Building out a sales training program is one thing, but measuring its success is a whole different beast. You know it’s not enough to stand up a sales training technology solution without also building out the key predictors of sales performance you need to track. We took a look at how different organizations are measuring success and broke them down into five buckets. Here they are:
Sales onboarding + ramp time
Sales everboarding (continuous training)
Practice + role-plays
What are selling skills and why are they important?
Selling skills are the competencies your team must have, maintain, and build over time. Not all sellers join your organization with the same set of skills — and that’s OK. As a sales leader, it’s your job to identify the skills that define success at your organization and then ensure your entire team has them. Once they’re defined and codified, your teams will be more productive, individual performance will improve, and ultimately, revenue targets will be hit consistently.
Check out this graphic below that outlines the five buckets of sales training and gives you specific metrics to track in order to truly understand and accurately measure seller performance. Want the full guide? Download the Definitive Guide to Measuring Sales Readiness.
This post was originally published in July 2021 and was updated in January 2023.
It’s a tough time for sales leaders: as budgets are cut, sales teams are expected to do more with less. (Yes, you’re probably sick of hearing that by now.) Sales enablement leaders are faced asking themselves: what is the best sales training and how can I ensure my current sellers have what they need to meet revenue goals this quarter?
Simply hiring more sellers is not the solution. As a sales enablement leader, you need to build up a program that’s both scalable and personalized. You’ve got to provide training to ensure each of your reps is always prepared for whatever comes their way in the field.
But what exactly is sales training? And if you’ve hired great fit sellers, why does it even matter?
Read on to explore what it is, why it’s a key piece of the sales readiness puzzle, and what you can do to improve its effectiveness at your organization.
Sales training is the practice of ensuring your sellers have the knowledge, skills, and competencies they need to be ready for every step of the sales journey – from prospecting to closing the deal.
Go beyond sales onboarding
At most organizations, the sales training journey starts with onboarding. Sales onboarding is an important way to get new reps up to speed with your organization, products, and goals – as well as the role they’ll play in achieving those goals. It makes sense why organizations invest in sales onboarding. When it’s effective, onboarding can have a large impact on key business outcomes.
But all too often, it ends at onboarding. Per Aberdeen Research, a mere 37% of companies extend their programs beyond the first month.
However, sales training shouldn’t stop there. Why? There are a few important reasons.
For starters, sellers are thrown a lot of information during sales onboarding. Even if you’ve built a great, engaging sales onboarding program, new reps are going to forget some of what they’ve learned. In fact, they’re going to forget most of it. Per Gartner, sellers forget 70% of the information they learn within just one week of training. Ongoing training (what we at Mindtickle refer to as “everboarding”) ensures learning sticks – and that sales reps are actually applying what they’ve learned to drive sales.
In addition, it’s important to remember that change is the only constant – both in life and in sales. Products, markets, competitors, and priorities are constantly changing. All reps – from the newest to the most seasoned – need ongoing training to ensure they’re up to speed on these changes and ready for whatever comes at them in the field.
The key benefits of sales training
There are many benefits of sales training. Here are two of the most important.
1. It positively impacts sales growth
Today, many sales leaders buy into the 80/20 rule, which is the outdated notion that 80% of sales will be driven by 20% of your reps. That means the vast majority of your reps will miss their sales quotas quarter after quarter.
But this is a myth.
With a strong program, you can create an entire team of sellers that are equipped to close deals and meet quota. Of course, when more sellers are closing more deals, that’s going to lead to more revenue growth.
When a great rep decides to leave, it’s costly to your company. For starters, you’re losing revenue the rep would have generated. Plus, you have to factor in the costs of recruiting, hiring, and training a new rep to replace them. It adds up! In fact, according to research from DePaul University, it costs nearly $115,000 to replace a sales rep.
So when you find great reps, it’s important to do what you can to retain them.
Providing ongoing sales training is a great way to engage your sales reps. According to Spotio, 65% of employees indicate that the quality of training available to them positively influences their engagement. What’s more, 71% of respondents to a Gallup survey said job training and development increased their job satisfaction.
Those engaged, satisfied sales reps are likely to stick around long-term – saving you the headache and costs of filling vacant roles.
Six tips for more effective sales training
The potential benefits of sales training are clear. However, claiming to deliver sales training isn’t enough to see the benefits. In fact, research tells us that 85% of sales training fails.
What is it that sets great sales training apart from the rest?
Here are six tips to improve the effectiveness of your sales training program.
Tip #1: Don’t stop at onboarding
We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: sales training shouldn’t stop at sales onboarding.
Sellers forget the vast majority of what they learned during onboarding. What’s more, products, markets, and selling landscapes are constantly changing and evolving.
Ongoing sales training is a key component to ensuring all of your reps are ready to sell. The truth is, sales training should be delivered on a regular basis for maximum impact. According to a Heinz Marketing and Mindtickle report, among respondents who hit 75% or more of their quota, 90% participate in sales training on a monthly basis.
Tip #2: Define excellence
The aim of sales training is to create more, great sellers. But first, you have to determine what a great seller looks like.
Chances are, you have an ideal customer profile (ICP), which outlines what a good fit customer looks like for your business. But it’s just as important to define your ideal rep profile (IRP), which is the set of skills and competencies a seller needs to be successful in your organization.
Then, you can plan out sales training courses and programs that map to each of these key areas. That way, you can be sure your sales training is helping sellers boost the skills and competencies they need.
Tip #3: Make it personal
Imagine you have two sellers in the same room. One is a veteran seller, and has been with your company for a few years. The other is a recent college grad with big potential – but only a year of sales experience. Does it make sense to deliver the same sales training to those two sales reps?
Absolutely not. The newer seller likely needs more sales training on how to be a great seller. But if you deliver that same training to the veteran seller, they’re going to get bored and disengaged.
Of course, there will be certain sales training all sellers need to complete. But as a general rule, sales training shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Instead, sales leaders must work to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each seller. The best way to do this is to measure each rep against your ideal rep profile. By doing so, you’ll see where they’re shining and where there are gaps. Then, personalized training can be delivered to each rep to close gaps – and improve sales performance.
Tip #4: Reinforce training
It’s disappointing, but it’s true: sellers will quickly forget what they learned in sales training. If you want that learning to stick (who doesn’t?), you’ve got to reinforce it.
Be sure to incorporate reinforcement exercises into your sales training strategy. For example, assign a quiz to your sellers after a training session. If they earn a low score, assign them bite-sized video modules that reinforce the concepts presented during the training session.
It’s a best practice to house all sales training materials within a single sales training platform. That way, reps have a one-stop-shop for everything they need related to sales training.
Tip #5: Mix up the format
The phrase “sales training” might conjure images of an instructor standing at the front of a room filled with sales reps. Sure, real-time training sessions – whether in-person or via video – are an important part of sales training. However, it also makes sense to incorporate other types of training.
For example, you might assign bite–sized training modules for sales reps to complete on their own time. Or, you might assign a quiz to test knowledge. Another idea is to assign role-plays to allow reps to practice their new skills and get feedback from either their manager or their peers (or both).
Again, it’s important to ensure all training material is housed within a single platform so reps can easily find what they need.
Tip #6: Measure the impact
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. And without regular measurement, it’s impossible to determine what (if any) impact your sales training is having on reps’ performance.
Many organizations measure completion of sales training. While this is important, it doesn’t tell the whole story. A seller may fly through all of their assigned sales training, but fail to perform while interacting with buyers.
As such, it’s key to measure how your sales training is impacting key business outcomes, such as quota attainment and win rates. In addition, be sure to continuously measure your reps against your ideal rep profile. That way, you can understand how sales training is positively impacting skills and in-field behaviors.
Sales training vs. sales coaching: What is the difference?
Sales training and sales coaching are both key components of a sales readiness strategy. Oftentimes, these phrases are used interchangeably. Sales training and sales coaching are two pieces of the same puzzle, but they’re not the same thing.
At each organization, there are a certain set of skills and competencies a seller needs to be successful throughout the sales cycle. Sales training is focused on delivering knowledge to help reps learn those skills and competencies. Sales training classes and modules can be focused on any number of things, including (but not limited to):
Ideal customer profiles
Use of tools, including CRM
Sales coaching, like sales training, is aimed at improving sales performance. However, the delivery method and tactics are different. The goal of sales coaching is to improve sales performance through strategies including:
Knowing and analyzing what’s happening in the field
Delivering individualized plans to improve deal outcomes and build key skills for each sales rep
When it’s done well, sales coaching can extend the impact of sales training and have a big impact on sales results. Heinz Marketing and Mindtickle research found that 8 out of 10 teams who have effective coaching practices hit greater than 75% of sales quotas. What’s more, research from CSO Insights found that dynamic sales coaching leads to 21.3% higher quota attainment and 19% higher win rates than average.
