Have you gone from 10 reps to 20 reps, or 40 reps to 100s of reps? No matter the situation, congratulations are in order. You proved that it works — inside sales is strong, and you are growing fast.
But now that you’ve celebrated the growth of your team, it’s time to get serious about goals and tactics for getting new members ready.
Your ability to hit your number and maintain your ramp projection, depends heavily on your ability to these three things quickly:
- Get people in the door
- Train them quickly
- Get them to ramp up to their goal
That brings us to the first stop on our tour of places to optimize for scalability: Hiring.
#1: The Inside Sales Rep Hiring Process
It’s common for companies to be so focused on training and getting their new reps on the phone that they forget to optimize their hiring process first. If you’re looking to bring a mass amount of new reps to the company and foster growth, hiring is the first place to start.
Here are some tactical solutions we’ve seen help our clients:
Supplement Hiring Out Of HR
One of the biggest complaints we hear from sales leaders is their frustration with their HR-led recruiting team. Either it takes too long or they only target actively searching candidates (or both). And the hiring process that got you to 50 is not the same one that’s going to get you to 500.
So try supplementing the Talent Acquisition team with an external recruiting firm or by repurposing one of your sales employees into a recruiting department member. The job is similar, and who knows its ins and outs better?
For most of us, scaling will be an uphill climb. The first wave of hiring had more time to it, and we may have even gotten to pull the cream off the top because we had fewer positions to fill and we were the cool, new kids in town. But hiring huge numbers in a short span is a whole new ballgame. So unless you have a lot of time to hit head count or a reputation in the industry for a killer development program that attracts and builds new sellers, you’re probably going to have to steal people away from your competition.
Here are some tips and pitfalls: Not all inside sales reps are created equal, so be smart about the companies you’re targeting when trying to pull talent.
- Check their Glassdoor ratings.
- Find out if their sales cycle matches yours (a transactional rep/culture will not be a shoe-in for a longer sales process!)
- Ask the interviewees whether they’re assigned leads or have to go out and acquire their own.
- Ask whether they’re used to selling a concept or overcoming competitors in a crowded marketplace. Is their product a premium or value offering? Do they have that experience?
Each of these is a reason even successful reps may not mesh with your existing team, culture, and style.
Finally, make sure that whoever is recruiting for you recommends hires aligned with your needs. An HR recruiter is worried about getting bodies in the door, not whether or not those bodies stick. Because of this, we’ve seen attrition rates from fast hiring scalability periods sky rocket. It’s absolutely commonplace for leaders to lose 100% of their fast-scale hiring classes because the goal was quantity, not quality. A hole in the boat does nothing to help you hit ramp and revenue targets, so try compensating recruiters based on whether or not reps hit ramp or stay for 90 days.
Manage Your People Pipeline
As a leader in the scale game, your most important pipeline isn’t revenue, it’s people. Do you have a process in place for a “people pipeline”?
Start with teaching managers to identify when they are at risk to lose someone. Do we have anyone who’s next strike will result in termination? Teach managers to forecast head count needs monthly and look out 3 to 6 months. Add team attrition to your new-team needs to set a realistic recruiting target and stay ahead of the game. The time to start replacing Bobby Joe is not after Bobby Joe leaves. It’s weeks or even months before.
Be smart with an overall calculation. Plan for your regular attrition percentage to be a bit higher during high growth periods.
Now that you have a people pipeline in place, you can do these critical things:
- Involve sales managers only in the bottom half of the funnel. Your sales managers are going to be crazy busy. Don’t waste their precious revenue-driving time doing interviews at the top of the funnel. That means making sure you and the talent acquisition team are crystal-clear on qualification criteria (just one more reason to have a salesperson you trust in your recruiting role!).
- Be sure your initial screening process includes phone screens, ride-alongs, and any testing or profiling. These should all be pretty self-explanatory, but there are still far too many sales managers weeding out or losing reps who did great in person but are scared of the phone, or scared of the job, or can’t actually type a coherent email. Remember, your sales managers are busy feeding 10 other baby birds on their team.
- Make sure your management-to-rep ratio is low during those high-growth periods. Don’t try to save money and try to squeak by with a 20:1 manager-rep ratio during growth times. Now is the time to double down and have that number closer to 10:1. New reps need the help, and managers need the time to interview, If you burn out the management team, you run the risk of losing your managers as well.
- Work with your training department to set up standard class-based hire dates. This way, recruiting has a target start date and your training team is teaching 10-20 people at a time rather than 1-2 people. Now your onboarding will be like clockwork — not a scale-up scramble.
