Looking to 2011, on-boarding will become increasingly important as companies hire new salespeople in order to get back on a trajectory of growth.
This reminds me of the time that I started my second sales job in the new company. Probably the smartest thing I did was to rapidly learn what the top producers were doing to achieve success.
The key was interviewing a handful of the top producers to try and understand how these salespeople were consistently successful over time. This also afforded me the opportunity to begin to build a relationship with my new peers, which also proved to be beneficial.
Top producers are probably the busiest people in any sales organization, so I needed to sell them on the value of taking the time to talk with me. I did this by offering to share with them a summary of my findings from other interviews I would be doing. Since these top salespeople were so busy, they rarely spoke to each other or shared success stories, so they were very interested in learning what their colleagues were doing.
The most important thing I learned, or more accurately relearned during this process, was that each one of these top producers was consistently attentive to his or her customers and their requirements, either stated or implied. How each salesperson achieved this attentiveness varied, but they all understood their customers’ critical success factors—that handful of things that must go right for that customer’s business to be successful. For a customer that might look like achieving sales growth goals for the next year or improving profit margins.
Here are the other things that I learned during this process:
- Who to go to regarding a particular issue inside my company
- How best to ask for resources and support
- What types of customers were generally the most likely to be good long-term customers and which were not
- Which products and services are the easiest/fastest to sell
- Which products and services are significantly different and superior to the competition
- Which products and services are “me too’s”
- The most effective way to generate a lead
- How to develop a strong customer relationship
How does your organization on-board new salespeople and sales managers?