What exactly does sales coaching look like?
The most effective managers work closely with each sales rep to understand their unique strengths and weaknesses. In addition, they leverage meeting intelligence to see firsthand how reps are performing in the field. Armed with these insights, sales managers can deliver sales coaching that helps reps capitalize on strengths and improve weaker skills and competencies.
Oftentimes, sales coaching is limited to deal coaching. In other words, a rep and manager regularly review in-flight deals and determine how to move them forward. However, it’s also important to provide coaching on skills. Skill coaching drives long-term behavior change – and helps reps hone the skills they need to close deals.
At the end of the day, sales training and sales coaching shouldn’t be viewed as an either/or choice. Instead, both sales training and sales coaching are key to ensuring reps are ready to move deals through the funnel and eventually, close them.
Ongoing sales training is key to creating a team of winning sales reps
Oftentimes, sales leaders buy into the notion that a rep either has what it takes, or they don’t. But the reality is, personalized, ongoing sales training helps ensure each rep on your team has the skills and competencies needed to close more deals.
Not all sales training works. In fact, research by Gartner found that sales reps only remember 13% of the information a month after their sales training.
Motivation plays a big role in sales reps’ willingness to engage with sales learning. By adding ways to engage sellers with sales training, you increase sales quota attainment and the ROI of your sales training.
Here are six ways you can change your sales training to motivate your sales team.
Avoid reteaching sales reps skills they already possess. Instead, improve career skills with personalized sales training and development.
There is nothing more boring than going over material you already know — it’s repetitive, it’s discouraging, and, ultimately, it’s not rewarding. That’s why personalization is key to fostering motivation — it’s both relevant and rewarding.
Personalized sales training puts a focus on strengthening weaknesses and filling in any knowledge gaps that are relevant to each sales rep. For example, if a particular sales rep is great at deal strategy but needs improvement on closing sales, tailor a plan to work on customer conversations to see the quickest results.
And it’s important for personalized training to come hand in hand with a personal development plan for sellers to see what steps are required for success.
To begin a personalized plan, first, define what success looks like. In other words, what skills and knowledge do each seller need to reach their sales goals? What behavior and sales approaches do sellers need to learn to close more deals?
With a defined sales readiness score and a personalized development plan, sellers can take ownership of each milestone and understand what steps will need to be undertaken in order to match your IRP.
Make sales training relatable and interactive
To motivate your sales team to learn, your training needs to be relatable and relevant to your sales reps’ everyday tasks and interactions.
Use real-life scenarios and role-plays for your sales reps to get a glimpse of what actions and sales practices they need before the real action begins. Interactive sales training demands focus, which improves engagement and attentiveness to the task at hand.
Use role-plays to put into practice the skills reps have learned in a safe environment. This encourages sellers to continue their sales practice, as it prevents them from feeling demotivated or nervous in real scenarios and coaches them on how to navigate tricky situations.
Managers can also use role-plays to see their sales team in action. Then, depending on each rep’s performance, they can provide additional resources for improvement. In turn, the relevant feedback and interaction serve as motivation, being a key for improvement and signaling that managers care about the seller’s success in their role.
Support your sales reps with achievable development paths
Sales coaches often think having a 1:1 with their sales reps means their team will automatically feel supported. While that’s a good start, more is required for sellers to feel motivated and encouraged in their growth.
To begin development plans, meet with your sales reps individually to understand their personal goals. It’s much easier to build motivation when both parties are aligned in the direction of development. Once the goals have been defined, use skills tests to assess where your sales rep currently stands. Then, you’re able to track progress using benchmarks to celebrate milestones and address any pitfalls.
As a manager, it’s your responsibility to show sales reps the relationship between skill development and quota attainment. Ultimately, you want your sales reps to quickly see how new skills personally impact their sales efforts and be drawn to continually improve their success.
Nurture an environment where feedback is welcomed. Your sales reps are in a unique position to tell you exactly what sales training resources are helpful in their role. Their insights may benefit the company’s sales training quality and relevance. Not only is this information helpful, but it’s also motivating, as sellers see their thoughts on improvement are acknowledged and are making changes.
Encourage failure and practice
In training, don’t be afraid to let your sales team fail, fail again, and then learn from those experiences. Practice exercises motivate sales reps to learn from their mistakes in a safe environment.
Be clear with sales reps that tests and assessments are encouraged to understand what will help them progress in their career and are not an assessment of their ability to do their job. The difference is important because sales reps need to be allowed to acknowledge their own weaknesses and build paths for improvement.
Sales reps will find the impetus to continue working on skills that have been improved upon — particularly if they track them in their personal development plan and see how much they have progressed.
To motivate your team through failure, remember to build a sales training initiative that is inspirational with past success stories. And encourage sales reps to rely o share tips and tricks. When reps lean on one another, it removes the risk of sellers feeling isolated and builds resilience and determination to reach personal goals.
Build team identity and support
When sellers feel like they are part of a team and supported by a coached manager, the overall team’s performance can be boosted by as much as 31%. When sellers feel part of a team, they push through tasks and feel a responsibility to work together.
In an environment where team members are able to support, and encourage one another, the sense of community and aligned objectives motivates each sales rep to accomplish their sales training for the better of the team.
This helps build team identity. This is important, as research shows that employees who identify as part of a team have higher productivity rates than those who don’t (50% vs. 36%).
Team members can play toward the same goal but also stimulate one another through friendly competition that pushes each seller to outperform colleagues. In sales training, use leaderboards to nurture this.
A team environment can also keep sales reps feeling welcomed and encouraged when they experience a hard learning curve, as members can offer support and share resources and training feedback. This helps build a level of participation and incentive to continually learn and improve together as a team.
Use gamification to drive intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Learning is more fun with games (adding gamified elements to training boosts motivation to 83%) and information is retained better. Use this to your advantage when preparing sales training.
You can introduce gamification with leaderboards and scoreboards that measure the skill levels and sales readiness rankings of sales reps against one another. This encourages sales reps to either stay on top or reach the top.
As well, you should reward the training effort and motivation of high-ranking sales reps. Each time a new level is achieved, it’s good practice to appreciate and validate the efforts of the sellers.
Lastly, when rewarding sales reps’ participation and involvement with sales training, your acknowledgment and compliments need to be specific and timely for them to resonate correctly. For example, if a sales rep completes a sales training on email strategy, send them a message the same day congratulating them on their new email strategy skill.
Acknowledgment and rewarding sellers’ efforts incentivizes them to receive ongoing appraisal in their next sales course training.
Motivated training makes your sales team unstoppable
Motivated sales reps have the drive and curiosity to adapt new sales insights and content into their sales approach. They become hungry to learn and continue to practice their new skills in real scenarios, which drives increased win rates.
The combination of engaging sales training and a motivated sales team leads to:
Increase in profit: Engaged and motivated employees achieve a 23% increase in business profit. This is because when your sales training is motivating, your team will be driven to grow their skills. This drive leads to an increase in course completions, which leads to sellers being a step closer to a complete sales readiness score and matching the behaviors of the IRP.
Adaptability to market changes: Sales reps typically only spend around 17% of their time in sales training. But sales training doesn’t have to stop the moment a rep completes their first course. Use sales training as ongoing development to rethink market approaches and fine-tune skills.
Improve sales KPIs: Sales training prepares the reps to use the best practices and approaches to reach and convert potential customers. When reps are motivated to continually use training to optimize their sales approach, they are more likely to hit their quarterly KPIs and objectives.
Now you’ve got a motivated sales team; what’s next?
Although learning and completing a sales training course is a good start, it’s just the first step. The real action happens when those learned skills are put into practice with real-life scenarios.
Keeping track of improvement and insights can be tricky. That’s why it’s helpful to use a sales enablement platform to keep training, content, data, and resources all in one place.
With sales enablement platforms, data taken from real conversations, content management, deal negotiations, and seller approaches tracks the performance of your sales reps. This allows the correct training course to be recommended and tracked by management.
By having all the sales data at hand, you can quickly pinpoint what skills need to be expanded upon for each repy. Not only that, but sales enablement platforms complement management’s ability to track sales reps’ development and performance and give insights when intervention or feedback is needed.
You’ve gotten through another days- or weeks-long sales onboarding program with your new sales hires. It feels like it went well, but how can you really know whether it had an impact? Do you know the sales onboarding metrics that will show the impact of the program?
Onboarding is important for introducing new hires to your company and familiarizing them with their roles, teams, daily tasks, tools used, and more. But as happens to even the most experienced sellers, learning so much information in a matter of days is overwhelming — and some information is bound to get lost.