#2: Onboarding Your New Reps
Now that you’ve optimized your hiring process to promote scalability, make sure you’re ready to move those classes to the next phase: Onboarding.
Here are some tips for looking at your onboarding through a growth lens:
Look at the Length of Your Onboarding Program
We make mistakes on both sides of this equation: if your program is 2 days long, you might need an overhaul. Two days is an orientation, not on onboarding program. If your program is 6 weeks long, you might need an overhaul. Great salespeople won’t sit without selling that long.
The perfect onboarding timeline is not one-size-fits-all; it depends on the complexity of your product and a million other things. The sweet spot that you’re shooting for is around 2 weeks.
Make Sure You’ve Got All of Your Critical Components
Eighty percent of training programs we see focus almost exclusively on two things: systems (here’s how you log in; here’s how you punch your clock) and product (what we sell, why it’s fabulous, features, and benefits).
Please do not forget sales training that focuses on how you sell your products and services in your industry over the phone. Common onboarding mistakes include doing no sales training (seriously, even experienced reps need refreshers and help with specifics about your industry, go to market strategy, etc.) or shoehorning field sales training for an inside program. It does not work.
Get your new reps inside sales-focused training, and get them on the phone practicing their new skills ASAP. These can include top-of-funnel confidence builders like:
- Leaving good voicemails
- Overcoming brush-offs
- Getting information from gatekeepers
- Introductions that keep new prospects on the phone
Check Your Process
Remember the old “Schoolhouse Rock” episode on how a bill becomes a law? That’s the process part.
- How does a baby lead move all the way through our process to become a very happy repeat customer in your company?
- What are the top five questions that customers have?
- What are those three places where orders get stuck?
- How do you get stuff done in your company?
That’s process. And it goes a long way toward helping your rep feel confident about making sales and getting things done for the customer. It also builds self-sufficiency — your managers will thank you.
Not sure where to start? Poll new reps and managers about the top five questions and requests they get from new hires. And a quick tip for training — teach reps how to fish for this information in your internal tools, intranet, directories, knowledge bases, etc. We recommend process “scavenger hunts” like these — often, it’s the best way to learn.
Business, Industry, and Customer Acumen
You may not have heard this one suggested before, but acumen may be the most important factor in shortening ramp time. Reps today aren’t coming out of school with a whole lot of business acumen. Help them understand decision makers, org charts, and business calculations important to your customers like ROI or break even points.
Over 50% of senior executives say the sales rep adds no value to their process. And HubSpot recently reported that only 3% of people trust sales reps. These numbers tell us we need educated reps able to add real business value. The foundation for all of your consultative, educational, value-adding, or challenging sales techniques is business acumen.
To get there, reps need to master basic business language and have the confidence to talk with business leaders — especially the C-suite. This is a massive differentiator now that you are in a war for younger and less-experienced talent.
Our next acumen categories are customer and industry. Whoever your customer is, it’s your reps’ jobs to tailor our offering to meet their needs and solve their challenges. This means your training program must teach reps to speak the customer’s language and converse about challenges with confidence. It’s very common to hear reps admit they are nervous to have business conversations and afraid to ask questions because they won’t know what to do with the answers.
When we teach this at Factor 8, we start with industry and customer terms, acronyms, and trends. Once we have this footing, we move on to translate the trends into questions that reps can ask to have conversations about the marketplace. Finally, we help reps write specific questions to uncover targeted challenges that our company solves.
Starting reps with a script that includes customer, challenge, or industry questions is a recipe for disaster. Without the business, industry, and customer acumen to stand on, reps will avoid customer conversations at all costs. Instead, build the acumen logically in small steps. It will work, and you’ll have more confident reps who can add value (And they’ll stay with the company who taught them how to be a business person.)
Make Sure Your Managers Are Integrated
The right level of manager involvement in onboarding is critical. Too much and we’re asking our leaders to be trainers — that’s a mistake on too many levels to count. Too little, and we’re spelling disaster in terms of attrition.
Visit sales managers about once a week during onboarding. They could be doing role plays, helping with testing, presenting about customers, playing the pause game with call recordings, and so on. If a manager has a rep in training, ask managers to connect with their newbie once a week. This can be for a team meeting, going out to lunch, some 1:1 time, etc.
Companies big and small make the mistake of allowing onboarding to be all e-learning. We recommend programs to max out at around 30% self-directed online learning. If you’re welcoming notoriously social salespeople to your company and sitting them behind a computer screen for 6 weeks, you’re not helping employee engagement and retention.
