When you hire a new salesperson, they naturally walk through your front door full of excitement and energy. Best-in-class on-boarding is one of the best ways to turn that energy into results.
Do you remember the first day at your company? Chances are you were excited, ready to dive in and get started. When you hire a new salesperson, that’s how they feel when they walk through your doors as an employee for the first time.
If you’ve made a good hire, that person has the potential to become an amazing ag-sales professional. However, it’s up to you to help them realize that potential—and your on-boarding process will play a large role in doing exactly that.
1. A Day-1 Action Plan
Before your new salesperson arrives for their first day, it’s important to check off a few important to-do items, including:
- Ensure their computer, email, and phone are ready.
- Let your receptionist know they’ll be coming in and what to do when they arrive.
- Have a point-person to show them around the office.
- Compile all day-1 paperwork (including what you’ll need to write their first paycheck!).
And, of course, have your on-boarding process ready. While on-going training is essential to long-term success, it’s up to you to get new employees started right.
2. Company Specific Information
Unless your new salesperson is an internal transfer, they’ll need to get up-to-speed on the specifics of your business. Prepare information for them on:
- Achievements from the last year and plans for the next 3-5 years.
- Product information, including sales questions they can ask to match grower problems with product solutions.
- Ideal grower profiles. Include why growers buy from you instead of your competitors.
- A sales template so they understand your sales process from start to finish.
3. A Customized On-boarding Plan
Beyond these documents, it makes sense to provide some information customized to your new hire’s background.
If new hires have limited Ag Industry experience, provide a cheat sheet of agricultural terminology, a list of major players in the agricultural world, and a recent issue of an ag industry publication. The idea is to avoid having your new salesperson confuse an insecticide with a fertilizer on his or her first sales call.
If new hires have limited sales experience, focus on-boarding on how to sell, including customer service best practices and how to really listen during the sales process.
This is especially important if the new hire is an internal transfer to sales or someone straight out of school.
With the right on-boarding process in place, you’ll have a pro ag-sales professional on your hands in no time. But learning doesn’t stop there. Be sure to set up an ongoing training too—after all,knowledge retention drops off steeply after formal training has ended.