Research shows that over 84% of salespeople forget what they learned in sales onboarding within the first three months.
To really ensure reps are ramped up, ready for the field, and performing at a high level, you’ve got to supplement onboarding with continuous learning and support. These onboarding success metrics help you gauge your team’s performance and provide a more straightforward path on how you can guide them to improve throughout their tenure.
Top sales onboarding metrics
Sales reps must retain important information about your company and products in order to properly engage buyers. You can measure retention by providing quizzes and certifications. The best way to help sellers stay up-to-date is with learning reinforcement through virtual micro-learning, videos, recorded role-plays, and simulated sales scenarios. Once you understand where each individual rep stacks up, you can provide personalized learning paths that address any gaps.
Also known as time to productivity, ramp-up time refers to the length of time from a new hire’s first day to the day they reach full productivity. This “full productivity” means the rep is embedded in the company culture, can effectively communicate product value, and optimizes use of your tech stack. A shorter average ramp-up time indicates that onboarding has been successful in building skills, knowledge, and behaviors.
Part of sales onboarding metrics is SaaS onboarding metrics. Sellers use a laundry list of tools to perform their daily responsibilities, so adoption is key in helping them succeed. Make sure your onboarding program includes a thorough review of SaaS applications. If new hires are slow to adopt them, they are either not confident in how to use it (meaning you’ve got some work to do with onboarding) or don’t find it useful for their job (meaning it’s time to reevaluate your tech stack).
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is ensuring your new hires feel supported and empowered from their onboarding program. People aren’t shy to leave a job if they don’t feel like they’re set up for success from day one. In fact, employees who had a negative new hire onboarding experience are twice as likely to leave a job than those who had a positive experience. Save money and hold on to your salespeople by offering a post-onboarding survey, and make changes based on their feedback.
Time to refresh your onboarding program? Here’s a sales onboarding checklist to help you get started on creating a measurable, effective, scalable program.
Sales onboarding is an education program that provides newly hired sales reps with the necessary knowledge, instills the company values, and shows them how to leverage the provided tools of a company in an easy-to-absorb and timely format. This process ensures all sales reps have what they need for success within the company, with the team, and in the field.
A well-defined onboarding program, in particular, allows sales reps to learn in consumable chunks, with defined learning objectives and onboarding materials that are readily available and updated with the latest competitive, corporate, and product information.
Sales reps that go through standardized onboarding processes become productive 3.4 months sooner, on average, than those who are at organizations with less formal onboarding. And those new hires are 50% more likely to stay with the organization.
To be successful, sales reps need an intimate knowledge of the products they are selling, as well as the specific procedures and behaviors that will help them succeed. To be clear, a strong sales onboarding program gives reps more credibility and confidence in their new role, boosting the success of the entire sales department. In this post, we’ll cover the the following topics so you’re ready to build an onboarding plan that sets every rep up to be a top performer:
Companies that go beyond the “new hire checklist” and build a truly meaningful onboarding program benefit in many ways.
Sales onboarding sets sellers up for success
Creating an onboarding program that is aligned with the specific needs of your sales reps as well as the organization leads to greater success in the field, as your reps will know the products they’re selling and have the knowledge and skills to back them up. Knowledge gained through onboarding also helps reps get to know their customers, both existing and potential. It provides information about current users and enhances creative thinking around new business opportunities.
Even further, reps enter the field with the comfort of knowing the values and standards of the company, so they can sell with confidence. If onboarding at your company is too general, you may miss out on opportunities to improve key sales skills aligned with your organization.
Sales onboarding improves retention and recruitment
Setting new hires up for success in their role is a huge part of attracting and retaining top talent. In today’s competitive job market, job seekers are more knowledgeable and discerning of their prospective employers than ever before. If a talented sales rep is considering joining your team, the onboarding and training programs may play a significant role in their success. A strong onboarding and training curriculum sets you apart as an employer that values and invests in its employees.
A strong onboarding program also helps you retain the top talent you have recruited.
Companies with ineffective onboarding lose 17% of new hires in the first three months.
With a great onboarding program, you can keep employees for months and years to come by giving them the knowledge and consistent onboarding experience they need to succeed in your sales department.
Sales onboarding increases rep engagement
Sales reps who are highly engaged in their work do everything they can to satisfy their clients, grow their client base, help other sales reps succeed, and contribute ideas to improve the overall sales department. These highly engaged employees are advocates for your company and an integral part of your sales department.
Building employee engagement starts with onboarding. When new reps get the tools and information they need right from the start, they are more likely to buy into the company’s goals, bond with the sales team through shared experiences, and contribute in a positive way every day.
What are the best sales onboarding practices?
A job done poorly gets poor results—and sales onboarding is no exception. An onboarding process that is effectively built from the start can lead to improved sales opportunities, more closed deals, and great salespeople who stay for the long haul.
Here are a few best practices to help you build your own sales onboarding program:
Build a company story: Come to the table with a clear vision of your goals. What is your company’s mission and vision? What are your company values? What do you bring to the table? How is it different from your competitors?
Provide clear, concise messaging: With a clear understanding of your company values, new sales reps need a guide for how to convey your message. Your onboarding program should provide key messaging tips for a variety of different sales situations and opportunities.
Target the right customers: Develop sample profiles of customers that are a good fit for your products, including personalities and relevant industries. Learning how to pick and choose potential customers is a great way to help new hires understand your ideal customers and sell to them effectively.
Standardize the process: Access to paperwork, manuals, onboarding materials, and centralized messaging can significantly improve the results of the process. Enlist the help of a dashboard-style system that keeps everything in one place. A simple, effective, repeatable system will help new reps feel confident when the process begins, and give a simple way to check back and review important information when needed.
Provide continuous support: Using a sales readiness platform that standardizes your message is just the first step toward improved sales and retention. Provide opportunities for reps to check in, access sales coaching, and track their own readiness with assessments to cement the learning process with ongoing activities — a concept we call everboarding.
Offer engaging, varied training formats: Onboarding used to mean all-day training sessions and shadowing experienced reps — long days, information overload, and minimal retention. With advances in sales training technology, you can offer a more engaging and interesting onboarding experience. With sales training techniques like micro-learning and gamification, you can present information in a variety of formats to keep new hires engaged and help them retain more information long-term.
While a consistent model of behavior and information makes the onboarding process run smoothly, creating one for your company is an individual, unique exercise. It must be consistently administered across new sales reps, but it must be customized for your industry, values, goals, team, and leadership.
What is a 30-60-90-day sales onboarding plan?
A common onboarding strategy sales organizations take is the 30-60-90-day plan — a roadmap for where you want new reps to be after the first, second, and third months in their role. It can look something like this:
30 days: The new hire is familiar with the company mission, culture, history, products, buyers, sales processes, and tools. Offer some icebreaker activities and opportunities for collaboration and team building.
60 days: The new hire becomes more hands on, participating in team meetings, confident in talking to customers and prospects, and seems motivated to perform well.
90 days: The (not-so) new hire is actively reaching out to their accounts independently and fitting into the larger company culture. You are able to see a clear picture of their progress from day one.
There are different ways to approach a sales onboarding program, and where you start will depend on two things: your company objectives and what you already have in place. Using technology can help you customize the process for not only your company, but also for the many different learning styles that each rep brings to the table.
How does sales onboarding reduce ramp time?
Average ramp time for new sales reps can be anywhere between six and 12 months. A strong onboarding program can use the following techniques to improve the onboarding process and decrease ramp time:
A repeatable process: A well-defined, easily accessed, and standard process with clearly stated goals for the first and second week, first month, and so on, is a must-have. This process leaves the first impression with new reps, and can make or break the relationship between the new rep and the company.
Written resources: Information must be easily accessed for learning and review, so make sure everything is properly recorded and easily accessible.
Goal setting: Expectations should be clearly communicated and accountability tracked, but not rushed.
Company experience: Give new sales reps the opportunity to experience other aspects of the company, like customer service and support, and inventory control.
Mentorship and shadow opportunities: New hires get up to speed more quickly when there are ample opportunities for mentoring and shadowing. These activities allow reps to get guidance from more experienced members of the sales team in a less formal setting, giving them good opportunities to ask questions and learn in a real-world environment.
What are the features of a sales onboarding platform?
Sales onboarding platforms are typically part of enablement or readiness software. More sellers today are working remotely than ever before — and using technology is crucial for ensuring sales onboarding is accessible and adaptable for every individual rep.
