• Inside Reps Do Not Have To Be Solution Experts

    Most top business development reps have a varied skill-set. In some cases they couldn’t get any more different. Some have a much different approach than others, but at the end of the day they all find a way to produce actionable sales opportunities for our partners. The one common trait that they all share is a consistent and deliberate approach to how they attack each prospect.

    When we first began to build our company, we often debated whether it is more important that our newest teleprospectors focus on grasping the sales process versus immersing themselves in technology they were tasked to call on.  Back in those days, our clients would drop a 50 page PowerPoint presentation and a couple of technical briefs in our lap. Of course we then felt compelled to have our reps memorize it all in great detail before we put them on the phones. Unfortunately this only helped to delay the ramp-up effort. Not only that, but it confused our reps to the point that they never knew where to take the call when they got a prospect live OR they’d talk themselves out of a lead because they shared too much information.

    We quickly realized that the sales process needed to be mastered above and beyond anything else, while the technology could be learned over time.  It is vital you know the ins and outs of your service offering, but is it still possible to have a healthy sales conversation without memorizing a 50 page presentation. Before we put  any rep on the phone nowadays our expectation at the very least is that they have a working knowledge of the technology in order to have a back and forth conversation.

    One of the first things we make sure our newest reps are aware of is the 80/20 rule. Sales 101 baby! If your prospect is speaking 80% of the time you’re not going to be required to know all the intimate details. Leave it up to the outside rep or sales engineer your supporting to handle the tough questions. They’ll be pleased as a result with how thoroughly qualified the opportunity is, thus making it much easier on them to strategically sell to the prospect.

    Many of our clients ask –What if a very techy question is thrown at our reps on an initial cold-call? One of our favorite lines is “when in doubt, leverage your ignorance.” If a tough question is asked, it should be considered a buy-in signal and the teleprospector should begin to transition the potential opportunity to the outside team.

    So what are you doing to get your new hires out of the gates quickly? Do you have them up to their elbows reading up on technical briefs and lengthy PowerPoint during their first few days of training? Consider coming up with a simplified overview of the technology during week one while you’re introducing your methodology on how to prospect into your target accounts. As I’ve said, over time they can become more fluent in understanding the technology. You hire teleprospectors to pass leads, right? The quicker you get them to that point then everybody’s happy.

    As I’ve said many times, most of the top business development reps have a varied skill-set. In some cases they couldn’t get any more different. Some have a much different approach than others, but at the end of the day they all find a way to produce actionable sales opportunities for partners. The one common trait that they all share is a consistent and deliberate approach to how they attack each prospect.

    So what are you doing to get your new hires out of the gate quickly? Do you have them up to their elbows reading up on technical briefs and lengthy PowerPoint presentations during their first few days of training? Consider coming up with a simplified overview of the technology during week one while you’re introducing your methodology on how to prospect into your target accounts. As I’ve said, over time they can become more fluent in understanding the technology. You hire teleprospectors to pass leads, right? The quicker you get them to that point then everybody’s happy.

    Craig Ferrara is Director, Client Operations at AG Salesworks.  He is responsible for nurturing and maintaining client relationships, as well as leading his team in attaining established goals.  To view all company blogs go to  AG Salesworks blog site.

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