What is Sales Readiness?

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Anyone involved in selling knows that the world of sales is changing rapidly. In markets like this, sales reps need resources that can help them keep up with the demands of the modern sales process. That’s why more sales leaders are turning to sales readiness.

Buyers are now much more informed and demanding than those in the past. Competition is still fierce, but today’s competitive threats are evolving and coming from unexpected sources. As a result, deals are more complicated and often take longer to close.

But what is sales readiness?

In this article, we take a closer look at what sales readiness is and why it matters. We’ll detail:

  1. What is Sales Readiness?
  2. What is the Difference Between Sales Readiness and Sales Training?
  3. What is the Difference Between Sales Readiness and Sales Enablement?
  4. Why is Sales Readiness Important?
  5. How Can Sales Leaders Ensure Sales Readiness?

Readers will come away with a clear understanding of why sales readiness has become a critical element in a sales management program.

What Is Sales Readiness?

Sales success requires the salesperson to understand the world in which their prospect lives. Reps need to know the market, the customer, the pain points, and of course, the features and benefits of their products or services.

Sales training gets the seller started with this knowledge, but it only goes so far. In today’s competitive marketplace, selling success means the rep must have the skills and confidence to proactively respond to whatever is happening in the sales moment.

Creating that type of responsiveness requires a sales readiness program.

Unlike one-and-done training programs, sales readiness is an ongoing set of resources that include three elements: agile learning, agile content, and agile collaboration. Together, these elements drive measurable behavior change and provide the seller with the confidence to move their prospect through the buyer’s journey.

Instead of only collaborating through formally scheduled training sessions or conference calls, a sales readiness program creates and delivers content in the immediate and dynamic channels that sellers use in their daily lives, including asynchronous video, peer-to-peer feedback, customized content, and video sharing.

When sales readiness content is timely and customized, it gives sellers the confidence they need to “hit what’s pitched” in any selling situation.

What Is the Difference Between Sales Readiness and Sales Training?

Many sales organizations see sales training and sales readiness as the same thing; give the salespeople what they need to know and have them get out and sell.

While it’s true that both sales training and sales enablement support the same goal—closing the sale—the information, skills, and content that gets shared in sales readiness is very different from sales training.

Sales Training creates a foundation of knowledge for sales reps. A good training program will cover the industry, then delve into customer’s pain points, specific features and benefits of their product or service, and how to sell into this ecosystem. Good sales training is done on an ongoing basis and includes metrics to ensure it is effective.

On the other hand, sales readiness is a more agile form of learning that ensures reps are ready to face the more unpredictable moments that are part of any sales process.

Rather than presenting content in one training session, sales readiness uses modern forms of communication to ensure the salespeople have the information they need precisely when they need it.

That means making highly customized training, coaching, and knowledge available to reps on-demand.

For example, a manager has a seller that has gone through the training but still struggles with closing the sale. The manager can create a video of successful closing techniques and share them with the seller. The seller can then record themselves using these closing techniques and share that video with their manager for feedback.

The seller can review the video in their moment of need—right before they get in front of the customer.

What Is the Difference Between Sales Readiness and Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement programs are a critical function of a successful sales organization. But sales enablement should not be confused with sales readiness. These functions are different, but they can improve results for sellers and the organization when used together.

Sales enablement is the ongoing process of maximizing the revenue of each rep by ensuring sellers convey the correct concept using the right content throughout each stage of the buying process. Sales enablement tactics must be integrated, driven by a unified strategy, and driven by sales enablement technology.

Sales enablement encompasses sales readiness as well as sales content management, product launches, coaching, and virtual selling. It gives reps a platform on which to sell. Sales readiness launches the representative from that platform by preparing them for real-world selling situations.

Sales readiness employs a range of learning and coaching tools. The agility of these processes enables organizations to support salespeople and their buyers with an ongoing stream of system-curated information that leverages the organization’s collective knowledge.

