This ManageSmarter.com article – On-Board Your Sales Hires Faster – hits me where I live.  We ran into a serious issue with one of our customers where a salesperson we placed was terminated after 60 days.  I won’t go into specifics, but this gentleman never had a chance.  One anecdotal point – he never received business cards.  You get the picture.

We are working with our customer this week to establish a formalized onramping program for the next salesperson in this role.  Much, or even all, of the problems that developed were due to this small company not understanding what needs to happen to successfully launch a new salesperson.  Some of these items are rudimentary like having business cards for them on day 1 while others involve the manager-critical setting of expectations.

The truth here is that the first few months are the most formative in establishing future success:

1. Time is Fleeting
There is an opportunity in the first three to six months of a salesperson’s career at the new company to set the tone. And during this timeframe, you need to get your new hires to fully comprehend your desire for their success and that you plan on using process, methodology, coaching and technology to help them.

Exactly.  The third and final point in the article is also most relevant:

3. Belly Up to the Benchmark
Take the time before a salesperson is on board to integrate traditionally independent activities from multiple departments, and agree on the collaboration process. Create a plan that has specific objectives and milestones that pinpoint productivity from day one. Measure and track productivity, but measure in terms of activity rather than financial results. This allows for better tracking, measurement, monitoring and coaching.

We always tell our customers that they need to set activity expectations and then monitor them closely during the first 3 to 6 months.  This is the time period for course correction that sets up a successful employment with clear expectations.  Failure to engage in these management topics leads to early terminations and revolving-door territories.

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