A Beginner’s Guide to the First day Selling B2B

by Chris Arlen on February 13, 2013

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First Day Selling B2BEveryone in b2b sales has a beginning – either starting a career, a new job, or joining a new firm. And b2b selling is more marathon than sprint. Like a marathon, a good start sets up a successful run.

However, when you’re new, that first sale can’t come soon enough. The clock is ticking on your Grace Period, the undisclosed time your boss doesn’t yet expect results: but still you feel the pressure.

Having a plan for that first day on the job will help you deal with anxiety and create your runway to success.

Day 1 – First Customers First

Your success, in large part, comes from your access to the knowledge, assistance and goodwill of those who work at your company.

Spend your first day with your first customers; your boss, the top-level boss, admin/support manager, and if appropriate, the operations manager or your firm’s department head of subject matter experts.

Many companies do this in their new employee orientation, but if they don’t, make sure you cover all these bases. Take it upon yourself to:

1) Build Relationships Inside
2) Learn Systems & Processes
3) Gather Existing Sales Intel
4) Social Media Update

1) Build Relationships Inside

Before hitting the road and kicking up sales dust, introduce yourself inside and start building a foundation.

Interview your Boss

Request a 1-hour meeting and finish on time before moving on to your next tasks. At this first meeting get an understanding of sales at the strategic, industry level. Ask:

* What are her sales goals for the year? Is she on track?
* What, if any, are her strategic or improvement initiatives? How are they progressing?
* Would she share her sales & marketing plan?
* What’s her high-level view of the market, competitors, trends, etc.
* Is she willing to help you close deals? How?
* What are the 1-3 key tips to be successful?
* What are the sales reporting requirements/process?
* Request a second 1-hour meeting later in the day to get down to sales specifics – you don’t want to hog a big block of your boss’ time

Introduce yourself to the Exec Admin and/or Support Manager

Say hello and ask how things are done, and their role in the process. Ask how one would normally:

* Get access to the top-level boss
* Develop proposals, produce reports, get admin help
* What are the 1-3 key tips to get things done in the firm?
* Any other helpful office knowledge

Briefly Introduce yourself to the Top-level Boss

* Prepare yourself: read company press releases & news
* Find a strategic initiative that touches sales
* Request a brief 5 minutes with the top-level boss
* Keep your conversation light, focused & brief
* Introduce yourself as the new sales rep
* Share your excitement about joining the team
* Ask about the strategic initiative that touches sales
* Ask if there is any news on the street they’d like to hear about, if you come across it
* Thank them for their time & finish within 5 minutes

(IF APPROPRIATE) Meet the Operations Manager or Manager of Subject Matter Experts

* Say hello and ask how things are done
* When to access them, proper channels, what to avoid
* What are the 1-3 key tips to successfully work with them?

2) Learn Systems & Processes

Understand how your company does things, ask your boss or the appropriate staff about:

* When & who will train you on the CRM or contact management system
* How sales are reported & commissions paid
* Pricing development & approval processes

3) Gather Sales Intel from your Boss

Return to your boss for another 1-hour meeting, make it separate from the initial hour. Ask:

* How long is the typical sales cycle? How big the average sale? How profitable?
* Your sales goals?
* When do they expect your first sale? What size?
* Known sales opportunities you should pursue in the next 30-60 days
* Get a list of House accounts – ones you won’t get commission on, so you can spend your time elsewhere
* Request a written commission plan
* Referral possibilities from existing customers – who can make introductions
* Who are the allies (non-customers) who might help you  – who can make introductions
* Account train wrecks or customer skeletons in closets to be aware of
* Who can assist with your sales planning
* When would she like to see your finished sales plan?
* What social media does her sales department maintain – specifically, what LinkedIn groups & discussion does the company host

4) Social Media Update

You’ll also want to get your personal social media up to date. Begin connecting with your new firm’s online communities and tap into their social media outreach.

LinkedIn

* Update your profile with your new company info
* Connect with people from your firm on LinkedIn
* Follow your company
* Join their groups & participate in discussions
* Time allowing, join customer-frequented groups & participate in their discussions

Twitter & Facebook

* Update your profiles accordingly
* Follow/friend/like customers & prospects

Busy First Day

Not to worry if you don’t accomplish everything on this list – you’ll have established your personal brand and begun developing credibility.

You’ll also have prepared your runway to secure that first sale. Get a good night’s sleep, you’ll have earned it – and good luck with all the days that follow.

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