When you are building a sales agent team over the country or countries, it is important to set up a strong training and personal development programme. The objective is to keep people informed, motivated, educated and above all, highly productive. Below I consider the various elements that can be added together in a programme. Once you get it started get regular feedback as to what works and what people want more of.
1. Online: Weekly Newsletter e-zine
Content to include; News, fire ups, ‘in the press’ what is happening in the team, charts of individual and area performance. Sales people like to be competitive and measure themselves against their peers. They all know if someone else can achieve it so can they! As you grow you can also have a newsletter controlled by the Area Manager, special to events and people in that team. This is very efficient as it takes much the same effort to produce for a team of 10, 100 or even a 1000.
2. Live: Weekly Meet Ups
Breakfast meeting on a Monday in say a Costa somewhere. A meeting to exchange ideas and socialise. Totally informal and you will find tips and stories will be exchanged of what worked and what didn’t. It also can be an exchange of information on how many deals people are doing which can be very motivational especially for new people. People are social animals so they will enjoy and look forward to this meeting and not want to turn up next Monday without some positive story to tell and be proud of. Sales Managers should use it as a fire up for the week.
3. Live: Monthly Meet Ups
Here the Sales Manager should, according to group choice, book a restaurant and social meal but it can be an away day, trip or going to the races. Objective is motivational, fun and team building. You can also set a minim qualification to be invited. Remember sales people are more motivated by status than commission whatever they tell you.
4. Live: Local Training Event
On a fortnightly basis, meet in the house of one of the team. This makes it very friendly and keeps costs down. Rotate this around. This is designed as a team training session. The Manager will lead but that does not mean s/he runs the training necessarily. He or she though should be getting feedback of what is and what is not happening and also identify on an ongoing basis any training needs. This might be product or new legislation related, sales or any other item. For our customers we will support the Team Leaders directly, often initially, but then by providing materials and training support materials depending on the need they feedback to us.
5. Live: National Training Event
Each year I suggest a conference. We can organise these on the Spanish coast and they can have the same motives as you would find with an internal employed team. However, as the sales agents are remote these events are far more important. What it costs you will get back several times. The ‘buzz building’ exchange of ideas, meeting with the stars, formal training and fun and partying together is what sales people work hard for. They want a very high living, they are earning high figures and want to indulge.
6. Telephone/Skype: Daily Voice Mails
Sales agents perform better if they even spend as little as five minutes at the start of each day on motivation. This can be listening to a motivational CD or video on YouTube. For my favourites, visit our YouTube channel. And/or you can report a motivational fire up message and send to down the telephone line to multiple recipients coupling this with any current incentives or good news. Sales people need to be kept constantly positive. Nobody buys anything off people unless they are enthusiastic, passionate, positive etc, part of what we buy is the experience of dealing with the sales people, it has to be part of the package and experience. I keep a library full of physical books, CDs, DVDs at our man office which I lend out in addition to online resources. Usually more likely to be read or listened to if you focus on a specific product each week.
Prime objective education they can be form programmes or ad hoc on specific topics. Advantage is that they leverage well and can be recorded for review and use later.
8. Personal Coaching:
Bring in a professional coach who can work on individual goals and their attainment. Often a good coach will be worth their weight in gold and pay their fees in extra productivity.
There are the pieces of the puzzle, it is up to you to design a support system bespoke to your needs, value, goals and dreams making sure they produce to the maximum. Good Luck!