We train a large number of salespeople within the graphic communications market. We still see companies formally training new salespeople in classroom settings on the very first day that they report. This is a common practice because most companies want to get salespeople out there and start selling as quickly as possible.
New College Hires Must Earn Training
Based on our experience, the traditional thinking may need to be adjusted. There has been change in the attitude from many coming out of school. Though we still see a great amount of talent and potential, many graduates view corporate education and training as an entitlement.
The percentage of students living at home, hustling, working a part time job and studying through the night to graduate college is not large. Consequently, many new college graduates expect training but don’t really value it.
Many recent graduates fail in their first year of sales and the training investment is also lost as well. Based on our experience, we have found it is a better practice to make new hires earn training. This way the employer will know within a few weeks if they made the right hiring decision.
How to Manage New Hire Sales Training
We recommend giving new hires tasks that they need to accomplish BEFORE they enter into a high value and high cost formal sales training program. For instance, have them work and produce in a production capacity for a week. Then have the current employees in that area evaluate the salesperson on work ethic, timeliness, ability to take constructive criticism, confidence, quality of work etc.
Another example would have new hires prepare a company presentation. Then have the salesperson present it to the team. Check for quality, attire, writing skills, confidence and persuasiveness. If they can’t do this well, they will not sell.
If the new hire fails in deliver outstanding results in these endeavors, make them do it over again or remove them from the team. Under no circumstances, should you let them go through any costly formal sales skills, product or industry training program without demonstrating they can deliver results first.
As a result, salespeople will be much more motivated in their formal training when they get it and management will have an employee who is much more likely to succeed.