New Rep Checklist

Posted by | January 08, 2009 | Sales Productivity | One Comment
Sales reps are typically more mobile, work with more external contacts and draw on a broader base of internal support than the average employee.  This leads to a surprising amount of infrastructure that a sales rep needs in addition to the standard computer, phone, voicemail, employee phone list, business cards etc. that all employees need. 

Understanding all the pieces and getting the rep fully set-up in their first week is important for a fast rep ramp and is tricky because rep set-up can get lost in the cracks between sales / sales operations, HR, IT / telephony, development, and office management.
Having a new rep checklist that includes all the pieces across all the functions with the owners and the delivery dates noted is a good way to get a handle on this situation.  I started such a checklist a few companies back and have been adding to it ever since.  It has become a valuable sales management tool and my last checklist had 25 rep-specific items!

Page 1 of the new rep checklist shows standard new hire items that everyone, including sales reps need – in addition to the ones mentioned above this list includes door keys and codes, office supplies, benefit package, confidentiality agreement and an employee handbook. Piggybacking on your HR person’s checklist – or if there isn’t one, talking them into using yours – can work well, you gilded-tongued devil.

Page 2 is where the rep-specific infrastructure starts.  Inside and outside reps are usually working with laptops so they can bring their computers home or on sales calls. They need a docking station, monitor, keyboard, mouse for the office.   Laptop keyboards and built in mice can work in a pinch but are inefficient for day-to-day use.  Also, get an extra power supply for the home office / travel  (nothing quite like forgetting to bring your power supply to a presentation on the road – besides trying to get the prospects 1970s projector to work with your laptop!).  

A personal projector is another item on the checklist for the traveling rep, even if it is Plan B. They’re less than $1000 and any field call is worth more than that in opportunity costs.  You’re already going to spend 15 minutes of your hour trying to find a an open conference room  -- why waste another 10 minutes figuring out how to connect with the prospects projector (if they have one) when half the time it’s going to show your mind-blowing paradigm-shifters in pong-like resolution?

Reps also should be connected to a color printer in addition to the standard black and white printer for potential presentations and sales materials.  Sure, emailing pdfs is the norm now but hard copy slides for 1:1s with muckety-mucks is still a good way to sell.

Reps need access to a scanner (ideally integrated into a company file system) so they can quickly get hard copy only docs and counter-executed documents scanned in and emailed back to prospects and customers.  A soft and dedicated fax email box is also nice so incoming contracts aren’t showing up in the company fax inbox interleaved with personal insurance claim forms and fax spam.

Reps are often remote and so need web email, including signature blocks, ideally with logos.  They are often not plugged into the company messenger or chat application but should be and will probably need a VPN or something similar to remotely access the corporate network system.

They need to be set-up on the CRM application, including the user profile in case the profile information -- like phone number and
address -- is being used in integrated documents like quotes.

Telephone headsets should be standard and ready on day 1 at every new rep’s desk (field and inside alike) so they can comfortably and ergonomically talk on the phone and work on the computer at the same time. I've gotten a lot of push-back on using a headset over the years but cradling a phone in your neck while trying to type or write is antediluvian.

There are a slew of sales infrastructure tools that need passwords and training – CRM, Go-To-Meeting or WebEx, Hoovers or OneSource, Leadlander, Sales Genius, the company Wiki and the sales drive, for example.  My last company had Intercall numbers as a phone-conferencing back-up option for the Go-To-Meeting phone system, which went on the fritz from time to time.

Also with the CRM system, you want to make sure you are integrated with the company Outlook calendar and the Go-To-Meeting application because you will need to schedule external and internal resources for prospect calls and you will want a record of these meetings and the related call reports in your CRM system.  You may also want your Outlook calendar (and probably email) to be integrated with your rep’s Blackberry or Treo (or, if they’re extra-hip, iPhone).

This last set of items can fall in a crack – IT doesn’t always relish delving into departmental-level apps.  You can try to get all your reps on one PDA to make the support job easier but this is IT work and they should own and document the integrations and support.  (Good luck with that!)

Reps may need access to the demo system and, if there is any way the rep can use the product you sell, access to the production system.  Documentation and training on an end-to-end product demo that a sales rep can do without assistance can be a good session for a new rep’s first week.

Every rep should get a tour of the online sales playbook during their first week so they know where the sales best practices are and how to find them.

One of the key pieces of the sales playbook for a rep’s first week can be the sales deck.  This is particularly important because this presentation captures the key value your solution delivers and shows how you differentiate from the competition.  A new rep’s needed level of education can be similar to a prospect’s on their first call. 

I’ve had success culminating the first week of new rep sales training with the new rep delivering a 1st call presentation to members of the management team posing as a prospect account the new rep intends to work.  It gives the reps an extra jolt of motivation to learn the pitch during the training sessions.

If you can have all of these sales infrastructure pieces ready to go for the reps first day of work, you've set the table for a fast rep ramp.  Now the real work of increasing sales productivity begins! 

Each blog entry will focus on an example of a best practice sales tool to give you specific ideas of how to sell better.  While this new rep checklist is a best practice sales management tool, most tools discussed will be used by the reps themselves.  But a a sales scalebook for sales managers is equally as important as a sales scalebook for sales reps.

One Comment

  • Jeff Ernst says:

    Paul, I didn’t realize just how much infrastructure there is to set up a new rep before seeing your checklist. When it comes to ramping up new reps on our value proposition, we’ve created a “New Rep Onboarding” sales playbook at Kadient which is organized differently than our various sales playbooks for working new opportunities or expansion sales. This onboarding playbook lays out the various pitch decks, demo scripts, industry sheets, etc. in a logical order for a newbie to absorb, rather than pointing them to an overwhelming pile of stuff.

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