Sales readiness means reps have ongoing access to the content they need to address their unique strengths and weaknesses, including training videos, best practice videos, and reinforcement exercises. This lets the rep spend more time with specific subject matter they struggle with, enabling them to improve, and less time on the areas they already excel in.

Top sellers and subject matter experts can also create sales readiness resources to enhance a seller’s specific learning path.

A top seller can create a short video on how she successfully handled a difficult objection. Management reviews the video and adds it to the appropriate learning path based on individual competencies, roles, and geographic location.

The best approaches to sales readiness incorporate all three of these elements of agile learning, agile content, and agile collaboration to produce compelling ROI for sales organizations.

Why Is Sales Readiness Important?

Sales readiness is a critical part of any organization that cares about how salespeople represent the product, the company, and themselves. In short, it’s not just about making the number; it’s about how salespeople execute the sales strategy on a daily basis.

Many organizations still rely on sales training as the primary way for salespeople to learn. But training only gets an organization so far. Ask any sales manager, and they will tell you how about a rep that was stellar in training but could not translate their in-class knowledge into real-world selling situations.

Instead of relying on just training, these organizations need sales readiness. Using bite-size content, regular updates, and ongoing assessments ensures reps are on message and effectively representing the product—and your organization.

This sales readiness could include having reps create bite-size best practice videos of themselves in different selling situations. These situations can include sales pitches, demos, cold calls, objection handling, and closing techniques—whatever the salesperson needs to develop.
Reps can share these videos with their manager and even with the broader sales team for feedback. Once the seller has input, they can practice again on a new video and further refine their message before the customer conversations.

Sales managers can also use sales readiness as a fast way to get new information out to their teams and ensure they can effectively present it.

Instead of waiting for their regular meetings or training session, sales managers can use sales readiness to share new product details, positioning, or strategies. Once these new messages are shared, the reps can record a video of themselves presenting the updated information, share it with their managers, and keep doing it until they get it right.

This ongoing feedback loop is what makes sales readiness such a vital part of the selling process.
By supporting a more educated and proficient seller, the sales readiness program also benefits the organization. The rep is the face of your company, so having a knowledgeable, engaged seller who effectively communicates with the prospect enhances your company’s reputation.
Finally, ensuring reps can effectively relate your key product messaging improves customer engagement and, ultimately, sales.

How Can Sales Teams Ensure Sales Readiness?

A sales readiness program empowers members of your sales team with access to the knowledge and best practices they need to provide the right information to the right prospect at exactly the right time.

Empowering reps with this knowledge is not just valuable to your customers; it can also benefit the rest of the sales team.

Reps on the front lines with prospects every day acquire experience and wisdom that make them a vital resource for other sales reps. Most sellers will tell you that other sellers are their most influential resource.

A sales readiness program taps into that peer-to-peer knowledge and enables sales teams to share this critical feedback proactively. So, rather than wait for a formal meeting or face-to-face coaching session, the sales readiness platform becomes an important channel for sharing peer-to-peer experiences as they happen.

Reps can share presentation best practices, competitive intel, and objection handling so other reps can emulate those winning pitches in the field.

Let’s say a salesperson has a meeting with a prospect they have been nurturing for a while. At the meeting, the salesperson delivers a presentation that has new messaging and product details. The presentation is well received, but the customer still asks pointed questions about the competition. The rep was prepared, able to respond to the questions, and satisfy the customer.

Right after the meeting, the rep can record a quick video describing the whole session. This video summary can include how prospects received the presentation, what points resonated with the customer, questions about the competition, and answers that satisfied the prospect.

The information in this video summary is vital for other salespeople.  They can learn from their colleague’s experience and use this video to prepare for their own sales presentations right before they happen.

This type of dynamic learning is what sales readiness is all about.

Learn More

To learn how to accelerate your results with sales readiness, download How Agile Approaches to Sales Readiness Boost Performance.

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