Note: This post originally appeared on the Venture Accelerator Partners website. It has been reposted here with permission from the author.

Revenue and acquiring clients is the key to most successful startups (Instagram and a few other examples aside). Startups make a big investment when they hire their first sales person.  Getting the right person is the first challenge; the next challenge is getting that sales person productive and contributing to the top line. Having a proper sales plan and a prepared plan that get the new sales person up to speed as soon as possible will help guide their activities.

The keys to this plan should include:

  • Target list for accounts: It takes time to research and contact new accounts. A member of the existing team could put together a list of accounts that would be a good fit. This will allow for the new sales person to get started with the right accounts. It may be wise to have them start with a few of the B targets in case they make a mistake.
  • Articulate the value proposition: A great value prop that focuses on quantifiable benefits is the best.  I wrote a blog on this topic recently. A great value prop is the basis for a prospecting email, cold call, or intro at a networking event.
  • Top Objections: For a sales person handling objections is a regular occurrence.  These happen in both calls and meetings. Identifying the top objections and the responses to handle them can help make the new sales person more comfortable with those initial calls and meetings. My business partner Steve created a blog on handling objections.
  • Make time for calls and meetings: One of the best ways for a sales person to learn is to watch and participate.  If you make yourself available for scheduled calls and meetings earlier in the sales cycle, it will help the sales rep learn and help move opportunities along faster.
  • Inspect what you expect: Creating different communications opportunities is the best way to ensure that the new team member is on plan. This can include formal meetings, team meetings, sales calls, one-on-one, and managing by walking around. One of our previous blogs on Best Practices for B2B Sales Team Communication provides some greater detail.
  • Celebrate wins: Sales is hard, probably one of the hardest jobs that there is.  Celebrating not just closed deals, but the first meeting booked from a successful cold call or getting a call with a really big prospect should be put into place as well.

For other great on-boarding information, check out the MaRS Entrepreneur’s toolkit. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me to talk about your sales challenges.

Mark Elliott

Mark Elliott is the co-founder of Venture Accelerator Partners, a company that provides part-time sales and marketing assistance to growing technology firms. Mark has over 15 years of sales, marketing and management experience. See more…