So you’ve pinpointed a prospective new payroll sales employee. Congrats! Now comes the hard (and potentially pricey) part.
According to statistics from the Association for Talent Development’s 2018 State of the Industry report, the average training cost per employee is $1,296 and employers spend an average 34.1 hours training those new workers. But those figures can vary according to industry, business size and position. For instance, it might surprise you to learn that training costs tend to be higher for small businesses than for large corporations. Plus, you’ll need to factor in productivity loss connected to the trainer. If your sales manager/business owner typically brings in $5,000 per week in new business sales, but they spend a week training your new employee, then your business could lose out on that $5,000.
Bottom line – The longer it takes for a new employee to become sales pro-ready, the higher your costs. And if that new sales rep ultimately doesn’t work out, then your investment is wasted altogether. The key is to minimize employee ramp-up time without sacrificing quality. Typically, it takes about 180 days for a sales professional to perform “at plan”. Apex HCM offers these tips on assuring that ramp up time for your next hire is optimal.
- Assess your own sales readiness: The first order of business is to take a good look at your own payroll service firm to assure that you’re offering your current and prospective sales staff the best environment in which to succeed. Unfortunately, many firms, particularly smaller ones, are deficient in areas including having a clear sales strategy; documented sales process; effective lead generation strategy; sales tools that consistently communicate not just your brand but, more importantly, your value proposition; competitive compensation plans; and technology that best enables sales and creates accountability.
- Make the right hire: Across the board, sales teams experience annual turnover of 20 to 25 percent, and that figure is even higher in the payroll industry. Drip Marketing reports that upward of 60 percent of all newly hired payroll sales reps will quit or be fired in their first 12 months of employment – Problematic considering that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal up to 30 percent of that individual’s first-year potential earnings, according to the US Department of Labor and Statistics. To avoid such a pricey pitfall, start by creating a clear hiring profile of the ideal sales professional that considers each candidate’s education, work experience, prior performance, skills, knowledge and personal qualities and behaviors. During the interview process, ask each candidate to give a presentation of his current or last employer’s product line and take note as to whether those presentations involve the candidate asking pointed questions, listening to responses and showing an authentic desire to understand and effectively meet a prospective client’s needs – the consultative sales approach required in the payroll industry.
- Train: There’s lots to cover in comprehensive new hire training, including your payroll service bureau’s background and corporate culture; a thorough overview of the payroll industry and your particular customer target market, particularly if you specialize in niche markets; product knowledge and your sales process and goals. Sales managers should be actively involved in the training, allowing for first-hand evaluation of the new sales pro’s fit and potential. Include plenty of role-playing exercises, followed by real-world customer contact opportunities as soon as possible.
- Coach and mentor: A recent study by Washington-based Sales Readiness Group found that managers at the highest performing sales organizations (those where over 75 percent of sales reps achieve quota) spent considerably more time coaching than managers with average (where 25 to 75 percent of sales reps achieve quota) and low performing (where less than 25 percent achieve quota) sales teams.
- Manage performance early on: The competitive nature of sales professionals can cause them to focus solely on achieving certain sales results or simply out-selling one another. When this doesn’t happen, a new hire can get discouraged – a key turnover risk factor. To avoid having a promising employee bail prematurely, think beyond sales and focus on tracking and rewarding specified behaviors and sales activities that employees should master during the initial 30-, 60- and 90-day periods. Monitor closely so that you can quickly correct deficiencies and be sure to recognize early wins and reinforce positive behaviors to create a culture of success. Likewise, if the new sales rep is not performing, cut your losses sooner versus later.
Successful applicant tracking and employee onboarding for both your payroll service bureau and your clients’ businesses, along with a full suite of other cloud-based payroll, HR and time and attendance software solutions are Apex HCM’s specialty. Call 866-350-4019 or request a demo of our products online.