If we are being totally honest, onboarding a new hire (no matter how great they are) is never fun. While essential to that individual’s success, it requires additional time, energy, and resources that no sales manager has in their day. The good news is, there is a way to streamline the onboarding and training process so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with each new hire.
Enter: The Asset Package.
An asset package is a collection of helpful materials that are specific to the targets that your sales development reps are going after. It is the resources your team needs in order to focus their efforts, get to know their prospects, and quickly educate themselves on how to best attack the vertical. Armed with the right information, your sales development reps can be mini-experts on a particular target in just a few days—and, the more narrowly focused your target is, the easier this will be to achieve.
The best part about the asset package, it’s fluid enough to adjust and populate with new market insights but structured enough that replicating it as you expand into different segments takes no time at all.
Looks like onboarding just got a bit easier.
And, in the spirit of making life a bit easier, we have pulled together the pieces you need in order to make the ultimate asset package for your new and existing hires:
1) Buyer Profile Guide
Similar to a buyer persona, the buyer profile guide should contain key information about the prospects that you are targeting such as their:
- Buying role/influence
- Job function
- Years on the job
- Business drivers/KPIs
- Reporting structure
- Buying criteria
Because there are usually multiple buyers and roles involved with the buying process, you will typically have at least two or three buyer profiles in each target market segment. All of this information can be gathered from interviewing customers and internal employees, including sales reps, executives, and marketing colleagues. You can also gather a lot of this information by doing online research using tools like LinkedIn, and digging through call notes in your CRM system.
2) Conversation Guide
Similar to a script, a conversation guide provides your reps with the right messaging as well as a series of questions, pain points, and talking points they can draw on during calls with prospects. Each buyer profile should have a slightly different conversation guide based on their specific role and pain points. The flow of a conversation guide typically looks like this:
Identify that you have the right person and that he/she has time to speak.
Ex: “Hi Bob, this is Stacy. Did I catch you at a good time?”
Explain the reason for your call by mentioning how clients that are similar to the prospect are benefiting from your product and articulating a brief value proposition.
Ex: “I’m calling from [insert company name]. We are currently working with Pier 1 Imports and Whole Foods to help them manage campaigns and content across social networks. They’ve been able to increase audience engagement and conversion by 150%.”
Describe two or three pain points relevant to your product that the buyer profile would typically experience.
Ex: “Typically, when I speak with social media marketers like yourself, they usually tell me their major challenges are: 1) tracking social media ROI; 2) tracking content shared across social networks; 3) tracking conversions back to social media influencers. Do any of those sound familiar?”
Empathize and probe more on the pain you identified in the last step to gather the key qualifying information.
Ex: “I understand. Is there a specific example you can refer to? How long has that been a problem? How many social media campaigns are you typically running that the problem would affect? Which social networks are you most active on? What have you tried so far to solve this problem? What will happen if you don’t solve it?”
Reiterate pains back to the prospect and transition to the next step.
Ex: “Based on what you’re telling me, it sounds like you are facing some challenges around measuring social media ROI that are preventing you from justifying additional budget for social media campaigns. Is that correct? In that case, do you think you would be open to a call with one of our Social Marketing Consultants [substitute name of a sales rep in your company] to see if we can help?”
Set up the meeting and collect any additional qualifying information.
Ex: “Next Tuesday at 2pm should work. While I’ve got you on the phone, just so we don’t waste any of your time on the call next week, would you mind sharing how many people in your marketing team are involved with social media? What other applications are you already using to track your social media campaigns?”
Like a script, the conversation guide provides a good framework for a discussion. But remember — it is intended to be modified to fit each rep’s personal style. You don’t want them sounding like robots on the phone.
3) Email Series
In addition to the conversation guide, your asset package should include a series of email templates in which each buyer profile within your targeted campaign has an email series based on the specific pain points commonly associated with that profile.
Each email series should align with the outreach process you’ve laid out for the segment or for the specific campaign. If the process calls for three phone calls and three emails, each of your email series should include three emails. To keep the content fresh you can focus on one pain point per email. If you’ve done a good job developing your buyer profiles you should have some good content to work with.
Like the conversation guide, you should encourage reps to slightly modify the emails where customization is warranted.
4) Customer Examples
Along with buyer profiles, it’s helpful to provide a few specific examples of current customers and contacts that fit each of the buyer profiles in the segment. You should also make sure those customers have agreed to be references so that you can leverage them on the calls. Information that is helpful to include in a customer example includes:
- Who was the buyer, and was it a committee decision?
- Who was the champion?
- How did this deal originate?
- What did the buying process look like?
- What objections came up along the way?
- What pains did this solution address?
- What was the customer’s “Ah-ha!” moment?
- What other competitors were being explored?
- Why did the company ultimately win?
- What did the implementation process look like?
- What has been the success/feedback post-implementation?
5) Objections and FAQs
Even if you have never sold to a specific market segment before, it’s likely you will be able to anticipate what some of the prospects’ objections and questions will be. In most cases, someone on your sales team has probably already spoken with a few prospects in the new segment you are targeting. Try to put together at least the top five objections and top five FAQs to help your lead generation reps anticipate what might come up.
6) Key Competitors
Your asset package should only include the competitors that are most relevant to the specific campaign or market segment that you are targeting. In many cases, a competitor with a lot of market share in one market segment will have a much smaller presence in other market segments. Breaking down your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the target of your asset package is extremely important.
7) Industry Blogs, Publications
Finally, you will want to give your lead generation team a list of blogs, publications, associations, and LinkedIn groups to read and join so that they can start connecting with prospects and gathering insights that their prospects would be interested in.
Importantly, just because you complete your first asset package and roll it out to the team, that doesn’t mean you’re done. The asset package should be a living document that you and your team refer back to and update regularly as you gain insights about a market segment. When done well, this will be one of the most important documents that you can provide a new lead generation rep, and it will be an essential tool in allowing you to scale your team as you hire more reps and expand into new market segments.
Photo by: OZinOH