Friday, June 3, 2022
What is Sales Readiness? Sales Enablement VS. Sales Readiness
Selling environments are changing. Buyer behaviors are evolving. Sales cycles are getting longer. Competition is getting tougher.
Amid all this change, if you’re wondering why your top line has remained stagnant for a while, here’s the short answer: your reps are not ready for selling. The lack of preparedness explains why only 14.7% of sales teams meet their goals.
A sales readiness program offers your reps the training and learning material to improve buyer interaction and bring more conversions. Now, you might ask: isn’t that called sales enablement? Not quite.
Read this blog to learn more about sales readiness and how it differs from enablement. To figure out the best ways to combine these concepts to supercharge your sales team, stay till the end!
Let’s get started.
What is Sales Readiness?
Sales readiness is the process of equipping salespeople with the expertise and knowledge required to take prospects from the discovery to purchase stage in their buyer's journey. It involves training and assessing sales reps to deliver the right pitch, handle objections, and close deals swiftly.
Put simply, sales readiness boosts your sales team's effectiveness in driving conversions through meaningful buyer interaction.
Components of Sales Readiness
At its core, sales readiness is an extension of an organization’s learning and development program. It allows reps to put their sales training into action and tests how well they can apply their lessons.
Here’s what an ideal sales readiness framework includes:
- Remote-first interaction: Conduct virtual sales kick-off (SKO) meetings to train reps for onsite selling. Make these SKOs and other relevant content readily accessible for reps on the go.
- 1:1 coaching sessions: Empower your sales team with structured individual coaching sessions to offer specific and incremental knowledge. Coaching your reps is proven to increase revenue by 28%.
- Simulated sales call: Mock calls can reveal your reps' strengths and weaknesses. Play out sales scenarios with your reps to pinpoint gaps in their communication and leg up their pitches.
- Knowledge retention: Reinforce key lessons from sales training with ongoing content delivery. Space out follow-up sessions for reps to identify their knowledge gaps and maximize retention.
- Microlearning content: With continually shrinking attention spans, bite-sized content makes it easy to consume training material. Microlearning delivers training in short sessions and courses.
A sales performance platform like Wonderway simplifies your readiness-driven approach. First, you can use it to identify your team's skill gaps and set training goals. Seamlessly deliver training content and measure each rep's performance in a dashboard.
5 Key Advantages of Sales Readiness
Sales readiness goes beyond preparing a sales-ready workforce. A solid readiness program can deliver results in many forms. Let’s look at a few benefits you can get:
- Boost productivity and revenue: Empower your reps to minimize the ramp time and shorten the sales cycle to bring in more conversions faster.
- Enhance buyer experience: Win your customers' trust and set the tone for a strong relationship from the first discovery call.
- Offer continuous learning: Sales readiness is not a one-and-done process; it's a sustained learning and development cycle for your sales team.
- Data analytics: Track your reps' sales productivity with a comprehensive analysis of CRM data on a sales readiness platform.
- Accelerate ramp-up: Give your new sales hires a strong head start and speed up their ramp-up time with a well-designed training program.
In essence, sales readiness is a great way to set up your sales team for success in the long term. This result-oriented approach prepares reps to achieve better outcomes through polished pitches, intelligent objection handling, and frictionless communication.
Now that we’ve covered the depths of sales readiness, let’s jump to sales enablement and understand how the two concepts complement each other.
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is the process of providing reps with all the information they need to close more deals faster. It offers reps the tools and resources to target the right prospects and improve the buyer experience with tailored pitches and accurate product offerings.
A sales enablement function collaborates with the marketing and sales operations teams to give relevant training and information to frontline reps.
Components of Sales Enablement
Sales enablement prepares the groundwork for a robust sales team to boost the top line and improve performance. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to designing a sales enablement program, your strategy should include a few standard elements.
Let’s dive into the main components of sales enablement:
- Content management: Give your salespeople the best-updated content to drive actionable conversations with leads and build trust. You should also focus on making this content accessible for busy reps.
