Sales managers could be doing more for the new producers starting on their team to prepare them for a long and successful career, ideally with many years spent at their firm. Some sales managers undervalue the onboarding phase and the first few formative years that a new producer engages in selling. Consequently, the new salespeople on their teams face common challenges such as motivation, confidence, and tactical approach alone. They can miss out on learning the critical skills it takes to build a rewarding sales career. Some give up and quit, or get fired, but not before spreading a bit of low morale to the team and/or misrepresenting the company’s brand image.
Yikes! The damage and wasted resources that just one lost salesperson can cost the company is a great reason to take more care in setting up new producers to do just that, produce. Here are three ways sales managers can start new producers on the path to meeting their quotas and achieving their dreams over a long and fruitful sales career.
New employees that join the sales ranks come in fresh with a zest for the hunt (assuming you hired correctly). That excitement to go after new accounts is great, but as a sales manager, you need to guide their focus to the accounts where you want them to specialize and explain to the new hire why you take that approach to selling.
According to research by SCIENCE, specialized salespeople make more money than generalist salespeople for a few reasons. One reason is that it’s hard to become an industry expert for ten different industries. Salespeople that pick one or two industries to study and follow intently are more effective in their role as a consultant for their prospects and clients. They exude more confidence when they’re trying to create opportunities and they present with authority that wins the respect and trust of their prospective clients.
Salespeople specializing in one vertical grow their relationship base within that industry, which speeds up their ability to set up initial conversations. The salesperson can reference existing relationships to set appointments. They can talk about examples of the solutions they provided for friends and other players in the industry when they’re presenting recommendations to new prospects. The sales cycles can often be shorter when this level of rapport and expertise is present.
Another reason specializing makes sense is on the product side. Specialist sales professionals better understand the complexities of the solutions they sell in addition to how these solutions would work for their niche industries. The greater the product complexity, the more reason to specialize in a few products that can match with the salesperson’s niche vertical(s).
Address the Grind
People entering a career in sales for the first time are often unaware of the level of work it takes to succeed. They underestimate the amount of heavy lifting it takes to meet quotas. New salespeople can also struggle greatly with holding themselves accountable, keeping their own noses to the grindstone. They convince themselves that they’re busy, when in reality they’re not spending enough time doing sales-focused activities. The problem isn’t just for newbie sales reps. According to Salesforce’s State of Sales Report, the average salesperson spends up to 64% on non-sales (I.E. non-revenue generating) activities. Instead of doing the level of outbound work required to create opportunities in their pipeline, salespeople everywhere are avoiding and getting distracted. They overserve clients as if they were in a customer service role. They assist too much with onboarding their new accounts and so on. Meanwhile, there are no meetings on their calendars and not enough new opportunities in their pipeline to meet their quota.
Sales managers can often change the destiny of new hires joining their teams if they take the time to assimilate them into a culture of a highly focussed, highly active sales procedure. Sales managers need to be honest with their new and emerging salespeople about their first two or three years of work experience and help. The newer sales reps can wrongly compare themselves to the seasoned 20-year veteran, thinking that the veteran’s activity level is enough for a new salesperson to meet their quota. They fail to recognize that the veteran executive has, over the years, built a solid referral base, has relationships, and has a reputation as an expert in a certain industry. Sales managers can help new hires along by shining the light of truth on the path to becoming uber-successful in the sales role and encouraging them along the path.
The truth is, the first three years will be a grind, much like pushing a snowball up a hill. At times the newer salesperson will get hung up on. They’ll get run over. They’ll lose control of a meeting and they’ll get worn out making calls. But with that steady effort to add opportunities to their pipeline and create conversations, they’ll keep moving until they cross the threshold and the snowball starts to fall downhill. The momentum will pick up for them if they can push and give the effort needed to get through the entry-level years.
Sales managers can use TaskHuman’s coaching platform to support the new producers on their teams so they can make the most of the beginning years of their careers. TaskHuman offers highly seasoned sales coaches that can meet individually with emerging sales executives to go over some of the most impacting habits. They can continue to encourage reps to keep the sales mindset front and center so they can see the other side of the mountain and commit to the activities that drive long-term results. The personal, ongoing relationship that salespeople have with a coach can increase their speed to achieving their full potential. Sales coaches are reachable on demand, during non-traditional hours, or whenever the sales rep can spare the time.
Would you like to see how sales teams are using TaskHuman’s sales coaching platform to power up new producers? Request a demo.
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