As the economy continues showing all the signs of an impending recession, sales leaders have begun looking for ways to recession-proof their teams. Many leaders have looked to sales enablement, creating programs to help reps succeed. Sales enablement provides reps with the tools they need to close deals, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those tools result in sales. While 61% of organizations have implemented sales enablement, only 34% feel that it meets their expectations. So, what exactly is missing from these enablement strategies? Two words: sales readiness. With sales readiness, you can empower your reps to wow buyers, feel confident in their selling skills, and win deals.
What is Sales Readiness?
Sales readiness describes a rep’s ability to close deals effectively — or, as the name implies, how ready they are to perform their jobs. It encompasses a rep’s capacity to translate enablement tools, training, sales coaching, and more into real, applicable sales skills. Sales reps demonstrate sales readiness when they utilize their skills and knowledge to have effective conversations with buyers throughout the sales cycle.
As you begin preparing your sales team for the recession, how can you ensure that they’re prepared to properly utilize all the sales tools you’ve provided? Read on for our best tips to increase your team’s sales readiness.
1. Assess Your Sales Force’s Strengths and Weaknesses
To begin improving your team’s current sales readiness, determine their areas of strength and weakness through sales performance data. Harnessing sales enablement tech provides you with key data points, such as win rates, lead-to-close ratios, sales efficiency, and more. You can then analyze this data both on the individual level and across the entire team to pinpoint areas in need of improvement.
For example, say that sales team performance data shows that one of your reps has been consistently seeing low engagement metrics when it comes to their email outreach. The recipients are opening the rep’s emails but aren’t clicking, opening attachments, or replying back. After discussing the performance data with the rep, you find that the information within their emails isn’t engaging enough and isn’t personalized to explain how your service offering solves the buyer’s unique pain points. Therefore, any potential interest the rep might have captured is actually being lost. Additional sales training is necessary to teach the rep how to engage buyers via email at all stages of the sales cycle to enhance their sales readiness.
2. Offer Expert Sales Training and Coaching to Increase Sales Readiness
Sales training helps your team improve their ability to address the prospect’s most relevant pain points and ensure they provide the most impactful, relevant content. By hiring an outsourced sales consulting firm to train reps, consultants pass along expert sales advice that targets the key areas of improvement your team needs to boost their sales readiness. Consultants can also offer personalized sales coaching that trains reps on best practices to ensure that you have a sales-ready workforce.
For instance, say you hire a sales consulting firm to enhance your team’s negotiation skills. Throughout the training, consultants determine that several of your reps struggle to negotiate deals that maximize profits, and they often settle for a price that’s well below their asking point. Through personalized sales coaching, reps can learn best practices that enable them to arrive at sales meetings ready to negotiate a firm, valuable, and fair offer. Your reps now have added confidence and skills to ensure they close deals that generate a high profit, and avoid accepting deals that are below their walk-away price.
3. Create Sales Playbooks to Ensure Your Team is Ready for any Sales Situation
A sales playbook greatly enhances your rep’s sales readiness, since they can arrive at sales meetings prepared to face any situation. Sales playbooks describe your sales process and methodology, along with defining best practices in a wide range of situations. This ensures that reps always know how to best respond to buyers. The sales playbook should offer a single source of truth for reps to refer back to throughout the sales cycle. A high-quality sales playbook also includes:
- A customer analysis describing your target market and ideal customer
- A description of your company’s value proposition
- A competitive analysis of how your competition positions themselves
- Instructions on how to address and counter common buyer objections
A high-quality playbook maps your sales process to every step of the buyer’s journey, from lead generation through to buyer objections during negotiations. When reps can routinely refer back to the sales playbook, they’re able to remain prepared for every stage of the buyer’s journey.
4. Enrich the Onboarding Process with Asynchronous Videos
Throughout the onboarding process, it’s crucial to ensure that reps feel ready to approach buyers with the confidence, knowledge, and skills needed to engage buyers and close sales. Capturing new hires’ attention and maintaining it throughout training is key — which is why asynchronous videos are so effective. Asynchronous video training offers short, educational videos for reps to view on their own time. This way, each rep learns at their own pace. Reps can then easily refer back to the videos later to keep training information top-of-mind. They may even decide to watch the videos before each sales meeting to refresh their memory and further enhance their sales readiness.
For instance, say that a new hire finishes their onboarding process and begins speaking with prospects on their own. A few months in, the new hire realizes before a sales meeting that they don’t feel incredibly confident about best practices for conducting first-time product demos. To ensure they feel adequately prepared, the rep rewatches a few training videos on conducting product demos. The rep then enters their next meeting confidently, fully prepared and ready to present the product. This example proves that asynchronous video training allows reps to maintain sales readiness, even after their onboarding has ended.
Sales enablement alone won’t close deals — it’s up to you to equip your reps with the right tools and training to combine enablement content, coaching, and more into real skills that convert prospects into clients. Emphasizing sales readiness helps boost your sales reps’ confidence, allowing them to enter sales interactions ready to close deals.
Start building your team’s sales readiness and download Building a Team of Top-Performers: A C-Level Look at Sales Enablement and Training.