These systems help to optimize the creation and execution of onboarding materials by:
Storing, managing, and distributing training content
Replicating in-person engagement through video conferencing tools and virtual instructor-led training (VILT)
Providing practice opportunities through recorded role-plays
Offering gamified learning and competitions
Personalizing learning paths based on proven competencies and areas for improvement
Tracking completion rates and scores
Successful sales onboarding with Mindtickle
The Mindtickle sales readiness platform offers onboarding and training features that improve time-to-productivity, sales rep effectiveness, and much more. Mindtickle offers user-friendly dashboards and analytics to track new reps’ progress through onboarding modules and identify reps who need additional training in certain areas.
Once onboarding is complete, Mindtickle offers a full suite of sales training, sales coaching, analytics, and micro-learning tools to reinforce concepts and continue building key skills. Schedule a demo today to see how Mindtickle can improve your sales onboarding program.
This post was originally published in January 2020 and was updated in September 2022.
Only 43% of salespeople reach their quota. On top of that, without the proper tools, it’s hard to tell what problems make them miss their quota. But with sales enablement tools, you can understand the attitudes, content, and skills that help your sales reps reach their objectives.
With features like personalized skill development and user analytics, sales teams can improve closing rates, strengthen communication skills, sales coaching, and provide insights to enhance sales cycles.
What to look for in a sales enablement tool
Sales enablement tools help teams understand the health of a sales cycle, spot weaknesses, and manage content that reduces a company’s risk of falling behind its goals by 27%.
When choosing a sales enablement tool, consider these features:
Ease of use: Understanding analytics and finding material should be easy. And, as sales reps are always on the go, opt for cloud-based and mobile-friendly tools that are always accessible.
Analytics and data: You should be able to extract insights to perform better and points to improve on for future sales.
CRM integration: Merge contact information with the sales cycle so sales reps can personalize the right content and approach for each contact, depending on previous sales history.
Centralized material management: Content distribution and storage is important for fast and accessible material. It is also important to track data to show which content performs the best depending on the user profile.
Growth and development: Insights on sales rep performance can spot weaknesses and strengths. These data points capture roadblocks in the sales process, and you can offer sales rep coaching and training when needed.
The following list goes over the best sales enablement tools of 2022. Each platform has strong features that offer support for your sales team.
Mindtickle is a market-leading sales enablement platform that helps revenue leaders boost sales through analytics, skill development, and content management. The platform has proven to increase sales rep revenue by 64%.
Benefits of Mindtickle
The biggest benefit of Mindtickle is the integrated platform of sales enablement insights, content management, coaching, and training.
The platform records each interaction with customers, the content used, and the sales courses that the sales rep has completed. Not only that, but Mindtickle also compares every sales rep’s behavior and tone through recorded calls and emails to find the winning strategy and improve its sales recommendations.
With all this data, Mindtickle gives a full understanding of weaknesses in the sales pipeline and what skills a sales rep should learn to improve their sales rate.
In turn, the continuous development of sales reps increases win rates whilst simultaneously improving sales strategy and learning pitches for future suggestions to other sales reps.
Lastly, Mindtickle sales training differentiates itself by using gamification and video to tap into personal motivation and encourage employees to develop their skills. The platform uses engagement tactics like quizzes and role plays to ensure learned skills are applied to everyday tasks.
This is especially helpful for new hires and developing managers. In fact, Mindtickle was able to cut Janssen India’s onboarding ramp time in half.
Analyzes account interactions and sales rep negotiations to identify winning behavior.
Centralized content management accesses situation training, tools, and marketing content and provides insights on when and how to use each piece of content to suit the customer target.
AI engines give feedback on tone, keywords, and pace of conversations. Then, the conversation insights are used to create training programs and personal coaching.
AI-recommended next steps and deal risks are identified with health scores, calls, and email sentiments.
Predictive revenue models use real-world pipeline data to suggest training with role-plays and recommended content.
Integrates with CRMs, APIs, calendars, and most platforms to make the sales stack centralized. This avoids lost information and reduces time in scheduling, account notes, and communication.
Mobile experience for sales reps on the go.
Price: Schedule a demo to learn about Mindtickle’s offer and experience a personalized walkthrough of the platform.
Mindtickle was ranked the highest-rated sales enablement platform by G2. The platform’s ability to translate sales rep performance into insights helps teams improve and integrate new skills in a way that evident in their future sales interactions.
Additionally, the app has the best adoption and is rated the easiest to use by G2.
Ambition’s main differentiation is the platform’s gamification and automated coaching approach for front-line managers.
Ambition scoreboards and leaderboards motivate friendly competition between teams. The scores are calculated using KPIs and accomplished learning activities. The gamification gives sales reps incentives and encourages repeat winning sales behavior.
And, for companies that want to save time for front-line managers, Ambition has “coaching orchestration” that automates meeting preparation, time schedules, and performance metric reports with coaching touchpoints to help coaches build action plans for improvement.
Record sales performance and interactions to create a performance report that coaches can use to clarify deliverable metrics and goals.
Coaching orchestration reduces coaching time by automating reporting and organizing 1:1 meetings. The automation measures sales skills against attribution metrics to create customized coaching programs.
Integrations with CRMs, sales platforms, and APIs.
Price: Starts at $750 USD/month.
Ambition is helpful for teams that thrive on competition or incentives. The gamification through leaderboards and scorecards makes teams compete against one another. And the platform combines scoreboards with coaching to motivate reps to deliver the best service possible.
However, it doesn’t provide courses or best practices, but it can be integrated with other platforms that provide skill development. And, Ambition doesn’t have a center for content management, as it focuses on coaching.
G2 rating: 4.5
Seismic equips sales teams with training and content to close deals. The biggest differentiator is the ability to pull data from CRMs and create personalized charts, presentations, and other sales material automatically.
Seismic is able to personalize the buyer experience with customizable dashboards that give detailed buyer insight and recommend actions. This is because the platform pulls data and content performance insights from CRM data.
It gives sellers ownership over the sales materials with centralized content management, where reps customize materials to add personalization to their deals.
Content management for teams to create, organize, control, and take ownership over content.
Automate and personalize content with data integrations to deliver a customized workflow.
Learning and coaching courses to onboard and improve sales skills.
Integrates with all types of platforms, from analytics to CRM.
Price: Prices are unavailable.
Seismic is helpful for teams looking to automate and customize their sales materials. And Seismic’s strong analytics helps sales reps improve their sales and onboarding.
It does not offer an ideal sales rep profile for others to mimic skills and behaviors from. Although not essential, it does help reps to imitate win-rate behavior and provide a direction for improvement.
G2 rating: 4.7
Salesloft differentiates itself through its focus on improving sales communication using buyer engagement analytics.
It gauges buyer engagement by analyzing interactions, keywords, and phrases in recorded messages and calls. Then Salesloft offers insight and feedback to sellers for improvement in future interactions.
Additionally, Salesloft integrates videos in their emails to give customers a personal buying experience.
Cadence and automation guides sellers through the sales process. The process is simplified with access to sales playbooks, best practices, and examples.
Pipeline data gives accurate forecasts on deals and sales cycle health.
Conversations are recorded and transcribed. Meetings are analyzed to show best practices.
Integrations through Salesloft API, meetings, inbox, or integrated CRM platforms.
Price: Prices are given by quota.
Salesloft uses interaction insight to improve future interactions in the customer journey. The platform allows teams to capture conversations and automate the cadence of interactions, so teams can learn from previous touchpoints for future deals.
However, it doesn’t offer a content management system or courses to improve skill ability. Instead, a business would have to rely on integrations from other platforms.
G2 rating: 4
SalesHood improves sales wins with its engaging skill-learning platform.
SalesHood saves coaching time with preloaded coach templates to improve sales training. And sellers are reminded of recommended sales behavior with alerts, notifications, tips, and scoreboards that are updated automatically.
The platform encourages resources and proven sales plays that are shared and reviewed between peers to reach the best sales practice.
Personalized learning, micro-assessments, role-plays, and peer-to-peer learning.
Automated buyer insights to develop personalized selling content.
Coach performance with data-driven timelines, tasks, and programs for teams to improve sales.
Coach templates for sales training, 1:1 meetings, and deal reviews for managers to be efficient and track progress.
Client engagement resources like content strategy and proven sales plays.
Analytics create visual summaries of sales performance and KPIs.
Integrations with Salesforce, CMS, BI, and SSO.
Price: Starts at $75 USD per user/month.
The biggest differentiator is the coaching details the platform offers. Front-line managers are given guidance to support teams with templates and resources. Analytics help managers coach their teams in a personalized way with recommended courses.
However, SalesHood doesn’t track conversations to provide insights into sales meeting interactions.
G2 rating: 4.6
Spekit differentiates itself with features that alert sellers on updates and product changes.
It coaches sellers using message insights and actions in the workflow. Alerts drive the adoption of new products and learned skills.
The knowledge base centralizes content, which lets teams customize and organize material to their needs. Moreover, the platform helps accountability with task assignments and role tags.