In addition, anybody who can sit on his butt and do e-learning for 6 weeks is just fine sitting on his butt doing nothing for 6 weeks. These are not the set-your-accounts-and-leads-on-fire kind of sellers you’re seeking.
In that vein, let’s talk about matching the culture of your onboarding to your floor. The reps who succeed on the job have a daily process, rigor, and fire to get after it. But if you were a fly on the wall of most of the new hire training programs, you would hear trainers saying “Must be break time again” or “Let’s play an icebreaker” or “How are we going to fill this hour?”
Here are some ways to create a culture of performance and expectation in your new hires’ first few weeks on the job:
- Make sure you have your systems set up so every tool they’ll use on the job can be played around with during training. Training should never be theory or sit-and-watch. If your reps graduate training and are still unable to update the CRM, execute the enablement cadence, or execute a screenshare, you have a problem.
- Make sure they have an opportunity to use their phone and their systems at the same time. If they have to type and listen and enter data at the same time on the job, practice it during training.
- Also synthesize using customer, product, and sales skills at the same time. This means true-to-life role plays. (Try using recorded calls and finishing the conversation, or having managers or past graduates write role plays). Even better? Do these role plays in different rooms and use phones and systems at the same time. This is real life on the floor, yet most training programs teach them separately. Synthesizing real-world conditions builds confidence and speeds up ramp to quota!
- Add extreme rigor to training. Class starts on time, breaks are short, and training is fast-paced. Implement weekly quizzes, give application-based tests, and don’t graduate every rep. Reps should treat trainers like their manager during training, including following attendance policies. Trainers should be empowered to cut reps who won’t make it. If you’re hiring at scale, expect 10-30% of your classes to have a rep who snuck through recruiting and should be cut before they fail on the floor and waste a manager’s time. Knowing this ahead of time will signal lazy reps to bring their “A game” and may prevent you from letting in new-hire-surfing reps (those who move from job to job and get paid to sit in training).
#3: Understanding and Optimizing Measurement
Growth at scale can’t depend on super talented reps who figured it out. It also can’t depend on the smart and devious reps who figure out how to cherry-pick the hot leads.
As you grow, the leads or accounts assigned become thinner and colder. That means the days of the “Wild West” are over and you have to create repeatable, trainable, and coachable formulas for success. This starts with measurement.
Young sales managers (if you’re scaling, you likely have a lot of young ones) are usually not exactly sure what happens between the goal (i.e. a revenue number) and the activity (metrics like dials or talk time).
You’re going to push your team further and faster if we get them talking about the KPIs that are in the middle of results and activity. And the KPIs that we’re looking for are leading indicators; a close rate is a lagging indicator.
A leading indicator is something that we can look at or a lever we can pull before the end of the month or period. What’s an example of a leading indicator? Well, it’s different for every different type of sales team. Here are a couple examples:
Close Percentages at Each Stage
We’ve talked about close percentage being a leading indicator, but what about a close percentage for each pipeline stage? How many are we getting from Stage 1 to Stage 2 or from Stage 2 to Stage 3?
If you can look at that, you can see exactly where reps need coaching.
Number of Conversations
All of our sales start with conversations, so why not celebrate those?
A recent study by insidesales.com and the AAISP, published in Forbes, cites the average rep as having about 12 meaningful conversations per day. (Celebrate! This number is actually up from a few years ago thanks to our tech stack).
If a rep has the dials and not the talk time, or the talk time but not the opportunities, check to see how many actual conversations they’re having daily. To get a conversation, a rep has to keep someone on the phone or get that person to call back, overcome a brush-off, and engage the customer. All critical onboarding skills — and a place to start if the conversations aren’t there. An easy way to search for this is how many times they have a call with over 3 minutes of talk time. A voicemail is usually 1 minute and 30 seconds, and a gatekeeper and/or brush-off is 2 minutes.
By the way, let’s make sure those are good conversations. Bonus points for including a standard call quality score as an early indicator.
Number of Pre-Booked Appointments
You can do this even for SDR / BDR Reps by making a business development / lead generation funnel. It’s uncommon, so consider it an advanced tip.
If you ask reps, “Hey, how many appointments are you gonna book this week?” the first they should be doing is checking their calendar (hopefully via your CRM) for how many callbacks they have scheduled this week. We’re talking about people who’ve signed up to talk to them, not a brand-new cold call.
This is their funnel. Ask them to forecast their appointments. They should use their close ratios for cold calls and pre-booked appointments to calculate their success.
