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Sunday, September 28, 2014

(SALES) Start Off A New Sales Hire On The Right Foot


Congratulations on your new hire. Chances are you?ve interviewed a lot of people, and you?ve evaluated them on their sales talent (highly recommend you use a sales-talent assessment tool), as well as their experience and fit for the position. You know all too well that making a hiring decision is a big deal, and the cost of making a bad hire is significant. In addition to its being a significant loss of money (most in HR will say it?s about 1.5-times annual income), it?s a drain on your time, it frustrates the entire sales team, and your clients and prospects are forced to deal with yet another turned-over sales rep. This is certainly not what you want if you are focused on growing revenue and driving sales performance.

This article was inspired by a recent conversation with a manager who was wondering if he?d started a new hire off as well as he could have. The person is now in their eighth month on the job, and the manager is questioning whether it was a good hire and if perhaps this seller was not given the best chance to succeed. As a manager, if you commit to making the hire, you should commit to making sure you bring the person on the right way. Managers always have good intentions, but urgent things come up and that new hire can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Here are the six most important processes to implement to make sure your new hire gets off on the right foot:

1. Day one is a great day to show the new hire around the office and introduce him to all the people he?ll need to know. If you wait too long to do this it becomes awkward, as your new hire just doesn?t know know who?s who. Taking the time to introduce him and share how he will interact with each person will pay dividends in the end.
2. Provide the new hire with clear expectations for daily activities. Let him know what you want him to accomplish each day. You decide how granular to get with this, but let?s face it: There are a handful of things you expect this person to do. Don?t leave him out there trying to figure it out on his own. Tell him up front and let him know what you expect.
3. End-of-day recaps. At least for the first month, it is a best practice to meet with your new hire at the end of every day. It could be just a quick 10 minute meeting, or it might be best done over the phone (you need to decide). This meeting is where you can find out what?s going on and catch any issues that might be starting to bubble up. The first 30 days are critical, since you are establishing the sales culture and the way you do business.
4. Set a time for a 30-day review during the first few days on the job. Setting up this review after the first days takes the pressure off, since you?re letting your new hire know that in 30 days you two will sit down, preferably out of the office, and review how it?s going. It shows him that you are serious about his development and that you care.
5. Start to introduce sales training that supports your sales culture. Regardless of the skill level of your new hire, look for ways to introduce sales training that is appropriate for his expertise. Everyone needs practice, and everyone can continue to learn. If you want a sales culture that is about growth and excellence, you need to start from the moment you make the hire.
6. Key-account orientation. This is one of my favorites. Have the new seller set appointments and meet with 10 of your very best accounts (?key accounts?). The purpose of the meeting is to learn how and why they do business with your company, the results they get, and the quality of service they receive. Do yourself a favor and script out the questions you want asked so that these meetings stay on focus. This is a great way for your new hire to learn all about your company through the eyes of your best customers.

You took the time to make the hire. Take the time to start your new salesperson off in the best way possible.

Matt Sunshine is EVP of the Center for Sales Strategy. E-mail:

(9/26/2014 3:47:04 PM)
Good article. The company I work for lives in a mirror universe. They don't do any of these things. Just hire 'em for the length of time they get their draw and out the door they go. Gotta protect the senior account reps who have gotten fat and lazy over the years. C'set la vie!

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