Hiring a new salesperson can be tough, but even when you’ve made a great hire, your work is just beginning. That was the message of Logan Beckman, vice president of sales for NMC Exteriors in Plymouth, Minn., in his presentation titled “Motivating Your Sales Team.”
Beckman maintains that a new salesperson’s introduction to the company is crucial, and the initial phase of training, known as “onboarding,” can set the tone for what’s to follow — be it good or bad.
Citing surveys that put the turnover rate for outside salespeople at 20-30 percent, Beckman argued that sometimes the blame for poor sales performance must reside with the sales manager. He urged attendees to formalize their initial training programs and start new salespeople off on the right foot. “Let’s do it the right way,” he said. “For some reason, when we hire someone, we think the hard work is over. The truth is it’s just begun — for you and your new hire. The way to help each and every new hire achieve their goals is through an onboarding program.”
The onboarding process can include formal meetings, lectures, videos, printed and computer-based materials. The key, according to Beckman, is to take the time to make a great first impression. “Give your new hire your undivided attention,” he said. “Give them the time they deserve.”
Beckman recommends alerting everyone at the company about the new hire via e-mail. Incoming employees should be introduced to everyone at the company on the first day, and any necessary paperwork should also be completed at the same time. Electronic devices such as phones and computers should be set up and ready to operate. Designating a mentor can be a crucial component of the onboarding process, and an organizational chart that details who to contact for various needs can also be a big help.
Each employee arrives at a company with a set of skills, and the onboarding program should be set up to help the employee make the most of those skills, maintains Beckman. Therefore the onboarding process should be set up differently for employees based on their skill and experience level. “It has to be individualized,” he said.
A well-executed orientation program can have multiple benefits. According to Beckman, the onboarding process can:
- Reduce the amount of time it takes for a salesperson to generate income.
- Increase the salesperson’s proficiency, resulting in optimal sales performance.
- Minimize turnover.
- Serve as a recruitment tool.
- Increase job satisfaction.
- Ensure greater organizational commitment.
- Create a better understanding of the organization.
- Clarify job responsibilities.
- Reduce anxiety.
- Set up performance expectations.
Inadequate training can be a huge de-motivator, noted Beckman, who urged attendees to re-examine every phase of their onboarding process. “Go back to your office and brainstorm with your team, brainstorm with your outside sales reps, brainstorm with people who don’t sell,” he stated. “Find out what they think should be used in the onboarding practice. The results should be great — beginning with a shorter time to the first sale and higher sales numbers.”
Click here to check out the Best of Success seminar featuring Logan Beckman, which was presented as a live webinar. To view the archived version on demand, just visit www.bestofsuccessconference.com.