It seems inevitable that new hires are left to sit around while companies take care of administrative tasks and sales initiation. This costs you money, wastes precious training time that could be utilized, and isolates new hires.
A Sales Benchmark Index study revealed that over 2/3 of new hires were dissatisfied with their first day because managers were busy to give new hires required attention.
We know that you’re busy and can’t hold the hand of your new sales hires every step of the way during training. However, here are some helpful suggestions to maximize efficiency and create a well-rounded sales training process.
#1 Create Standardized Training Materials
Product and Services Packets
There are going to be gaps within your training period when your new sales hire has nothing to do. Give them an instructional packet about your products and services. They will appreciate having reading material. New hires benefit from having a source of information that they can take home in addition to the information on your website.
While this is a hefty project, once you are able to standardize the packets, it makes your job a lot easier when explaining your products and services to new hires. The new hires will also have something to reference and add their own notes upon as they gain knowledge. Suggested points for your packets are: products and services, competition, market trends, company history, and customer segments. You can also add notes as to which pitches work for certain products, buzzwords, and products to push for different customers. This is a great project for your sales team to put together in order to review their product knowledge. Your new hire will have information to study during down times, and you will be able to cut down on training time once the packets are created.
Are you confident that your new sales hires would be able to answer general product or service questions within their first week at your company? Quizzes are an excellent way for new sales hires to double check that they are retaining the information you are teaching them. While it may seem bothersome to make a quiz the first go around, quizzes are quick and easy to make on websites such as surveymonkey.com.
Assigning quizzes (even if the scores are not reviewed) puts pressure on sales people to take product and company knowledge acquisition seriously. If someone has not worked in sales before, they may not know that customers quiz salespeople constantly on product information. Set up the quizzes like a real-life scenario. Allow the new hires the ability to access your website and ask questions to obtain the right answer. Your new hires will appreciate that they get a little practice being put on the spot before it really counts.
How it Benefits You: Hands-off Teaching Tool
#2 Ask Departments to Give Individual Welcome Tours
In addition to the sales person’s first walk around the office, there should be an expectation that each department will conduct a short meet-and-great with new sales hires.
These meetings should be 5-10 minutes and at the department’s locale. This meeting should give a highlight of what the department does, it’s interaction with the sales team, and it’s expectations. This is the department’s opportunity to address head-on how they would like things being done. Perhaps there are older people in your sales force that do things in a way that adds stress to other departments. If your department heads interact with incoming sales people, the new hires will learn the updated and most pleasing way to submit documents, requests, etc., without causing a hassle.
Individual department meetings shouldn’t be given back-to-back if possible. If you are training in a particular sales topic for a long time, then schedule a break for your new hire by coordinating a department tour. This will help the new hire absorb their sales lessons better anyways.
In a classroom study based on educational lectures, it was found that no matter how good the teacher or compelling the subject matter, students only had 10 to 18 minutes of optimal focus after a 3 to 5 minute settling down period.
It is best to switch up location and give small breaks in between learning new training material. Your new sales hires will appreciate the walk and break in subject material. In turn, the new hires will absorb the information better, be more focused, and store more information in their long-term memory during recall.
How it Benefits You: Cross-departmental Communication
#3 Share Prerecorded Sales Calls
If you have recording software that enables you to listen to your sales team’s calls, then why not share the wealth with your new hires?
While it is fun (and recommended) to have your new sales hires shadow some of your top salespeople, it is nice to have your new hires listen to standardized recorded versions of bad and good sales calls that they can reference. With recorded sales calls, you can help your new hires differentiate between good calls and bad calls. You can also provide supplemental documents detailing the reasons why prerecorded calls were good or bad. After a while your new hires can go on to differentiate between a good call and a great call or even a great call from an excellent call.
Reviewing sales call tapes allows you to check in and offer advice to your team. If you show a few standard calls to your new hires, you have something to reference to your new hires when describing your calls. For example, if your new hire isn’t being aggressive enough on the phone, you could bring up a recording where the caller was being aggressive so that they can listen. While sales hires get to listen to a lot of calls when shadowing, it is nice to have recorded calls on file that you can pull up with the new hire is having trouble understanding what they are doing wrong.
How it Benefits You: Hands-off Teaching Tool
#4 Hire in Small Groups
While it is nice to give one-on-one time to new hires, you can save yourself a lot of energy by hiring in groups of 2 or 3. Group hiring encourages a buddy system where new hires have peers to relate to and ask for help without feeling intimidated.
Hiring in these small groups also allows you to easily track progress within the first year of your new sales hires. If one of the new hires is struggling to get sales and the other is soaring, the struggling new hire may need more on-on-one attention or to be let go. Whereas if your group of 3 new hires are all struggling in a certain area, it may be reflective of your training technique.Save yourself time by hiring 2 or 3 people at once. You won’t have to go through the same speeches and training twice, and new hires will have a buddy to ask questions that you may not want to be bothered with. You can also compare the incoming hires. If you get two fantastic new hires, that is great. But, if you find out that one person is not a good fit for your company, then at least you know that your training was not completely wasted.
Small group hiring also enables fun opportunities such as group lunches with top dogs at your company. Group lunches are great bonding opportunities that are low-pressure don’t waste a lot of time. No matter what, at some point, everyone has to sit down and eat.
How it Benefits You: 2-for-1 Deal
#5 Schedule Online Tech Demos and Tours
There’s no doubt that your company or office utilizes technological programs and tools to help with your business. It’s also a safe guess that you may not be up-to-date with the cool features that online program provides.
If your new hires have some down time, why not have them call for an online CRM tour? Companies, like Salesforce, have guided tours that require no work on your end. By scheduling an online appointment, new sales hire will know the basic features of program and be self-sufficient with their computer issues. New hires may even find out some tips and tricks that you don’t know about. Encouraging online tech demos means that you are building a savvy team that is constantly increasing their skill-set.
How It Benefits You: Update Technical Skills
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