NOTE: This blog was derived from Episode 006 of The Rep's Journey podcast. To watch it, scroll to the bottom of this page, or click here 📺. If you prefer to listen to our podcast, click here 🎙.
George Garcia is the director of sales performance for LGCY Power. Based out of Lehi, Utah, LGCY is one of the largest solar companies in the United States. George has been with them since 2015 in a variety of roles, including as the manager of his own district. He has a deep understanding of the residential solar industry and knows what it takes to effectively onboard, recruit, train, and retain reps. We were excited to speak with George because we believe every CRO, sales director, rep experience manager should be thinking about the rep’s journey the way that he does.
Why did you begin mapping out your onboarding process?
George is no stranger to being a sales rep himself, and he understands that thinking through and mapping out the rep’s journey can be an important first step towards making a huge impact. “When it comes to the journey, I realized it was a lot more complex than I thought at first. I had to write it down to better understand it. And coming from the field, being a rep, and seeing it from that perspective, I started realizing the importance of that experience.”
“Everything that’s happening in the background, we don’t want the rep to know...From the rep experience, being bale to say, what do they need to see? How can we facilitate those trainings?” We here at ConveYour have often compared the rep experience to a stage production. You know what you want your audience, the rep, to see and experience, and everything that happens backstage needs to help facilitate that experience.
George believes that sales culture, on the whole, is not used to thinking this way. “We’d create content, we’d create literature....get them all pumped and ready,” he said, but he didn’t actually know what the reps were retaining or what they actually consumed. “It’s just such a huge disconnect.”
George found himself being more reactive than proactive with his reps, taking meetings and Zoom calls to clear up confusion among his team. He asked himself, “how can I multiply myself in a way such that every rep feels supported by me at every step of the way?”
When you started white-boarding your process, how in-depth was it? How did you start?
George’s Lucidchart map started very simple. He made a square, labeled it “me,” and worked outwards from there, thinking through every process and touchpoint that a rep experiences during this cycle. At every step, he would ask himself, “I’m the rep here. What do I want? What is this for me?” This was the constraint he built his design around, his guiding principle as he mapped the journey.
He quickly realized that once he started doing this, the creativity began flowing over time. Once he started the process of laying out the building blocks, more thoughts, ideas, and nuances would become apparent.
What do you wish you had known when you first started out as a Director of Sales Performance?
For the soccer fans out there, George says that being a sales leader makes him feel like a center midfielder. For everybody else, he says that he is the one who makes sure everybody is slowing down when necessary, ensuring that the proper communication is happening to achieve (or score) the goal. It requires a certain amount of organization. “I didn’t realize how much of that I would be in this role.”
While mapping out the journey, George found himself in touch with all of the departments involved. It started with talking to HR about their onboarding process. After that, he made sure he was on the same page with his national trainer. Before he knew it, he was working with the data team, the KPI team, the engineering team. At every step in his sequence, George realized that the goals of the department and the rep need to be in alignment.
“Another thing was the level of creativity that you require.” There’s no formula for a perfect rep or perfect training. It isn’t a simple math problem with a definitive answer. It’s a creative process of determining what your constraints are and how you and your team can work around them. “It’s being able to determine those things and being creative enough to put the pieces together.”
Now, George knows that his job is to see the big picture, and hold that context for everybody else, making sure that their contributions fit the plan and advocating for the experience. Once he had developed a plan, George was able to approach different divisions and present a clear picture of the vision, which got everybody into alignment.
George also wishes he had known just how impactful it can be when you go from reactive to proactive. He found himself asking people in his company, even those in totally different departments, “how is this going for you? What are the top problems you deal with here?” Proactively seeking to hear from those around him let George make meaningful change.
One thing George did know about going into this role was what it’s like to be a 1099 sales representative. He understands the unique challenges and benefits of the position because he has been there. In fact, his sales experience is part of what makes him so effective at his job now. He knows how impactful it is to speak to people in the context of their own needs and work outward from that. “It's tactfully realizing what the value you're going to be bringing to them will be with your vision, with your process.”
What is a change you’ve made to your training experience that has had a terrific 🕺 or terrible 🤦🏻 result?
