The B2B landscape is rapidly evolving. Sales teams must keep pace with the latest market developments, new products and services, buyer behaviour, competitor news, and much more. The flow of information is unending. How can your sales team keep up? The answer is sales readiness.
Sales readiness encompasses efficient onboarding, ongoing sales communication, and effective coaching and training. It has become a critical component of sales enablement, as it ensures salespeople are equipped with everything they need to adapt to change and have meaningful customer conversations.
Building on the momentum of May’s Sales Enablement Soiree, we sought to continue the learning at a Highspot-hosted event in London. Industry experts from Brainshark, ICIS, Emarsys, and S&P Global Platts came together to discuss key areas of sales readiness and how to overcome the challenges of onboarding, coaching, and training sales teams.
From sharing success patterns over breakfast to building new relationships, we left with actionable insights on readying sales to drive revenue. Let’s take a closer look at five important takeaways.
Align or Be Left Behind
The big question of the day was, “How can sales and marketing teams work better together?”
Aligning sales and marketing can deliver huge performance gains. It’s crucial for enabling sales teams to deliver better buyer engagements that ultimately grow revenue and deepen customer relationships.
Our guest speakers and panellists agreed that a core function of sales enablement is to unite sales and marketing teams — and the discussions revealed that while attendees were at different stages of their enablement journey, everyone faced similar challenges.
Daniel Clarke, Director of Services and Sales Engineering at Highspot, shared his experience making a business impact as part of Apptio’s strategic sales enablement team. They used a systematic process to uncover areas for improvement within their business — starting with a sales productivity survey and pulse feedback that illuminated salespeople’s frustrations with finding content, presentation preparation, and internal communications. Using this information, they devised a targeted sales enablement strategy.
Starting your sales enablement journey with a survey allows you to pinpoint quick wins as well as long-term needs. It also enables you to get direct buy-in and support from sales and marketing teams, ensuring that their voices are heard and alignment starts from the beginning.
Implement Dynamic Sales Onboarding
It’s vital to get new reps up to speed quickly. In fact, organisations with a standardised onboarding process experience 54% greater new-hire productivity.
To progress quickly, new salespeople need an agile and dynamic sales onboarding programme that provides the guidance, training, and knowledge needed to navigate complex buyer conversations at every stage of the journey.
Chuck Searle, VP of Partnerships and Alliances at Brainshark, highlighted the importance of recognising the onboarding process as a primary component of the sales journey. He emphasised five pillars that will ensure your sales reps are fully equipped: content authoring, formal training, coaching and practice, dashboards, and analytics.
Tap into Fun, Competitive Training Techniques
Not all tools and techniques are created equal. How can we create training resources that encourage sales teams to engage?
One of the event’s panels examined different techniques that break the mould of traditional role-playing. Janet Hand, Global Head of Commercial Operations & Enablement at Emarsys, shared how she ran a contest to launch new products, messaging, and pricing, where sales reps across 17 global offices created a 30-second elevator pitch. The groups presented, and after several rounds, a winner was crowned.
Janet said that engagement throughout this exercise was incredibly high — so much so that now they have turned this competition into a regular training exercise for product roll-outs. The panel agreed that whenever you can incorporate fun and competition into training, you’re on the path to success.
Arina Popa, Senior Product Marketing Executive at ICIS, added that providing bite-sized information allows reps to retake the training at their own speed. By storing these resources on a sales enablement platform, the information is readily available and easily searchable.
Enable Salespeople with Impactful, Ready-To-Go Content
Modern buyers are more informed and demanding than ever.
Highspot managing director for EMEA, Richard Langham, discussed how, in a world where buyers have knowledge at their fingertips, salespeople require relevant content that will cut through the noise and offer new perspective in a crowded market. To create this type of content, marketers need feedback from sales on what’s working and what’s not. Alignment, again, becomes essential.
When sales and marketing teams are aligned — supported by the right communications channels and technology — businesses deliver a cohesive and consistent customer journey, improve collaboration, and offer greater value.
Make the Most of Your Technology
Technology plays a major role in enabling companies to become “sales-ready at scale.” The right tools can align teams and empower sellers with the support, resources, and systems they need to have personalised, relevant conversations.
Arina Popa said that her biggest challenge is trying to introduce new technologies that integrate with existing legacy systems — some of which have been heavily customised. New tools need to be integrated in a way that ensures an intuitive, seamless experience for users.
Janet Hand recommends that fast-moving businesses take an agile approach. Her biggest piece of advice is to balance long-term and short-term needs by first assessing which technology is the best fit for the challenges you face today. Then, you can anticipate how your needs will change and adapt your technology accordingly over time.
Sales readiness is a must-have for every sales organisation. Reps do not need more hours of training — they need more effective on-boarding, training, and ongoing coaching, achieved through implementing the best practices shared above. If you would like to unlock more sales readiness tips to ensure that your sellers are set up for success, download our whitepaper, The Evolution of Sales Readiness.