How to Add They Ask, You Answer to Your Employee Onboarding (and Why)
By Eric Dunn
Did you know great employee onboarding plans can improve employee retention by 82%?
Alternatively, employees who have a negative onboarding experience are 2x more likely to look for other opportunities.
Great onboarding plans help set up your employees, and your company, for short-term and long-term success.
🔎 Related content: 3 critical components of an effective employee onboarding plan
So what exactly is included in an effective onboarding plan? According to IMPACT’S talent team, it starts with having a strong understanding of the company culture, which, in this case, should include buy-in to inbound marketing. And if your organization follows They Ask, You Answer, that must have a strong presence as well.
Whether your organization is just getting started with implementing the principles of They Ask, You Answer or you’re a few months into the journey, adding this into your employee onboarding education is vital for continued success and buy-in.
To be successful, They Ask, You Answer must be a bedrock of your culture
They Ask, You Answer is a business philosophy, not merely a set of digital marketing tactics. Yes, a lot of the work comes back to marketing, but for it to be truly successful, They Ask, You Answer must be embraced and understood across every team.
“They Ask, You Answer is an approach to communication, company culture, and the way a company sells to their buyers that puts this self-focused way of doing business to bed once and for all.” - Marcus Sheridan, author of They Ask, You Answer and IMPACT partner
It’s a cultural mindset that if we obsess over our buyers’ concerns, worries, fears, and questions, we will truly become the trusted thought leader in our industry; the leader our audience wants to buy from.
Marketing must create content, but sales and services must offer guidance on what to this should be about and then use that content to close deals faster and improve customer experience.
🔎 Related: 5 traits that the most successful They Ask, You Answer companies share
As a foundational piece to your company culture, it’s important for every new employee to fully grasp and buy into the what, how, and why of They Ask, You Answer before they hit the ground running with their day-to-day job.
So how do you get new hires started with their education?
It actually all starts in your pre-onboarding
Pre-onboarding is the time your new employees have between accepting their offer letter and the first day on the job with your organization and it is the perfect opportunity to get your new employee excited, educated, and aligned with your culture, before they ever step foot in your office (virtually or in-person).
Since They Ask, You Answer is a cultural philosophy for your organization, everyone, no matter their new job title, should receive a copy of the book and begin their education during this pre-onboarding time period and be asked to complete it as soon as possible before being fully seated.
This will ensure the entire company has a deep understanding of the principles centered around building trust, education, and obsessing over your buyers.
But what about those rare occasions when a new employee does not put in a two-week notice with a previous employer and they’re able to start right away? Will they realistically have the time to complete a new book before their first day?
These individuals should still get a copy of the book with clear expectations for when to have it completed — along with an opportunity to review a cliff notes style article and overview video titled “What is They Ask, You Answer?”
From accountants to sales reps, here are four specific steps to require every new hire to review before their first official day at your organization.
- Read the book: They Ask, You Answer
- Read the article: “What is They Ask, You Answer?”
- Watch Marcus Sheridan’s keynote presentation on buy-in (40 minutes): “How to make inbound a culture”
- Read the article: “Why trust is the true currency for any business”
While it’s imperative for your entire team to have a keen understanding and knowledge of They Ask, You Answer, it’s even more important that your sales, marketing, customer service, business development, and all customer-facing employees, gradually immerse themselves into the methodology.
With these resources under their belt, they are equipped to get even more engrained as they onboard on their first day. Below we’ll break down what onboarding can look like for sales, marketing, and customer service employees.
Onboarding new sales employees with They Ask, You Answer
It’s important to remember, while They Ask, You Answer may appear to be a marketing initiative because of the attention placed on content creation — it will succeed because of your sales team.
🔎 Related: How the heck does They Ask, You Answer benefit sales?
From their involvement in the content creation and brainstorming process to the enablement of sharing the articles and videos with prospects and customers in every stage of the buying process, aka assignment selling — the sales team’s deep understanding and buy-in is the true key to becoming the trusted thought leader in your industry.
Get them started with three steps to create a strong sense of buy-in right out of the gate.
As new sales hires are diving into the book during pre-onboarding, ask them to focus heavily on part two — “The impact of They Ask, You Answer on sales teams.”
When that is complete, they can complete the following:
1. Take the course in IMPACT+: “Assignment Selling: Content is the Greatest Sales Tool”
Time to complete: 43 minutes
Why this course? Take a deep dive into how your sales team can use content to educate buyers throughout the sales process and close deals faster with assignment selling.
2. Read the article: “4 most costly rookie assignment selling mistakes (and how to fix them)”
Time to complete: 12 minutes
Why this article?: Learn about the importance of great sales emails and tips for how to create world-class subject lines, along with ways to showcase your wins.
3. Read the article: “5 real-life examples of assignment selling in action”
Time to complete: 10 minutes
Why this article? From qualifying a lead for a good fit to aligning a new client’s team, these are first-hand examples you can use to help improve your own assignment selling process.
