No Two Sales Reps are the Same. Their Onboarding Programs Shouldn't be, Either

Newly hired sales reps all have certain strengths, otherwise they (theoretically) wouldn't have gotten the job. Correctly assessing new employees' weaknesses is crucial too, however. Instead of onboarding new sales reps in the same fashion, focus on those weaknesses from the start so they can hit the ground running. Republished with permission from Dave Stein.

cookie cutterMis-hiring isn’t the root of all sales ills, but it sure continues to run like hell for first place. At ESR we’re amazed here at how many companies we speak with have no formalized hiring process. No profiles. No pre-determined, structured interview questions. No training for interviewers. No simulations. No predictive assessment tools. No reference checks. No background checks. No income verification. And no onboarding process. And they wonder why only 20 percent of their reps are delivering 80 percent of their revenue.

If you’ve hiring the wrong sales candidate, onboarding is a waste of time and money. And it gives you false hope that the person might be productive in within a reasonable period of time. They won’t.

When it Comes to Onboarding, One Size Doesn't Fit All

I’ve read a number of articles and posts recently about onboarding and some of them miss the most important point: onboarding plans shouldn’t be generic. Putting all new sales hires through the same one-day, ten-day, or hundred-day program will not get the most out of them in the shortest period of time.

Companies that use a profile-based, behavioral interview approach have a reasonably accurate assessment of what each candidate brings to the table. Hiring authorities know what traits and skills the candidate possesses and how that candidate has performed in relevant and important selling situations in the past. If a candidate doesn’t have enough of the most critical traits they don’t get hired, because you can’t train them to perform in one way when their DNA, personal attributes, or other strong tendencies are directing them elsewhere. (There are exceptions, of course.)

Check out Dave Stein's Blog to read the rest of this article.

Referred to by Geoffrey James, author of the Sales Machine blog on CBS Interactive’s BNET as “the world’s top expert on sales training,” Dave Stein, CEO of ES Research Group, Inc., has provided guidance, expertise and coaching to companies such as Bayer, HP, Microsoft and Oracle.

(Image courtesy of Flickr user MukumburaCC 2.0)

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