A lot of my consulting work is centered around coaching Sales Managers for performance improvement or helping them navigate global sales channels. One of the principal decisions made by a Sales Manager are hiring decisions. Many Sales Managers do a great job of assessing product or technical skills, however it is also necessary to gauge a salesperson’s soft skills in several areas: preparedness, motivation, assertiveness and patience. Some Sales Managers struggle in assessing these softer skills and rely on canned non behavioral questions.
There are four Interview “soft” Questions I always ask Salesperson candidates. I am usually not the final decision maker but can provide information about the candidates’ soft skills during the interview and their sales process. I use a mix of behavioral questions to determine if they can tell a story (customers like stories) and demonstrate maturity. I will also want them to keep their replies short, concise, and on point (like a customer interaction).
Everyone has their favorite interview questions and I prepare my questions based on the position requirements, my role in the interview process and the candidates background. Once I have completed my portion of the interview, I complete a one page assessment of the candidates competency profile and provide a go/no go decision replete with any follow up items that the hiring manager may want to consider.
Do you want to have a free fifteen-minute call on interview preparation and strategy? Sign up on my web site or contact me directly by phone.
Our Tradewinds Council © https://www.jimthomasintl.com/the-tradewinds-councilcopy.html members have collectively asked that we have a session regarding Onboarding Channel Partners and New Reps. We will conduct two of these meeting late May 2019 on this subject. A past blog dealt with filling empty territories: https://www.jimthomasintl.com/blog/archives/02-2018, however this blog deals with the myriad of choices in properly handing off accounts to your new rep.
You can streamline the onboarding and account handoff process if you choose how to engage each handoff scenario from new employee training to incentive programs by mapping the process. The ultimate objective is to make the process as seamless as process for the customer to maintain the customer relationship and keep the sales process moving forward. We see essential parts of the process as:
Outlining the replacement situation for the current transition process
Why are you filling this role? Is the new replacement following a:
The advent of CRM has made it easier for the larger organization to see accurate account notes. Accessible and updated account information allows new reps to reap account information provided that the Sales Manager monitored the account database to minimize the GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) factor.
I always encouraged new reps to review the account database with inside account reps. They usually knew more about ongoing projects, org structure on their levels of communication and had good insights on relationships because their conversations with the account would be weekly if not daily. They should also seek internal feedback from:
Sizing the customer opportunity
It is also important to tailor the onboarding program by channel. If your company sells direct understand the key accounts first. Is this a major or strategic account? These accounts should get priority and additional support. Consider more in-depth deal reviews, joint account visits, more 1:1’s with your new rep for them. If your company sells through channel partners understand the A distributors, co-op programs, exclusivity, agreements etc.
Selling globally, there may be private label customers, licensees https://www.jimthomasintl.com/blog/archives/11-2018 or joint ventures that need to be serviced. Consider helping manage these special relationships until the “normal” business is transitioned.
Incentivizing the players
Are there impending large deals in the pipeline? Sometimes the “replaced” account salesperson is still within the organization and you want both the new and replaced account manager to jointly seize the project. A walkaway attitude by the past sales manager can be detrimental to the onboarding process and the sales process. Explore “special” ways to incentivize reps in a way that is aligned with your sales and post sales strategies.
Consider double paying or sharing commissions on large account sales that are in transition. I would usually extend this to either the normal sales cycle or a fixed period of time e.g. six months. The past account manager is usually responsible for making the sure the project schedule and timeline is updated. The new account manager is responsible for closing the deal and any post sales work. Remember to focus on activity and joint work. This is good both for your team and the customer.
Do you want to have a free fifteen-minute call on improving your account hand off process? You’ll need to make some deft choices to be successful. Sign up on my web site or contact me directly by phone.