Rob Thompson, President and Founder of TruCore Business Development, joins us to talk about sales training and how having the right training of your sales team can set your company up for success.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. Texasbusinessradio.com is the Web site. 844-814-8144 is our 24 hour call in line. Get your calls in. I don’t really even care when, it’s 24 hour call in line. Get your calls in, we’ll get the experts on here to get those questions answered. I’m your host Matt Register. Jay Curry had to step out for a minute, he’s going to join us here shortly. In the meantime, we’re talking about sales. As a business owner as you grow your business you have to delegate some of those responsibilities. I don’t know how many business owners I’ve talked to that still are personally the salesmen of their company. You get to a size that you need to stop, you need to bring professionals in. And we have some experts in here that know how to do that. They can help you with that process. Rob Thompson is with TruCore Business Development. Rob welcome to the show sir.
Rob Thompson: Thanks for having me today.
Matt Register: Talk to me about TruCore. What do you do? Who do you do it to?
Rob Thompson: We work with companies, mid-market mainly and we helped them develop great sales teams. We do it through either identifying and looking at existing sales team. But then we also look at how they’re hiring and on-boarding sales people as well. And then once we get past that, we look at their sales process. We look at how they work with their CRM systems. We look at compensation, how they motivate everybody and just keep it moving forward.
Matt Register: Well business owners are very, very good at whatever it is they do.
Rob Thompson: Absolutely.
Matt Register: That doesn’t necessarily translate into being very good at developing a sales team. Correct?
Rob Thompson: Correct. And we have a lot of business that struggle with developing that sales team. Because either they haven’t done sales before or they’re just not experienced at sales management itself. So we work with them to identify, what are the key competencies you want to find in your sales people? And we break it down into a mind set and skill set. And I tell them all the time, mind set beats skill set because you can train on skill set. But you want to identify and find mindset.
Matt Register: Now you’re screening these candidates though. We’ve had guys on the show before that talk about some of the personality testing, some of the, some of the screening type testing materials that are available out there.
Rob Thompson: Yes, absolutely. Yeah.
Matt Register: And I mean… and I’ve said before, I’ve never on purpose hired a knucklehead, yet I have hired a lot of knuckleheads in my life. Right? How effective is that in getting them the right people on your, in your company that you want?
Rob Thompson: It is the most effective way. And there are different assessment and evaluation tools out there. There are behavior based and then, we have the ones we work with, which are sales based. We have 92 percent predictability that if you hire this person and we give you a green light to recommend, they will be the top half of the sales team within a year.
Matt Register: 92 percent.
Rob Thompson: And it is predictive. They’ve, they’ve gone back and back tested it and said “Okay, we’ve hired these people. We gave them a recommendation.” and they bring them forward. The sales tool we use is Objective Management Group. It’s Dave Kurlan out of the Boston area.
Matt Register: Right.
Rob Thompson: And it wins every year from top sales mag and all these guys is the number one sales assessment tool.
Matt Register: Because a lot of these guys… I know myself personally, when I was hiring in sales guys, I was batting about 200 or 250. Right? I mean…
Rob Thompson: That’s pretty good.
Matt Register: I thought we were doing pretty good. Right?
Rob Thompson: Yeah.
Matt Register: But this is not even close. I mean this is, this, this essentially turns this into a more likely than not, right, you’re going to end up with what you need. And as you are growing your business and you don’t have the runway required to be able to do trial and error. Right?
Rob Thompson: Yeah. Absolutely.
Matt Register: You have to be able to get the first ones right.
Rob Thompson: You want to get them right and you want to be able to get them right fast.
Matt Register: Right.
Rob Thompson: And if they have that right mindset to get out there and start selling quickly, you can train them on your product. You can train them on what your internal processes are. But if they don’t have the ability to start picking up that phone, meeting prospects and generating sales, you could be six months, a year and you’re still wondering why isn’t this person working out. And we call that the sales ghost. You hire somebody, you think they’re great, they look good, they talk the talk, they walk the walk but they’re not selling. And then six months after that you fire the guy. And your talking to your clients, your talking to prospects and they’re going to tell you what a nightmare he is or she was or whatever. And you’re like, “Oh, it’s a ghost.” They keep haunting you.
Matt Register: Right.
Rob Thompson: Even after Halloween’s over.
Matt Register: Well, you mentioned the sales process.
Rob Thompson: Yeah.
Matt Register: I don’t know a lot of small, smaller companies, middle, you know, early middle market companies. Companies that are growing, that have a well-thought out, well-developed sales process. That’s part of what, what you bring to the table. Correct?
