var _hsq = window._hsq = window._hsq || []; _hsq.push(['setContentType', 'site-page']);

Why Hiring a Sales Trainer Will Help You Scale Faster

Oct 28, 2021
Author: collin stewart

When companies are growing their sales team for the first time, there’s a lot of debate around who to add to the team first. Maybe you’re a founder taking care of sales and you know you’d like to grow so you’re thinking a VP Sales might be a good choice to take care of the rest. Maybe you’ve got one salesperson doing pretty well on their own but they’re lacking structure and process, so a sales manager might be the best addition. According to Dr. Nadja Brown, a recent guest on the Predictable Revenue podcast, the answer is neither.

WHY HIRE A SALES TRAINER INSTEAD?

To determine whether you need a sales trainer or a sales manager, you need to take stock of your business. A manager will come on as a costly, full-time resource dedicated to managing the team, coaching and training, creating higher-level strategy, and potentially putting some processes and systems in place. They won’t be generating revenue directly. If you’re at an early stage, looking to relieve some of the pressures on a founder or early salesperson leading running sales development, hiring a manager right away and expecting them to fix all your problems might not be the best choice. What you should do is hire a sales trainer to come in, support your team, help them build the skills they need and put in the processes and procedures needed to scale so that you can grow to the point where you do truly need a manager. 

For example, if you’re a founder/CEO with just a few employees and you’re the primary salesperson, you’re probably wearing many hats. You might need more time to focus on things other than sales but there’s no one on your team that can take the sales responsibility from you. A sales trainer could help you figure out what activities can be taken off your plate, such as the qualification of inbound leads so that you only spend time speaking to high-quality opportunities. A sales trainer could show other people where they can help you out and could streamline the process to the point where you not only don’t have to hire a sales manager right away, you may not even need a salesperson just yet.

LOGISTICS

In the early days of an engagement with a sales trainer, they will likely need to spend more time with your team more often while they create processes, structure, listen to and give feedback on sales calls, etc. But after an initial period of front-loaded work, they could reduce their time with the team to once or twice a month to give coaching, answer questions, and make sure everything is running smoothly. Most importantly, they need to provide both principles and tactical training to salespeople so that they can learn a concept and then practice it. 

One mistake Dr. Brown sees business leaders make time and time again before they hire a sales trainer is failing to identify the important KPIs for their salespeople and their business. In the early days of a company, it can be easy to overlook these metrics as long as deals are being closed. But these KPIs are what is going to hold your reps accountable while they don’t have a full-time manager hovering over them. Next, you need to identify the cadence and format in which you need to receive evidence that sales reps are hitting these KPIs and establish that process. Is it in monthly reports? Weekly huddles? These KPIs then become part of the salesperson’s job description, and if they can’t hold themselves accountable and share the necessary information how and when they should, they might not be the right fit for the company.

SALES TRAINER FOCUS

One of the best things a sales trainer can help you identify is your learning objectives. What do your salespeople need to learn to be successful? What are the results and outcomes that your company/your reps need to achieve? What are the growth milestones you are hoping to hit? The trainer can help get this information out of your head and start building the right training materials to help your salespeople absorb and perform as quickly as possible.

Sales trainers are also a great source of feedback as they’re in the trenches with your people. They can share a lot of (potentially hard) truths based on what they hear on the front lines, and they can pull together reports to help you understand where the gaps are and what action should be taken to fill those gaps. They can coach reps on the hard and soft skills they need to succeed in their roles. They can recommend tools to incorporate into your process which will help you automate low-value tasks and eliminate bottlenecks. 

FINDING THE RIGHT SALES TRAINER

To find the best fit for your business in the search for the right sales trainer, you first need to be clear about the goals you want to achieve and the timeline you’ve identified. Then, you need to find a sales trainer who can be a partner to help you get there. This trainer needs to be willing to listen and work collaboratively with you. Especially if you are a small business owner with a limited budget, you need someone who will work within the constraints of the resources, processes, etc. that you have. You need to think about the types of sales tasks you want someone else to perform and the type of sales role those translate into, and then find a trainer who has experience working with these types of salespeople specifically. Finally and, perhaps, most importantly, you need to find someone whose personality gels with your team so that you can work well together.

Don’t fall victim to the misconception that because a sales trainer doesn’t know your business and solution as well as you do, they won’t be able to make great recommendations that help you scale. You’re right – they don’t know your business as well as you do and they never will, but that’s actually a blessing. They can see things from a different perspective, through a new lens. They come in, absorb what they can about your business and marry it with their past experience to create trainings that will help translate information for new people and a growing team. They are stepping into your business just as a new salesperson would – for the first time – so they can see what’s clear and what isn’t, what a new salesperson needs, and how to prepare them to succeed.


TIME FOR A MANAGER

Though a trainer can help you with everything from tactical coaching to high-level strategy, free up capacity, and multiple results with the training they provide, they aren’t supposed to stick around forever. In the milestones Dr. Brown sets with clients early in her engagements, she discusses the triggers that will indicate the time has come for her to transition out and for a full-time, dedicated manager to fill her shoes. Those triggers might be hitting a certain volume of leads or opportunities, a certain revenue number, or employee headcount, or any other growth metric. At this point, you need someone that is focused solely on your business so that you can scale. Your sales trainer can help you create a job description and find the best person to fill the role. And since the sales trainer has been documenting, systematizing, and optimizing every step of your process, the transfer of knowledge from trainer to manager is simple.

CONCLUSION: 

Building a sales organization is difficult. There are many decisions to be made when transitioning from founder-led sales to making your first sales hire, when growing that sales org for the first time, and then deciding to scale it. A common knee-jerk reaction founders make is to hire an experienced VP of Sales in hopes that the veteran sales leader will have all the answers. But when that sales leader is hired too early, it can be a detriment to the business. Sometimes the best option is to hire a sales trainer to help free up your early salespeople’s capacity by identifying bottlenecks, creating and documenting processes, and training on any gaps in their knowledge. Then you can bring on a sales manager when your business really needs it.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: 

More on making your first sales hire: The Goldilocks Rule: Making Your First Sales Hire

How Leading B2B Companies Are Structuring Their Sales Led GTM Teams

Lessons from scaling 0-1M, 1-10M, and 10-20M+

How can you carry on your duties as an entrepreneur to create and develop, if your business is also relying on you to bring in sales?

Considering the relationship, time, and effort a founder/entrepreneur can spend on sales vs. developing their products, building your own SaaS Sales Playbook comes in handy.

Download this step by step guide for free!

Keep Learning

Building The Right Sales Tech Stack

Building The Right Sales Tech Stack

Buying the wrong tools or even the right tools before you’re ready can be detrimental to your sales process and set you back months and tens of thousands of dollars. Asa joined the Predictable Revenue Podcast to provide important insights on how to build the right sales tech stack for your business.

read more
How To Create The Perfect Pitch Deck

How To Create The Perfect Pitch Deck

If you’re not telling a compelling story, then you’re losing your audience before you’ve even started. Numbers and other data will make your audience believe but stories will make them engaged listeners. Learn how to create the perfect sales pitch deck!

read more