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About This Episode
How do you hire and train the best salespeople?
Great salespeople are made not born. You need to look at the whole training system.
To get the best sales hiring and training tips, we spoke with Erin Anderson, commercial global sales director at Egnyte, which delivers secure content collaboration, compliant data protection, and simple infrastructure modernization, all through a single SaaS solution.
Hiring Salespeople: How to Tell What Motivates Them
“It starts with the type of person you hire. You want to hire people that are genuinely curious and intrinsically driven,” says Anderson.
The easiest way to spot intrinsic motivation in the interview process is to look at the questions that they have for you and your team.
Anderson likes it when someone comes to the interview prepared with detailed or deep questions.
“Most candidates don’t think that you’re judging them based upon the questions they’re asking,” says Anderson. “So you get a much more kind of natural view of them. It tells you a lot about a candidate.”
The Will to Win
Like many other professionals, Anderson loves to hire former athletes.
“That desire to win is the most powerful thing in the world,” says Anderson. “With that competitive nature, you become competitive not only with others but with yourself.”
Sports also teaches how to persevere after a crushing defeat. Salespeople have to be able to hear “No” more than “Yes” and still keep going.
People with a military background also are attractive for many of the same reasons. They are disciplined and have drive.
There can be a problem with driven salespeople regardless of their background. They can be too intense. If the person is so centered on winning the deal, they often are not focused on helping the prospect.
Anderson will coach salespeople when he sees them not listening to their prospects.
What Training Teams Can’t Do
There is a learning curve with every sales job. Anderson has training tips for enablement teams:
- Cover the basics of systems and processes for your product.
- Have your new recruits spend time with your sellers.
- Use different teaching methods to instruct different types of learners. For example, draw out diagrams, role play, write out scripts.
- Let them hear from customers.
- Have your leadership team attend a training session to see where salespeople are nodding in agreement or nodding off in boredom. If they’re not engaged, you need to create a program where they will be.
“A lot of the work is just to get your enablement team to understand what it’s like to be a sales rep so that they can relate and then deliver the information through that lens,” says Anderson.
Anderson, in addition to being a father of five, has also been a coach.
“One of the things I always told my players is that the work is done in practice, not the game,” says Anderson.
Athletes need to put in a significant chunk of alone time to do a thousand jump shots or serves a day.
Anderson thinks that enablement is similar. He can put people in classes for an hour or two a week. He can send them to a boot camp. But if they really want to master the information and achieve a high level of competence, they need to be willing to drive their own education.
When a Salesperson Isn’t Hitting Their Targets
When you have a salesperson who isn’t hitting their target, Anderson believes it is caused by one of three things.
“It’s either skill, will, or capacity, [meaning] they just don’t have the ability,” says Anderson. “But usually it’s skill or will.”
Fortunately, skill and will leave room for improvement. A while ago, Anderson had a salesman who wasn’t meeting his goals. This salesman had no technical background. He had been faking it, and it severely impacted his numbers.
Anderson gave him the speech “you play like you practice” and the salesman took that and ran with it. Over the next several weeks, he spent nights Googling and watching YouTube videos. He completely embraced it. It was no longer about what Anderson or the company wanted him to know. It became about his own internal desire to get better and learn. And he started having fun with it.
“That guy ended up that year being one of the top reps. I ended up promoting him several times.”
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