Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coming Up-to-Speed in Presales – What Works Best?

How long does it take to bring a new hire up to competency/proficiency in a presales role for B-to-B software?  And how do you define competency/proficiency?  What steps/programs have you found to be most effective?

I’ve noted a rather broad spectrum of on-boarding and development practices, ranging from:

-          Sink or swim (no formal on-boarding, training or guided development)
-          Manager-based training, delivered mostly on an ad hoc basis
-          Manager-based, delivered with a structured plan
-          Mentor- or colleague-based (often with a manager as well)
-          Mentor-supported (often in conjunction with other programs)
-          “Boot-camp” training, typically delivered within 3-6 months of the hire date (these are often high-intensity group training sessions running one to several weeks in length)
-          Product Demo Certification
-          Demonstration Skills Certification
-          Periodic incremental/ongoing development delivered ad hoc
-          Periodic incremental/ongoing development delivered on a fixed schedule (often semi-annually)
-          Skills development specifically included as quarterly or annual Objectives or MBO’s

Many organizations employ a combination of these, of course.  What have you found to be most effective for you?

3 comments:

John Whitehead said...

As always, the answer here is dependent on the size of the company and the manpower available, but I found that manager-based training is not always the best method. Inevitably, the manager could be pulled off the training for another issue and leave the trainee without any guidance.
I have found that starting a new hire with a 30-90 day boot camp experience, followed by a mentor program is a great way to bring a pre-sales person up to speed.
The manager should have an "Objective based" training plan in place that provides the mentor a written plan with goals and dates in place, but still one that allows room for the mentor to add/subtract training modules that are relevant to the new hire. i.e. The new hire may already have industry experience, so they wouldn’t necessarily need training on industry specific terminology.
No matter what method works best for your company, it is imperative the new hire know exactly what is expected of them and how success will be determined. This alleviates the stress of the unknown and gives the new hire the details to succeed.

John Whitehead said...

As always, the answer here is dependent on the size of the company and the manpower available, but I found that manager-based training is not always the best method. Inevitably, the manager could be pulled off the training for another issue and leave the trainee without any guidance.
I have found that starting a new hire with a 30-90 day boot camp experience, followed by a mentor program is a great way to bring a pre-sales person up to speed.
The manager should have an Objective based training plan in place that provides the mentor a plan, but still allows room for the mentor to add/subtract training modules that are relevant to the new hire. i.e. The new hire may already have industry experience, so they wouldn’t necessarily need training on industry specific terminology.
No matter what method works best, it is imperative the new hire know exactly what is expected of them and how success will be determined. This alleviates the stress of the unknown and gives the new hire the details to succeed.

Muthu vell said...

Its good to know the roles and responsibilty of the Pre sales consultant.Also this blog helps that how to speed up the pre sales.

Pre Sales Training, Pre Sales Consultant