The 4 Top reasons you need a training process

Where do I begin… here are my top 4 reasons (Although there are many):

1. Acquire Top Talent & Retain Top Talent

Believe it or not people like to learn, nobody likes to start a new job and not have anything to do for 2 weeks (most new hires describe their first two weeks as lackluster and non productive). Having a solid training process that can be discussed in an interview and even outlined in a potential job listing is a huge plus for attracting talent. People now understand that intellectual property is currency and thus valuable even if things do not work out. In addition, the talent that you already have on your team want to develop new skills and hone in their craft no matter if it is sales or accounting. Employees consider personal and professional development as a monumental factor when starting a new position. Develop a training process that can be marketed to attract and retain top talent.

2. Streamlined processes to remove key management from mundane training

There is an old adage that goes like this “Make sure you are running your business and not letting your business run you”. This is critically important for growing companies. Management and owners must be removed from much of the mundane tasks so that they can focus ON the business. Training an executive assistant or administrative personnel would fall under the classification of working IN the business. Spend the time and develop a process for these roles so that you are not stuck training them, trust me the ROI will be worth it.

3. Solid Process means higher valuation

Whether you are thinking about it or not every company has an opportunity to be purchased at some point. Many times the sale of your company can be your retirement if it is approached correctly. Having in depth processes in place, especially for training purposes increases the value of your company to a potential buyer because it means less work for the new owner.

4. Quicker turnaround on new hires

The average cost to hire a new employee is $4,129. That is a lot of money so you better start seeing a return on that money as quickly as possible. This can be achieved by having comprehensive initial training programs so that the employee is working more and asking questions less. Decisive, independent employees is always the goal. Do not let a new hire perform tasks and duties in a lack luster manner for a month because they are still learning. Allow them a week to perform proper training and learn the job.

Trying to get everybody on board: The Key to Training

You have to get the absolute top management involved. You need uniform front starting from the top. If everybody knows that the owner, CEO, CFO, and VP are on board then there will likely be success. This does not necessarily mean they have to be involved in every step of the implementation process just that they are on board and that there will be repercussions if they do no conform. For example, if the VP declares a new initiative but the owner has blown it off, then what do you expect the account managers to think?

When there is corporate emphasis on training (personal and professional development) then there is employee buy in. The best way to approach ongoing training is in short continuous intervals. Large corporations like to do these extravagant corporate training events, typically offsite and last a long duration of time. The thought is there but they are simply not productive. When push comes to shove and a customer service representative is speaking with a customer they will naturally refrain to their old habits because it is what they are most comfortable with. Training must be a progressive, tapered approach with sessions lasting no longer than an hour for any single training meeting. This allows for extreme repetition and garners full attention of the trainee.

Once the training plan has been unveiled and shared with the entire team it is important to get the sessions scheduled and in everybody’s calendar. Make it a priority! Remember that your biggest asset is your people. If you spent $100,000 developing a product how much should you spend training your sales team to sell that product? I would hope more than a 3 hour meeting that cost maybe $1000. People are your future, invest in them.

Managing leads and customers with sticky notes? Time for a CRM?

Yes is the short answer, always. Look around at your desk right now, do you have more than 2 legal pads that you keep your sales notes on? Well if so, it is time to upgrade. Maybe you are running a small business where you are wearing many hats. You very well may be performing the tasks for a sales team, marketing team, and the admin team. All the more reason to use a CRM!

Lets start with the basics: A CRM is a Customer Relationship Management Tool. They are used to manage all of your prospects and allow for a more targeted, efficient sales and marketing effort. A CRM is the management tool that allows for internal and external growth by organizing potential money. The biggest reason a successful new company may fail is because they get overrun with sales and potential sales. This causes miscommunication with the customers and leads to dissatisfaction with current customers and prospects. Each and every customer or prospect needs to feel as though they are your only own and this simply cant be done with a legal pad. Sorry.

I was working with a very successful finance firm about a year ago that had seemed to have stagnated. The business had been around for about 10 years and quickly grew to a couple million dollars in gross revenue but could not seem to get to the next level. As I started getting into the books and the different departments I learned that they were not using a CRM. When I inquired further I found that each outside sales representative was responsible for drumming up business however they chose and there was minimal reporting of their success. This is a big no no. CRM’s allow for shared pipelines, monitoring of leads and progress, and most importantly are proven to be a more efficient streamlined sales process that leads to more sales. We quickly implemented a company wide CRM that office administrators had access to as well. This allowed for a streamlined calendar, timely reports for reps, and ability for managers to monitor their sales numbers. Within one month we saw a 20% increase in the sales pipeline.

The Sales team and sales process is the driving force behind every business. Of course, there are other departments that are integral to the growth of a company, the sales team is the heartbeat and ultimately what keeps food on the table. That is why the CRM is such a crucial tool to implement and guess what a lot of them are free or very inexpensive. (Remember something is better than nothing)

The critical elements of a CRM are as follow: Lead Assignment, sales representative monitoring, integration with advertising (No lost advertising dollars), instant scheduling with calendars, call logs, email tracking, and task reminders (Ex. email in a week). There are many more features but these are by far the most critical. Most reading this started their business because they were good at something, however, I would be willing to bet that most people did not start their business because they were good at running a business. Use the tools that are available to you even if there is a learning curve because you will see a nearly instantaneous ROI.

Don’t be the last one picked at recess.

Personal efficiency is a highly sought after attribute. Far too many meaningless tasks get in the way and stray us from the must do’s. Eventually our to-do list has become a prodigious task that carries into the night or is delayed until tomorrow. In any case, efficiency = profit and it’s important to identify deficiency = profit loss.

Here’s a great example. I worked with a major coffee retailer that was losing money everyday. They were literally watching people come into the store and immediately do a U-turn and walk back out because the line was too long.

I am an avid coffee drinker and I like my coffee the way God invented it – black. It’s quick, easy and tastes like coffee. This company is known for it’s over the top, gourmet, 12 words in it’s name coffee. When a person orders one of those 12 word coffee’s it takes the person behind the counter quite a bit of time and if they are also ordering for friends, now you might as well pull up a chair and begin reading the news because you will be there a while.

I was in one of their busiest locations in my area and working with the District Manager we walked over to the line, which had 14 people in it, and I politely asked each person what their order was going to be. It turned out that of the 14 people 5 of them were ordering a simple black coffee. We sat and did the math based on a specific person behind the counter servicing customers who wanted a simple black coffee. He was astounded to see how many additional customers he could serve and what that translated into for profits.

The bottom line is the bottom line and it’s very important to take a look at what you are doing and how you are doing it. In many cases companies have a hard time seeing the forest through the trees because, as the saying goes, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always had.