Yes! Fresh blood in the sales team! Motivated and a bit nervous, they call their first prospects. They can’t wait until they have managed that first lead into a paying customer. But practice can prove difficult. Only 50% of sales professionals actually achieve their targets. It costs a lot of time and patience to make employees productive, to help them make their targets. And time and patience is something most sales managers don’t have.
What can you, as a marketing or sales manager, do to get a grip of the success of your new sales tigers? We offer you five steps to a more productive and higher-performing sales team.
#1 Create a sales benchmark
Look back: how long did it take, on average, for your previous new sales colleagues to be productive? Benchmarking can help. Plot out three role models. This helps you take control of the development of your new team members. Based on our onboarding expertise, we are offering you three inspirational role models.
#2 Give your employees the right ammunition
Having the right and relevant content ‘under the button’ is one of the biggest challenges in a sales organisation. When a new employee comes in, it can be quite a struggle to find and compile the relevant information. We often hear: ‘Just check the Intranet, it’s all there.’ And then, when your new sales colleague gives his first presentation all by himself, you cringe when you see a sales presentation from two years ago come by… Ouch!
To make sure your new employees don’t get lost in the jungle of available content, you can, for example, use a tool such as Showpad. Showpad is a great mobile app, which gives your employees the right content for every sales pitch, event or follow-up. Of course, you will have to set up such a tool, but it has great benefits. Companies that do it right, are rewarded with the results immediately, because it provides more insight into which content is read at what moment, and about the involvement of your prospect. Make sure your employees are armed with the right content from day 1, so that they can use it to formulate their own sales pitch.
Preboarding is the ‘new kid on the block’ in HR and recruitment. And it’s a great place to start, especially for new sales staff. You don’t need to wait until the first working day, as soon as the contract is signed, give them access to a mobile onboarding app which he can follow at his own pace, anywhere and anytime. It helps him get to know the company, and can contain assignments or coaching tipis. Why not ask your new colleague to record a sales pitch for a fictitious customer? Bonus: before day 1, you can see where you might need to offer additional training. Because the new employee can familiarise himself with the company before day 1, he will be ready to work independently 25% more quickly!
#4 Stoke the fire
Sales opportunities do not always come between 9 am and 5 pm. The best sales calls are also made in the evening, when you’re approaching prospects. This means you have to have motivated colleagues. But how do you stoke the fire? Make sure that your content is clearly structured and always accessible. Ideally in a mobile app, which they can view on their own telephone.
Also check their progress. It is important to know where your colleague runs into problems. The sooner you find out how and where you can help and support him, the sooner your colleague becomes a true hero.
Software that is aimed at your new employees can also enable you to check how they are doing. Are your account managers on course? Is your new Customer Success Manager treading water or is everything under control? How are your new sales tigers performing?
#5 Schedule review meetings
Let’s face it: nobody likes talking about progress 1 on 1. But it is a good idea to regularly have a chat with new and more senior staff members. They really appreciate it, it gives you lots of information, and you can boost their development at the same time. Data from your pre and onboarding programme can help you make these meetings even more constructive.
Stop! A few pointers:
Think before you act. Sit down, look at the current targets and KPIs and start at step #1. How long does it take in your company before a colleague closes his first deal? This is important management information and gives an insight into how quickly your department or company can grow. Create trust, so that there is room to share disappointments and successes – the basis of a successful sales team.
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