Why Do You Need a Sales Readiness Checklist?
After the pandemic, the world of sales changed dramatically. All the processes had to be rethought, and the sales rep mentality had to transition. As we have all had to embrace remote and hybrid environments, reviewing this sales readiness checklist will help determine whether your organization is ready to enable more deals in any scenario.
Harvard Business Review reports, “Three factors contributed to the slow progress of B2B selling organizations with digital. First, boosting digital and virtual selling usually meant taking some customers or sales tasks away from field salespeople. Salespeople naturally resisted, wanting to keep control of every step in the process. Second, sales leaders held back as they weighed the risk of disrupting customer relationships. Third, as the rigidity of technology collided with the fluidity of B2B selling, digital system implementation was fraught with delays and had a questionable impact.”
Amid this scenario, a tool like a sales readiness checklist can be helpful to make adjustments as needed so your team is prepared to meet changing requirements. Providing information, training, and coaching with a proper balance is critical now more than ever to your team’s success, and technology could be your strongest ally in this process.
The Sales Readiness Checklist You Were Looking For
You’ve come this far, so congratulations! You are taking the first steps toward determining if your organization is genuinely sales-ready in this fast-changing world. Gartner’s findings below can prove this task is critical, in case you are still not convinced. Take a look:
- Virtual selling is becoming a permanent reality for chief sales officers (CSOs). It was expected that by the end of 2021, 58% of the sales force could operate virtually (up from 24% pre-pandemic).
- A third of CSOs reported they were permanently transitioning some or all field sellers to virtual roles by 2021, and another third said they were considering it.
- To prepare for a far more significant virtual sales presence than expected at the beginning of this pandemic, progressive sales enablement leaders are equipping their teams.
Ensuring your sales team is ready for this new selling environment is a top priority. Read the following sales readiness checklist items carefully and take action accordingly.
1. Assess product knowledge
This is a no-brainer, but if your sales team is knowledgeable about your product, it will be easier to talk confidently with prospects about it. Every sales rep must be familiar with how it works, how customers use it, and its main benefits, but most importantly, they need to know how it solves customer problems.
During their sales onboarding, all newly hired reps should receive extensive product training and how each feature can add value to the most commonly known customer/prospect challenges.
2. Evaluate sales process knowledge
Your sales reps must know the entire sales cycle, and it should be well-documented. Hence, they know when it’s time to escalate or transfer a conversation to another business area, such as customer success or account management. By having a structured workflow, the sales process is less likely to suffer from any delays, and your prospects and clients will feel confident about receiving timely attention.
They should also have visibility into the success roadmap – what does it take to be successful? What type of product language and value proposition messaging do they need to know? Your reps should be consistent in how they communicate your brand, your solutions, and your values.
3. Analyze product use cases
Do your sellers know what prospects or customers want and need from your product? Do they know about the main expectations and hurdles they are trying to overcome with their purchase?
If not, it’s time for them to learn all possible use cases. This exercise will let agents know as many scenarios as possible to ask the most pertinent questions during sales calls. When they know general customer expectations, they will better understand guiding interactions that can convert leads to clients.
When the sale is closed, in the course of onboarding and check-in conversations with customers, your customer success team will be able to see how they are progressing towards the value attainment goal.
4. Evaluate objection management skills
A competent salesperson knows how to handle “no” when it comes their way. To better manage objections, those skilled at asking insightful questions can use them as opportunities to improve the conversation and move towards closing the sale. Customer objections can come in a variety of forms: from an outright “no” to doubt or indifference on the part of the customer.
You can use a coaching platform that allows reps to learn how other representatives deal with the “no,” practice and measure their techniques, and calculate AI-based scores to predict how well they would do in a real-life situation. As their skills improve, they will be able to convert a skeptical prospect into a purchaser.
5. Consider reviewing sales content and libraries
You can increase the time to close deals through sales enablement content. Furthermore, it provides decision-makers with applicable social proof, which can ensure their confidence before making a purchase.
If your sales representatives know which pieces of your content best suit different sales situations, you will be able to move deals forward. To educate and nurture your prospects, they must be aware of how to use different types of content at the various stages of the buyer journey.
Ensure that your company’s sales enablement materials are accessible to all of your reps. Also, work on obtaining a solution that incorporates a centralized library of sales enablement materials and that your representatives do not need to request access to individual files.
