If you want to add to your sales team this year as part of your effort to broaden sales and boost agency revenue, here are three tips to consider in recruiting, mentoring, and helping your new team members succeed.
1. Fine Tune Your Hiring Process
When you’re interviewing potential new team members, it’s always good to keep in mind some tried and true do’s and don’ts. Do clearly communicate your expectations. Do discuss how you will help your new hire achieve those results. Do be straightforward in your discussion regarding work hours and compensation. Don’t oversell your organization’s culture, especially if your online reviews paint a different picture. If there is information on Glassdoor or elsewhere online that paints a negative picture, be prepared for questions. Don’t act too quickly in making a hiring decision. Using a structured process to evaluate your candidates will lead to more-successful results.
If you make the wrong hiring choice, and if you believe coaching will not improve the situation, don’t wait to let the person go – cut your losses and avoid letting the new hire drag down your team.
2. Coach and Mentor Your Team
Coaching and mentoring team members is important, but the two are different. It’s important to keep that in mind. As the Center for Corporate and Professional Development at Kent State University notes, coaching is more “performance driven” – designed to improve on-the-job performance. In contrast, mentoring is “development driven,” focusing not just on job functions but also beyond. Mentoring takes a more holistic approach to your team member’s career development.
Coaching is likely to focus on the short-term (depending on the established goals and objectives), while mentoring is more long-term – maybe lasting a year or even longer. Coaching is usually more structured, with regular (weekly, biweekly, or monthly) discussions. Mentoring is typically more informal, often on an as-needed basis, depending on who’s being counseled.
Your coaching agenda should be developed jointly with your team member to meet his or her specific needs. A mentoring agenda is usually determined by the person being mentored, based on what he or she wants and needs.
3. Provide Your Team with Tools to Succeed
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are important, no doubt. However, there’s no shortage of other recommended resources to help your sales tool be more successful. The website Sales Hacker, offers a list of what it describes as Best 150+ Sales Tools, segmented by use, including tools such as:
- Account-based sales and marketing
- Business intelligence analytics and dashboards
- Buyer enablement
- Content sharing and management
- Contract lifecycle management
- Data networks
- Email management
- Lead generation and sales prospecting
- Performance management
- Sales enablement
- Sales engagement
- Sales and market intelligence
Implement metrics for success and hold your sales team members accountable. Measure their achievements against the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you’ve discussed in your coaching sessions.
Keep in mind that technology is always changing. If you’ve not done a recent internal review of your tools and resources, take a moment to reassess. It could mean the difference between “staying the course” and overcoming the competition.
Communication is key. When your team members deliver, reward them – monetarily or in other ways. While sales people are often motivated by base pay, cash bonuses, and stock or stock options, they are not always singularly focus. It’s good to offer other incentives and rewards. McKinsey & Company notes three non-cash motivators can be very effective: praise from immediate managers, leadership attention (including one-on-one conversations), and a chance to lead a project or task force. The McKinsey Quarterly said in a past edition “. . . nonfinancial motivators play critical roles in making employees feel their companies value them, take their well-being seriously, and strive to create opportunities for career growth.”
Nurture a sales environment that encourages collaboration rather than competition. Support your sales team members with training on a regular basis. Remember, there’s always more to learn.
Word & Brown offers a variety of tools and resources to help insurance professionals enhance their service to clients, increase sales, and boost your income. Talk with your Word & Brown representative to learn more, visit our website, or call (800) 869-6989.