The Top 5 Selling Skills You Need to Measure

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
  • Sales coaching
  • Call analysis

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.  

What is Sales Training? 

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.

Mindtickle 2022-2023 Sales Enablement Outlook Report

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.

  1. Sales training: What it is and why it matters
  2. Benefits of sales training
  3. Tips for more effective sales training
  4. Sales training vs. sales coaching: What is the difference?

Sales training: What it is and why it matters

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.

In fact, research from Heinz Marketing and Mindtickle found that 78.6% of companies with an effective program meet 100% of their selling quota.

2. It improves seller engagement and retention

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):

  • Product knowledge
  • Sales methodology
  • Ideal customer profiles
  • Pitch delivery
  • Objection handling
  • 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:

  • Relationship-building
  • 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.

Nobody Cares About Your Sales Training. Here’s Why

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.

  1. Personalize the sales training for your reps
  2. Make sales training relatable and interactive
  3. Support your sales reps with achievable development paths
  4. Encourage failure and practice
  5. Build team identity and support
  6. Use gamification to drive intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

Personalize the sales training for your reps

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?

Once those elements are defined, you can create a sales readiness index and an ideal rep profile (IRP). This helps build an end goal and vision for sales reps to work toward.

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 show support, set goals and KPIs with your sales reps and agree upon the process to achieve them. With effective sales coaching, you can improve quota attainment by 21% and sales win rates by 19%.

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.

Learn how Mindtickle can motivate your sales team with training tools that set your sales team up for success. Here’s where to set up time for a Mindtickle demo.

A New Batch of Reps Finished Sales Onboarding. Now What?

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

Knowledge retention

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.

Ramp-up time

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.

Mindtickle Ramp Time EBook

Technology adoption

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).

Employee satisfaction

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.

What is Sales Enablement?

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.

The concept of sales enablement originated in 2013 and caught on quickly when companies realized the impact it can have on business outcomes. Consider the following from research from Heinz Marketing and Mindtickle:

sales quota statistics

Sales enablement is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have. This guide will explore everything you need to know about sales enablement, including:

  1. The benefits of sales enablement
  2. Who is responsible for sales enablement
  3. How to measure sales enablement
  4. How sales enablement drives revenue
  5. How are sales enablement and revenue enablement related?

The benefits of sales enablement

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.

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.

Optimized content

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.

Increased revenue

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 leadership
  • Sales or revenue operations
  • Marketing
  • Dedicated sales enablement team
  • Customer success

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.

lead to opportunity conversion rate

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.

How to measure win rate

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.

How to track competitive win rate

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.

How to measure average deal size

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.

How to measure quota attainment

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.

How to measure time to productivity

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.

How to measure time to quota

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.

How to measure rep turnover rate

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.

How to measure net promoter score

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.

13. Calls-to-action

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:

  • Talk tracks
  • Training modules
  • Customer content

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. 

Sales Enablement and Sales Readiness Events to Attend in 2022-2023

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.

Mindtickle Revenue Reboot

July 14-August 18, 2022

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.

Revenue Reboot Registration link

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.

Sales Enablement Collective: Chief Revenue Officer Summit

September 7-8, 2022 | San Francisco, CA

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.

AA-ISP salesDisrupted

September 8, 2022 | Boston, MA

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.

Sales Enablement Soiree

September 22, 2022 | San Francisco, CA

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.

Sales Enablement Society Annual Conference

September 28-30, 2022 | Atlanta, GA

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.

Mindtickle Road to Readiness Roadshow

Autumn 2022 | London

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.

Sales Enablement Collective: Sales Enablement Summit

October 19, 2022 | Boston, MA

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.

Sales Enablement Festival by Sales Enablement Collective

October 26-28, 2022 | Virtual

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.

Sales Enablement Collective: Sales Enablement Summit

November 16-17, 2022 | Chicago, IL

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.

Sales Innovation Expo

November 22-23, 2022 | London

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.

Chief Revenue Officer Summit

November 23-24 | London

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.

Extroverts Don’t Always Make The Best Salespeople. Here’s What To Look For Instead

An extrovert is “an outgoing, gregarious person who thrives in dynamic environments and seeks to maximize social engagement.” That sounds like what you’d expect a typical sales rep to be like.

