Sales readiness is a core component of sales enablement. Nowadays, B2B dominion is fiercely competitive. Companies are under tremendous pressure to deliver the results desired, particularly in terms of sales revenues.
Sales readiness is the all-encompassing strategy that needs to be planned & executed properly so that the sales organizations can achieve their universal bottom-line goals such as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), optimized users’ experiences (UX) & above-all an optimized Return on Investment (ROI).
Numerous subsets of sales readiness need to be optimized for a company to be able to sell properly & for meeting their short-term & long-term sales targets. Some of the components of sales enablement are as follows:
- The sales strategies need to be optimized to match up with the expectations of the existing users as well as the prospects
- The sales methodology also needs to be optimal to match the interests of the prospects, so that sales conversions can be expedited & optimized
- The efforts of sales & marketing teams need to be intertwined
- The companies need to have efficient performance management systems
- The companies should optimize the skills of sales representatives to ensure that they are acquainted with the latest practices in the market & are prepared to transcend it in the forms of optimized sales revenues.
Strategies to Improve Sales Readiness
In the year 2018, Forrester Research in the first-ever analytical articulation of the sales readiness market published that 42% of the B2B firms had either purchased a sales readiness tool or intended to do so by the end of the year.
According to Heather Cole, service director, sales enablement strategies at SiriusDecisions, sales enablement leaders need to be more strategic in terms of their approaches towards sales-readiness. They should prioritize the most important tasks aligned with sales & then should also prove to the organizations the positive outcomes that follow as a result of the sales enablement process.
While enterprises must be aptly aware of the importance of training the sales representatives, as an indispensable element of the sales enablement process; sales readiness is a fairly new concept.
According to a report published by CSO Insights, only 26% of the firms stated that their sales enablement initiatives over the past two years have surpassed or accomplished the expectations set.
The organizations not only need to architect an impactful framework for accomplishing the cores of sales readiness but also need to determine the vital KPIs which can be quantified to assess the success rates of the sales readiness endeavors made.
Organizations can follow the following strategies to improve their sales-readiness:
1. Strategize Pieces of training for improving the core-competencies & subject matter knowledge of sales representatives:
As the landscape of B2B sales continues to grow more competitive, you must ensure that the loopholes in the traditional methods of sales enablement are fixed. The sales representatives need to be provided with pieces of training by managers, eLearning platforms & video-based coaching on hypothetical scenarios involving sales negotiations.
Frequent assessments may help evaluate if your sales representatives have an ample amount of expertise required to negotiate & close the sales deals. Video-based exercises where representatives are asked to record & provide their responses towards a hypothetical situation can help in testing their competencies to face real-time sales situations & deal with them effectively.
Such practices ensure that the representatives are ready to sell to the key-decision-makers of an organization, in real-time & a most appealing manner, when the situation arrives.
2. Sales Readiness needs to be Aligned with Business Expansion Strategies:
As a business expands its outreach to new buyer personas, expands its niche market, launches new products, acquires new firms & targets new geographies, the dynamics of the business change. The sales representatives need to be constantly trained on new situations that they might face as the business expands.
The sales enablement strategists need to build the readiness plans to complement the business expansions. You need to do a lot of brainstorming about the types of questions that the prospects might ask before making a buying decision, under the changing dynamics of the business & how to answer them effectively to optimize the sales conversions. This might involve test-running the pieces of training to see which ones deliver the best results over a while (generally on a quarterly or six-month basis). Conducting an open-ended test running also seems to be a good idea.
3. Focus on training front-line managers:
The sales enablement strategists need to pay special attention to training the front line managers with all the requisite skills to keep abreast with the dynamics of the market. Imparting video-based pieces of training to your front-line managers will ensure that their interactions with the Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) & the key decision-makers in finalizing the sales go smoothly.
Also, the front-line managers are more likely to be in charge of interacting with the CMOs as compared to the sales representatives. Training the front-line managers will, in turn, ensure that they can hysterically participate in organizing & conducting the pieces of training for the sales representatives reporting to them.
4. Sales Enablement meets the needs of the prospects from the start of the funnel to the end & should be driven by both Marketing & Sales Teams:
The grandest of all the sales enablement models meet the needs of the potential customers from start to finish. Marketers need to carefully apply marketing strategy & assimilate the discovery aspect from the sales processes as well.
Research from HubSpot reveals that companies with service-level agreements (SLAs) between marketing & sales have better cooperation & performance.
Collaboration between the marketing & sales teams assures that not only the prospects are drawn to the messaging by the marketing team but are also eventually converted into the forms of closed sales deals. The process of sales enablement ensures that the two entities namely marketing & sales join forces to help an enterprise maximize its Return on Investment (ROI).
A sales-readiness framework wherein marketing delivers resources & sales can close the deals, capitalizing on those resources, helps organizations optimize their universal core bottom-line endeavors such as an optimized Return on Investment (ROI), increased sales revenues & optimized users’ experiences.
5. Incorporate the Power of “Persona”, define Negative Personas to identify & set-aside the Non-Convertible Leads & Accelerate the Conversion Process:
The “buyer personas” are the semi-fictional representation of the ideal customers & are the cornerstones of the inbound marketing process. Marketers spend a considerable amount of their time studying the demographic & the psychographics of the customers.
While the marketing team needs to do a lot of research before segmenting their personas & to identify & address their pain points, sales can provide experiences & feedback from the real customers.
Simultaneously, it can also be economical as well as time-saving for the marketers to identify the negative personas, which are the leads that would just never convert. It is the instinctive goal of the marketers to secure as many leads as possible; however, some prospects always drain resources from both the marketing as well as sales teams, without ever generating an ample amount of conversions.
Marketers should create negative personas to identify the leads that will never convert. A sales team can always introspect & back off from the segment-specific, non-convertible leads.
Wrapping it up
Change can be tough to acclimatize, particularly when your sales team isn’t prepared for it. Sales readiness ensures that your sales representatives are prepared to adapt as per the dynamically changing B2B marketplace. The salespeople equipped with unbeatable communication & negotiating skills, with a sense of empathy & ample subject-matter-knowledge can stand against the test-of-time of a dynamic B2B workplace & can help your organizations in optimizing their sales conversions.
The importance of sales readiness can be realized in the following quotation from Tamara Schenk, Research Director at CSO Insights:
“Poorly developed frontline sales managers drive top performers out of the organization and promote mediocre performance from those who remain. This is something sales leaders with ambitious growth and performance goals simply cannot afford.”
Sales readiness ensures that the sales representatives are both proactive as well as reactive.
Continuously addressing & updating your sales strategies as per the changing dynamics of the business ensures that change is not bothersome to adapt to & doesn’t adversely impact the sales revenue.
We, at Valasys Media, employ our wealth of knowledge to help our B2B customers scale up their sales revenue and to help them achieve their other core universal bottom-line goals such as optimized users’ experiences & increased Return on Investment.
Our B2B services include lead generation, lead nurturing, content syndication, event promotion services, account-based marketing & appointment setting services, all of which have been tailor-made to meet the requirements of our B2B clients.
For deciphering the pathway to a perennially healthy sales pipeline, feel free to get in touch with us.