6. Review product demo procedures
Never-before-seen products don’t sell easily. Therefore, your product demo must include clear, comprehensive explanations of your product’s functions and capabilities.
It takes practice to deliver a confident product demo. In addition to helping sales reps rehearse their product demonstrations away from real-life environments, a platform with virtual role plays can provide excellent coaching sessions for sales reps.
7. Look into call evaluation processes
Representatives can record their sales calls and listen back to discuss with you and fellow reps on their team. Recorded calls allow you to assess sales readiness and see your agents’ abilities at work.
You can identify sales reps with the best strategies without listening to countless sales calls, ride-along, or watching pitch videos if you use a powerful conversation intelligence tool. This ability allows you to gather insights from top reps and train new employees or underperformers to boost your team’s performance and their confidence.
8. Review coaching and training practices
Many coaching practices haven’t changed over the years, yet how people sell and what makes them successful has. You need precise, objective data to compare performance across multiple behaviors against peers and industry benchmarks. These insights make it easier to adjust training techniques and support those reps who may be underperforming.
Another point to consider is when they were new hires, your reps possibly went through comprehensive onboarding sessions. But this education process should be ongoing and renewed. On-demand, scalable training scenarios are possible with the help of the right technology. Each person can keep track of their improvements and reinforce those areas that need it the most.
After completing this sales readiness checklist, your organization will be much better prepared to improve individual and team metrics. A technology based on artificial intelligence (AI) will be able to speed up the implementation of many of these items.
Innovative Sales Readiness Tool Based on AI
Despite the challenges associated with these new, virtual channels, companies are now better positioned to control how their teams communicate. If you want to take your organization’s sales ability and readiness from good to extraordinary, read the following information to find out more about what you should look for in an effective training tool.
1) Technology at the leading edge of its field
The solution you need today merges AI with behavioral science and experiential learning to provide your reps with skills development that’s practical, scalable, and personalized. Salespeople of all skill levels can learn how to improve their performance with deep, objective insight into what is working, what isn’t, and how to improve specific skills.
2) Assessment, development, and improvement capabilities
Just as much, if not more, than what your salespeople are saying, you need to pay attention to how they say things and how they act, body language and tone. Delivering the argument effectively determines whether or not their speech closes the sale. It does not matter whether they sell in person or online.
To engage, convince, and inspire prospective customers, salespeople will likely face several new challenges with video conferencing, including less personal interaction. Consider a science-driven, training-based sales readiness tool. You can then use it to analyze individual speakers both in person and virtually, giving them feedback to compare their performances between the two channels.
The platform should go a step further and provide specific training exercises in the areas deemed to “needs improvement.” Some systems will provide scores and multiple communication behaviors so reps can see how they stack up against their peers and the industry. For lower-scored behaviors, agents can follow the AI-based recommendations for improvement, typically online exercises they can complete at their convenience. They can then retest to see if they’ve improved.
When you connect the training-focused sales readiness tool to your existing solutions, you can collect the data you need to provide salespeople with personalized feedback and coaching. If you want to get the most out of such a platform, you should integrate it with video conferencing, calendaring, customer relationship management, and other systems.
By integrating the coaching platform with your CRM, you can see how specific performances impacted sales. Instead of simply guessing, you and your reps will have actual data to prove certain behaviors did or didn’t work.
4) Reporting features
Analyzing and reporting your results will enable you to identify skills gaps across the organization. A training-focused sales readiness tool could help your reps close more sales and improve their productivity by providing them with accurate, relevant, and personalized feedback. Representatives will be able to improve their performance with the tool’s versatile reporting and resources.
Managers can see how frequently reps are utilizing the platform and whether they are improving over time across specific behaviors. These insights make it easy to identify representatives committed to excellence and those who are just getting by without putting in much effort.
AI Can Help You Become Sales-Ready
Using the right sales-readiness platform, your sales team can learn practical communication skills like listening and asking the right questions. Using the tool, you can give your sales team guided practice and self-directed practice to improve their skills and exceed their sales targets.
With Quantified’s AI technology, sales reps can connect better with customers than ever before. In addition to simple training, our software supports a range of sales readiness functions. The AI-based solution we offer analyzes customer-facing conversations, scores the performance based on behavioral outcomes, and provides feedback, coaching, and measurement so that your people can achieve top performance.
Quantified’s personal analytics, feedback, and development plans will help improve your sales reps’ communication and results. Request a demo now.