Nice to meet you.

Enter your email to receive our weekly G2 Tea newsletter with the hottest marketing news, trends, and expert opinions.

Sales Readiness: Your Ultimate Tool for Elevating Sales Conversations

January 25, 2024

sales readiness

Many companies struggle to meet revenue goals in today’s tumultuous economic climate.

There is growing pressure on sellers to meet their quota, yet meeting that goalpost is becoming increasingly difficult.

In the past, businesses could hire more sales reps to boost their bottom line. The brute force of a bigger sales force could mean more wins over time and more revenue. But the current market conditions have thrown that option out the window for most.

Hiring is being put on hold in many organizations, and what's even more troubling is the wave of layoffs that we're witnessing across sectors, functions, and experience levels. 

What is the right formula to crack the revenue puzzle in these trying times? The answer: sales readiness.

What is sales readiness?

Sales readiness refers to the seller's ability to effectively engage with prospects and buyers, understand their needs, and guide them through the buying process. 

Being sales-ready signifies the degree of preparedness, skills, and know-how required for reps to hit the ground running. The tactical advantage can help sellers convert buyer interest into action.

Sales readiness vs. sales enablement

Sales readiness should not be confused with another similar term: sales enablement.

Despite sharing a common goal, sales readiness and sales enablement differ in their approach. Sales enablement focuses on providing resources, tools, and technology to support the sales team, while sales readiness aims to hone their skills and knowledge to engage with customers effectively. 

In a way, sales readiness is the goal sales enablement strives to achieve. Let’s understand this with an example.

Suppose a rep is speaking with a hospitality buyer looking for an AI-powered productivity tool. Sales enablement will ensure training resources are in place for this specific sales scenario and content assets are created on the specific product offering.

On the other hand, sales readiness will ensure reps can activate the learnings from training sessions and know what content assets to share when interacting with prospects.

Sales readiness and revenue growth

The sales landscape has evolved over the last few years, with longer, complex deal cycles, intense competition, and highly informed buyers and prospects.

Today's sales representatives need more insight and know-how than ever to engage with prospects, meet customer expectations, and close deals. The early bird may have caught the worm in the past, but when converting leads, the representatives ready to deliver on prospect expectations are more likely to succeed.

A high degree of sales readiness is crucial for organizations to predict and satisfy customer needs effectively. This level of preparedness directly impacts the company's bottom line in several ways.

Shorter sales cycles

Sales reps can engage prospects more effectively when they have the right tools, knowledge, and resources.

For example, providing sales reps access to relevant sales playbooks, methodologies, and scripts enables them to move through the sales cycle at an accelerated pace, shortening the time it takes to close deals. 

Higher win rates

By being sales ready, you significantly reduce the chances of missing out on sales opportunities. It is easy for reps to address customer objections, overcome barriers, and provide solutions that meet customers' needs when they are adequately prepared and have access to the right tools and information.

The result: a higher likelihood of closing the deal.

Upselling and cross-selling

The ability to identify and capitalize on upsell and cross-sell opportunities is directly proportional to how sales ready your reps are.

Reps with comprehensive product training better understand the product or solution and its unique selling points. By understanding customer pain points and motivations, reps can make valid upsell and cross-sell suggestions that prospects and customers are more likely to appreciate.

Adapting to market changes

Your reps must be able to adapt quickly to market changes. Sales reps who are well-informed about industry trends, customer preferences, and competitive landscape can quickly adjust their sales strategies and messaging.

This agility ensures that the organization remains relevant and competitive, and your reps have a higher probability of success even during challenging market conditions.

How technology can help with sales readiness

With sales cycles becoming increasingly complex, today's sales teams must be better equipped to respond to customer inquiries and needs.

Technology can help in a big way here.

There is a whole marketplace of tools and technology to help sellers be better prepared to take their leads from the first discovery call to the final signature on the dotted line.

Everboarding: your tool to combat the forgetting curve

Organizations need to get new hires up and running as quickly as possible. They do this by implementing an onboarding program. However, even the most well-intentioned onboarding fails to deliver sustained sales efficiency across a rep’s tenure.

This is because of the “forgetting curve” introduced by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus in 1885. In line with this concept, sales reps forget over two-thirds of the information they learn within a week of training. 

Effective training during onboarding is still the best way to decrease the time to ramp. But what if you could reinforce the learning beyond the onboarding phase and across the rep’s lifetime in an organization, which they can access at their time of need? 

Just-in-time or situational enablement helps sales reps understand how to handle different situations, such as addressing customer objections or when and what customer references and case studies to share with prospects.

This can be done through interactive lessons, bite-sized modules, and quizzes within the rep’s workflow. Whether working in their email, CRM, or LinkedIn, everboarding empowers reps to engage more meaningfully and effectively with their prospects.

Prepare for sales calls in minutes

A successful sales call goes a long way in establishing trust and credibility with prospects. Top reps often spend hours researching and collating information ahead of time to customize their pitches based on the prospect. 

