|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.
Every day we read jaw-dropping stats on the explosion of data. We allocate significant resources to harness and better understand it. We build businesses around it. But we’ve only just begun. For big payoffs in Big Data, CIOs are turning to cognitive computing. Cognitive computing’s ability to securely extract insights, understand natural language, and get smarter each time it’s used is the next, logical step for Big Data.
May. 25, 2015 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,836
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
May. 25, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,489
Enterprises are fast realizing the importance of integrating SaaS/Cloud applications, API and on-premises data and processes, to unleash hidden value. This webinar explores how managers can use a Microservice-centric approach to aggressively tackle the unexpected new integration challenges posed by proliferation of cloud, mobile, social and big data projects. Industry analyst and SOA expert Jason Bloomberg will strip away the hype from microservices, and clearly identify their advantages and d...
May. 25, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,288
There's no doubt that the Internet of Things is driving the next wave of innovation. Google has spent billions over the past few months vacuuming up companies that specialize in smart appliances and machine learning. Already, Philips light bulbs, Audi automobiles, and Samsung washers and dryers can communicate with and be controlled from mobile devices. To take advantage of the opportunities the Internet of Things brings to your business, you'll want to start preparing now.
May. 25, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,652
In a world of ever-accelerating business cycles and fast-changing client expectations, the cloud increasingly serves as a growth engine and a path to new business models. Dynamic clouds enable businesses to continuously reinvent themselves, adapting their business processes, their service and software delivery and their operations to achieve speed-to-market and quick response to customer feedback. As the cloud evolves, the industry has multiple competing cloud technologies, offering on-premises ...
May. 25, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,922
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, 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...
May. 25, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,911
Over the years, a variety of methodologies have emerged in order to overcome the challenges related to project constraints. The successful use of each methodology seems highly context-dependent. However, communication seems to be the common denominator of the many challenges that project management methodologies intend to resolve. In this respect, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be viewed as powerful tools for managing projects. Few research papers have focused on the way...
May. 25, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,650
As the world moves from DevOps to NoOps, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. However, applications have been architected with a much tighter coupling than it needs to be which makes deployment in different environments and migration between them harder. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, Netflix and so on is at the heart of CloudFoundry – a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS...
May. 25, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,524
In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally. DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.
May. 25, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,798
The OpenStack cloud operating system includes Trove, a database abstraction layer. Rather than applications connecting directly to a specific type of database, they connect to Trove, which in turn connects to one or more specific databases. One target database is Postgres Plus Cloud Database, which includes its own RESTful API. Trove was originally developed around MySQL, whose interfaces are significantly less complicated than those of the Postgres cloud database. In his session at 16th Cloud...
May. 25, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,001
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
May. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,996
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...
May. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,419
The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential. The DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo – to be held June 3-5, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City – will expand the DevOps community, enable a wide...
May. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,761
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect...
May. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,129
There is no question that the cloud is where businesses want to host data. Until recently hypervisor virtualization was the most widely used method in cloud computing. Recently virtual containers have been gaining in popularity, and for good reason. In the debate between virtual machines and containers, the latter have been seen as the new kid on the block – and like other emerging technology have had some initial shortcomings. However, the container space has evolved drastically since coming on...
May. 25, 2015 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,084