Spekit spotlights reduce training efforts with alerts on new workflows, policy updates, or product changes.
Learning platform for new skills adoption, quiz knowledge, and sales performance development.
Knowledge tracks for onboarding employees.
FAQs on any subject.
Comprehensive and easy integrations.
Price: Prices start at $20 USD per user/ month.
Spekit uses notifications, alerts, and knowledge checks to ensure the whole team is on the same page, which ensures the brand is maintained and new policies are kept.
It doesn’t offer recording call analysis or “winning rep behavior” for teams to learn, and it doesn’t have as many app integrations or analytics as its competitors.
G2 rating: 4.6
Brainshark is a sales readiness platform that uses scoreboards to rate reps’ sales readiness.
Brainshark levels up sales course content with voice AI and video recording. The video-based content gives sales reps courses for skill development and learning from one another.
For teams that want a formal approach to learning, Brainshark uses class tracking and tests. And, to check that new skills are being used in customer interactions, Brainshark aligns finished course skills with current interactions to reinforce the seller’s development.
Content management and easy video creation.
Readiness scoreboards to track readiness against KPIs.
Interactive course learning to onboard and improve sales readiness.
Machine analysis and scoring with AI-powered feedback and analysis.
Comprehensive integration list.
Brainshark mobile app keeps teams up-to-date on product updates.
Price: Prices unavailable.
Brainshark ramps up onboarding new hires with videos and courses. However, the platform doesn’t offer an ideal rep to mimic skills that lead to success. And, no examples for real-world sales interactions are given as inspiration. Lastly, Brainshark doesn’t have coaching tools for front-line managers.
G2 rating: 4.4
Highspot focuses on coaching and measures seller behavior to give recommendations that improve sales.
Highspot aligns sales templates with selling scenarios to suggest the appropriate approach. The training portal helps sellers follow role-specific courses to improve knowledge retention by engaging in virtual selling activities.
And, Highspot integrates with social media platforms to directly pitch to customers through their network.
Content management stores personalized content and uses AI management to highlight resources relevant to existing workflows.
Integrates with over 100 platforms.
Reps have access to sales templates that are industry best practices.
Analytics on content usage, sales performance, and interactive data reports to pinpoint content performance.
Personalization of landing pages, emails, and micro-portals.
Sales performance using scoreboards and customer scenarios.
Price: Prices are unavailable.
Highspot provides industry context recommendations which are helpful for teams learning different industries that need fast adaptation. ROI pinpoints successful content in the pipeline, which is helpful for companies who require high buyer engagement to invest in products.
However, Highspot doesn’t offer call monitoring and feedback.
G2 rating: 4.7
Showpad improves B2B selling by giving reps guided experiences for each scenario.
It has two main solutions that can be used separately or together. Showpad Coach is for sales training and coaching. Showpad Content is for content creation and distribution.
For companies with many different industries and target audiences, Showpad’s sales plays help reps with new client relationships. Reps are given seller information, industry insights, and opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.
And to ensure each team member is working towards better selling behavior, Showpad uses quizzes and tests to identify any skill gaps for training.
Tracks buyer interest to recommend which customers to invest time in.
Analytics to gather top performance and replicate behavior.
Content management identifies opportunities for cross-selling and recommends next steps.
Powerful integrations and collaboration features for content creation and management.
Sales forecast predictability.
Videos embedded for personal workflows.
Price: Prices are unavailable.
Showpad continuously trains employees and has analytics to understand skill gaps. Its content management stores and distributes selling content easily. Although Showpad does identify winning sales behavior, it doesn’t offer an ideal rep profile for selling behavior reference.
G2 rating: 4.6
Allego’s platform is comprehensive with analytics, skill training, conversation monitoring, and content management. The differentiation comes with using video for learning and communication.
Allego records pitches, and asynchronous communication and course creation are easy with content tools that publish new lessons onto the platform.
Analytics monitors conversations, gives sellers feedback, and also gives written suggestions when reps are feeling stuck in customer interactions.
Accessible content management and analytics show ROI, instructions, and peer examples.
AI-powered coaches recommend next steps and courses.
Conversation intelligence to improve the conversation.
Pre-board new hires with onboarding channels and virtually show good examples.
Insights on calls and deals to identify weaknesses in pipelines.
Score sales readiness to assess the probability of sales closing rates.
Price: Prices are unavailable.
Allego has extensive AI-powered metrics for sales readiness, sales content, and courses. Although Allego analyzes words spoken, it doesn’t provide feedback on tone or presentation to improve sellers’ communication skills.
G2 rating: 4.6
Gong captures customer interactions and analyzes salesperson behavior for communication risks and improvement opportunities.
The benefit of Gong is the amount of analysis and reports given to coaches from sales rep interactions.
Front-line managers receive insights on sales reps for improvement, but successful sales cycles record talk tracks so the next sales rep knows exactly what to say to close a deal.
And for busy sales reps, Gong ensures no actions are missed with real-time alerts when actions are required.
Shares top-performing salespeople strategies.
Identifies weaknesses in sales rep interactions and provides insight for improvement.
Helps strategize buyer path from other successful reps.
Comprehensive integrations with every type of platform.
Centralizes the content for revenue teams to work together and collaborate on accounts.
Price: Not available.
Gong’s platform transforms each interaction into insights. However, there’s little onboarding and educational training for sales reps to work and develop their skill set. And Gong doesn’t offer video role plays or practice situations to reinforce learned behaviors.
G2 rating: 4.7
Whatever you choose, your sales enablement tool should scale as your company grows
Your sales enablement tool choice should complement your team’s needs. As your company grows, your choice of sales enablement platform must scale with you. So it’s important to look for a solution that gives support to growing roles and content libraries.
When companies grow, their products and offers expand. It’s important to ensure your sales team feels supported with the tools to navigate growth and new clientele without losing the brand’s guidelines and company objectives. That’s why clear content management and analytics help sales teams keep content that performs and organize material that drives revenue.
And this can come in the form of courses and knowledge tests to onboard new hires into the company with clear expectations and ideal rep behavior. The insights from winning sales rep behavior ramp up the onboarding process and empower hires with knowledge and traits to reach their quota.
Mindtickle supports your team with its content management system, sales readiness, analytics, and courses to provide support and direction for your team to grow.
To learn about Mindtickle’s sales enablement offer, take a peek here to see how we help teams grow, develop, and reach their sales goals.
Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help sellers sell more effectively. The foundation of sales enablement is to provide sellers with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process.
Sales and marketing have traditionally been siloed, with little interaction or collaboration between the two departments. Considering that companies are better at closing deals when their sales and marketing departments are aligned, any chasm between them poses a significant problem.
Although organizations have known about this siloing for many years, bridging the gap has always been easier said than done. Until now.
Sales enablement is the solution for marketing-sales alignment. It paves the way to wider communication channels and frequent collaboration. By adopting an advanced data driven sales enablement platform and following some best practices, alignment is possible at your organization.
Here are some of the most prominent benefits of sales enablement.
Improved communication and teamwork
Communication between sales and marketing teams is a challenge for many organizations. Sales enablement helps address this challenge with a better system for managing sales content. This content management system (CMS) is a centralized database that houses sales resources for all departments and promotes marketing and sales collaboration during the creation of sales content.
Further, when both departments share the same sales enablement tools, CRM data, and business processes, marketing and sales teams can operate with combined insights of the target market and the sales funnel. The two teams collaborate to better define buyer personas and improve lead-scoring processes.
With open collaboration, content can be fine-tuned using the sales team’s knowledge of buyers and marketing’s knowledge of leads. This highly-optimized content moves prospects through the buyer journey faster.
Marketing and sales can also work together to create customizable content that reps can tailor to match the needs of any prospect. The result is highly-relevant content created for any circumstance “on the fly.”
Also, with both departments sharing the same content management system, marketing can purge outdated versions of a piece of content to make sure a sales rep doesn’t accidentally present it to a buyer. Or, reps and marketers can make small adjustments to bring the content back up to date for continued use.
Marketing and sales transparency
Sales enablement provides visibility into the effectiveness of sales and marketing processes. Transparency ensures that both marketing and sales can see which tactics and content are working and which ones aren’t. Both departments can therefore pinpoint inefficiencies and correct them quickly.
For example, with the right sales enablement technology, marketing and sales have access to a dashboard that reveals how buyers are engaging with sales materials. Both departments can see which materials are being ignored and which content is bringing prospects closer to a buying decision.
Bottom-line performance is obviously the most important benefit of sales enablement. With optimized and customizable content, better customer insight, and full visibility into sales processes, reps close more deals and generate more revenue.
