As a prior Sales and Service executive for a publicly traded PEO, I’ve been in the fortunate position of working directly with many of the top business development professionals in our industry. Although they have many common traits such as strong work ethic, tenacity, commitment, solid business acumen and persistence, they all point to a common denominator as a foundation to their success. A fundamental basic to individual success in the PEO sales world is participation in an employer provided development program throughout their career.
I see many PEOs focused on hiring sales team members from within the industry in order to save on training costs. However sales professionals hired from a competitor rarely ended up in the top performance quartile. As I peeled back the proverbial onion, it was apparent they only had basic knowledge and their prior employer never cemented the foundation needed to build upon. Most had challenges building credibility with a prospect due to their minimal business acumen or industry knowledge.
Don’t get me wrong, there are sales professionals in our space I would not only hire but aggressively pursue. We all know the elite performers in our respective markets and we should make every professional attempt to hire the best. However, your next top performer may not currently work in the PEO space. Logically, no one starts at the top when they begin their PEO sales career. We all had to start at the bottom and work our way up.
If your ultimate goal is to build a successful direct sales force, focus on hiring the right person and investing in a training and development program. For those who have an established training program and an on-going development strategy, congratulations! You are making a short and long-term investment into building a solid and consistently performing sales force.
As you build or improve your training and development program, consider the long-term investment that parents, coaches, and professional sports teams often make when molding young athletes. They provide solid training with an emphasis on repetition through practice. Coaches also provide consistent, on-going development focused on progression to increase skills and strength. Our sales teams should be no different. It is incumbent upon us to provide the required tools necessary to enable our teams to grow and succeed. In the wise words of the late Zig Ziglar, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want”. It is truly gratifying and a win-win scenario to experience the success of a newly trained and developed sales representative.
Although the primary focus of this article is captive internal sales representatives, you can apply many of the same philosophies to building an external influencer driven model for insurance agents, CPA’s, or PEO brokers. Many PEO’s are utilizing both internal sales and external influencers as a means to generate more opportunities. Regardless of your go-to-market approach, we must be diligent to ensure we are always represented in the best light. If we are to build a sustainable model with consistently high production and 90%+ client retention, an on-going development program for everyone touching our prospects and clients is a must
Authored by Troy Reynolds, President, Stonehenge Insurance and MasterClass Coach