The Green Sheet Online Edition
November 26, 2012 • Issue 12:11:02
Thinking of starting an ISO?
||A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.|
- John C. Maxwell
If you are a merchant level salesperson (MLS), you are likely motivated, knowledgeable, focused and skilled. And if you are like many of your peers, you dream of creating a thriving ISO of your own - one you can enjoy leading for a long time or perhaps sell one day.
To build such an ISO requires a distinct set of skills. Among them are the ability to create a vision and plan strategically, build management and sales teams, establish a positive corporate culture, delegate responsibilities, budget resources, and position your company for success within your chosen market.
Of all of the requisite functions, the bedrock of your company will be the ability to recruit, train and retain sales talent. In building a high-performance sales team, you will need to address many factors.
Building your team
Here are several areas to consider when forming a sales force:
- Recruitment: Be sure to articulate what skills and behaviors will be most important to your new ISO. They may be different from the ones your current ISO emphasizes. Once you know exactly what you're looking for, always be recruiting.
If you only recruit when someone leaves your fold, you will be reacting to events instead of shaping them. If you are prepared to take action when you meet the right people, you will be well on the way to building an impressive sales team.
- Training: In-person training allows the teacher to assess the group and adapt to the members' needs in real time. It enables students to ask questions to clarify information.
It also can build camaraderie among attendees. And the environment can be controlled to avoid distractions. This type of training can be expensive, though, especially if team members are spread across a wide geographic area.
Another training vehicle is live, web-based conferencing. It requires facilitators to have some technical skill, but it allows for real-time interaction. However, it is difficult to keep students' attention for long periods, so training is usually broken into time slots of two hours or less.
Using pre-recorded modules delivered over the Internet or on CD is another option. Students can follow at their own pace and work at times that suit their schedules; however, it is difficult to get feedback using this method, or even to know to what extent participants are using the materials.
Whatever methods you use, it is important to measure the training's effectiveness in terms of how it affects each participant's sales results, sales skills, industry and company knowledge, and individual attitudes and feelings.
- Coaching: You or someone you appoint will need to coach your team. As such, you must strive to keep things simple and not overwhelm your salespeople with too many goals.
You also must be accessible without being overbearing; communicate clearly what your team's rules are and what each person's role is; agree with each salesperson on appropriate, measurable goals, as well as remedial steps when goals are not attained; provide relevant, helpful feedback; and help determine appropriate next steps.
- Rewards: Contests, bonuses and the like are terrific motivators. However, it is important when doling out rewards that you not limit them to top performers. It is essential to reward and challenge that group, of course.
However, if you consistently treat mediocre producers like the bottom producers, they will begin to act like those at the bottom. Giving average performers distinct rewards will motivate some to become top producers.
Our industry remains one of great opportunity. Whether or not you embark on the ISO journey, The Green Sheet is here to help foster your success.
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