Finding and keeping good sales people is key to success for any business and sales organization. While there can be some challenges with getting the best people on the team, there are some ways to get the most out of your sales people and build them so that they perform at a higher level.
The Conventional Approach
Before we look at how to build great sales people, let’s start out by looking at how a lot of sales organizations currently operate from a training and development standpoint.
Many sales managers hire sales people based on experience, track record, and personality. It can then be common for management to give the new reps some standard product training, give them a quota and a territory, and then put them in the field.
From here it is somewhat of a hope strategy. The rep was hired based on data about the past and a gut instinct from the impression they make. They are then hit with a fire hose of information and then management primarily hopes that enough sticks so that the sales person takes everything in and repeats their past performance.
Is this the best formula for good sales people? There are two problems with this approach. First, some of the data that the hiring decision where made on could either be incomplete or incorrect. Another factor is that for a sales person to be successful, they often need more than a standard new hire training program.
An Alternative Approach
We won’t focus on improving the recruiting approach as that is a whole area of execution by itself and definitely a number of things that can be done to recruit good sales people. We want to focus more on how to build and improve the sales people that you have.
One area to look at when trying to improve the performance of your sales people is the new hire and recurring sales training. It is common for sales training programs to focus primarily on the company that the sales person works for and the products that they sell.
The downside to this approach is that when you train a sales person on these details only, that is what they talk about when they are talking with prospects. They talk about their company and their products.
And the problem with that is that when you are trying to generate leads, a more effective approach is to talk more about your prospects, the challenges they are experiencing, how you can resolve those, and what improvements you can help to make.
With the conventional approach, the sales manager hopes that the sales person will take the standard product training, combine that with their experience and then automatically know what to say and ask when talking with prospects. Unfortunately, this is simply not consistently the case and that is what leads to inconsistent results.
If you focus your sales training more on sales messaging and what the sales person should say and ask when talking with prospects. And teach them to focus more on the prospect than on their own details, they will be better positioned to be successful and you will build good sales people.