Today’s New Model
I spent a lot of time in Part 1 of this series describing the way things used to be around the process of preparing our newly hired Business Development Managers (BDMs). Frankly, it wasn’t overly effective. Senior management recognized that things needed to change.
At this same time, I’d decided I needed a change in my role as a pre-sales engineer and was looking for a different role, ideally in a part-time capacity. This coincided nicely with the new BDM manager (previously trained by me, and subsequently promoted to the leader of the team) asking for better training of his staff, specifically asking for my assistance. I’d found my new role within 1E as I became our first ever Technology Enablement Lead!
Our sales leadership were (and remain) heavily committed to onboard training for all Sales personnel about this same timeframe. We contracted with a 3rd party provider of online Computer-based training to allow subject matter experts to record videos and related PowerPoint content to create and host all sorts of topics necessary for a sales executive, BDM, and any other related roles to learn product messaging, sales delivery, and the like. My first order of business was to record several presentations that documented the basic features in Configuration Manager. This provided the new hire with their first exposure to that product, which is fundamental to nearly everything we do as a company. We then follow this up with 3-4 days of in-person training.
This overview is then followed by the real meat of the exercise: how our products and solutions address the limitations, costs, and manual efforts required to simplify, automate, and streamline operations of all kinds. We teach the new hire the concept of the “Better Together” approach. This is where things get seriously interesting and fun. There are no formal curriculum, collateral or training aids. It consists of 2-3 days of wildly dynamic whiteboarding, erasing, drawing, erasing, and even more drawing. Take a look:
Throughout the process, we pause to pose hypothetical and what-if questions of the students to gauge understanding of concepts as the training evolves. We focus extensively on how we always add value to the investment in both Configuration Manager and 1E. We show how the customer can reduce physical hardware and related costs, automate repetitive tasks from many hours of manual effort to minutes or hours of fully automated effort, reduce major projects from months or years to weeks, and so on. Most importantly, we teach the new hire the world that their prospects live in daily, regardless of their role. They may call an admin, a Help Desk manager, a software asset manager, an IT security professional, or a CIO. It doesn’t matter. When they complete this training, the new BDM is armed with the knowledge of all those diverse roles to allow them the ability to establish credibility within the first 60 seconds of a cold call. “OK, this individual gets it. (s)he understands what I’m struggling with!”
THAT is the goal of all the training they’ve undergone. Now they can talk intelligently to the prospect, understand their problem statement, refine the details as needed, and articulate a credible proposition to address the issue(s). Once done, the next step is to provide the prospect with a meeting with their sales professional to further discover the full scope of the problem(s) and possible 1E solution(s) to address it. The BDM has achieved success.
As ongoing support, the BDMs have access to a OneNote database that holds 1E product overview details, product comparisons to aid in navigating the competitive landscape, and a section holding FAQs. The latter is populated when a BDM is confronted with a question they do not understand., and so come for an explanation of the issue, and the appropriate answer to address the question effectively. That exchange becomes the basis for a new entry in the FAQ. After all, if one person encounters the question, it’s only a matter of time before someone else gets the same (or very similar question.
How well has this new process worked in the nearly two years it’s been in place? This is best answered with the most recent training exercise. The US-based BDM program, now numbering nine individuals (up from four two years ago!), has become so successful that 1E recently expanded the program into the London office with four new hires to cover the EMEA market. This group was totally unique. All four have just graduated from their respective university and have virtually no sales, IT, or any other remotely similar background. Despite that, this group proved to be the most interesting and successful students to date.
In the end, of course, this role is all about metrics to measure success. How many calls were made this week/month? Who made the most calls? How many calls resulted in a meeting with a salesperson this week/month? Who booked the most meetings? All of these details and more are captured via automated tools used by 1E. To illustrate the current success of this amazing group of individuals, here are some actual metrics that show how it was before, followed by what it looks like today.
If you’ve managed to hang in this far, I applaud you! As you can probably tell, this topic is near and dear to my heart. In the preceding sections, you can see the metrics of the process “back in the day”. You can then see the truly remarkable and dramatic change once proper onboard training and follow-on support has made to this team. For me personally, the most rewarding thing of all is to see these young people come into 1E into an arguably low level, low visibility job, and through their own perseverance and initiative, arise within the company to take on a true sales role and begin on a career path of upward mobility, increased compensation, increased confidence and sense of self-worth. Everyone wins! This is the way we work here at 1E. Bring in new staff, provide proper training and enablement, set out on a course of success with related compensation, create an environment that fosters upward mobility, increase sales, and most important of all, have fun doing it! Anyone that visits our NYC office and watches that gang of BDMs on headsets, often walking around the room carrying on highly animated conversations (often talking with their hands as well!) will immediately see what I mean. In my highly biased opinion, this is what sets us apart from all the rest. This is the company that I am extremely proud to work for, and if you are looking, I highly recommend you give us a call. You can see all our open positions around the world HERE.