Summertime means barbeques, trips to the beach or the lake, and the kids getting a break from school. If you’re lucky, it also means you have some extra help around the office—summer interns! If you’ve ever been responsible for assigning tasks to summer interns, you know there’s a few phases you might go through. First, you’re not sure what they can handle and hesitate on what to pass off to them. Once you have a sense of what they can do, there’s a period of rapid-fire delegation: you hand them all the “important but not urgent” projects that have been piling up. If they’re really capable, you might even find yourself in the position of proactively searching for new tasks for them to tackle.
If you’ve reached that point in the summer and are looking for some ideas to keep your sales interns busy, consider these initiatives.
1. Competitive ResearchIt’s not easy to keep an up-to-date list of the competitors in your space with all the other priorities clamoring for your attention. Work with your intern to develop or update a template for recording competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, significant customer logos, and online presence.
2. Account Profile DevelopmentWhether it’s a current customer or a high-value prospect, it can be helpful to have research on key accounts. Interns can search online for recent news or changes and build out the organizational chart. You might also have them talk to the account managers to identify and record any characteristics that make this organization such a high-value account.
3. Best Practice RepositoryBest practices are everywhere—that’s the problem. There’s always room to add to the bank of sales tactics and improve organization. At a minimum, you could ask your sellers to forward all emails, stories, and successes to your intern so they can be catalogued. Depending on the level of understanding of the intern, they could also conduct a survey to proactively source additional best practices from your reps.
4. Sales Tools AnalysisHave you ever followed up six months or a year after implementing a new tool, only to find out few salespeople are actually using it? This is a good opportunity to do a bit of analysis. Work with your intern to develop a profile of each tool you’ve invested in, and have them write up a report on usage, what the team likes and dislikes, and a brief summary of the ROI (qualitative or quantitative, depending on the kind of data accessible).
5. Compensation and Incentive ResearchThere’s a lot of information on the Internet about salaries, benefits, and commission. In all likelihood, the average job seeker has a lot more time and energy to devote to studying this than you do. An intern can easily compare your job postings to those at other companies and collect information on compensation to report back to you.
Each of these projects has the benefit of allowing your intern to work independently (once you’ve gotten them started in the right direction), uncovering results and conclusions that will be useful for your organization, and providing a great learning experience for an intern who may someday become a salesperson—a great value for your interns and your business!