You would never hire a personal assistant, give them the keys to your house on their first morning and say, “Go on in and organize the place. I’ll be back in a week.” That’s an extreme scenario, but if we hire new sales reps without educating them on what our company does, what our products are, even what our corporate expectations are, we’re kind of giving them the keys to an empty house and telling them to go on in.
Your new sales reps can come with all sorts of credentials—they may have sold snow boots during a heatwave—but still you will need to provide them with data specific to your company in order for them to succeed the way you expect them to.
There Are No Dumb Answers
Start with the basics. What’s obvious to the veterans of your company might not necessarily be clear to new hires. So even if something seems obvious, share it with the newbies. And do it right out of the gate, during new-hire orientation. Provide Jane and Joe salesperson with a solid foundation of the company, its products, its core values and mission. In other words, give them the information and confidence they’ll need to be the face of your company.
Put yourself in the newbies’ place in order to provide answers to questions they’re likely to have but might not think to ask. First up, how does the company make money? Knowing the biggest revenue drivers is fundamental to any employee, but it is especially important to new hires—they need to know what to sell and why. Some basic company information to be shared with new hires should include:
- What services does the company provide?
- What products does the company provide?
- Is there a recurring-subscriptions model?
- What is the revenue breakdown by department?
What’s My Line?
Also fundamental to the new hire’s knowledge base is how he or she will contribute to the success of the company in his or her role. If new hires cannot answer the question of what their contribution should be, they likely do not understand the company’s business model.
New sales reps should know two basic things when approaching existing customers or cultivating new ones: Who the company is selling to currently and what the ideal customer demographics are. Without this information, new sales reps will cut into your bottom line by wasting time and resources before stumbling toward the realization of facts that could have been shared with them from the outset.
The Thin Green Line
Educate newbies on what your margins are. That way, when they’re out selling, they’ll know when to pursue a deal and when to walk away from the proverbial table. Discounting should not exist in a gray area; it should be clearly defined. You don’t want to lose money if an overzealous new hire not well versed in the company decides to deep-discount a customer, closing a deal that’s actually a money loser.
Your company’s latest hires must be fully versed in your products and services so that they can take their sales plan to the next step: not just selling the product itself, but offering up solutions that will help solve dilemmas for the customer.
Again, invest a bit of time wisely in schooling your latest recruits on the ways of your company during the training phase. And don’t stop there. Via one-on-one sessions with sales managers, monitor new hires on the basics of your organization and the practical application of those same essentials. Investment is a key word when it comes to new hires: Not only are you putting your money on their growth as salespeople, you’re making an investment in the growth and health of your company. In short, when they succeed, we succeed.