Stop Making This Mistake in the Sales Onboarding Process

onboarding process
New sales reps desperately need deep insights into their buyers. Make sure this is built into your onboarding process.

You work for a fast growing company and have an aggressive number to hit this year. The only way to achieve your goal is to hire more inside sales reps. But how do you implement an effective onboarding process so new reps are ready to get on the phone with prospects, and fast?

Jill Konrath, globally recognized sales acceleration expert and bestselling author, shared her thoughts on one of the most overlooked areas in the sales onboarding process — a deep understanding of the buyer.

“Unfortunately most companies spend too much time telling reps about their products and services, which turns salespeople into talkers who create objections when they are talking to prospects,” said Jill.

Jill noted that while product training is important, what is often overlooked in the sales onboarding process is the importance of arming reps with a deep understanding of the buyer. “This understanding should help them have more intelligent conversations with prospects in order to move someone off the status quo, into changing, and doing something with your organization,” she said.

So what does this look like? Jill breaks it down into two main components (1) an understanding of the client’s status quo and (2) an understanding of the individual’s responsibilities, goals, and objectives.

What is the status quo?

Customers are getting by without your product or service today. What scenarios are your reps likely to run into when they are prospecting? What tools can you give them?

Jill recommends first identifying the different ways customers are “getting by” so you can better prepare your reps on how to talk to each scenario. Next role play with your reps. Run through various scenarios they can expect. If you run into someone who is “getting by” in this way, it is highly likely they will be facing these issues and challenges. If there goals are to drive more sales or increase their operational efficiency, they probably aren’t going to be able to do it.

What is the buyer’s goals and objectives?

Once you understand the status quo and issues that are cropping up as a result, you then need to understand the buyer’s goals and objectives, notes Jill.

“Each buyer holds a position like VP of Marketing, or Director of IT, and each position has certain feelings about the change you are proposing,” said Jill. In order to know how to talk to each individual you need to know their goals and objectives deeply, which means an understanding of their responsibilities, how they are being measured, what strategic initiatives they have underway, and common issues and challenges they will be running into whether it is internal or external to your organization.

People are only willing to change if there are issues, so it is important for you to prepare your reps in the onboarding process to have productive conversations with sales prospects.

STOP putting reps on the phone and asking them to push product.
START preparing them to have meaningful dialogue with prospects that helps pave the way to a long-term consultative relationship.

For the full seven step program to increase new hire productivity, download the guide written by Jill Konrath – Accelerate Sales Onboarding.


Alyssa headshot Alyssa Trenkamp is the director of marketing communications ? at Velocify and a 15 year veteran in the enterprise technology sector. Prior to Velocify, Alyssa spent nearly a decade as a marketing and public relations consultant for Microsoft. Alyssa holds a BA in Journalism from Western Washington University.

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