Author: Michael Stus
Managers must guide their new hires through extensive sales on-boarding programs to ensure the new representatives are prepared to sell goods or services. Without proper education, agents don't understand the best practices that their company uses while working with clients. Every vendor has its own training process, but there are some universal mistakes sales performance management (SPM) professionals make while creating the classes.
Be careful to avoid the following four errors when designing an on-boarding program.
Being a friend and not a teacher
Interpersonal relationships are important for the long-term success of a sales team and many managers try to befriend their newly hired employees during training. Inc. Magazine writes that a friendly strategy undermines the point of on-boarding. It's easier to teach a new student than it is to develop a friendship. When leaders dedicate time to socializing, they aren't teaching. The primary role of a trainer is to ensure that every staffer understands the inner workings of the company. Supervisors should focus on educating their representatives and allow personal relationships to bloom over time.
Focusing on the big picture
The sales team doesn't have to worry about the overall structure of the organization. Managers, high-levels executives and other officials focus on the bigger picture, while salespeople focus on everyday practices. Trainees don't need to study the fine details about their companies' health during on-boarding.
Focus on sales techniques and best practices. Recent hires require information that will help them gradually increase their productivity.
Giving them power
Inc. Magazine writes that some managers quickly empower their new employees. This hands-off approach is meant to give agents real-world experience without supervision. Inexperienced agents are massive liabilities for their employers. Small mistakes when dealing with clients can damage a company's reputation and hurt future sales opportunities.
If you can't have a manager monitor every trainee, put the new worker on a team with a veteran representative. Instruct the trusted salesperson to take the lead on most sales calls and teach by example.
Stopping too early
Don't assume that an employee is ready simply because he or she excelled in his or her training classes. Slowly transition your recent hires into full-time positions to ensure that they're fully prepared. If there are complications during the ramping process, then pull the agent back into training.
Additionally, sales on-boarding should be continuous. During every review period you should hold classes to help your staff improve upon problematic issues. On-going training prevents small problems from becoming large complications.