As a former , I know all too well the challenges I faced while for my . Whether it was processes around leveraging or acquiring tools, , recruiting, training, or introducing social selling tactics, many times I faced, “This is the way we’ve always done it.”
The number one challenge I faced as a was the successful onboarding of a . In my experience, the onboarding of is arguably the largest problem for managers . Do it right and you have a killer . Do it wrong and you’ve killed the success of the and, worse yet, your brand. The number two problem I found was knowing when to pull the plug on a that doesn’t seem to be working out. I always questioned, “Did we set him/her up for success, or did the individual truly fail?”
Anyone who knows me knows — I “Don’t Do ¡˥∀WɹON”
When it comes time to scale the , and ramping the right salespeople in the smartest way possible is the lifeline to a successful . Leadership here is key, especially for rapidly growing companies or anyone in dynamic and rapidly changing markets. While I loved many of the recruiters that worked with me, I felt then-and still feel now-that and ramping is too important to leave to recruiters or HR, especially if they focus on the of all employees rather than just .
Sure, a bad of any employee can be costly to the organization and possibly your personal brand. I know from firsthand experience what a bad can do to your brand as a leader. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com survey , 69 percent of companies experienced the negative consequences of a bad . Over 40 percent of them estimated the cost of that bad to be more than $25,000. Another 24 percent put the cost at over $50,000.
But in , the cost of a bad is worse. Beyond recruiting and salary expenses, you have the opportunity cost of missing multiple quarters of quota. According to Dano Rogers, Chief Revenue Officer of Revenue Engines, a bad can cost the typical company at least $100,000.
Time to think creatively, even disruptively, about your sales hiring process
One company pushing the envelope in this regard is Revenue Engines , a startup focused on reengineering the and ramping process. Recently, I had the unique opportunity to sit with their investors and leadership to discuss how to improve the , onboarding, and training processes. Their model and philosophy highlights three points worthy of consideration.
- Don’t Overly Rely on Resumes and Interviews. Candidates cast their experience and past performance in a positive light. Let’s face it: their references are only going to be people who will say great things about them. Busy managers may also be tempted to make judgments based on the name or size of companies where the candidate used to work. Or worse yet, perhaps they will only focus on reps who came from within the same industry, thinking a needs to know the industry to be successful.
Past performance as a predictor of future performance is risky, which is why Revenue Engines puts little weight on resumes or interviews. To truly assess a proper fit, they do test drives, an interesting concept that is new and revolutionary to the industry.
2. Test Drive, Then . A cannot be evaluated in any meaningful way by a few interviews or a questionnaire. As Ilya Druzhnikov, a co-founder at Revenue Engines, and earlier at ConnectAndSell , points out, “It’s a stretch to say you’ve evaluated a if that evaluation didn’t include time in the saddle. It’s like buying a car without a test drive.”
Time to consider a new sequence: test drive first, then . For example, Revenue Engines puts the top candidates in a four-to-eight-week ProofPoint™ program, where they spend time pitching the potential employer’s offering. True, this won’t be a full evaluation, especially for long cycles. However, it can indicate ability to move prospects through the funnel.Test drive first, then hire your next #Sales Rep! Disruptive Thinking! #SalesLeader #SalesTips Click To Tweet
Some companies try to implement “test drives” by first trying someone as an independent . The problem is that, as contractors, these people don’t get proper training or support.
Which leads me to the third point…
3. Ramp Both Before and After the skills needed before a proper evaluation (both for a manager’s decision and a candidate’s career move).. Revenue Engines’ test drive is said to work only because training is done beforehand. Candidates are armed with the product/customer knowledge and specific
This training is not a one-day class but, rather, a longer process that integrates learning with doing-both during the test drive and after the . Such real-world reinforcement is important, because according to noted trainer Rob Jeppsen , salespeople fail to retain around 87 percent of what they learn in training.
Sadly, few reps get ramp-up support before or after they are hired. Most companies provide minimal training or rely on newbies shadowing veterans (picking up good and bad habits alike). But as a , do you honestly feel your organization has a systematic program for ramping new hires?Few #sales reps get ramp-up support before or after they are hired. #Salesleader Change the game! Click To Tweet
I agree with the observation of Revenue Engines’ co-founder, Weston Parker Headley: “Whether as a senior manager or consultant, I’ve rarely seen companies consistently apply a ramp-up process. No surprise it’s a frequent concern of commission-oriented candidates.”
Bottom line. No magic technology wand will automate the and ramping of salespeople. It is a human process, but one ripe for improvement. As Headley learned from his prior consulting work alongside Clay Christensen (the Harvard professor who wrote the book on disruptive technology ), “Disruptive innovation does not always involve sexy technology but does require fundamentally new processes and models.”
As a , do you have the dedication and courage to change the way you scale your ? If you remember anything, I challenge you to remember: “Don’t Do ¡˥ ∀ WɹON”.
This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.