How to Bring in New Sales Reps Without Upsetting the Veterans

Sales teams tend to be one of, if not the most collaborative and cohesive team in a company. They spend so much time together training, meeting, competing, giving and receiving feedback, and chatting to one another that they can practically finish each others’ sentences after a few months. The great team vibe comes at a cost, though: the current team may not welcome the idea of adding new reps. If your company is growing the way you want it to, you’ll need to add new sales reps eventually.

The team’s initial objections might be things like “How much of my turf will I have to give up?” “Will I get paid less?” “How will the culture change?” Concerns like these are completely normal –  and it is really important that you address them transparently and with a strategy in mind to keep the team’s minds at ease.

It is crucial that you do not estrange the team that worked so hard to put the company in a position where the sales team could grow. The company benefits when everyone – not least of all your loyal veterans – feels included and happy.

Here’s what you can do to ease the transition:

Meet with the current team beforehand

Gather the veteran sales reps before you make the new hire and discuss with them how the team will productively handle the new set-up. Don’t say, “I’ve decided to hire 3 new reps and this is how you’re going to deal with the change.” Instead, give them the opportunity to share their thoughts, opinions, and concerns. Address each one individually. This will help give them the sense that they are a part of the change – it gives them ownership and makes them feel somewhat in control of a potentially alarming change.

Frame the change as a positive thing

Because, well… it is! Emphasize a positive mindset by talking about how growing the sales team is a great thing for the company. The current sales team has clearly done an amazing job and put the company in a strong financial position. Remind them that hiring new reps has nothing to do with poor performance – they’re hired to help you hit aggressive revenue goals. As companies grow, it is inevitable that they will grow their sales team – everyone needs to adjust to follow the ever-changing market. Otherwise no one will have a job!

Formalize the onboarding process

When you first bring on the new hires, hire them as trainees and put them through formal sales training and onboarding process. Not only will a concrete process be more efficient, but it will also allow them to integrate into the company as reps-in-training, allowing your veteran reps to maintain their current accounts and territories instead of giving them up cold turkey.

Your veteran reps will have the opportunity to teach and mentor new hires – and being seen as a source of knowledge is fulfilling. Let your new hires work with and develop relationships with their more experienced teammates. As time goes on, veteran reps will be more able and willing to give up some of their accounts and territories to new reps.

 

In general, your sales team should already know that about the potential for new hires. If you haven’t communicated that to the team yet, then you risk catching them off guard. Always be prepared for the possibility of scaling the team even when it isn’t in the immediate future. The more your sales environment and structure allows for easy transitions like new hires, the better.

What advice do you have for handling new hires with the veteran sales team?

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