How sales enablement technology transforms the selling process
Sales enablement technology does more than create marketing-sales alignment and boost content effectiveness. It enhances the entire sales process by improving efficiency, providing detailed analytics on sales activities, and improving training and development processes.
Enhanced onboarding: Efficient, simplified onboarding leads to faster quota attainment. The most advanced sales enablement technology helps sales trainers identify their reps’ knowledge gaps and adjust training accordingly. Trainers can automatically assign learning paths based on their sales reps’ roles and monitor their progress with milestones and certifications.
Continuous growth and skill development: Training is only effective when it’s ongoing—in fact, 80% of what is learned in sales training is forgotten within 3 months. With the right sales enablement tool, you can develop a more structured and interactive approach to ongoing training. Sales enablement tools provide virtual role-playing exercises, simulated selling scenarios, and personalized feedback for growth and improvement to help sales reps continually sharpen their skills.
Micro-learning capabilities: Micro-learning presents sales training information in short and engaging training modules to promote knowledge retention. Highly-specific learning objectives, interactive gamification elements, and spaced reinforcements help reps fill their knowledge gaps right from their computers or smartphones.
Coaching: With sales enablement technology, coaching can be designed around the unique needs of each sales rep. Sales coaches can create personalized learning paths based on competency maps. Coaches can also assign the exact micro-learning modules a rep needs to reinforce specific concepts.
Analytics: Sales enablement gives you visibility into your reps’ understanding of their training. Analytics dashboards help sales coaches track, measure, and improve their teams’ capabilities.
Getting started with sales enablement
Wondering where to begin your sales enablement journey?
For marketing-sales alignment and a more competitive salesforce, many companies around the world turn to Mindtickle. With innovative training capabilities, as well as advanced micro-learning, analytics, and the ability to integrate a wide range of sales tools, Mindtickle offers a 360-degree solution for sales organizations.
Who is responsible for sales enablement
Ownership of sales enablement varies by organization. According to CSO Insights, just under half (49.2%) of sales enablement teams report to sales leadership, and just over one in five (22.6%) report to another C-level function, such as the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, or Chief Growth Officer, among others. The remaining sales enablement teams report to sales operations, marketing, customer, experience, or another team.
Sometimes, sales enablement teams work in silos without additional engagement or external guidance. However, the most successful programs are those that include cross-functional collaboration across key teams including:
Sales or revenue operations
Dedicated sales enablement team
Cross-functional collaboration ensures each area of the organization is in agreement and working toward the same goals.
How to measure sales enablement
Continuous measurement is essential to determining the success of sales enablement – and pinpointing opportunities for improvement. Yet, per CSO Insights, less than a quarter of organizations consistently measure the impact of their sales enablement efforts with productivity metrics, milestones, or leading and lagging indicators.
Of course, measuring revenue and number of units sold is important. However, measuring sales enablement also involves correlating sales activities with tangible business outcomes to determine what works and what doesn’t.
There are many many metrics to track to gauge the impact of sales enablement initiatives. Here are 13 of the most common.
1. Lead-to-opportunity conversion rate
As the name suggests, this metric tracks the percentage of leads that are converted to opportunities. This metric is calculated by dividing the number of opportunities by the total number of leads.
A high lead-to-opportunity conversion rate indicates sellers have the skills and knowledge needed to convince buyers to learn more and consider making a purchase.
2. Win rate
The win rate is the percentage of opportunities that end up as signed deals. Win rate is calculated by dividing the number of closed won deals by the total number of opportunities.
A high win rate indicates sellers have what it takes to carry opportunities across the finish line.
3. Competitive win rate
Competitive win rate specifically measures the rate of closed deals where prospects are also considering one of your competitors. The competitive win rate is calculated by dividing the total number of wins over a competitor by the total number of opportunities who considered a competitor.
Competitive win rate can be more challenging to track than win rate. That’s because accurate calculation depends on whether or not prospects inform you that they’re considering a competitor.
4. Average deal size
This metric is the average amount a customer spends on your product or service. It’s calculated by dividing the total amount of money from all customer orders in a specific time frame by the number of deals in that same time frame.
5. Quota attainment
Quota attainment is a measure of how your sales reps are (or aren’t) achieving their goals during each sales cycle. To calculate the quota for a seller, divide their sales during a set time period by their quota for the same period.
If a seller is consistently missing quota, there may be opportunities to provide them with additional training and coaching.
6. Adherence to sales process
This metric tracks how well your sales reps follow your established sales process. In order to track this metric, it’s important to establish a standard way for sellers to follow and document the sales process.
If a seller isn’t adhering to the sales process – and also isn’t meeting quota – there may be a need for additional training or coaching.
7. Ramp-up time
Ramp-up time, also referred to as time to productivity, is the measure of how quickly it takes a new sales rep to reach full productivity. To calculate ramp-up time, take the total amount of time to productivity for all reps who ramped up in a given quarter and divide it by the number of reps.
It’s important to determine how your organization defines productivity. For example, an organization might define it as reaching a certain percentage of quota or making a certain number of calls per day.
8. Time to quota
This is the amount of time it takes new reps to meet their quota for the first time. It’s measured by adding the number of sales cycles it takes each new rep to meet their quota – and then dividing that sum by the number of reps being measured.
If it’s taking a long time for new reps to meet their quota, there may be opportunities to optimize the onboarding process.
9. Seller turnover rate
Turnover rate measures how often sales reps voluntarily leave the company. It’s calculated by dividing the number of reps that voluntarily leave the company within a certain period of time by the total number of reps.
A high rep turnover rate suggests there’s a problem. One way to get to the bottom of the problem is by asking reps for feedback about the effectiveness of the sales enablement program.
10. Rep net promoter score
This measures your reps’ satisfaction with your company. Typically, employees are asked to complete a survey with questions related to their experience. A high net promoter score indicates an employee is satisfied and likely to stay with the company. A low net promoter score indicates the employee is dissatisfied and unlikely to recommend the company to others.
11. Knowledge retention
Reps must learn certain things to be successful. But more importantly, they must retain this knowledge so they can apply it in the field. There are a number of ways organizations can measure knowledge retention, including post-training assessments, role-plays, and listening to conversations between sales reps and customers.
12. Content use and adoption
Most sales enablements invest time and resources into creating both internal and external content. Yet, 65% of B2B content is never used.
It’s important to track how both sellers and buyers are using this content – if they’re using it at all. Key content-related metrics include number of views, time spent on a piece, and how often a piece of content is opened, used, or shared. These insights can help you refine your content strategy.
This metric tracks how often a prospective customer takes action on content – which might include ads, blogs, or emails – among others. The most effective content is that which generates the highest number of clicks.
How sales enablement drives revenue
Today, a mere 43% of sellers meet their quotas. Sales enablement, when done right, can have a dramatic impact on a seller’s ability to close deals – and an organization’s ability to drive revenue. Here are some of the key reasons why.
1. Sales enablement provides sellers with a single source of truth
Sellers need on-demand access to information in order to move deals forward. For example, sellers often leverage:
Oftentimes, the information a seller needs is housed in different locations, such as the CRM, multiple drives, and a company wiki. In those circumstances, it’s challenging for a seller to find what they need when they need it. However, a solid sales enablement program provides sellers with one, single knowledge base. That way, they can always access the knowledge they need, whenever they need it. That means they can more easily move deals through the funnel – and across the finish line.
2. Sales enablement provides ongoing training
Sales training is a key component of sales enablement. Of course, it all starts with sales onboarding. But that’s not enough.
In the world of sales, change is inevitable. New products are released and existing products updated. New tools are introduced. New competitors enter the market. Sales enablement teams provide sellers with the ongoing training they need to build their skills and knowledge so they can overcome challenges and close more deals.
3. Sales enablement can help create a culture of coaching
Continuous coaching is essential to sales success. Research tells us that 8 out of 10 teams with effective coaching practices hit greater than 75% of their sales quotas.
A successful sales enablement strategy includes a strong coaching component. Deal coaching is the most common type of coaching. According to the 2022 State of Sales Readiness report, 85% of sales reps are coached on open deals. However, sales managers must also incorporate skill coaching to drive behavior change. On average, top managers deliver 12 coaching sessions per month.
4. Sales enablement can improve sales and marketing collaboration
Oftentimes, marketing and sales teams work in silos, with each focused on different goals. This negatively affects overall productivity. However, sales enablement can remove these silos and encourage better collaboration between the two teams. When sales and marketing are working towards the same goals, companies are better able to attract and close leads.
5. Sales enablement can speed up onboarding
Onboarding is an important way to orient new sellers and help them understand the company, its goals, and the role they play. Sales enablement can help accelerate onboarding – without sacrificing quality.