With the growing complexity of B2B sales, clinching a deal requires reps to cater to multiple stakeholders, address conflicting priorities, and ensure consensus across the buying team.

While organizations create buyer personas, most reps have trouble recalling this information or don’t know where the resources are, making applying buyer insights during sales calls tough. Without on-demand persona intelligence, reps share generic information that doesn’t answer buyer queries.

But what if reps didn’t have to spend hours gathering intel for each call?

Today, several tools are available that can help reps prepare more effectively for sales calls, some better than others. Most of them integrate with the CRM and other tools the reps use to give them complete context around the deal in question, intel they can use during the call, and recommend content they can share with the prospect at that stage of the buyer journey. Reps don’t have to spend hours in prep work and focus their energies on building relationships and selling.

Influence buying decisions with relevant content

Buyers today are already inundated with information. Plus, they are more savvy than ever and rely on self-serve for information gathering. 

Reps shoot themselves in the foot by flooding their inboxes with more content. The key to successful buyer engagement is relevance.

Today, technology can help reps find the most relevant content assets to share with prospects without going down rabbit holes searching for them in complex folders and directories. Content can be filtered by industry, region, use case, and buyer persona, among other things, so your reps are equipped with relevant information for each buyer. 

Sales and marketing leaders can also measure how prospects engage with a specific piece of content and which content assets influence closed deals and use those insights to create even more impactful content in the next cycle.

Sales readiness checklist: how to get started 

Investing in sales readiness offers a distinct advantage by providing sales reps with the ability, proficiency, and confidence required for effective customer engagement. Apart from superior customer interactions, higher conversion rates, and increased revenue, it confers sales teams with the ability to adapt to changing market dynamics.

Here’s a checklist on how you can get started on this journey:

1. Assess the status quo of sales capabilities 

Evaluate your sales team's ability to engage with prospects and buyers effectively. Do they understand the customers' needs? How are they supporting and guiding the customers through the buying process? Understanding the gaps, if any, is the first step.

2. Rethink onboarding 

Revamp your onboarding program to ensure it improves the skills, preparedness, and know-how required for new hires sales representatives to meet buyer expectations. This could include self-learning courses, training exercises, workshops, or one-to-one coaching sessions.

4. Combat the forgetting curve 

Reinforce learning beyond the onboarding phase. Implement just-in-time or situational enablement with interactive lessons, bite-sized modules, and quizzes within the rep's workflow.

5. Hardwire buyer-centric thinking 

Sales reps need to think beyond the linear sales cycle and go deeper into understanding the evolved buyer. Train sales reps to understand not just the prospect's industry and company but also their specific problems and challenges.

6. Tap into tribal knowledge 

Ensure reps have on-demand access to deal-critical information, such as persona intelligence or competitive knowledge. This gives them better control over their interactions with buyers.

7. Prioritize effective sales call preparation 

Invest in training, templates, and tools to help reps prepare more effectively for calls without spending hours researching and gathering intel.

8. Invest in the right tools 

Technology can help your sales team better serve their prospects as they move along the sales cycle. For example, a tool can provide critical information to reps at the time of need and help tailor the approach and content based on the customer.

9. Focus on rep adoption 

Spending money on a tool is effective only if your reps use those tools in their day-to-day roles. One way to achieve this is to evaluate tools on their ability to integrate with the seller’s flow of work so the path to using it is frictionless.

10. Learn from feedback and improve 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to sales readiness. For example, you may need to adjust your strategy depending on how prospects engage with the content you create or how the team is using (or not using) the sales tools you have purchased.

Charting the course for revenue growth with sales readiness

Our current economic climate demands a commitment to sales readiness. By providing your sales team with these tools and best practices, you will enhance their performance, boost their confidence, and enable them to engage prospects more effectively, resulting in sustained revenue growth.

Empower your sales team with compelling content. Learn the tools and tips to kickstart your journey toward creating impactful sales enablement content.

Edited by Shanti S Nair

sales enablement software Optimize your sales journey!

Invest in sales enablement software for a streamlined, efficient sales process. Equip your team with the right resources to close deals faster and achieve lasting success.

sales enablement software Optimize your sales journey!

Invest in sales enablement software for a streamlined, efficient sales process. Equip your team with the right resources to close deals faster and achieve lasting success.

Sales Readiness: Your Ultimate Tool for Elevating Sales Conversations Discover the ultimate guide to sales readiness and elevate your sales conversations with its implementation.
Nehal Firdous Nehal is a product marketing manager at GTM Buddy. A marketer at heart, Nehal has helped sell everything from hardware products to software and even real estate. He's worked with organizations like Google, Lenovo, and KaptureCRM and holds a Master's in Mass Communication from NTU, Singapore.

Never miss a post.

Subscribe to keep your fingers on the tech pulse.

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to receive marketing communications from G2.