Here’s a quick acid test of your hiring-to-turnover ratio. How often are one of these phrases heard in your company?
- I’m not a micro-manager.
- I hired them to…
- They know what they’re supposed to do…
If our business world was homogenous then those phrases would be correct because every sales job would be exactly like every other sales job. Every expense filing procedure would be exactly the same at every company and every role would have exactly the same weekly behavior expectations.
What those phrases do in our real world is throw your new hire into the deep end of your pool with ankle weights on and expect them to keep their head above water with little direction or support from their manager.
Even if your company doesn’t have an onboarding plan, like the one described in this article, you can give your new hire a better chance at swimming if you start them off with a MAP.
A MAP, Minimum Acceptable Performance, is the 1-3 behaviors that you expect your new hire to do every week during their initial weeks with your company.
When creating your MAP, keep Sandler’s rule in mind “ never manage your numbers, manage your behavior.”
That means for a sales person, your MAP won’t include “closed sales” but it might include “number of cold
calls,” “number of first appointments with prospects” or “number of networking events.”
For a MAP to be successful, the behavior(s) must be observable. “Knowing our product” isn’t an observable behavior. “Number of presentations” made is, but making presentations isn’t the focus of professional sales.
The MAPs you create will be slightly different depending on your expectations for a specific role and the skills a new hire brings to that role.
A new hire being given a MAP provides two benefits:
1. They feel that you care about their success. Multiple surveys showed that the number one reason for employees leaving is they felt their employer/manager didn’t care about them
2. It gives them an opportunity to get quick wins. Quick wins reduce “ramp up time” for salespeople, which means they become a producer faster
For you, the manager, a MAP provides three benefits:
1. Both of you have a clear understanding, up front, of your performance expectations. No more wasted time with “I didn’t know I had to do that” conversations
2. Leading indicators of success or failure. If your new hire fails to stick to their MAP you know within weeks instead of months later when their sales report shows a negative number, allowing you to make faster decisions about termination or additional training
3. More productive one-on-one meetings. As a manager your only asset is your time. Instead of spending 45 minutes going through your new hire’s week you have a 5 minute conversation about their MAP, which can extend if you or they feel additional coaching or training is needed
You’ll probably find after implementing MAPs for all of your new hires that you have an excess of free time. Enjoy.
Hamish Knox is a Sandler Trainer in Calgary, Alberta.