“You can’t be the one driving all the business (selling) while simultaneously planning, hiring, training and coaching the sales team.” Doug Lyons
A lack of training is a one reason why many small businesses fail to effectively scale up when they hire salespeople. Until this point, the founder of the business has likely been the salesperson, accountant, customer service rep, janitor, etc… No one else understands the business or its competitive advantages better than they do. The key is transferring that hard earned wisdom to your new employees.
You don’t want to put new hires in a position where they have to figure out the sales process out for themselves. Many feel that doing so is a test of the new hire’s abilities and while this can be true, you’ve already done the work, so why pay someone else to do it again?
The best investment you can make is spending the time to design a training program that will educate your new hire on the critical pieces of information they require to sell effectively. If you’ve followed steps 1, 2, and 3, you’re already halfway there. These are your starting points which you can use to design your sales training curriculum.
Here are some vital points to include in your training program:
- Competitive analysis: Where your company is positioned in the market, key points of differentiation, strengths of your competitors versus your company’s strengths.
- Product/Service analysis: Key features of your product or service, price points, service levels vs. your competitors.
- Customer analysis: Typical customer profile (using your Ideal Customer Profile from Part 2), including industry, size of business, and how they typically become prospects.
- Sales process: Document the steps in your sales process and the typical actions associated with each step.
Be sure to be as detailed as possible, consider creating an “overview” of the main points, and then expand on each point individually.
IMPORTANT: Training doesn’t stop after the first day/week/month, it should be an ongoing program based on weekly feedback and sales performance. This helps your staff become better salespeople, which in turn benefits your business.
NEXT STEP: Once you’ve hired and trained a few sales reps the ongoing meetings, training, and management will start to consume all of your time. At this point, it’s advisable to seek out the expertise of a professional sales manager to manage these tasks for you, so you can concentrate on running your business.