Not forecasting opportunities (or appointments/demos) with this team yet? Start by being sure you can track the lead source and close percentage in your CRM and teach the forecasting skill to advanced reps. They’ll need it as they graduate to AE/ISR status.
These three are by no means an exhaustive list, just a few examples you might consider. Quotes sent, demos booked, show rates, and even callbacks can be leading-indicator KPIs. What’s the secret to your success? Find out, document it, and start measuring it. It will be your growth formula during scaling season.
Alignment Based on Leading Indicators
Now that you’ve defined those leading indicators, trained managers and reps on what they are and how to find them, get them in your dashboard and start aligning your company carrots to match. We love how software platform Ambition helps weave a custom sales process with their management meetings and gamification while providing a best-in-class dashboard that helps managers take actions. If you’re using Salesforce as a dashboard, it’s probably time to upgrade — preferably before you hire in mass quantities.
Chances are, net new revenue is most important since it’s about revenue growth — which is why your company is scaling. Yet, companies are giving reps bonuses based on the revenue achieved per day.
Things you want to make sure you align include:
- Reward and recognition
For example, if your most important goal is profitability, then you don’t necessarily hand out the “hoorays” for somebody who just got a big revenue order. You also don’t want your dashboards highlighting number of orders or deal size. Perhaps average order size, lines per order, services SKUs, or product mix are better KPIs.
A lack of alignment is often obvious in floor contests. Managers are typically left to run these. Although fun and creative, they will incentivize the wrong behaviors or KPIs at least 30% of the time. Knowing your leading-indicator KPIs helps everyone stay focused on winning behaviors and actions, including coaching.
To use the same example, if profitability is the goal and services/product mix are the secret sauce, then we should see call coaching forms have spots for giving feedback on or give points for asking services-related questions, wallet-share questions, or penetration or referral conversations.
Not teaching these skills to reps? You’ve found our last alignment recommendation: skill training. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find each sales curriculum provider has a specialty. Ask for case studies driving similar KPIs and goals. One size does not fit all for training.
The more customized your training experience, the better. If your internal teams can handle the special skills training as well as the massive onboarding effort, you’re ahead of the game.
A Bit More on Dashboards
Most of us use Salesforce (great system; it’s the least complained-about CRM out there) but let’s all agree that it’s not a dashboard — even if they call it that. A dashboard has trend-level data.
A dashboard is supremely executable. You look at it, and you make a decision. You don’t have to click through 17 times. A dashboard helps you see trends, analyze them, and take action quickly.
Trend-level data means when you log in at the first of the month, it doesn’t show you at red; it’s measuring run rate, not actual revenue. If you sold well the first 3 days, you should be in the green because you’re run-rating to goal. Check your team’s front page at the beginning of the month — is it red? If so, it’s not helping your team members identify issues or gaps, it’s teaching them to ignore the data.
Great dashboards can also show you trends over time and benchmarks. If close percentage by deal stage is your KPI, your need to see where it is today, this month, and the last three months (or even this time last year for cyclical businesses).
It’s also optimal for your tool to integrate phone data and call quality data into a dashboard. Save them time by getting all pertinent data in one place with no manual report running. Nirvana!
In short, you need a (better) dashboard if your frontline leaders have to dig beyond the surface-level stuff.
It’s also the only option for you managers in the best-case scenario. It’s also standard. Although to some it’s a selling point, every new manager being able to create her own custom reporting and dashboards will kill your scalability.
Custom management reports means that everyone is managing their teams differently: This guy’s looking at pipeline, this guy’s looking at revenue per lead, and so on. Reps will be managed differently, contests don’t scale, and there is no formula to scale. It’s the Wild West with a whole bunch of sheriffs. You need your sales strategy simplified, focused on leading KPIs and everyone looking at the same hymn sheet (dashboard) to grow at scale.
#4: The 8 Critical Processes to Define
There are eight critical processes you need defined, trained, and implemented for you to scale effectively. We’re going to give away the punchline right at the beginning: Your sales managers are the critical success factor in your processes. You’ve got to have the process defined, and you’ve got to have managers implementing and managing to these processes to achieve scalability.
Here we go:
1. The management process
We call this a cadence, it’s like dance steps or a sales process for managers. They used to spend all day doing calls, and now they have new responsibilities and activities — it’s up to you to teach them what they are.
What are the critical interactions? When should they hold performance reviews? When should they have pipeline meetings? How often should they be call coaching?