- Onboarding and upskilling: Prepare a comprehensive training framework to teach your reps the necessary skills and knowledge for selling better. Combine self-paced learning material with individual coaching sessions for the best outcomes.
- Sales technology stack: Audit your existing workflow and identify the roadblocks hampering your reps’ productivity. Build a robust tech stack to automate repetitive tasks and supercharge your reps’ performance.
- Aligned messaging: Shape your enablement strategy around your organizational values and vision. Align your strategy with the business goals to ensure your training and resources enable reps to bring the desired results. Certifications in such cases work really well. Product updates? Product recall? New industrial feature? Certifications ensure that all sales representatives possess the latest knowledge about the product/solution which they can deploy during their prospect interactions.
- Performance tracking: Choose relevant metrics to assess your team’s performance and eliminate all the guesswork. Discover weaknesses and areas of improvement to double down on your enablement efforts.
Put simply, sales enablement removes barriers to success. It strategically optimizes each rep’s performance to bring better conversions and outperform the targets.
Sales Readiness Vs. Sales Enablement
On the surface, it’s easy to confuse sales readiness for enablement and vice versa. But the two concepts are different—both on paper and in execution.
Sales enablement is a broader framework that includes everything frontline reps need to sell better. This includes training, content, tools, and other resources. This tactical process enhances the team's performance to deliver better outcomes.
On the other hand, sales readiness allows reps to apply their training in real life and verifies if they are ready to produce meaningful interactions with prospects and reach their targets. It combines training with practice to assess their preparedness.
So, think of sales readiness as one of the many ingredients of sales enablement. The recipe creates a well-equipped sales team to increase conversions and raise the top line!
Sales Readiness and Enablement as a Digital Reinforcement for Organizations
As organizations embrace digital transformations and spend a projected $6.8 trillion on it, sales leaders face the challenge of bridging skill gaps and boosting productivity for their teams. A combination of sales readiness and enablement can effectively replace traditional training methodologies to tackle this challenge.
Here are a few ways organizations can leverage a readiness-driven enablement framework to adapt to the changing sales environments:
1. Create a solid onboarding plan
The initial months of a new sales rep are the most critical to their performance. Incorporate your enablement strategy within the employee onboarding plan to let them hit the ground running from their first day
With Wonderway’s onboarding tool, you can effortlessly create onboarding pathways and convert your week-long plan into a 3-month ramp program. It’ll help you:
- Set relevant milestones and ramp targets for maximum productivity
- Use premade ramp program templates with convenient customization capabilities
- Create interactive training material that engages well with the new reps
2. Remote upskilling programs
Coaching frontline reps should be one of the biggest priorities of your enablement team. Create a weekly structure mapped to your training agendas and select metrics to track reps' learning outcomes. Use this data to make informed decisions for further training.
Wonderway’s upskilling tool can make life easier for managers drawing out an upskilling roadmap. It’ll help you:
- Discover essential skills to target with the Sales Enablement Consultant
- Track your KPIs with a CRM integration and rank high and low performers
- Give reps a clear picture of their improvement over time
3. Strengthen knowledge management
The success of a sales team is closely linked to its knowledge-sharing framework. The more knowledge reps consume and share, the better results they can produce—evidenced by organizations with knowledge-sharing practices increasing their win rates by 54%.
This is where Wonderway’s certification tool can truly make a difference for you. It allows you to share knowledge and effectively shape your team's overall understanding. It'll help you:
- Implement new processes and track the results of process training
- Measure your reps’ readiness with easily customizable quizzes and tests
- Align your training programs across a distributed team asynchronously
Sales readiness is the key to unlocking your customer-facing reps' best selling potential. As a part of a more comprehensive enablement strategy, a sales readiness program allows organizations to assess and verify each rep's skills to convince and convert prospects.
While building an enablement function requires a significant investment and resources, a sales readiness strategy works at a narrower level. So, sales leaders can first begin with a readiness framework and develop it into a full-fledged enablement program.