About 38 million people head out on hiking trails each year, enjoying fresh air and the glories of nature. Hikers who are unprepared or inexperienced, however, are more prone to getting lost or suffering injuries that end their adventures prematurely.
Has your recruiting sales team ever gone off track in their daily efforts to close deals? Have they suffered blows to their productivity or effectiveness? Your sales team needs strong preparation and a clear path to sales success that can be mastered and repeated. With your guidance as their manager, they can stay on track and meet their sales quota. Here’s my advice on how.
Train Your Team Thoroughly
One of the biggest reasons hikers are injured is because they don’t train enough beforehand. Their hiking boots aren’t broken in so they get horrible blisters. Their legs get so fatigued that they’re prone to falls.
Your recruiting sales team needs you to train them so they don’t slow down or lose stamina. Amy Munroe, training expert and partner at Staffing eTrainer, says that a blended learning environment is best when teaching your sales team. “Incorporate a variety of learning methods such as e-learning, job shadowing, instructor-led training, role plays, videos and games,” says Munroe. “I would also suggest creating a checklist of each skill needed and who is the best person at the company to train on those skills.”
Teach Them to Research the Environment
Will the hiking trail go through woods, up a mountain or along a lake? Hikers need to know the environment and prepare for a stream crossing or possible bear encounter.
In the same way, sales teams need to know their clients’ daily environments and industry trends. Recruiting managers should teach teams how to research their clients’ industries and speak the right language in order to bring value to clients. Providing extra worth to clients increases your team’s chance to get the sale.
“Understand the current state of your prospects’ internal recruiting process, what changes they would like to see and how those changes impact their business,” says Jim Kanichirayil, Bond regional sales manager. “Understand the prospect’s industry, competitors and trends. Your messages should be focused, relevant, and add value to the recipient.”
Make Sure They Have the Right Gear
Hikers need to have the right gear for a long trek. If they’re carrying a heavy tent, stuffed backpack and metal camping stove, it’s likely that they’ll struggle. Out on the trail, most hikers will be much more successful with lightweight gear so they don’t get too tired from all the heavy lifting before their trek is done.
Similarly, your sales team needs the right tools to help guide them smoothly through their sales process. Cumbersome software can bog them down. Your team needs tools that help them find the data they seek, such as a contact’s background, communication log and notes from earlier calls. Your customer relationship management software should allow your team to quickly present top candidates who have the right work history, resume, credentials and more to clients.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Experienced hikers know what works. Prepare for rain and mud. Use a walking stick. Don’t forget toilet paper! Once you’ve got your successful system down, repeat.
To stay on quota, your sales team needs repeatable, proven technological processes. Staffing software helps your team to regularly schedule follow-up emails and phone calls to clients. KPIs provide them with information about areas in which they excel or need to spend more time. Ensure that your team inputs sales forecasting information as part of their repeatable process. That will help you know what niche industries have growing needs so you can reassign salespeople if needed and keep your team meeting quota.
Jeb Blount, CEO at Sales Gravy, encourages recruiting managers to have regular meetings with their salespeople. “Sales managers need to conduct hands-on coaching, hold consistent weekly one to ones and have managerial courage,” says Blount. “This will help them garner consistent sales results to meet quota.”
Hit the Trail
Like hikers about to set off on their adventure, your sales team is ready. You’ve trained them. They know the environment and have the right tools. They have a proven, repeatable process to follow. Now it’s time for them to hit the trail and meet quota. Sales success!
Read information about hiring and developing your sales dream team by reading our whitepaper, Sales Team Success.