It’s all about filling their calendar with the right stuff. Our class called Essential Meetings: The Manager’s Cadence is hands down the favorite among managers. It’s not uncommon for struggling managers to even shed tears proclaiming, “I finally understand my job!” If you start here, you’re going a long way toward building manager engagement and retention — and thereby team engagement and retention. Everyone wants to feel successful at work.
2. A performance improvement process
Most people think of this as the PIP (Performance Improvement Process), but there’s another side of the coin: the actual performance improvement. Think:
- How often are they getting development?
- How often are they getting coaching?
- How do they move up?
Career paths can be part of this. And, of course, the PIP steps and gates: Assess your PIP by asking, “How quickly can you get a rep out the door when it’s a bad hire?” Also consider how long reps have to ramp up to quota, and how many at-bats or strikes they have until they are out. What defines a strike? If this isn’t well documented and executed, you are in for a nightmare. Every manager is going to do it differently, and that’ll create a moral problem.
3. Your sales hand-off process
Most of us are specialized in sales roles today, which is fantastic. Great progress is accomplished by separating lead development from appointment setting from closing or account management. But that means you need more clarity and definition on handoffs between each role.
You should also ask:
- How quickly does a lead come in before somebody follows up on it?
- Who gets inbound leads?
- How quickly must somebody become a customer before their account manager or customer success rep follows up?
If you don’t define all that for big customers, big deals, and big potentials, it’s not going to happen on a clean timeline — reps will “get to it when they get to it.” That’s when your process starts to break down, causing issues between departments, in the field, and with your scalability.
4. The actual sales process
Most people think that a sales process is the conversation.“We’re going to open,” “We’re going to create a rapport,” or “I’m going to explore for some need, then close and farm for more.”
That is old-school, and it only works perfectly when you easily get people on the phone and it’s a straight-line sale or one-call close. How often does that happen anymore?
So think of your sales process as the skeleton for deal management. It’s probably a multitouch process. What are the goals laid out by call or by customer touch? Do they align with the customer buying process, and are they in the rep’s line of view for easy implementation? Further, do reps understand the goal of each touch so they buy into its execution and really move sales forward vs. going through the motions?
5. The sales methodology
At Factor 8, we incorporate best practices and (more importantly) applicable practices from them all.
The key is to pick the right methodology (or several) for your market (are you trying to do complex buying pattern in a transactional business?), your reps (are you trying to get 22-year-olds to challenge a C-level buyer?), and your go-to-market strategy, (are we overcoming competition by building value or are we going first to market and pushing speed)?
Many leaders adopt or create their own process or work with trusted partners to customize methodologies to fit their needs. The key here is the ability to customize.
Best practice is the right methodology, surrounded by modern selling skills like phone hacks and book management, all hung on the right sales process. Think of the sales process as the skeleton and the methodology as the nice suit it wears.
6. The pipeline process
Your pipeline has to be well defined or it simply will not run well.
- What are the different stages?
- How do you graduate from one stage to the next?
- How long can a deal stay in the pipeline?
- What are your target close rates?
If you don’t have a solid group of definitions and processes around your pipeline, your forecast is going to, well, suck. And the dirtier the pipeline is, the more reps and managers and leaders learn to ignore it.
In our experience, a good 1/3 of leaders could check their pipeline right now and find hundreds of deals ready to close LAST quarter (or two). Yes, everyone’s pipelines are full of this. So, in addition to sharp definitions, we need a process around keeping it valid. Then you can truly use the pipeline to manage your business, forecast your deals, identify skill gaps, and create people pipelines.
7. Territory, account, or lead management
Whether you’re giving reps established accounts, target accounts, leads, or even an extra scoop of nothing, we have to draw lines around it. This wasn’t true when we were settling the Western Frontier — stake your claim! But now we have a crowded population, and we need boundaries.
Let’s go with leads for our example here:
- When do reps earn new leads?
- When do you call the lead dead?
- How many leads do they get, and how often do they get them?
- What are reps required to do with leads to be in good standing? Maybe before they can earn more leads?
When this isn’t defined, reps say, “Give me more. I can’t sell without better leads!” Who hasn’t heard this?
Eventually you have to decide if you keep buying leads with diminishing ROI, decide your leads suck, or decide your reps can’t sell (or all three). We call this the Silver Platter Syndrome — account executives rejecting leads that aren’t served up hot and ready.
Are we really all so inundated with opportunity that we can afford to do this? Frankly, we ruin AE sales skills when we flood them with leads and allow the cherry-picking. Yes, cherry-picking is prevalent, even with account managers.