Rob Thompson: Absolutely. The sales process is the most integral thing they can do. It’s repeatable, it’s trainable and you can work with the organization and it’s not that hard. It’s a lot of times, it’s developing the groundwork. Where you say “Okay, this is your process to get somebody into your sales funnel”. Once their in your sales funnel, you’re walking them through the steps of; diagnosing what they need. Making sure that their the decision maker. Making sure that they have a budget, before you even present anything. I think a lot of times, like you mentioned it earlier, business owners are really passionate about their product. So they want to talk about their product and talk about it first. Before they establish the need, the compelling reason for change because it’s not just price. People, if they already have an existing vendor they’re working with, they have to fire that vendor. So, it’s a matter of them determining that your product can do what it says it does. And then, having a compelling reason to fire an existing vendor. Even if they’re like moderately happy with them.
Matt Register: Sure.
Rob Thompson: Kick them out the door. And then also make the switch and it’s an investment of time as well.
Matt Register: No, understand. The sales management side…
Rob Thompson: Yeah.
Matt Register: You, quickly during the break we were talking about this. Because I don’t know how many times that we look at companies that take one of their top salesmen, they turn them into the sales manager and it doesn’t work out. Right?
Rob Thompson: Yes.
Matt Register: Now that assessment that you do for the sales people are, is very different from the assessment that you do for the sales manager. Is that accurate?
Rob Thompson: Absolutely. And what we do, is for the sales manager, because the skill set and the mindset for the sales person is still similar for the sales manager but what they need to be doing is very different. It’s not hunting. It’s not consultative selling anymore. It’s not closing. They should be doing four key things as sales manager. They should be motivating their existing sales people. They should be recruiting consistently and we can talk about recruiting in more detail. But every day they should be looking for new salespeople, not waiting until they have a gap. They should be coaching their existing sales team and making sure that they are helping them be accountable and generate business. So let’s talk about that a little bit. In the coaching process, it’s not bringing your salesperson in and saying “Hey, Steve, why aren’t you doing this more like this? When I was in the field, this is what worked for me”. It’s going along with them, doing the ride alongs. Meeting the clients and keeping your mouth shut, shut, be quiet. I’m not sure what is allowed, as far as any curse, cussing.
Matt Register: I appreciate that. Yes, but…
Rob Thompson: But yeah, be quiet. Let the salesperson fail forward and monitor the situation, then de-brief after that and then hold them accountable. The fourth thing that sales managers have to do is hold their sales people accountable and make sure that they are asking those hard questions. So the sales person comes back, says “I had a great meeting today, it’s in the bag. He just has to check with his partner”. You and I, you’ve been in business a long time, you know as debt, he has to think about it. Accepting those kind of answers from your sales person is going to kill you. You got to say “Well, why didn’t the other partner there? Why wasn’t the partner at the, part of that meeting? This meeting isn’t done. You should get on the phone and call your partner and make sure you get this done”.
Matt Register: So, sales skills and an understanding of the sales process is required but not sufficient for a sales manager. Right? I mean they have to have the skills but they have to have a whole lot more skills on top of that.
Rob Thompson: Yeah. And the mindset to hold the people accountable and keep driving them forward.
Matt Register: As a business owner, give me some idea of, at what point do I know that I need to pick up the phone and give you a call?
Rob Thompson: I’d appreciate if people call me before they start hiring salespeople. Unfortunately a lot of times, I’ll get calls after the fact. I was working with a commercial real estate company…
Matt Register: Hey, I’ve screwed this up for the last two years, I need help. Right?
Rob Thompson: Oh, yeah. And they’ve and they’ve been, they had a great budget for it, they had a plan. They implemented the plan and they end up hiring a couple of people that didn’t work out. They put them on some form of a draw and they’re now they’re in to it like two, three hundred grand. And like, they have nothing to show for it.
Matt Register: Yeah.
Rob Thompson: So, and I tell people, like even if you want to touch base, have a conversation about it. Even if it’s not a good fit for us, At least somebody armed you with a little bit of information that you can use to move forward with.
Matt Register: No. Makes a whole lot of sense. TruCore Business Development. Rob Thompson is the man here in the hot seat. TruCoreBD.com is the Web site. And we’re going to have that linked directly from Texasbusinessradio.com, if you’re driving and can’t take notes. TruCoreBD.com. Rob, I want to thank you very much for joining us.
Rob Thompson: Thanks for having me, it’s a lot of fun.
Matt Register: This has been a lot of fun. We enjoy it. We, look we’re business guys, we enjoy sales. Sales is a big part of business and we have a whole lot of smart guys on the show today talking about how to grow your sales team in your business. In the meantime, Texasbusinessradio.com is the Web site. See the entire thing in beautiful, high definition video. But we got to pay a couple of our own bills. We’ll be back right after this. Don’t go anywhere. build ads. From admins creating apps with clicks to developers building apps with code. And even an entire open ecosystem. Of passionate community members. Trailblazers. Exchange partners and trusted advisers. Dedicated to you.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.