Last month I covered the challenge of onboarding, including topics such as motivation, logistics and goals. Onboarding includes a wide range of topics that span more than one conversation. In this column, I will delve into specific ways to empower your new sales hire to deliver results quickly.
It's a pain
It's especially challenging these days to engage prospects on the phone. They just don’t have the time and are too guarded. You need to demonstrate that it matters to them and it matters to them now. This is the classic “why me, why now.” If you are leading with your company or your features, you're just noise. If you're leading with 20 probing questions to discover the pain -- frankly, you're a nuisance.
Your sales team needs to be equipped up front with a rich understanding of the difficulties faced by prospects. They need to be able to communicate effectively around those issues. They need to internalize those issues so that communication is authentic. They don’t need to be technical experts in every aspect of your product, but they do need to feel the pain.
If you deal with multiple personas and difficulties, it’s important to equip the sales team with tools and information that help them to speak authentically. Make sure that this information is easy to access and context-aware so it is easy for the sales team to find and put to use. Remember that this needs to happen in real-time -- while a prospect is on the phone.
Using the right sales tools
As part of showing the new salesperson the ropes, you’ll want to orient in terms of process. Today’s sales and marketing teams are a machine that produces closed business. This requires measurement as well as closely monitoring results. Make sure that usage of your CRM or spreadsheet is known and standardized. Your future marketing campaigns and sales judgment calls depend on it.
Your process helps ensure that missed steps don’t lead to lost deals. Help the sales team learn the process and specifically how it maps to your CRM. “Just enough” process is vastly more effective than attempting to enforce a straightjacket. I do just enough process by surfacing scripts, collateral and checklists in the context of a sales situation within our leads and opportunities.
How do we do that? Let’s say a new lead comes in and is early in the buying process. Our sales and marketing machine surfaces an FAQ that the sales team can use to pre-qualify the prospect. They get relevant eBooks and papers that support early stage prospects. And they get checklists to help determine when to advance a prospect. Not heavyweight process. Just the right amount to keep on track.
I've found that when sales teams are provided with context-aware support, they are radically more effective -- and much more quickly. In these cases, it’s not unusual to see new hires calling into inbound prospects on Day Two – and already getting results.
Talk about your product
There’s no use jumping in too early with your product’s features. You want your new hire to understand why someone would want to buy your product, not the intricacies of the product itself. But to talk effectively, you do need to be savvy about your own offer. Begin by discussing the business benefits your prospect will gain if they choose your product or service.
It's important to avoid overwhelming them -- don't go too deep. Sales engineers can help deliver the technical aspect of the product. Let the sales team understand how value emerges from your product, and demo your product in the context of value.