Training an entry-level remote sales rep is no easy feat. Any person in a sales leadership or training position will tell you the same.
The truth is, we all have war stories about a remote sales rep we wish we never hired. You know, the one who talked a good game but never did any work. Or the one with expense reports longer than their sales sheets. We’ve come across these folks in brick-and-mortar offices. When they’re remote, the situation can be even harder to monitor.
The thing is, we’re not here to dwell on disappointments. We’re here to turn any bad experiences into useful learning lessons. Let’s jump in.
Laying The Foundation For Training New Remote Sales Reps
Can you think of a time you hired a remote salesperson, and it didn’t go so well? Surely, there were reasons to blame the salesperson. However, if you look back at the situation objectively, were there things you could have done better?
Some sales managers think training new remote sales reps goes like this:
- Having a 10-minute convo on Zoom
- Emailing the rep a bunch of links to motivational videos
- Throwing them into the job, then deciding they’re not cut out for it when they don’t make any sales
I empathize with the sales manager in this case. Why? For one, in our discussion, they might be busy entrepreneurs who don’t have much time. Two, they may not be aware of how a flimsy training process affects their business.
The bottom line is, training new remote sales reps requires structured planning. Without a good foundation, most new hires don’t thrive.
At our company, we manage our training process in stages. We can describe them loosely as:
Background on our company
The ins and outs of the position
Intro to our systems/technology
Training through instruction
Training through observation
It’d be great if all sales managers and training were perfect. Of course, they’re not. And here’s what we know about shortcomings during the training process: No matter how great our team members are, their results are lacking when we don’t set the right foundation from the start.
Positive-Attitude Ingraining Culture
A positive attitude is often a defining factor when it comes to success. As a hiring manager, you can’t change someone’s attitude. What you can do is set a good example and a positive tone with the hope that it catches on. You can cement positive reinforcement into your process of training new remote sales reps.
All of this will make it easier for them to receive your instruction and gain the confidence they need to excel.
Plan for Continuous Learning
Once your remote sales rep makes it out of training, don’t expect to stop there. Maintain an open forum for sharing new information and best practices. Training new remote sales reps for long-term success also means setting expectations for planned and unplanned learning events.
You can maintain an online resource library where your reps can find and contribute new information whenever they want. If you have a predictable slow season, you can plan to have your teams join webinars to rejuvenate their knowledge base and motivation.
Training New Remote Sales Reps Needs Your Flexibility
The thing about hiring and training, in general, is to know you’re dealing with people. What does this mean?
For one, no two people are exactly alike. Besides being unpredictable at times, everyone absorbs information differently. The reasons why we succeed or fail vary greatly.
You also need to be aware of when you can’t be flexible. We’ve talked about having a good foundation, positive attitudes, and continuous learning. Through careful monitoring during and after the initial training, if you see that a trainee is missing any of these, take action immediately. Hopefully, the action fixes the issue. But there will be times when it doesn’t, and you have to accept that someone you hired isn’t right for the job.
You have so much on your and are likely handling of sales, customer service, billing, and an endless list of issues. In the midst of it all, developing and training new remote sales reps may take a backseat.
If you take anything from this post, I hope it’s that investing in the people you hire is actually one of the most important things you can do. Give your team a good foundation. Ensure they’re knowledgeable and happy.
Only then will your business achieve previously untapped growth potential.