We’re all human and nobody can get it right 100% of the time. Often, trying something out is the only way to know whether it works or not, and these “failures” are often teach valuable lessons.
George recounted a story where, early on in his time working as a sales leader, his team saw that managers weren’t really watching videos made for them. Wanting to be proactive and acting on what they observed, George and his team removed managers’ access to those videos that they didn’t seem to be watching anyway. They were quickly informed that a lot of managers were using the videos, but they were sending the video links directly to their reps, a behavior that hadn’t been anticipated.
Sometimes, in an attempt to be proactive, we find ourselves solving the wrong problems. The managers at George’s company weren’t ignoring the videos, they were just using them in a way that they didn’t expect. “So through failure, essentially, we understood we need a way to be able to share videos, make it easier, or maybe eliminate some of these people who we think don't watch it, add the managers to it so that they can have flexibility there.”
What one concept has helped you as a director of sales performance?
“Listen to the rep.”
This line is the clear takeaway from our time speaking with George Garcia. And it makes sense - they are the end user and the one who is actually experiencing all of this. Once you start getting input from your reps, your ability to make proactive, informed decisions will take shape.
“So many times, we’re trying to solve for a problem and we’re not asking what the problem is. ‘This is what I think it should look like.’ But you’ve never gone through this process. You have no idea about this, but you have 100 people that have already gone through this process. What's keeping you from calling them and saying ‘Hey, can you hop on and call 30 minutes to tell me about this?’”
In a way, this is reactivity. When you’re just starting out, reactivity is all that you have. The goal is to gain the ability to be proactive through gathering input and listening actively over time.
“That's a really good book because it kind of goes with what ConveYour does. It's all about these small little nudges, small little things that we're trying to do. Then in sales, it's all about that first door. It's all about being able to wake up in the morning, or whatever the heck it is that these guys are going out there, and going, ‘let's break this down.’ We think it's this huge problem. Let's break it down into this little thing and then say, ‘what happens if we optimize for this?’”
“It kind of helped me on a personal level. It inspires me because it helped me better understand me. Going back to helping understand my process but through the rep. Well, what like what about me? What makes me tick? Who am I? It's helped me kind of be more introspective in a way where I can kind of better understand who I am.
Sometimes in the hustle and bustle, we get so consumed in work or whatever the heck we're doing and we kind of forget, ‘why am I doing this? Is this good for me? Does this make me happy? I've learned a lot from that, and it inspired me because typically you can help anybody go through a journey, or whatever it may be, as long as it's aligned with their happiness. If they're happy and you help them be happy, you're doing the right thing. You're going the right way. That's what has inspired me.”
What questions should a director of sales be asking a rep to identify their onboarding and training needs?
George again draws from his sales experience to navigate this. “What I love about sales is the objective of getting somebody from one point to another and that's the sale.” Some sales people are question-based, others lean on empathy or established processes in order to get their customers from point A to B. Everybody’s method is going to vary because everybody’s strengths are different. “The advice is know yourself. Going back to self-awareness, know what kind of person you are and how you help people get to one place or another. Then be deliberate about it.”
Once the feedback and input start coming in, take the patterns and hunches they give you and verify everything you can with the data you have available. Once you’ve done that, the combination of instinct and verifiable information will give insight to your decision-making. “There has to be some emotion. There has to be some data. Typically, they'll give you an arrow to know where to go next.”
What can a sales rep who comes across this do now to develop skills to get to a place like you are in? What is something that somebody in your role is looking for in a rep?
George’s advice to sales rep above all: patience and curiosity. “As a rep, you have to be very curious and you have to be patient. The more patient, the more curious you are, the more you’re likely to grow.” He also points to reps who not only help management identify problems, but are also curious enough to come up with ideas for solutions as the ones who are most often successful. “You just became the guy telling us what to do! That's very powerful.”
George also pointed to the importance of developing a problem-solving oriented work culture, something he feels that they have accomplished at LGCY Power. “If you change that culture, change that attitude into a problem-solving culture, which I feel like LGCY has done and that's why they are where they are, it changes the dynamic of an organization drastically. It just does.”
Watch Episode 006 of The Rep's Journey 📺
The content from this article was derived from The Reps' Journey, Episode 006. It was compiled and re-worded by Andrew Baldis.
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