Updated: Sep 3
Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Watching your business growing and scaling out to new regions & markets is one of the best accomplishments Sales Leaders can wish for.
However, at some point (Break-Even Point) most hyper growth business owners and leaders realize that in order to expand the business, they need to evolve from relying mainly on non-Trainers to train new hires and existing team members into a system and program with a dedicated enablement approach. That point in time varies from business to business, generally speaking it depends on your strategy and goals put against your ability to grow with existing sales torque (headcount, skills, GTM content, processes, selling system...). Nevertheless, the growing pains which trigger businesses to hire a dedicated sales trainer or Enablement are mostly felt in the early years of startups and SMBs who are ready to wade into deeper water. To help businesses and leaders to find that Breakeven Point effectively and at the right timing (i.e. minimize Damage Control), I am sharing herein the core growing pains (or symptoms) that most startups and SMBs experience prior to establishing a sales enablement business unit: Tier 1 Managers Need to Coach, Not Train Having the right selling skills is one thing, being able to train others requires a completely different set of skills, and that’s the least of your concerns. Training is not about lecturing or freestyling a topic with a class full of reps eager to learn and improve on certain areas. Training starts with preparations, similar to the process of preparing for a first touch with a prospect. You learn the topic, you engineer your gameplan, you prepare for possible pushbacks and design your next step accordingly. Training is more than just pitching a topic. Training requires a lot of backoffice chores that everyone despises, and in between those chores you either create content or practice delivering it. Now, ask yourself - Can your business afford training time over selling time? If you believe the answer is YES, your business is not ready to grow. The idea behind hiring a dedicated sales trainer is to offload the training overhead of your ongoing business to someone who’s developed his/hers entire career around training others. In a nutshell, this is the ideal framework you need to aim for: Hire a sales trainer to train your managers to coach your reps. As simple as that. Hiring & Onboarding Plans How long does it take to onboard a rep today? How many reps are you planning to hire soon? Do we have a Bootcamp program to support the required cadence? These simple questions give you an idea of how well you are prepared (or not) to scale up and out your Sales Torque. Out Of Date Playbooks & Competitive Intelligence When you have sufficient resources and an enablement system, the entire sales (and post sales) ecosystems are aligned and execute well on your GTM strategy. When performance hiccups occur, usually these serve as early signs for lack of attention, delivery and housekeeping in general. Ask yourself - how long ago did we pause to update our playbooks? Are reps capable of mitigating new competitors? Is there a team or individual who’s not aligned to our latest messaging? Is our messaging aligned to the market? Long Onboarding Time & Short Sales Cycle If you aim for a short sales cycle but onboarding takes the same or double, growing your team and business might not be that easy. System Onboarding When businesses grow, so does the sales tech stack. New apps and technologies are added to the digital sales workplace and reps need to sacrifice selling time to learn new systems or catch up on missed training sessions. Every minute spent on learning is a minute we’re not selling. Ask yourself - how long did it take in the past to train everyone on changes and updates? What other tools are we planning to introduce soon? Who’s going to learn and train everyone? Engaging With Our Selling System The selling system defines what reps are expected to execute on, per every touch or stage of the sales cycle. The selling system fuels the ecosystem and drives growth. But what’s important as well is to measure engagement and impact on our pipeline. To accomplish the second goal (impact on pipeline), we usually rely on Sales Ops / Biz Ops. Bear in mind that in most cases, Sales Ops work very closely with Leadership and may not be able to allocate the required resources and resolution needed from an enablement point of view. To measure engagement you’ll need a dedicated tech stack and a dedicated FTE to orchestrate the overhead. Lacking these engagement & enablement resources would result in huge investment not being measured and thus - getting completely off track, performance hiccups and poor conversion. When you see those signs, you know you’re ready to hire a dedicated Sales Trainer.