The program prepares participants for a successful career, not just a job.
A career in sales is an exciting option for recent grads and career changers, but building a successful one can be challenging. That’s why sales training programs are so important. At United Rentals, future sales leaders get a leg up from one of the best sales training programs in the industry. And it’s a program that may lead to an outside sales representative position with the company.
Once accepted into Sales Development Program, sales associates are paid a competitive salary to be trained. They follow a highly structured development path designed to familiarize them with all of United Rentals’ offerings and teach them the skills needed to sell to the company’s customer base.
“You're joining a Fortune 500 company that wants to make sure you're armed and ready to be successful,” said Jeffrey Cummings, director of sales development at United Rentals. “We know that this doesn't happen overnight. We want to make sure we create a foundation and a platform that people can build on to be successful.”
During the six-month program, participants learn about 4 distinct pillars: Equipment & Industry, Sales Tools, Sales Methodology, and Sales Strategy.
These include products, branch operations and sales processes, and master technology tools like Salesforce.com customer relationship management (CRM). They also learn to hone their persuasive selling skills.
Grooming employees for success
People are United Rentals’ biggest asset. The company created the sales training program to give new members of their sales team the tools they need to thrive.
“When you’re looking for a job or looking for a career, you want to go to a company where you feel supported, where you feel like you're going to be able to learn and develop.”
“When you’re looking for a job or looking for a career, you want to go to a company where you feel supported, where you feel like you're going to be able to learn and develop,” said Elizabeth Stephens, a graduate whose talent and enthusiasm for the program ultimately led her to become a recruiter with United Rentals.
“A lot of people I speak with have been thrown into sales positions without sufficient training, and that causes frustration,” said Stephens. “United Rentals really does want you to succeed. They want to promote you. They want to see you grow.”
Learn sales by doing
Program participants spend the first month working in one of United Rentals’ 1200+ branch locations. In month two they join a remote, instructor-led onboarding class, where they meet their peers. Starting in the third month, they begin making outbound customer calls and take part in peer-to-peer group activities, coaching sessions and sales challenges. To stay grounded in the business, they work one day a week at a local branch.
“You’re not learning from books. You’re not learning from someone telling you stuff,” said sales associate Jeff S. “The vendors will actually come and you can get in the equipment and actually drive the equipment around. It makes it more fun—you’re learning in a fun way, which makes it easier to learn.”
In the fifth month, participants are invited to one of the company’s sales development facilities for an intense, four-day interview where they showcase their passion for sales as their skills are tested. Graduation to an outside sales representative position typically happens soon after that.
A big benefit for participants is the professional relationships that develop during training. The program averages about 100 trainees at a time, and trainees get to know each other virtually and in person. They start off their careers with a powerful, nationwide network of support.
“This is more of a career, not just a job. When we speak with college students, they're often looking for that first job, when in reality they should be looking for longevity and opportunities to continue growing with a company where can they really make a home, where can they fit in with the culture.”
The sky is the limit
After graduating to sales positions, many employees continue to advance their careers by moving into specialty sales roles and branch manager positions which can lead to other career options within the company. An outside sales representative role is the perfect destination position for some. Others may go on to pursue strategic account manager or national account manager roles. Still others might gravitate toward the sales management side of the business, moving into branch manager roles, which can lead all the way to district manager and district sales manager positions.
“This is more of a career, not just a job,” said Krystal Donohue, recruitment manager at United Rentals. “When we speak with college students, they're often looking for that first job, when in reality they should be looking for longevity and opportunities to continue growing with a company where can they really make a home, where can they fit in with the culture.”
United Rentals, named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Large Employers in 2022, offers a culture that puts people first and sets them up for success.
“We want to make sure we leverage our tools and our people and our resources so we all get better,” said Cummings. “That’s one of the main things we try to do and it’s amazing to see how that’s taking off in the program.”