Are your reps calling their entire book? Are there required touches, or are they really just taking orders from their top 20%? You need to define:
- Who you call most often
- Reasons to call
- How often to call each customer type
- Your strategic sales process to grow revenue (see #4)
8. Call-coaching process
Without a well-defined process and requirements, call coaching happens ad-hoc and when managers have time for it. Read: Seldom to never. In fact, insert stat here from Trish Bertuzzi at The Bridge Group and Steve Richard at ExecVision, who asked reps and managers how often they coach. Managers said X hours/month, and less than half the reps agreed.
That means Step 1 is to define what constitutes coaching and what does not. Working with a group of reps is training, not coaching. Sending instant messages during a ride-along … also not coaching. Also define who gets how much, how often, and what good calls and good coaching looks like.
Are your managers helping your reps consistently improve their skills on the phone? Make sure your company has a coaching program in place that can help managers better help reps.
How do you do this best? Define them, write them down, get input from multiple levels, and go and train them. You can’t just forward this to your people. It’ll die out that way quickly.
Train your managers to keep this alive. This will live or die in your managers’ ability to execute this. So train them, inspect them, and look into putting in a tool to help the manager. Then follow up, get it on dashboards where you can, and ask about it in management meetings and 1:1s.
#5: New Tool Implementation
Systems and tools can absolutely help us scale faster. Some of them are just table stakes now, like phone systems, CRM systems, lead sources (if that’s your business) and even dialers to some extent.
Sales engagement platforms like Outreach or SalesLoft help you scale and create repeatable processes. Dashboards and gamification like Ambition empower managers. Call recording systems like Chorus, Gong, and ExecVision enable better call coaching and quality.
Truth is, our industry is flooded with sales enablement tools, and a lot of them are awesome. Check out Vendor Neutral’s sales tool quiz and its certified Top 100 to help you make decisions about what your organization needs.
Getting a new tool should look like this:
- Start with the process
- Buy the training
- Implement the tool
Sadly, it seldom happens this way, and there are many horror stories about doing it wrong.
Think about a system or tool you are currently shopping for. A platform you’re getting a lot of sales calls for, one you might have even called to explore further. Perhaps it’s one you fell in love with at a trade show.
Whatever it is, put it in your head right now and ask: Where would you go internally to find the process that governs this action? Maybe it’s a pipeline tool. Where would you go to find where your pipeline stages are documented, where the definitions are, where the handoffs are, the yes’s and no’s. Is that anywhere? Could you find it? Could your manager or reps find it? If the answer is no, you’re not ready for the tool.
It’s the same deal with a call coaching tool. At Factor 8 we love call-recording tools — we’ve been making live calls and listening to their recordings for 10 years in our training classes. It’s part of every single training, and we think it’s the #1 way to shorten new rep hire ramp time.
But before you buy, ask yourself:
- Where is “good” defined?
- How about the coaching scorecard to upload?
- Do your managers know what is expected and how to differently use the tool with A B C D players?
- How is this tied in to their measurement?
If you can’t answer any of these questions, you are not ready for the tool yet.
Tools are garbage in, garbage out. If you have some you want, start defining the processes they will need to operate well right now. You can test your theories and process-building to-do lists during the sales selection process.
Implementation Starts With Teaching
Picture this: You’re sitting alone with a rep, and this rep is managing her day and asking little questions along the way. She’s got Eloqua on her front screen, and it’s tied in beautifully with her CRM. Eloqua is giving a notification to her, something like, “Three or five customers just hit your website.”
You watch the rep go through her schedule, paying no mind to the notification. You say, “Hey, what’s up? Anything we need to pay attention to?” and she says, “I don’t know what that is.” You later ask the same thing to another rep and he says, “That’s not important.”
Think about how much money the company spent buying marketing automation and integrating it with the CRM, only to not train the reps on how to use it. Or maybe they were, but they were never trained on why it’s important. Or maybe they were taught in theory during onboarding, but never really saw it in action or got clear instructions on what to do with it.
Sadly, it’s a common scenario and probably the reason that reps never leave a company due to “lack of tools” (although “lack of development” has been a top-three reason every year since 2014, according to the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals). Reps don’t understand this technology is going to make their lives better; it’s just one more damn tool to them.
Start by documenting the process, then have reps actually do the process without the tool. Then teach them what they are supposed to do, but don’t give them the tool until they grasp the skill set.
They’re going to bring you to church; they’re going to sing about you on Sunday, it works out beautifully.
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