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
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"This week we're really focusing on scalability, asset preservation and how do you back up to the cloud and in the cloud with object storage, which is really a new way of attacking dealing with your file, your blocked data, where you put it and how you access it," stated Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director of Market Development at HGST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
"We view the cloud not really 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, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"When you think about the data center today, there's constant evolution, The evolution of the data center and the needs of the consumer of technology change, and they change constantly," stated Matt Kalmenson, VP of Sales, Service and Cloud Providers at Veeam Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.