Per our 2022 State of Sales Readiness report, sellers at winning organizations take just four weeks to complete the onboarding program – and are fully ramped within four to five months. That’s 40-50% less than the industry average. When onboarding time is streamlined, reps are able to achieve their revenue targets more quickly.
6. Sales enablement can improve rep retention
Sales enablement can increase seller engagement – which can in turn increase satisfaction. Engaged, satisfied reps are more likely to stick around and be productive.
7. Sales enablement leads to informed, engaged buyers
Sales enablement helps ensure reps are always prepared for any interaction with a potential buyer. When reps have the knowledge and content they need to keep buyers informed and engaged, those buyers are more likely to end up as customers.
How are sales enablement and revenue enablement related?
Sales enablement and revenue enablement are closely intertwined and interdependent concepts, with several key connections:
Sales enablement equips the sales team with tools, resources, and support to enhance their selling effectiveness.
Revenue enablement takes a broader perspective, aligning departments such as marketing, customer success, and operations to optimize revenue generation.
Sales enablement is a critical component of revenue enablement, directly impacting sales productivity and contributing to revenue outcomes.
Both enablement strategies foster collaboration, alignment, and data-driven decision-making across the organization.
Sales enablement focuses on equipping sales reps with the right content, training, and technology to engage buyers and close deals successfully.
Revenue enablement encompasses various functions and aims to maximize revenue growth, enhance customer experiences, and drive overall business performance.
Together, sales enablement and revenue enablement create a cohesive and efficient revenue generation ecosystem.
What is the difference between sales enablement and sales productivity?
Sales productivity and sales enablement are two distinct concepts that play crucial roles in the success of a sales team. Sales productivity focuses on maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of individual sales representatives. It involves providing them with the tools, resources, and training necessary to close deals and achieve their targets.
On the other hand, sales enablement takes a broader approach, aiming to empower the entire sales organization. It focuses on aligning processes, strategies, and technologies to optimize the sales ecosystem. Sales enablement ensures that the sales team has the right knowledge, content, and support to engage buyers effectively throughout their journey. Ultimately, sales productivity enhances individual performance, while sales enablement drives overall sales effectiveness and revenue growth.
This post originally published in January 2020 and was updated in September 2022.
Here at Mindtickle, we talk a lot about the importance of continuous learning. Training isn’t “one and done.” Instead, sales reps need continuous learning opportunities (what we call everboarding) to ensure they always have the latest and greatest skills and knowledge necessary for success.
But the truth is, continuous learning is essential for revenue professionals of all levels – from the sales rep to the Chief Revenue Officer. Attending sales enablement and sales readiness events is a great way to keep a pulse on industry trends and best practices, make connections, and get ideas and inspiration for refining your sales readiness program.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best upcoming sales enablement and sales readiness events to attend either virtually or in-person. While each event has something unique to offer, all are sure to offer insights that can help you ensure your sales readiness program is running on all cylinders.
Looking to get your sales team ready to close more deals in the second half of the year? Then be sure to check out the Mindtickle Revenue Reboot.
This summer, we’re partnering up with Chili Piper, Vidyard, BoostUp, Baker Communications, and Qualified to deliver a line-up of weekly content and experiences that’ll help you reboot your revenue in the second half of the year. Sign up now to access brand new videos from experts featuring fresh sales enablement and training tips, live and in-person networking discussions, a curated summer reading list, and more.
This year’s Chief Revenue Officer Summit will gather revenue leaders from all types of companies – from the largest enterprises to promising, innovative startups. At this in-person event, attendees will have the opportunity to share stories, network, and walk away with practical ideas for driving revenue growth at their organizations.
It’s a challenging time to be a seller. These days, sales teams must work harder than ever to engage buyers and articulate value throughout the customer journey. salesDisrupted, powered by B2B DecisionLabs, is a one-day, research-focused event held in Boston, MA that promises to help sales professionals and leaders level up their leadership and selling skills. Rather than teaching theory, this conference disrupts the status quo by focusing on results.
September 20-22, 2022 | San Francisco, CA and Virtual
The largest software conference in the world is returning to downtown San Francisco this fall. This year, Salesforce will be celebrating its 20th Dreamforce with an event that promises to be bigger and better than ever. Attendees can expect 1,000+ sessions and workshops, networking opportunities, and plenty of fun. Professionals of every level are sure to walk away with inspiration and ideas for finding success and growing revenue in a digital-first world. In fact, 87% of Salesforce event attendees say they learned something that helped them accelerate business growth.
This fall, sales enablement professionals and revenue leaders from around the world will gather for this one-day, in-person event in San Francisco. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and network and connect with peers. There will also be opportunities to evaluate best-in-class enablement and sales readiness solutions that can take any sales readiness strategy to the next level.
After a two-year hiatus, the Sales Enablement Society’s annual, in-person conference is back. The theme of this year’s event is “Take the Leap: Connect. Innovate. Elevate.” Attendees can expect an inspiring experience featuring engaging keynotes and 40+ informative breakout sessions. There will also be opportunities to network, recharge, and have some fun, including the opening night party, happy hour, and a wellness patio.
Many revenue leaders resign themselves to the notion that 20% of sellers will continue to drive 80% of revenue. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s time to embrace the science of sales and start creating an entire team of quota-crushing reps.
This autumn, the team at Mindtickle will be making our final stop on our Road to Readiness Roadshow. Register for this in-person event for an opportunity to connect with industry leaders and peers and walk away with best practices and strategies for creating an entire team of top performers.
This October, the Sales Enablement Summit will descend on Boston. At this one-day event, sales enablement professionals from companies of all sizes and types will gather to share experiences, challenges, and ideas. The event will cover hot button sales readiness topics including cross-functional collaboration, scaling enablement, tracking key metrics to prove value, and more.
Gain insights and network with peers – all from the comfort of home or the office. Sign up for the Sales Enablement Festival to access more than 20 hours worth of content from more than 40 sales enablement leaders from companies including Google Cloud, Getty Images, IBM, Zoom, and others.
The Sales Enablement Summit is returning to the Windy City this fall. More than 300 attendees from 75+ organizations will gather to learn, discuss challenges, and share ideas during this one-day event.
Mindtickle Fall Product Announcement Webinar
Autumn 2022 | Virtual
Mindtickle’s complete sales readiness program enables revenue leaders to create high performance teams. But creating a winning platform isn’t a one-time event. Instead, we’re always innovating to make the platform even better.
Come to our fall product announcement webinar to see what’s in store for Mindtickle customers. Stay tuned for more information and a registration link.
The Sales Innovation Expo is focused on inspiring sales professionals. This free, two-day event features sessions on everything from sales engagement and enablement to leadership and sales techniques – and everything in between. Attendees are guaranteed to leave full of ideas to apply once back in the field.
The only dedicated summit for Chief Revenue Officers is making a stop in London for the first time ever. 80+ revenue leaders from 75+ companies will gather to hear from industry leaders and share knowledge, ideas, and best practices for driving sustainable revenue growth.
Are you headed to any of these sales enablement and readiness events in 2022 and 2023? So are we! We hope to meet you there to discuss how Mindtickle can help you make sales readiness a reality.
Athletes require ongoing coaching to ensure they’re always ready to win. In the same way, sellers need coaching to ensure they have what it takes to close the next deal — as well as all the others that follow.
In fact, the positive impact of sales coaching is proven. Our research with Heinz Marketing found that eight in 10 teams with effective sales coaching practices hit higher than 75% of their sales quotas. With results like that, organizations can’t afford not to coach reps.
Sales coaching must go beyond deal reviews
Many sales orgs claim to coach their reps. But, according to CSO Insights, nearly 63% of sales orgs take a random or informal approach to sales coaching. Typically, this ad hoc approach is primarily focused on deal reviews.
Of course, as-needed deal reviews are an important way to improve the outcome of a given sale. But on its own, deal coaching isn’t enough to improve long-term results.
The best sales orgs take a different approach to coaching. Rather than focusing solely on deal coaching, they deliver a blend of coaching types delivered at regular intervals to improve long-term success.
How the best sales managers are coaching their reps
There’s no denying that coaching is hard work, especially as sales teams continue to grow. Our 2022 State of Sales Readiness Report analyzed more than one million users at 350 companies and found that sales managers have an average of eight sellers reporting to them.
That said, time spent coaching is time well spent as frequent coaching is correlated with greater sales success. On average, managers lead just one coaching session per rep per month. However, managers of top-performing reps complete an average of three coaching sessions per rep per month.
Let’s take a closer look at the three types of coaching the best sales managers are delivering to reps — and how often they’re doing so.
#1 Opportunity sales coaching
When someone hears the phrase “sales coaching,” their mind might immediately go to opportunity coaching. That’s not surprising, as it’s the most common type of sales coaching.
Our research found that 85% of sales reps report being coached on open deals.
