I recently sat in on a meeting with a team of BDRs and Management that are re-vamping the new hire training program.  I was extremely impressed with their thought process and the amount of work they have put into a strong curriculum of training covering Call Strategy, CRM, Resourcefulness, and Client Communication.

There are so many different thoughts and opinions on how to make the most of a training week. There is a fine line to walk when training, how much information is too much? You risk losing your audience with product overload or wasting precious time moving too slow. A few months back I had a conversation with our President, Peter Gracey, about the training week and how I was seeing a lot of glazed over eyes day one. The audience really wasn’t captive and I didn’t necessarily think it was their fault.

He shared an article from Inc.com with the Operations Team, New Hire Training: 5 Foolproof Steps that touched upon the exact problems we were facing. The article states, “As business owners, we have a tendency to rush the training process because we either believe a new hire should be able to do things innately (as we do), or because we desperately need them to be functional immediately.”

In order to “safeguard customer relationships and guarantee that new hires have been given the right tools to succeed”, author Vanessa Merit Nornberg came up with a 5 step training process:

  1. Observe
  2. Learn
  3. Practice
  4. Shadow
  5. Prove

The first step, “Observe” we adopted as an immediate change. We kept the morning of day 1 light with HR paperwork, introductions and expectations and then spent the afternoon having the new hire observe the BDRs do their job. While this seemed to be a great step in the right direction, more ideas snowballed from there. I thought about how much down time there was, could sessions be shortened? What should we cover in the next steps and in what sequence? Around this time, Peter turned to a group of BDRs and Operations to start brainstorming new training strategies and the development has been really amazing.

Removed from the process, I came to this meeting to share with them what I had been doing to-date. I was in awe with their new goals and how they fit into place with the 5 steps. The team was divided into groups with buckets of responsibility including: “Call Strategy” “Qualification”, “Data”, and “Client Communication.” The Training Team agreed that new BDRs need to learn a clear call strategy, how to have strong quality conversations, be resourceful, run their business seamlessly with salesforce.com, adopt our best practices, and develop strong communication skills to interact with clients both on weekly calls and via email.

Everyone agrees that this business is evolving. Email automation, data partnerships and social media have a huge impact on this job. How I did the Business Development job 3 years ago is entirely different then how it’s done today. While we are staying true to our fundamentals, re-vamping our processes with the individuals that do the job everyday has been really interesting. I look forward to seeing how they incorporate the newly developed content into the training week, and adopt some of Vanessa Merit Nornberg’s ideas in preparing our new-hires for success.