4. Take the course in IMPACT+: “Fundamentals of the Visual Sale”
Time to complete: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Why this course? Learn how to leverage video to build more trust with prospects and customers.
5. Read the book: The Visual Sale
Time to complete: 2-4 weeks
Why this book? The perfect follow-up to They Ask, You Answer, this how-to book provides sales teams with practical advice, step-by-step instructions, and numerous case studies for how to use video to explode sales and drive revenue.
These steps will take the information shared in They Ask, You Answer and give your sales team more specific, role-oriented applications.
Onboarding new marketing employees with They Ask, You Answer
There are over 3,200 results on IMPACT’s learning center when you search for the term “They Ask, You Answer.” That’s a lot of articles, videos, podcasts, trainings, and videos of Marcus Sheridan to sift through.
In order to help you organize and rank these resources by importance, I have included a collection of educational links to share with new marketing hires at your company. No better place to start than with the two roles every organization embracing They Ask, You Answer should fill within their marketing departments — content manager and videographer.
New content managers onboarding should...
1. Take the course in IMPACT+: Creating Memorable, Money Making Content for Beginners
Time to complete: 32 minutes
Why this course? The way people buy has changed and a new content strategy must evolve with the times. Learn how to create a new content architecture you can use to frame your content strategy, and how to do content the right way in the new age of search.
2. Take the course in IMPACT+: “Your Role as a Content Manager”
Time to complete: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Why this course?: This role will help lead the content marketing efforts that will drive traffic, leads, and sales. Learn what problems a content manager helps solve, how they can get results to prove themselves in their role, and tactical direction for how to feel confident in this new role.
3. Read the article: “Best content manager training resources for digital marketing”
Time to complete: 8 minutes
Why this article? This is a fantastic collection of 15 helpful resources for any new content manager, from a free content calendar template to information on the most effective HubSpot certifications.
4. Read the article: “How to create sales enablement content your sales team will adore”
Time to complete: 8 minutes
Why this article? Learn the 6 critical steps every content manager can take to create content the sales team will want to use throughout the sales process.
New videographers onboarding should...
1. Take the course in IMPACT+: “Video Sales & Marketing Strategy”
Time to complete: One hour
Why this course?: Learn how to make highly effective video content, align your sales team, and develop a strategy that is centered around a common vision.
2. Read the article: “How to earn trust and build rapport quickly as a videographer”
Time to complete: 8 minutes
Why this article? Interviewing is a big part of being a videographer. Learn the tips and tricks of how to build trust with your organization’s subject matter experts from a director of video production.
3. Read the article: “Videographer tips: How to make people comfortable in front of the camera”
Time to complete: 8 minutes
Why this article: More tips directly from video trainers, this article focuses on six specific things every videographer can do to ensure their interview subjects are feeling confident on the other side of the camera.
4. Read the book: The Visual Sale
Time to complete: 2-4 weeks
Why this book? The perfect follow-up to They Ask, You Answer, this how-to book provides videographers with practical advice, step-by-step instructions, and numerous case studies for how to use video to explode sales and drive revenue for your organization.
Similar to the specifics outlined for sales team members, these steps will take the information shared in They Ask, You Answer and advance them with role-specific applications and strategies.
Onboarding new customer service employees with They Ask, You Answer
For all your customer-facing employees who are not directly responsible for closing deals, such as customer service, business development, or actual service providers, here are a few additional resources to get them quickly up to speed.
As front-line employees who communicate with your buyers on a regular basis, it’s important for these new hires to have a strong understanding of what content is available and how to effectively use it to educate customers, address their concerns, or improve their experiences.
Many of them are also likely the subject matter experts your marketing team will be working to get content created, so their support is much needed
In order to do that, during onboarding, service team members should...
1. Read the article: “Why does They Ask, You Answer actually get results?”
Time to complete: 4-8 minutes
Why this article: If there are any lingering questions in your service team’s head about why the methodology works, this will drill it down for them.
2. Take the course in IMPACT+: “6 Topics Subject Matter Experts Need to Address”
Time to complete: 1 hour 11 minutes
Why this course? Get a thorough understanding of the types of things you should be ready to talk about with your marketing team and likely even in normal conversations with clients and customers and how to tackle them with a They Ask, You Answer mindset.
3. Retake the course : “How to Build a Content Strategy in the Digital Age”
Why? This time, after you’re done, make sure to sit down and ponder the questions you get every day from your customers and how they could be solved or addressed through content. Ask yourself how you will change your routines or mindsets to actively listen for these opportunities?
Continuing your new hire’s education with IMPACT+
Now that your new team members have an organized and detailed list of where to get started with their They Ask, You Answer education during their pre-onboarding and onboarding setup, where should they go from here?
As your sales, marketing, customer service, and leadership teams all advance with their digital sales and marketing education, everyone should leverage the online learning community within IMPACT+ to continue their growth.
With new courses and trainings being added every week, virtual peer groups for individual roles and responsibilities, and community forums, IMPACT+ provides a wealth of information for those who are looking to constantly grow and get better.
Wondering where to begin?