Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

How to Hire & Onboard Salespeople - The Right Way!

Hire Right, Higher ProfitsThinking about hiring any new salespeople in the not-too-distant future? Or are you still suffering from a bad hire? If so, check out my interview with Lee Salz, onboarding expert and author of Hire Right, Higher Profits. I know you'll get some good ideas.

(Note: Click here to download a sample chapter. Or get it now on Amazon. Right now, it's the #1 ranked sales/sales management book on Kindle!)

JILL: In your new book, you introduce the concept of thinking of a sales team as a revenue investment. What do you mean by that?

Lee Salz: Imagine a sales manager came up with an incredible idea to drive revenue which costs $25,000 to implement. How many hurdles would she have to jump through to get approval to proceed?

Now, imagine that same sales manager preparing to hire an inside salesperson with a base salary of $25,000. In most cases, there isn’t nearly the same level of scrutiny for that sales hire.

However, if you consider the purpose of both the idea and salesperson, the intent of both is to drive revenue. They are both investments the company is making in revenue, but most companies don’t perceive them that way. 

JILL: You also take a rather unique stance in the book by saying, “There is no such thing as a great salesperson.” Why do you believe that?

Lee Salz: I’m often taken to task on that statement, but I can prove it. How many so-called “great salespeople” have you hired, but they failed in your company? If they were great salespeople, then you must subscribe to one of the following given their failure.

  1. Either the salesperson arrived at your company and completely forgot how to sell – OR –
  2. Your company is the absolute worst company to sell for in the history of business.

Which one is it? There couldn’t be another explanation if you believe in great salespeople.

The issue is that greatness isn’t a standalone quality, but rather an attribute of the relationship between a salesperson and a specific sales role. How else could you explain a salesperson being a rock star in one company, but a flop in another – or the converse?

JILL: I was intrigued by your position on hiring salespeople from the competition. Why should executives be cautious when hiring from competitors?

Lee Salz: There is an executive dream which sounds like this. “I hire the competitor’s top salesperson. She arrives at my company and brings $1M in revenue with her…while I master my golf swing.”

While that’s a nice dream, it’s rarely a reality. Executives often see the competition as their best source for sales talent. And they blindly pursue those reps without considering the match to their company.

JILL: So what should executives be looking for in salespeople as they consider them for a revenue investment?

Lee Salz: Before a company can consider candidates, the executive team needs to take a 360-degree look at the role – a process I call the “Revenue Investment 360.”

During this evaluation, every factor that leads to sales success or failure is analyzed for level of impact. This leads to the development of a Performance Factor Portfolio for the role. Each candidate is then compared and contrasted with the portfolio in search of matches.

This changes the sales hiring game from solely looking at closing and prospecting skills as success measures. After all, if those are the sole measures of success, identifying the right candidates for a revenue investment is simple.

JILL: You talk a lot about sales onboarding in the book. I know there are several definitions of onboarding. How do you define onboarding?

Lee Salz: There is a common misconception that the output of the hiring process is the identification of a great salesperson. It’s not. The output is a salesperson with the potential to be great in a specific sales role for the company. That potential is only recognized when a bridge program is put in place that connects the salesperson’s knowledge and skills with proficiency in the role.

Onboarding is the bridge curriculum and measurements that ensure mastery has been acquired by the new salesperson. Without sales onboarding, companies immediately put their new revenue investment in jeopardy. However, companies that have developed sales onboarding find that their salespeople get up to speed faster, sell more…and at higher price points.

JILL: If a company wanted to launch a sales onboarding development initiative, where should they start?

Lee Salz: Most executives begin the sales onboarding development project by inviting a bunch of colleagues to a meeting where the discussion focuses on one question: “What are we going to include in the program?” In other words, they start the initiative by considering curriculum. The two issues with that approach are: 1) Curriculum can be added for an eternity; and 2)There’s no way to gauge if the program serves its purpose.

The best place to start is at the finish line - by identifying expectations. Imagine you had a salesperson who is described as having successfully completed the onboarding program.

Because she is described as having successfully completed it, there are now expectations of her. What are those expectations?

  • What is she expected to KNOW (i.e., product knowledge)?
  • What should she be able to DO (i.e., conduct a sales call)?
  • What should she be able to USE (i.e., CRM)?

The expectations portfolio drives the curriculum development process. This keeps the program finite, on track and focused on its true purpose which is to get new salespeople up to speed, fast.

JILL: In your opinion, what is the right duration of a sales onboarding program?

Lee Salz: There is a common perception that 90 days is the right duration for a sales onboarding program. Given the different sales backgrounds that salespeople have, the various roles (inside sales, outside sales, etc.), how can there be a standard duration for a sales onboarding program?

The counsel I give to clients is that the program should be long enough to ensure every one of the expectations (KNOW – DO – USE) is achieved by the participants. It could be 10 days. It could be 100 days. It could be 200 days. The timeline driver is the expectations portfolio.

JILL: Thanks a million, Lee. And readers, click here your copy of Hire Right, Higher Profits.  Also, when you buy it, you'll also get Lee's virtual training class, "Get Your New Hire Salespeople Up to Speed ... Fast!, a $99 value. 

About Lee Salz

Lee SalzLee B. Salz is a leading sales management strategist and Founder of Sales Architects®. He specializes in helping companies hire the right salespeople, effectively onboard them and align their activities with business objectives.

Using his sales architecture® methodology, Lee’s clients migrate from being "people-based" to "process-based" resulting in explosive, profitable growth.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath’s career is defined by her relentless search for fresh sales strategies that actually work in today’s business environment. She loves to work on tough sales challenges, big issues and unsolvable problems. Her first book, Selling to Big Companies, was hailed as an "instant classic." Fortune selected it as a "must read" and it's been an Amazon Top 25 sales book for 4+ years. Her newest book, SNAP Selling, was just released to rave reviews. She also writes a popular blog and publishes a leading newsletter. As an in-demand speaker an annual sales meetings and conferences, Jill helps sellers crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win more business. Her clients include IBM, Microsoft, Hilton, Accenture, 3M and Staples. Her expertise is frequently published in top business media such as ABC News, Success, Inc., WSJ Start-Up Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Times, Business Journal, Selling Power and Sales & Marketing Management.

Latest Stories
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors!
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.