But modern buyers don’t want to be “sold to” anymore. Gartner found that 33% of buyers want a “seller-free sales experience,” while LinkedIn found that 88% of consumers will only make a purchase when they see a salesperson as a “trusted advisor.” Today, buyers want to learn about your product, find solutions to their problems, and be confident that they’re making the best decision. They want to be front and center in any sales conversation, with your sales rep in a supporting role.

The days of pushy salespeople who talk non-stop and never let you get a word in edgewise are long gone. Your most extroverted sales reps may thrive at networking events and in large groups of people, but talking will only get them so far. Buyers are looking to buy from people they can trust, so sellers need to develop skills more closely associated with introverts and master the consultative approach to selling.

Active listening

Active listening involves engaging with your prospects in a meaningful way to show that you understand what they’re asking from you. It’s an essential skill for sales reps to master for building rapport and earning trust.

Stephanie McSwiney, VP of Sales at Frontify, believes that active listening is one of the most challenging sales skills to hire for. She explained, “We want sales reps who really understand the client and can match their needs with our use cases. This can be complex and requires strong active listening skills, which are very hard to find in new sales hires.”

To assess your team’s active listening skills, start by reviewing call recordings to see how much time your reps talk on their calls compared with their prospects. Our State of Sales Readiness 2022 benchmark report found that customers talk for 57% of the call in top-performing reps’ discovery calls. In contrast, the average customer talk time across all the analyzed calls was just 44%.

Then look at how that talk time is divided up. Is there a healthy dialogue with customers asking lots of questions and sharing their challenges with your rep? Or is your rep talking in one solid block with minimal engagement from the prospect? Our report found that the average longest monologue by sales reps on calls (where they spoke uninterrupted) was 1 minute 37 seconds. So if your reps are talking for more than 90 seconds in a single block, they may need a reminder to give the prospect space to talk and ask questions.

Finally, you can look at whether your reps ask clarifying questions on their calls, such as, “Did I understand that correctly?” or “Have I got that right?” These questions demonstrate that a rep actively listens to their prospect and engages with what they say.

Understanding buyer needs

Understanding buyer needs is the ability to take what a prospect says and, from there, determine what they need from your product or service. This includes the challenges they’re experiencing and the problems they need to solve. It’s an essential sales skill rooted in a rep’s capacity to empathize with their prospect. If they can master this skill, they’ll be able to successfully align their product demos and discussions with what the buyer is looking for.

Freya Ward, global sales director at Headley Media, explained, “A good salesperson needs to be able to listen to clients and understand their needs rather than just jumping in with a sales pitch.”

“A good salesperson needs to be able to listen to clients and understand their needs rather than just jumping in with a sales pitch.”

For your extroverted sales reps, this may require a change in how they would naturally approach early sales calls. Train all your reps to focus on the discovery process first before they start pitching your solution.

For example, our benchmark report found that sales reps ask an average of 11 questions during the discovery process, which is a lot to fit into a 30-minute call. This shows that reps are keen to understand their buyers and are trying to dig into their challenges and motivations. For McSwiney of Frontify, understanding buyer needs is a must-have skill for her sellers. “Our AEs [account executives] really need to understand the process and drivers of our customers and match them with the different use cases for our product,” she explained. “It’s often a very educational sales process.”

As part of your training and coaching program, get your reps to complete virtual role-plays to assess their ability to understand buyer needs. Some sales readiness platforms use artificial intelligence to analyze role-plays automatically, making it easier for you to provide personalized recommendations for your reps at scale.

Call planning

Call planning is preparing for every call with prospects by researching the company and the person you’re speaking to and reviewing sales notes and CRM records from previous interactions. Reps need to appear professional and trustworthy to buyers, so they must ensure they’re ready for every sales conversation.

According to Crunchbase, top sellers spend “an average of six hours every week researching their prospects.” That’s 15% of a 40-hour workweek, which may feel like a big-time drain. However, Oracle found that 11% of prospects “ghost” sellers because the seller wasn’t properly prepared for their conversation. It’s worth investing a few hours to plan and prep for calls if the alternative is losing 11% of your prospects.

