There’s no denying that the world of sales is becoming increasingly 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?
But what is sales readiness exactly? Is it the same thing as sales training or sales enablement? While the term is a newer addition to our sales dictionaries, Forrester describes sales readiness as 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, training and certification, practicing, and coaching. And while all of these components seem like a daunting initiative, more organizations are turning to sales readiness tools to help them refine sales skills, improve consistency, and maximize outcomes for their team.
The evolution of sales readiness
If you look at a typical sales training program, the process often includes cumbersome sales training decks, long-winded in-person training sessions, and elaborate sales kickoff events. But let’s call a spade a spade—this format isn’t effective anymore. Training isn’t exciting, and reps quickly forget what they learned. In fact, studies show that if we don’t quickly apply newly learned information, we’ll forget 75% of it after just six days. Old-school training isn’t engaging or unique to each seller’s strengths and weaknesses, which leaves reps wanting and needing more. So, if reps leave training sessions without applying new knowledge or the ability to revisit unique training materials in real-time, the program is essentially ineffective for everyone involved.
The good news is that there’s a better way. We’ve found that the best teams create a sales-ready workforce by combining continuous and easily-accessible 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. In fact, The Aberdeen Group actually found that companies with successful sales enablement and sales training programs have 32% higher sales team quota attainment, 24% better individual rep quota attainment, and 23% higher lead conversion rates. If that doesn’t encourage you to embrace sales readiness, then consider this: Organizations that invest in sales readiness tools can also 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
Now that you have a better understanding of what sales readiness is and how it’s evolved, let’s take a look at the strategy and simplicity sales enablement tools provide. As we established above, sales readiness is multifaceted and complicated. That’s why we’re here—to help you understand and make informed decisions around sales readiness. If you’re in the market for sales readiness software, we suggest implementing a tool that has these functionalities:
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.
Feedback and coaching
As we touched on in the Accessibility section above, 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 on the product they’re selling. That way, when it’s time to actually talk with prospects and be out in the market, reps can sell and upsell with confidence, accuracy, and poise.
Without feedback, 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.
So in summary, sales readiness improves performance because it enables sales leaders to roll out change at scale and ensure every rep—whether there are 5 or 5,000 of them on that team—to be confident about new verbiage, product updates, upcoming campaigns, and so much more. And all of this is only simplified with sales training software.
Getting started with a sales readiness platform
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 platform that will empower reps to deliver outstanding experiences that result in real growth. So, are your sales reps ready to chat with prospects, deliver stellar demos, and close more deals?
If you’re ready to get started on the path to improved sales readiness, we can help. See how our sales training software can help your team create a winning sales training and coaching strategy here. Or, click here to see how our sales enablement solution maximizes the impact of your sales team.