Jan 18, 2022
Your sales reps have a different mix of skills and experience. So how do you know if every seller is ready to face your prospects during sales calls? You could take an educated guess based on the seller’s past experience and previous performance, or you could know for sure by providing your reps with a sales readiness checklist.
A sales readiness checklist helps you and your reps understand whether they have all the information, skills, and competencies they need to have conversations with potential customers. Use it to assess whether your reps are ready or need a little more training, coaching, or practice. Share this 10-step checklist with your reps, or send it to your sales managers to use in their 1:1 meetings with each rep.
1. I understand how customers use our product.
Your sales reps need to be an expert on your product, so they can talk with prospects about it authoritatively. To become an expert, your team needs to understand how your product works, how customers use it, and its main benefits.
All your reps should have training sessions with your product team as part of their sales onboarding. They should also have regular refresher sessions to remind them how best to use the product and to help them understand and explain new features and product updates.
2. I understand our entire sales process, including handing over conversations to other team members.
Unless your sales team is small, your reps likely won’t handle the entire sales process, from outreach to close. But they should know the process end-to-end and when (and how) to hand over conversations to account executives. This will help the sales process run smoothly and give prospects a positive, professional impression.
To help your sales reps understand the sales process:
- Give them a copy of your company’s sales process document in their onboarding pack.
- Review the document regularly (once or twice a year) and update it if any parts of the process have changed.
- Work with your sales managers to understand which parts of the process reps find confusing and add clarifying information to the document.
3. I understand the outcomes our buyers look to achieve with our product.
Your reps need to understand the outcomes your prospects are looking to achieve with your product, so they can explain how your product meets customer needs.
When agents are on customer calls, they should ask questions to understand what outcomes the customer is looking for. This sets their relationship up for success because it leads to an understanding of what the customer needs to achieve with your product. Once they close the deal and the customer starts using your product, your customer success team can track progress towards that goal during customer onboarding and check-in conversations.
4. I can confidently handle common objections from prospects.
Objection handling is a vital skill for all sales reps. Customers may hesitate over your pricing, features, or whether your product is best for their specific use case. If your reps can’t address, handle, and overcome objections from prospects, they’ll struggle to close deals — even with the best products in the world.
Encourage your sales leaders to run training sessions on objection handling with their reps and listen back to their call recordings as a group. This exercise will help your reps learn how others on their team tackle common objections and help them understand what does (and doesn’t) resonate with prospects.
5. I have access to content that can help nurture prospects through different stages of the funnel.
Sales enablement content can accelerate time-to-close for your deals. It also provides decision-makers with helpful social proof that can reassure them during the buying process.
Ensure all your reps have access to your company’s sales enablement content. Set up a centralized content library in your sales content management solution and make sure reps don’t need to request access to each file. Encourage your sales managers to regularly ask their team about case studies, slide decks, and other resources they may need, so they can work with marketing to create content that will have the biggest impact.
6. I know how to use different pieces of content in my interactions with prospects.
Content only helps move deals forward if your reps know which pieces best suit different sales scenarios. They need to understand how to use different content at each stage of the buyer journey to educate and nurture your prospects.
Mindtickle’s Asset Hub provides a central home for sales content and delivers contextualized training to help reps discover new content and learn how to use it in their sales conversations. You can also share updates when you add new sales enablement content. These updates can include tips for your reps on how and when to use the content in the sales process.
7. I can confidently run product demos.
Prospects won’t buy something they’ve never seen. So it’s important to provide clear, coherent product demos that show off your product’s best features and functionality.
For confident product demos, practice makes perfect. Virtual role-plays help reps practice product demos away from the high-pressure sales environment, and are fantastic coaching opportunities for sales managers. Reps should also get refresher training from the product team if there are some features they’re less confident with. Additionally, make sure you arrange hands-on training for reps when new product features are released, so they can properly demo them to your prospects.
8. I record calls with prospects to share with my manager.
Recording their sales calls allows reps to listen back and review them with their manager and other reps on their team. Call recordings will help sales managers see their reps’ skills in action and accurately assess sales readiness levels.
There are lots of sales tools you can use to record calls. Mindtickle’s Call AI lets you record and analyze reps’ calls as well as other sales interactions across different channels and deal stages. Sales leaders can then analyze the calls and conversations to work out where their reps excel and focus their training to ensure reps stay sales-ready.
9. I meet regularly with my manager to discuss my strengths and areas for improvement.
Sales managers can help your reps understand which areas they need to focus on improving to boost their overall sales readiness. They will know how reps measure up compared to others on the team and identify people who excel in key areas who can support reps who might be struggling.
Make sure your sales leaders have regular 1:1 meetings with all their reps. Often, these can slip in busy times (especially in the run-up to the end of the quarter or end of the month when everyone’s trying to hit their targets). But meeting regularly will make it easier for your team to improve over time. If your organization has implemented a Sales Readiness Index, your managers can use it to assess and measure their reps’ skills in different areas and identify areas to work on.
10. I take part in training regularly to keep my skills sharp.
Your reps had lots of training during onboarding, but how much of that do they still remember? Provide continuous training and sales coaching throughout the year to help reps keep their skills sharp. Practical training and learning from other team members who might excel in different areas can help your reps improve. and allow them to.
The Sales Readiness Index will help your managers create personalized training programs for their sales reps by showing strengths and weaknesses across their team. They should tailor training opportunities based on reps’ skill sets and provide their team with opportunities to learn new proficiencies and sharpen existing ones. Effective training exercises include practice calls, role-play scenarios, and sharing and analyzing call recordings in group discussions.
Use this checklist to make sure all your reps are sales ready
Many sales organizations have a couple of top performers with the rest of the reps struggling to hit quota. But the strongest teams ensure all their reps are sales ready and focus on turning everyone into a top performer.
The checklist above will help teams focus on improving their shared performance rather than championing individual top performers. Use this checklist together with our Sales Readiness Index and ideal rep profile, two tools Mindtickle uses to help companies scale sales excellence across their entire teams. They help you define excellence for your sales team and then build processes and training opportunities to coach and develop key competencies, setting all your reps up for success.