When you add new sales reps to your team and don't have an account list ready for them to start calling on, it doesn't mean they have nothing to do. In fact, they can start building a leads list on their own leveraging your existing customer base and toolset. Here are six steps to help your new hires get started from day one without an accounts list.
Step 1: Find leads within current accounts
You have enormous lead potential sitting in your existing customer base – this is how your new hires should get started. Have them complete an activity where they identify the spheres of influence within your existing customer base, specifically the company's top accounts.
To do this, they should write the name of a top account in the center of a piece of paper and do research to create a web of the companies and contacts within that account's sphere of influence. Use LinkedIn to help advance your search.
This method of generating new leads will be much more productive and profitable than opening the phonebook and calling random companies and is a better use of your new team member's time.
Step 2: Profile leads against your ICP
Once your new rep has compiled a list of leads, have them qualify those leads against your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Your ICP identifies the trends and commonalities amongst your lifelong customers so you can look for similarities when qualifying new leads.
They should measure each lead against your ICP to quickly abandon leads that have little chance of going anywhere and identify your top opportunities that have a greater velocity of closing. Not only will this help them narrow down their leads list into a qualified prospect list, but it will also educate them on the ideal buyer from day one.
Step 3: Move from analog to digital
Now that your new hire has a list of leads, he or she needs to learn to identify hot leads from dead leads. This is where many inexperienced sellers fail; simply put, they don't know which accounts to spend time on and which to desert. Empowering them with the tools they need to move from analog to digital sellers is critical.
You can best help your new hires by providing a tech stack that can identify trends amongst top-performing accounts. This helps your sellers quickly recognize the prospects they should be focused on. Additional tooling that tracks responses to video, social messages, email, calls, etc. will help your more inexperienced reps nurture leads and modify their communications approach based on trends in the data. If you don't have this tech stack already set up, consider implementing one as soon as possible.
Step 4: Set up sales storyboards
After your reps have identified qualified leads and learned how to track and measure them, they should storyboard their sales communication plan. Each new client interaction can begin in one of three ways:
1. Trigger-based selling: Noticing a job change, promotion, capital investment, etc. and making contact based on that event
2. Referral-based selling: Making contact because a prospect is connected to someone in an existing sphere of influence
3. Insights-based selling: Reading and recommending an article to a prospect and asking for time to talk about alleviating a pain point
After your reps make an initial contact, they should have a thoughtful plan to continue that engagement. This can happen through a series of creative touch points like video calls, sharing value-add or educational articles, emailing, etc. Have them put together this plan for you to review before they make the initial contact; stress the importance of planning – not winging – the sales process.
Step 5: Translate your storybook into daily tasks
This step is critical, especially for more amateur sellers who can't manage their own time well. Explain to your sellers the importance of planning out their week by batching their time.
They should identify chunks of time in their week where they'll be focused on account planning, research and due diligence, current customer engagement, and other types of tasks.
Encourage them to consider the times when they're naturally more focused and productive (for example, in the morning versus in the afternoon, and early in the week instead of on Friday) and schedule their more taxing tasks for peak-energy hours. Stress the importance of time batching, and how damaging it can be to context switch.
Step 6: Avoid rookie pitfalls
There are two major pitfalls you should watch for in your new hires:
Finding the right level of velocity: A less experienced rep may start the prospecting process with a list of the top companies in your market without considering how long it will take to close a deal with a billion dollar company. While reps should go after big fish, they should also diversify their pipeline with small- to mid-sized companies that will close quickly and keep their weekly or monthly sales velocity up.
Finding the right level of engagement: Another challenge inexperienced sellers face is the balance of touch point frequency. Often they feel like they're being annoying or bothersome when a lead doesn't respond to an email or phone call. Coach them through this challenge by driving home that digital selling requires numerous cross-platform touch points, which should be planned and more frequent than may feel natural.
These six steps will empower your new sales team members to hit the ground running on day one. Consider using this guide as you onboard new reps.