There are numerous pieces of advice written on both the process of hiring and training a new hire. Yet, there is another critical step managers must make before a new hire makes the transition into being a regular employee; they must evaluate the rep’s readiness before truly turning them loose. This step is downplayed in management literature, yet it is critically important. Here are three tips to follow during this process.
1. Review Processes
Before a rep can set out on their own, it is important that they understand the basic processes which keep the organization running smoothly. To ensure this is true, a field manager should provide a series of short tests to determine, for example, the rep’s comprehension of the software application the field team uses. If a team of beverage reps uses a mobile app to measure stock levels in retail stores, it is critical that the rep understand how to get to that place within the tool, how to fill out the form correctly, and how to share that information with the back office. Managers should have a new hire explain step-by-step how to do such a process. It may be worth doing this process continuously until the rep has it down nearly perfectly, as it will be an essential duty in the field they will performing independently.
2. Test Product Knowledge
A second essential skill to test before a manager can feel comfortable letting a new hire go out alone is that of product knowledge. Rather than handing the rep a physical test to fill out it, managers should set up role play scenarios for a rep. For example, a luxury goods field rep may need to answer questions about wholesale price and transportation guidelines with a retail manager, while also being able to tell a customer why the organization’s product is more suited for their needs than a competitor product. By setting up these diverse situations, you can gauge if the rep is ready to start out on their own with guidance, or whether they need to spend more time studying the ins and outs of the product.
3. Test Problem-Solving Method Under Pressure
After a new hire has shown capacity with organizational processes and product knowledge, it is time to evaluate how they would perform under stress. This ability is something that the rep will hone over time, but it is critically important that they begin with a problem-solving plan. Give the rep a troublesome situation. For example,medical packaging rep has a client call to say they did not receive the right amount of product from the rep, which they urgently need. A successful rep should always try to find an efficient answer to the problem first, such as pulling up a product order to weigh that information against the client’s to see which side is in error. Yet, it is also important that if a rep hits a wall, they know how and who to reach out to for help. If a rep can demonstrate that he understands business process, product information, and his resources for help, a field manager can be confident in his ability to upgrade his status to active employee.
Erin P. Friar
Erin Friar is a Content Marketing Journalist Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is completing a Journalism degree at Suffolk University. She is a master of grammar and is passionate about creating fresh content to help foster efficiency and overall success in small businesses.