You’ve already done your research and decided a graduate sales programme [hyperlink to ‘Why now is the right time to start building your graduate sales programme’ article] is the right option for your business. But as you go about building your programme, it’s essential to work out exactly where in your company’s sales process your graduate team will sit.
While there’s no simple ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer, below are some tips for ensuring that your graduates will be able to contribute the most to your business.
Consider what your business needs
The point of a graduate sales programme is to help your company grow. So what does your business need to be able to achieve this? This will dictate where your graduates should sit within your sales function – for example, will they be in lead generation, new business or account management roles?
Think also about whether you have an existing supply of leads for your graduate team to follow up on, and whether you’ll provide them with accounts, or if they’ll be left to develop their own.
You’re probably eager to get on with building your sales team and delivering results. But it’s important not to forget that the sales process generally takes longer when you first use graduates, as they’re less experienced.
While some might hit the ground running and outperform existing team members, others will need more time to get to grips with the process, your business and their new role.
A bit of patience now, combined with the right support, can make a world of difference to your graduates’ longer-term performance, and ensure your business continues to reap the benefits of your new graduate sales programme.
Prepare for sales success
You’ll gain the most from your graduates if you prepare for their success. So make sure the basics are in place before new candidates join your programme.
For example, does your business have email templates for marketing and prospecting and a suitable, ready-made script for new sales calls?
Are you clear about the desired outcome of these calls? Will your graduate salespeople be following up by email, or trying to book a meeting? Set completely transparent objectives at the start, and both you and your team will know where you stand and what success looks like.
To keep your graduate salespeople engaged, make sure that the sales process is also flexible enough to adjust to their experience, and changes slightly as they progress. Doing so will decrease boredom in the role and make sure that staff are presented with new opportunities and can continue to learn as they develop.
Your graduate sales programme is far more likely to be a success if you have a few basics in place at the start. So think about what you want your candidates to achieve, and make sure you have the building blocks in place to allow them to do just that.
When you’re mapping out your graduate sales programme, it’s essential to think about where in the sales process your new recruits will sit.