Opportunity coaching is an important way to improve the outcome of a deal. For example, a sales manager might identify that something in a deal isn’t going the way it should. This might be based on feedback from the rep during a pipeline review meeting. Or, it could be insight they get by leveraging a conversation intelligence solution that sheds light on how the rep is performing.
In either circumstance, the manager can provide opportunity coaching that’ll help the rep steer the deal back on course. And this will improve the chances of them ultimately closing the deal.
How often are the best managers delivering opportunity coaching? Sometimes, this coaching happens at a regular cadence — for example, during a weekly pipeline review. At these meetings, reps and managers discuss current opportunities — and how to move them forward.
Often, though, opportunity is delivered as needed — for example, when a rep raises a question or concern or meeting intelligence uncovers an issue.
#2 Skills sales coaching
In general, skills coaching is a lot less common. A mere 24% of reps report being coached on skills. That’s a troubling statistic.
While opportunity coaching improves the outcome of a single deal, skills coaching is required to ensure reps have the skills and behaviors needed to consistently close deals.
The best sales managers recognize the importance of skills coaching on long-term behavior. As such, they aim to deliver at least one skill-based coaching session per month per rep.
What skills do they focus on? The short answer is, it depends. The first step is for organizations to identify the knowledge, skills, and behaviors a rep needs for success by developing an ideal rep profile (IRP). Then, each rep should be measured against this gold standard. This helps managers identify where there are skills gaps. Armed with this data, sales managers can deliver targeted, personalized skills coaching that addresses the needs of each individual rep.
#3 Targeted sales coaching
If there’s one thing sellers can count on, it’s that things are always changing. New products are released. Pricing or packaging is adjusted. A new competitor enters the marketplace. And those are just a few of the many changes faced by reps.
The best sales managers deliver coaching sessions to address changes and ensure reps are equipped to adapt. Typically, targeted coaching is a single session on a specific, targeted topic — often followed by enablement content such as content, training, or a role-play exercise.
When it comes to sales coaching, follow-up is key
Sales managers are busy. But the best ones know that coaching is worth the time and effort. On average, top managers complete 12 coaching sessions per month.
But coaching isn’t a one-time event. For example, a manager can’t simply deliver a skills coaching session focused on objection handling, check it off the list, and never think about it again — at least not if they expect actual improvement.
The best managers know that proper follow-up and ongoing reinforcement are key to effective coaching. Our analysis found that top managers are three times more likely to assign content, training or a role-play as a follow-up to a coaching session.
This follow-up is paying off. Reps who are assigned follow-up actions post-coaching see an average improvement of 13 points in Sales Readiness Index scores.
Start closing gaps and optimizing seller performance with coaching
Sales coaching, when done well, is proven to significantly boost sales outcomes. Deal coaching alone won’t cut it. The best sales leaders are using a blend of deal, skills, and targeted coaching to ensure the entire sales team has what it takes to close deals.
Ready to see how Mindtickle can empower you to deliver personalized, effective sales coaching at scale? Learn More.
All too often, revenue leaders buy into the outdated (but still widely accepted) notion that great sales reps are born, not made. According to this view, a person either has what it takes to be a successful seller or they don’t — and those who do drive the lion’s share of sales.
Those leaders focus primarily on hiring for fit — and hope for the best. While this can be an important first step, it’s not enough to guarantee success.
The reality is, sales is as much a science as it is an art. And sellers can indeed be taught.
Of course, you can’t exactly clone your best sales reps. But what you can do is identify what makes them great — and then work to replicate their skills and behaviors to create an entire team of sellers ready to crush quota.
Defining what sales excellence looks like
Sellers have a limited amount of time, and it behooves them (and their organization) to focus their time on the prospects that are the best fit for what they’re offering. To help ensure that’s the case, 93% of organizations have identified and documented their ideal customer profile (ICP).
But far fewer businesses — 1% — take the time to identify and document their ideal rep profile (IRP), which is the list of skills, competencies, and behaviors a member of the revenue team needs to succeed in their role.
That’s a big problem. After all, how can a sales organization drive excellence when they’re not even sure what excellence looks like?
The IRP is essential to true sales readiness
The first step in driving org-wide readiness is to take the time to identify and document the skills needed for success. The most successful sales organizations define IRPs for their go-to-market (GTM) or customer-facing roles. The most common roles for which organizations define their IRP are:
Account executives (AEs)
Business development representatives (BDRs)
Channel sales specialists (CSSs)
Customer success managers (CSMs)
Sales engineers (SEs)
Team members should be continuously measured against this “gold standard” to identify the learning gaps of each individual. Then organizations can work to deliver individualized learning and coaching that closes these gaps and creates more peak performers.
The top 3 sales skills for every revenue team member
Sure, it’s key to identify the skills each member of your revenue team needs to succeed. But what exactly are those skills?
Of course, these vary by role. The skills needed to be a successful BDR are quite different from those needed to excel as a sales engineer.
Recently, we analyzed activity from more than a million users at 350 companies to understand how the best organizations are getting their sales teams ready to close more deals – and shared our key findings in our State of Sales Readiness 2022 report. Based on this analysis, we’ve identified the top three skills needed by five key members of the revenue team.
The 3 most important skills for account executives
Account executives work day in and day out to understand the needs and challenges of businesses — and then provide solutions to address them. The three most important skills for success in this role are:
Sales discovery: For account executives, discovery is the foundation of success. They need the skills to get to know the buyer — and truly understand their opportunities and challenges.
Value articulation: Once an AE has determined the needs of the buyer, they must have the skills needed to articulate the value of their solution.
Competitive objection handling: Our analysis found that 63% of sales calls include more negative sentiment than positive. One example of negative sentiment is competitive mentions. AEs should expect competitive mentions — and have the ability to address them.
The 3 most important skills for business development representatives
BDRs are often the first touchpoint a prospect has with your company. It’s essential for them to master these three skills:
Lead qualification: BDRs must know your ICPs inside and out — and be able to quickly and accurately determine if a prospect is a good fit for your company’s offerings.
Objection handling: Like AEs, BDRs must be prepared to expect resistance from prospects — and they should be equipped to handle it. The right enablement and coaching can ensure they’re ready to address any objection that comes their way.
Email personalization: These days, a large portion of business communication happens via email. As such, written communication skills are as important as verbal ones for BDRs. Specifically, BDRs must be able to personalize their email communications for each prospect.
The 3 most important skills for channel sales specialists
Channel sales refers to the practice of a third party (also known as a partner) selling your company’s products. The top three skills needed for channel sales specialists are:
Product knowledge: Channel sellers must know a product inside and out — and be equipped to handle any question that’s thrown their way. Continuous enablement and coaching ensures they always have current, accurate product knowledge.
Value articulation: Like AEs, channel sellers must be experts at conveying the value a particular solution offers to the prospect.
Competitive objection handling: It’s common for channel sellers to get questions and pushback about specific competitors. They must be equipped to handle these objections in order to get more deals to the finish line.
The 3 most important skills for customer success managers
Customer success managers spend the bulk of their time meeting with current customers to address any issues and ensure the customer is getting the most value from the product provided. As well, they’re often responsible for upsells and renewals. They must have a solid mastery of the followinge three skills to be successful in their roles:
Communication skills: CSMs spend a lot of time interacting with customers, both via phone and through email. Often, they need to share feedback from customer interactions with other departments, including sales and product. Solid written and verbal communication skills are a must.
Product knowledge: CSMs must have a deep understanding of products so they’re equipped to answer questions and ensure customers are getting the most out of the solution.
Resolving customer issues: If a customer runs into a problem, the CSM is typically their go-to. Customer success team members must have solid problem-solving skills to help resolve issues quickly and effectively.
The 3 most important skills for sales engineers
A sales engineer is a member of the B2B sales team whose speciality is selling complex technical products and services. They must have mastery of these three skills:
Use case knowledge: Sales engineers must be well-versed in the myriad ways companies are using a solution — and be able to tap into this knowledge to articulate how the solution can work for a specific prospect.
Articulating business value: Similar to other roles, sales engineers must be experts at articulating the value of their solution to prospects.
Product knowledge: Prospects often come to sales engineers with technical questions and objections. Sales engineers must know the ins and outs of the product to be able to effectively address these complex queries.
Start building a winning revenue team
While hiring for fit is a great start, it’s not the be-all and end-all. Instead, organizations must identify the skills needed for each role on the revenue team, identify gaps, and deliver the personalized training and coaching needed to ensure each individual masters the skills that matter most.
Ready to learn what the best revenue organizations are doing differently to ensure their teams are always ready to close more deals — and start applying those insights to achieve sales readiness at your organization? Check out the Mindtickle State of Sales Readiness 2022 report.
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