Many extroverted sales reps have learned to rely on their conversational skills and ability to think on their feet. They may feel confident they can run their calls on the fly and be hesitant to invest much time preparing for individual calls. Sales managers should help their reps understand the benefits of effective call planning and provide training materials to make it as easy as possible for your sellers.

For example, you could share pre-call checklists or run practice calls for product demos, discovery calls, or closing calls. These will allow your sellers complete role-play scenarios that match their upcoming calls, so they can prepare fully and make the best impression on their prospects.

We’ve also developed a sales readiness framework that includes five core steps to help sellers achieve a continuous state of excellence:

This framework is designed to help reps develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to be fully prepared for any sales scenario. A sales readiness program ensures reps have the product and industry knowledge they need, plus access to relevant content when they need it, to provide a first-class sales experience for your prospects.

Create an ideal rep profile to document the skills your reps really need to be successful

The skills that actually help close deals and generate revenue for your organization aren’t the traditional sales skills anymore. So when you’re hiring new sales talent, don’t rely on outdated stereotypes and only hire reps who can deliver a killer sales pitch. Instead, prioritize “soft” sales skills like relationship-building and communication over more traditional skills.

Analyze the skillsets of your top-performing reps to identify the competencies that most closely correlate with sales success in your team. Then, create an ideal rep profile to document those skills. This provides an empirical way to assess new hires and identify the people who will actually help your company close more deals — rather than falling into the trap of only hiring new reps who fit the traditional stereotype of an extroverted salesperson.

10 Sales Training Topics to Help Your Team Get (and Stay) Sales Ready

Sales training and coaching are often reserved for new hires and low performers, with the rest of your team getting a brief refresher during your annual sales kickoff. But according to the Sales Management Association, only 30% of sales managers rate their sales training as “effective” for improving low performers.

A study from the Sales Readiness Group Training Industry found that 45% of companies only cover two to five training topics with their sales professionals, but “those with effective sales training tended to offer a wider variety of topics.”

top sales skills blog

To improve the effectiveness of training, you need to cover a full range of sales training topics on a continual basis. This will help all your reps build the skills and knowledge required for any selling scenario.

Sales training topics

  1. Pipeline management
  2. Prospecting and outreach
  3. Qualifying leads
  4. Call planning
  5. Building relationships with customers
  6. Identifying customer needs
  7. Presenting the value of your products
  8. Competitor knowledge
  9. Managing objections
  10.  Closing deals

1. Pipeline management

Your sales reps need to be able to build their pipeline, prioritize leads and prospects based on lead quality and sales urgency, and measure their results. McKinsey found that pipeline management is the sales skill with the biggest difference between high- and low-performing sales reps. This research suggests that effective pipeline management is closely linked to rep performance.

Training in pipeline management can set junior team members up for success. They’ll be able to keep track of all their deals in your CRM, know what pipeline stage their deals are at, and determine whether they have enough conversations in progress to hit quota.

2. Prospecting and outreach

Sales prospecting and outreach are two competencies that go hand in hand. Business development reps (BDRs) need to find and identify good-fit potential customers and then craft compelling messages to engage them. According to Crunchbase, “top sellers spend an average of six hours every week researching their prospects” to ensure they’re reaching out to good-fit prospects that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP).

top sales training topics

Cold calling and outreach emails are essential skills for BDRs to master if they want to bring new prospects into their pipeline. You can provide training and coaching via verbal and written role-plays to help reps practice these core skills. In fact, we found that learning to prepare cold email intros is the top use case for written role-plays by BDRs in the Mindtickle platform.

3. Qualifying leads

Nurturing or repeatedly contacting bad-fit leads is a waste of your reps’ time and energy. According to Oracle, following up with a prospect they know isn’t interested is one of the top five frustrations reps have with their jobs. And if a lead is a bad fit, they’re more likely to book time with your reps but never show up: 37% of prospects ghost sellers because the prospect was a bad lead or not a good fit.

One way to cover this in sales training is to share bite-size quizzes to test reps’ ability to qualify leads and their familiarity with your ICP. Then, if you identify knowledge gaps that may be affecting their lead qualification capabilities, you can follow up with AI-driven coaching.

4. Call planning

Your sellers need to know how best to prepare and plan for a call with a prospect at every stage of the sales cycle. For initial calls, sellers need to make a good first impression. For later calls, they need to build rapport with prospects and become trusted advisors.

