The ABCs of Staffing Firm Sales Training
Sales training is one of the more conflicted topics among staffing firms. How much time should the average salesperson or recruiter go through in their tenure with your firm? How often do we repeat sales training? How often do we take sales training to another level with each of our salespeople? Companies with a training retention plan have 31% more sales reps reach quota than the industry average and a 10% higher year-over-year increase in corporate revenue.
There are many schools of thought on training your sales teams and recruiters. Staffing firm training programs have evolved from the one-day hyper intensive session, to the week-long sessions, to the ongoing sessions, to the annual refreshers. The technology has also evolved along with it. When looking at your team, you likely see that you have junior folks that need a very defined process and clear direction on their approach vs. folks that have been with you for years and need something different to drive their efforts. Let’s talk about the differences between these groups and how to help drive their success and including your staffing firm marketing in your sales training approach.
Training the freshers
I love the term “fresher” as it clearly denotes the need to get junior people, or people from outside of the industry, up-to-speed on how to perform their function for you, whether it be sales or recruiting. Hopefully, the freshers are coming to you with motivation, charisma, and eagerness. However, they lack substance. Training for these members of your team needs to focus in on your processes as well as how you want them to go about positioning your staffing firm and how to crack open new accounts and/or new consultants.
In your training, do you emphasize the strengths and weaknesses of your staffing firm? Do you go through the value proposition that you offer to the marketplace? Do you talk with them about the differentiations of your firm? Companies that provide real-time, deal-specific sales coaching increased revenue by 8.4% year-over-year – a 95% improvement over companies that don’t provide that level of coaching. When going through and establishing your staffing firm sales training, it is important to identify how to approach clients and specify what your expectations are (whether it be by phone, email, networking events, LinkedIn, etc.) when driving new business. Your training should look at the message that is going out from this group of people as well as focusing on how to help them be more successful quickly. The more you leave to chance, the more likely they are to fail.
Most staffing firms that use freshers tend to see poor success rates. This is mostly due to the training not going deep enough and holding them accountable enough to drive their success. The concepts of “higher in number of freshers” and “the strong will survive” are costly propositions. Many of those people that wash out of one firm go on to be successful at staffing firms that have quality training programs. Really dig into what each member of your junior team needs to be successful. At first, they are going to need almost everything.
Attracting a prospect to a conversation or a meeting is as hard as how they should be running the meeting once they get there. Additionally, account management is another challenge that they need to understand. I worked with someone that had a fantastic way of describing this, but it ultimately doesn’t work. The saying was, “do the right thing”. The reason this doesn’t work is hopefully obvious. The right thing is not always clear to every single person. For example, at 5:30pm someone receives a note back from a client saying they want to set up an interview with a candidate. When should they start doing that? At 5:31pm or at 8:30am the next morning? In order to be successful in any business, but more specifically the staffing business, we need to be teaching our people that success requires work and that there are no time boundaries to making money and servicing clients.
Do seniors need training?
In this case, my use of the word “senior” refers to sales teams and recruiters that have been in the industry for five (5) or more years, although some people will argue that it’s seven (7) or more years. All the same, do they need training? The answer is yes. Many of our sales team fall into bad practices, and we overlook those practices because they’re generating. The reason the practices exist is to drive as much revenue as possible for each salesperson. Some seniors are not required to bring in new business and they are solely responsible for cultivating their existing client base. When times are good, this practice can work, but leveraging their current relationships to grow their new business is what makes a good recruiter great. Salespeople should be constantly driving new business and building out their portfolio of clients, and sales training is one of the top areas to keep them focused on this.
Seniors will complain about additional ongoing training as they believe they have mastered their craft. However, we all know the shortcomings of our team members. Creating a focused training program that’s targeted on the needs of continuing to grow your base of business should always be top of mind. As much as the process should be defined and clear to execute, many times seniors create work-arounds that in their mind are better, but many times are not. Be sure to inspect what you expect and utilize your training to bring them back into the fold. This allows sales management to reenter those conversations and push them in the direction that you need. We all think our seniors are always looking for a way to grow their business, but in reality, many of them reach a plateau that they feel good about and they don’t tend to push past.
The ABCs of sales training and sales management
What about everyone in the middle? The middle tier can be looked at by those who have not exceeded their capabilities, those who have not lived up to their capabilities, or those that simply need to keep working on perfecting their craft. For this group of people, ongoing training is a must. Many years ago, I heard a simple equation for your sales team which utilizes the A, B, and C players. The A player was defined as someone who was beating every number put in front of them. The goal from sales management was to clear their path and stay out of their way. The C player was identified as someone who could not reach any goals. The direction to sales management was to work them out of the organization as quickly as possible. What is interesting is that the B players make up between 70% and 80% of your sales and recruiting teams. There is a great deal of discussion around what to do with B players. The simple fact is that sales management’s time and sales training’s time should be spent on driving performance and increasing expectations of the B player. A majority of your efforts should be spent on training and coaching the B player to drive your staffing firm’s overall success.
While we are not a sales training organization, we have plenty of companies that we partner with that we are happy to recommend. Keep in mind, if you’re not investing in training your teams on an ongoing basis, then there’s a great chance they’re not living up to your expectations for success. Your staffing firm marketing should be included in your sales training efforts for maximum result. Give us a call if you need any information. Thank you and peace out.
About S.J.Hemley Marketing
S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations.