ISVs should plan on at least six months preparation time before new sales people start producing. Better not to hire new sales people than to bring them in under an unreasonable expectation of how quickly they will start selling.
New sales people must be trained before they start working with prospects and customers. A good sales training program includes:
- a technical introduction to products and services
- all of the information required to write sales
- a review of the sales plan, territory or industry assignments
- a review of the business plan
- a review of any restrictions on selling to prospects working for regulated organizations in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors, along with proper etiquette guidelines
Tests should be included in the training program to make sure important points have been correctly understood. Any sales people failing tests should be kept in training until they pass. Sales people are often the only representatives of your business prospects meet. They need to communicate your message and accurately represent your company. If you aren’t sure they are 100% ready for the job, don’t put them in front of prospects.
Assigning new sales people to existing territories is a good way to pay for the training time. You already have a stream of revenue coming in from existing customers. New sales people with the right skills and experience can be safely trusted to manage accounts. An account manager spends a lot of time exercising customer service skills. Usually these skills are the same across an industry.
If account managers are expected to provide technical support to customers, then it makes sense not to place new sales people in these roles until they demonstrate correct understanding of technical procedures specific to your products.
Start ups and early stage ISVs have a tougher time finding a way to pay for new sales people. Usually these businesses do not have established territories requiring account managers.
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