|By Jill Konrath||
|March 23, 2014 03:11 PM EDT||
Thinking 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.
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.
- Either the salesperson arrived at your company and completely forgot how to sell – OR –
- 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 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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:30 AM EST
As someone who has been dedicated to automation and Application Release Automation (ARA) technology for almost six years now, one of the most common questions I get asked regards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Specifically, people want to know whether release automation is still needed when a PaaS is in place, and why. Isn't that what a PaaS provides? A solution to the deployment and runtime challenges of an application? Why would anyone using a PaaS then need an automation engine with workflow ...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:30 AM EST Reads: 184
Recognizing the need to identify and validate information security professionals’ competency in securing cloud services, the two leading membership organizations focused on cloud and information security, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)^2, joined together to develop an international cloud security credential that reflects the most current and comprehensive best practices for securing and optimizing cloud computing environments.
Feb. 10, 2016 09:20 AM EST
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 379
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 180
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Feb. 10, 2016 08:00 AM EST
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, showed how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He used a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors...
Feb. 10, 2016 08:00 AM EST
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 10, 2016 07:45 AM EST Reads: 433
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
Feb. 10, 2016 07:00 AM EST
Advances in technology and ubiquitous connectivity have made the utilization of a dispersed workforce more common. Whether that remote team is located across the street or country, management styles/ approaches will have to be adjusted to accommodate this new dynamic. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., focused on the challenges of managing remote teams, providing real-world examples that demonstrate what works and what do...
Feb. 10, 2016 06:00 AM EST Reads: 280
CIOs and those charged with running IT Operations are challenged to deliver secure, audited, and reliable compute environments for the applications and data for the business. Behind the scenes these tasks are often accomplished by following onerous time-consuming processes and often the management of these environments and processes will be outsourced to multiple IT service providers. In addition, the division of work is often siloed into traditional "towers" that are not well integrated for cro...
Feb. 10, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 478
The principles behind DevOps are not new - for decades people have been automating system administration and decreasing the time to deploy apps and perform other management tasks. However, only recently did we see the tools and the will necessary to share the benefits and power of automation with a wider circle of people. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Sanders, Chief Technology Officer at CloudBolt Software, explored the latest tools including Puppet, Chef, Docker, and CMPs needed to...
Feb. 10, 2016 03:00 AM EST Reads: 310
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, will discuss how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved effi...
Feb. 10, 2016 01:15 AM EST Reads: 236
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, will discuss using predictive analytics to ...
Feb. 10, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 389
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 10, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 197