Sales managers are often under pressure to get warm bodies through the door to start making calls and closing deals. To speed up the process, managers may be tempted to hire the same kind of reps who worked well in the past. The trouble with that strategy is that times change and new generations have different expectations about the workplace. Sona Jepsen, entrepreneur.com guest writer and vice president for Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) suggests a different thought process for hiring and training sales reps.
Candidates for your open position won’t all have the same strengths. Experienced reps can fit the need for a person who will quickly come up to speed. A less experienced candidate may bring a difference set of strengths to the table. If she’s got a personality that works for prospecting and cold calling, but needs a little training, take her seriously. She could keep the pipeline full for the reps who have the talent to close deals.
Jepsen also encourages managers to make training an ongoing process. New, less-experienced reps may need a hardcore crash course on cold calling for a few weeks. Successful managers and organizations don’t stop there. Match the new reps with senior reps who can serve as mentors. These mentors should be different from managers who may have their own style of selling. The idea is to expose new reps to a variety of styles. They’ll ultimately adopt and adjust these styles until they learn what works for them.
Training shouldn’t only be about sales skills. To build a cohesive team that works together, supplement skill development sessions by training your reps on how your new products and services work. Lead them through workshops and demonstrations on how your offerings compare to what the competition is doing.
“Creating the right mix of strengths and strategy is at the heart of sales success,” Jepsen concludes.