Training is one of the most important yet overlooked aspects of building an effective outbound lead generation team.
Expansion-stage companies launching this type of team for the first time are often resource-constrained and make the mistake of thinking that trial by fire is an acceptable training program. For instance, they may simply give a new rep a list and have him or her start dialing. Sometimes they even skip the list and just point them to a phone.
Sure, this approach may work out fine, but only in the extremely rare cases where you’ve hired an absolute rock star. The truth is, it’s simply not scalable.
If you decide that consequences be damned, you’re going ahead with this approach, you’re essentially trusting your new hire to figure out a lot on their own. That includes determining the right messaging, scripts, e-mails, outreach process, and lead/opportunity management process, as well as how to log data in the CRM system (for starters).
(For more on this, see Former Stanford Business School professor and entrepreneur Mark Leslie’s article, “The Sales Learning Curve” which explains the difference between “Renaissance Reps” and “Coin Operated Reps,” and OpenView’s Labcast with sales management strategist Lee Salz on Common Mistakes Made When Onboarding Salespeople).
Even if the first few people you hire on your team do manage to figure out most of that on their own and meet their qualified lead expectations, the chances the next three, four, or five people you hire will be able to repeat that feat are slim. Without a training program that at minimum covers the basics of getting up and running, your team will not scale.
New managers are often challenged with figuring out what belongs in a training program for new outbound lead generation reps, and it isn’t exactly obvious. Having a new hire onboard training plan is critical. But even after your team is onboarded you should also provide them with regular training and assets related to the specific market segments, and/or campaigns they’re working on.
In my next two posts I’ll cover what should be included in both your new hire training package and an asset package that can be used as a template for new campaigns.