There’s no denying that the world of sales is becoming more competitive year over year. Customers and prospects alike expect a personal and unique experience from every sales rep they work with. And, at the end of the day, the organizations that deliver exceptional, high-quality interactions are the ones that win. So, how can sales teams ensure their reps have what it takes to impress buyers time and time again? With sales readiness, that’s how.
What is sales readiness?
So, what is sales readiness exactly? According to Forrester, sales readiness is the ability to “equip salespeople with the knowledge and skills required to have the conversations needed throughout a buyer’s journey—and assessing whether, and certifying that, a rep can do just that.”
Simply put, sales readiness means that your reps are ready to do their jobs. Sales reps have a lot of information to consume, skills to perfect, and deals to manage. That’s why sales readiness includes important elements like skills assessments, ongoing enablement, training, and coaching.
The difference between readiness and sales training
At first glance, sales training and sales readiness may appear to mean the exact same thing, but, they have important distinctions.
Sales training is a foundational step of sales readiness, and the best sales training equips sellers with the information they need to know for their jobs. This includes knowledge about your company’s products, services, goals, and metrics. And while sales training is a key component of sales readiness, that’s not all it is. Because sales readiness is about making sure your sellers are prepared for conversations throughout the entire sales process, it’s important for organizations to include other sales readiness tactics, like practice and coaching, in addition to their sales training methods.
Sales readiness vs. sales enablement
Sales readiness is similar to sales enablement, but they are not the same. While both functions focus on empowering sellers to go to market effectively, their areas of involvement in the sales process tend to differ.
Sales enablement focuses on the resources at your sellers’ disposal. It removes barriers for sales teams by giving them the access to the content and tools they need to improve their performance and productivity. Sales readiness focuses more heavily on the sellers. Readiness ensures that your team is equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to sell, rather than the content shared throughout the sales cycle. Both sales enablement and sales readiness are vital components of a well-rounded sales team.
The evolution of sales readiness
Some of the common challenges in enablement and readiness programs are scattered content, outdated content, and sales training that isn’t targeted. When organizations experience these pain points, sellers may struggle to find the content or disengage during sales training. In fact, studies show that if reps don’t quickly apply newly learned information, they’ll forget 75% of it after just six days. Old-school enablement isn’t engaging or unique to each seller’s strengths and weaknesses, which leaves reps wanting and needing more.
The good news is there’s a better way. We’ve found that the best teams create a sales-ready workforce by combining continuous training, intentional practice, purposeful coaching, and accountability for everyone involved. This powerhouse combination gives sales reps the support they need to navigate the sales cycle and close bigger deals. Additionally, organizations that invest in sales readiness are better equipped to tap into data to make more informed decisions, create flexible sales training programs that scale, and ultimately measure effectiveness in every single aspect of their sales operations.
How to improve performance with sales readiness tools
Sales readiness is multifaceted and complex, especially if your organization doesn’t have a scalable, repeatable way to deliver personalized coaching. This is where a sales readiness platform is beneficial. Sales readiness tools help organizations provide onboarding and continuous training, identify skill and knowledge gaps, and deliver seller specific coaching. If you’re in the market for sales readiness software, we suggest implementing a tool that has these capabilities:
Whether we like it or not, our attention spans are shrinking and our desire for bite-sized information (like TLDRs, tweets, and texts) is growing. So, it only makes sense to train salespeople with this universal desire for consistency and quick access to information in mind.
Microlearning is an approach to training that’s all about learners absorbing and retaining information in small doses. This could look like a 10-minute lesson with a short quiz as opposed to a long-form assessment after a weeklong training course. It could also be a 2-minute training video instead one that lasts for 40 minutes. It could be practicing one mock phone call a day in an online sales training platform instead of pulling reps into in-person training and role-play meetings. Microlearning takes a lot of information, and breaks it up into more manageable, engaging, understandable pieces.
The best sales readiness tools are also accessible at a salesperson’s beck and call, right in their moment of need. The ability to access training and practice scenarios on-demand and get fast feedback all in one simple sales training software tool is game changing for both new and seasoned sales reps. Sales readiness platforms also make it easy for sales reps to access training when it’s right for them. So, whether they’re in the office, on the road, or at home, they have the opportunity to become sales ready when they’re ready. Don’t forget, accessibility also means that the right sales readiness platform is just as easy for sales leaders and trainers to use, customize, and edit at scale.
As we touched on in the accessibility section, feedback loops are a key piece of the sales readiness process. Without insights and best practices from more experienced sellers, how can newer folks ramp up and sell better, too? That’s why sales readiness relies on practicing essential skills and deepening each rep’s knowledge of the product they’re selling. That way, when it’s time to talk with prospects, reps can sell and upsell with confidence, accuracy, and poise.
Without sales coaching, sales teams can only go so far. A simple way to keep feedback loops open, especially in a remote environment, is with sales readiness software that provides on-demand practice phone calls, video, email, and more so reps can refine what they feel needs work and simply send it off for review to managers or more tenured reps.
Integrations and analytics
Sales is complex, which means your sales tech stack is probably just as complex. When it comes to choosing the right sales readiness software and partner, it’s crucial to pick a solution that integrates with the other tools your sales team uses. Integrating your sales readiness tool with other sales enablement apps gives your reps a seamless workflow that enables them to do their best work, which increases the chances of team adoption and engagement.
At the end of the day, how will you know that your sales readiness efforts are working? How will you know what areas need additional support or improvement? Look for a platform that delivers comprehensive data around how often content is accessed, what certifications your reps are working towards or completed, and how your team is performing all around.
Getting started with a sales readiness checklist
Sales readiness should be a top priority for your sales team, so we’ve put together a sales readiness checklist to ensure your organization has everything you need to get started.
- A sales onboarding program: Sales onboarding is an intrinsic part of overall readiness. Create a sales onboarding program that gets new hires up to speed and equips them with the information and skills they need to hit performance goals as soon as possible.
- Clear enablement strategy and process: At the end of the day, your sellers can only be as good as the resources you provide them. Go over your current enablement strategy and address any inadequacies you may find in your system. The easier it is for a seller to get their hands on a necessary resource, the faster they can make their next sale.
- Well-defined sales goals and metrics: One of the most useful resources in any industry is a clear and timely goal. Establishing specific targets and standards can let a seller know how well they’re doing, and in what areas they may be falling behind.
- Sales content: Look over the enablement materials and content that your sellers regularly send out to buyers. Search for opportunities to make that content more easily available to your sellers and streamlined enough to keep a sales conversation moving.
- Access to ongoing training and coaching: Throughout their careers, your sellers will need additional training on new information, best practices, and new skills. A sales training system gives your sellers on demand access to training content when and where they need it. Then, by reinforcing training with a strong sales coaching program you’ll unlock even more potential in your team.
How Seismic can help
Sales teams move fast and sales readiness should too. The rapid speed of business and ever-changing buyer expectations means that every organization needs to adopt the right sales readiness tools. Empower your sellers with the right skills, training, content, and insights so they’re ready for any interaction with the Seismic Enablement Cloud™. Get a demo here.