“We know that it takes a year to get someone started in sales without a pipeline. However, we can’t afford to take that much of a hit training new salespeople to sell faster. We could pay more for the salesperson the first year than what they can bring in if they don’t come in with a book of business. And frankly, the folks who say they have a book of business are really expensive and even riskier.”
Thoughts of the Day: Training new salespeople from the ground up takes effort. Define exactly who you want to connect with, and who you don’t. Use social media, email, and events to connect, engage and build up relationships with the right opportunities for new salespeople to mine. Plan trade shows that draw in a target-rich pool of attendees that match your ideal clients. Assign new salespeople to existing clients to shadow. Line up networking events to attend where your clients and prospects are likely to be present. Keep an eye on activity levels.
Focus on buyers when training new salespeople.
Go for decision-makers. In the beginning, deemphasize the indirect contacts through people who might know people who know people. Those can come later, but the first job is to fill up the pipeline with people who buy.
Connect, connect, connect.
Use social media to spread the word about who is on your team. Build familiarity with your company, your products and services, and the people who will be calling. It’s so much easier to break through to people who already have a connection with the person who is reaching out. Targeting specific hot prospect groups is a great way to plow and seed the field when training new salespeople.
Get new salespeople on LinkedIn right away, and link them into any discussion groups that help them to get visibility. Give them support in creating blogs that prospective accounts might be interested in reading.
Trade shows are a great opportunity to introduce salespeople to clients and prospects. It is also a good way to watch how salespeople perform. Look for energy, focus on gathering lots of contacts, good note-taking, and quick follow-up. Match trade shows to salespeoples’ areas of expertise and interest to get the most out of connections.
Ask current clients to speak up about what you’ve done for them.
Have a list of existing clients that salespeople must get to know. Assign salespeople customer support duties and let them take credit for being heroes and heroines when customers’ problems get solved. Those connections will be invaluable when the salesperson circles back to ask for referrals to other prospects. And you can find out how well the salesperson is doing by connecting with your customers to follow up.
Line up a list of functions where your prospects gather. That might be Rotary, Chamber meetings, or international clubs – find out where your customers hang out and that’s probably where prospects are as well. When they come on board, encourage salespeople to attend regularly. Set up routine follow-up tools, including emails, call scripts to request appointments, and methods to document opportunities and progress.
Build a way to oversee activity when training new salespeople.
When training new salespeople make sure they don’t get bogged down with a few key prospects and ignore the potential to build depth into their pipeline as they start to make contacts. Set goals for daily, weekly, and monthly connections. One thing to add to the mix is 2 phone calls/day – anyone on a suspect list – just make the calls and leave a message. Have a script to use, and test for results.