhance and reduce the time it takes to onboard.