A coach would never send a rookie player to the field without practicing team drills and scrimmages.

Similarly, you wouldn’t wait until after sales onboarding, when your reps are already on the playing field, to assess their ability to handle key components of customer conversations.

At that point, you’re one step forward and two steps back.

Sales certification should play a critical role in the onboarding process, and modern learning tools empower sales enablement and training professionals to personalize reps’ path to getting certified.

Three essential skill areas pave the way for new employees to build sales certifications around:

1. Demonstrating a solution

When a new hire delivers company messaging, can they clearly articulate the mission statement? How well do they grasp the buyer’s experience? How well do they understand the buyer’s industry and demonstrate the value of the company’s solution?

Requiring that reps submit sales certifications during onboarding provides you with answers to these and other key questions before new reps get in front of customers. Before certification, lead them through examples and show them what “good” looks like by giving them access to libraries of short video clips featuring top sales performers in your organization demonstrating how they do it.

2. Storytelling

An endorsement from a satisfied customer goes a long way. In fact, sales reps should be able to confidently articulate customer success stories to new potential buyers and demonstrate the value they derived from a specific solution. Mentioning that a customer has stayed committed to your product for many years can also help drive a new sale.

Ask new sales reps to submit a video of themselves explaining two or three customers’ business problems, the impact your solution had, and the ROI the customers realized. From there, evaluate and post comments on key moments throughout the videos to drive new hire engagement through early 1:1 manager-rep interactions during sales onboarding.

3. Navigating sales objections

Once your new hires submit their videos demonstrating their ability to present your solution, surprise them with a video scenario of an objection to which they need to respond.

How do they react? Are they prepared? Do they remain calm? Do they back up their answers with customer anecdotes or examples?

Share the best of these submission videos with the wider team to promote peer-to-peer learning and friendly competition. From there, curate and publish them to a best-practices channel for all reps to review throughout their onboarding and beyond.

Sales learning and coaching platforms expand the number of ways sales trainees learn, practice and submit sales certifications at their own pace over the course of onboarding and ultimately help shape new employees into well-seasoned reps.

A version of this post was originally published on the Allego Blog. You can read the original post here.