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How does a company train sales staff?

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Hiring sales staff is one of the highest risk and costliest exercises in any organisation, most employers today are engaging in what I call “jackpot recruiting” they are hoping that someone comes in who is exceptional and will essentially guide the rest of the team on best practice, whilst the owners of the business will reap the lion’s share of the rewards. 

When hiring sales staff it’s vital that you look for three things, talent, technique, and work rate. 

The innate talent to communicate concepts is vital, to be able to think on your feet, to be able to take on information, and then deliver that detail as if you’ve been embedded in that tech or that knowledge base for years.

This can be the difference between a top performer and someone who will cost the business money before they leave for an easier option in another organisation. 

The sales technique is primarily the responsibility of the company. If you do not have an established sales process that is repeatable, teachable, and will allow individuals to thrive within that process, then you are setting new staff up to fail. 

If you do not have a sales process that is successfully working for current staff members, then you are setting the new staff member the task of creating one for themselves, which again is likely to fail. 

Work rate is something that primarily focuses on core activities, so if new business and new meetings with budget holding decision-makers is the primary role then the number of calls and time on the phone is the metric to measure, again, only if you have a process that actually works.

If you don’t have a process that works then you will be submitting this poor new staff member to a very poor EX (employee experience) as they will be eaten alive by decision-makers who are irritated by poor cold calling processes, and rightfully so. 

You will see the enthusiasm and energy drain out of the new staff member as they begin to regret the decision to join the firm and phone anxiety kicks in, the last thing they want is to be rejected again on the phone.  

At this point you may also see sales staff begin to call non-decision-makers, people with no budget just to secure a meeting, this is a great cost to the company. 

Furthermore, you will also see “social selling” begin to rise as they move away from the phone almost entirely, tenders will become their focus if that is relevant in your industry, anything to get away from the phone. 

On the plus side if you do have a top performer – someone who can cold call C-Suite executives, who understand their pain points, who has the ability to secure 30 seconds of their time and within those moments demonstrate their understanding of the challenges these decision-makers are trying to solve and, finally, are capable of booking quality meetings – then the opportunity to double your productivity is available. 

If you have one of them, then take the new staff member and have them mirror the top performer until they themselves are sounding, feeling, and are essentially cloning that person to produce the same results. 

However, this can also create challenges, as you are limiting the ability of the top performer to earn the maximum available funds and using him or her to train up a competitor within the company, so that is also something to think about, and the individual should be compensated for assisting in this manner.

So, essentially, all roads lead to Rome, you need a quality process one that takes into account the macro environment, one that gives the individual salespeople the ability to own and control their pipelines, and one that is really enjoyable to deliver. 

The best sales processes are ones that actually draw out the authenticity of the individual, one that allows the joy and pleasure of communicating a concept. One that grabs the attention of a major player within the industry and has a native so potent and so on point that they are keen to hear more. 

If you don’t have a process of this nature, by all means, get in touch. 


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