Oracle found that 11% of prospects ignore sellers because the seller wasn’t properly prepared for their conversation. Call planning is essential for all sellers, but just 37% of companies provide reps with pre-call checklists to help them plan and prepare for calls.

top sales training topics

You can create training materials such as pre-call checklists or run practice calls for product demos, discovery calls, or closing calls. These will allow your sellers to appear professional, knowledgeable, and trustworthy to prospects.

5. Building relationships with customers

Relationship building is another essential skill because, even in B2B sales, you’re still dealing with another person. Buyers rated “trust in the relationship with the salesperson” as one of the top five factors influencing their buying decision, so it’s essential that your reps get training and coaching to help them develop this skill.

Use tools like Mindtickle’s Call AI to record and analyze calls with prospects. It looks at reps’ confidence, talk time, clarity, and sentiment to understand their behavior on calls. It then identifies areas to improve. You can use these insights as a starting point for your coaching sessions or share dedicated training exercises to help them further develop the necessaryskills.

6. Identifying customer needs

LinkedIn found that 43% of buyers feel it’s an “immediate deal killer” when sellers don’t understand their company and its needs. Sellers need to be able to identify customers’ pain points so they can show how your product will solve them. If they can identify customer challenges and needs, they can tailor the conversation to address those challenges and focus on the features and use cases that are most relevant to the customer.

top sales training topics

You can listen back to call recordings or view call analyses, then score reps based on their ability to identify customer needs. If reps struggle with this, you can run training exercises such as practice calls or role-plays to give them more opportunities to develop their abilities in a low-pressure setting. Manager-led coaching helps provide personalized coaching to all your sellers, targeted to their individual needs. Learn more about Mindtickle’s manager-led coaching solution.

7. Presenting the value of your products

Sellers not understanding their own product or service is another deal killer for 44% of buyers. Your reps need to be able to provide effective demos that illustrate how your products will save buyers time, money, or effort. They need to be able to show the value of your product and not just run through a list of features.

You can provide different training formats for this:

  • Short quizzes to test product knowledge
  • Practice demos and virtual role-plays
  • Dedicated training sessions from your product team when you roll out new features

Product training will help your reps learn how to use your product and ensure they’re able to accurately present its value to potential customers.

8. Competitor knowledge

Prospects won’t just be speaking to your sales team. They will be comparing different product options, so you need to be able to show how you measure up against your competitors. Familiarity with other products in your space is essential knowledge for sales reps, as 34% of buyers say “not understanding their competitors’ products and services” makes them unlikely to continue with a specific seller.

Train your reps on your competitors’ products by creating battle cards or in-depth instructor-led training sessions to go over the key differences and where your product excels against the competition. Then, test reps’ knowledge with quizzes that go over the material covered in the training session. Spaced reinforcement helps improve information retention, so your reps can speak confidently about your competitors months after their training session.

9. Managing objections

Our research found that 63% of sales calls contain “more negative sentiment than positive,” with negative sentiment “including anger, uncertainty, hesitancy, competitive mentions, objections, disappointment, and tentativeness.” Managing objections is an important skill to master because no buyer will say “yes” right away. Your reps need to be able to confidently address concerns to reassure prospects that they’re making the right choice with your product.

Dedicated training will help reps improve their ability to handle the most common objections faced in the sales process. You can have reps complete practice calls or virtual role-plays to practice this essential skill.

10. Closing deals

If an account executive can’t close a deal, they won’t last long in sales. Fortunately, research has identified some of the most important selling behaviors when it comes to closing deals: 56% of buyers say “maintaining relationships with existing customers” is essential, while LinkedIn identified five factors that consistently influence buyer behavior:

  • Trust in the brand
  • Price
  • Return on investment
  • Trust in the salesperson
  • Salesperson’s industry knowledge

If you’ve already worked the nine previous topics into your sales training, then you’ll be well on your way to addressing all of these, but you can also provide specific coaching to help your reps master conversations around pricing.

Help your reps improve sales readiness by covering a wide range of sales training topics

Sellers face constant change, so the more frequent and varied training and coaching you can provide, the better equipped they are to adapt to different selling conditions, buyer needs, and market changes. Don’t limit sales training to just onboarding or a couple of topics during sales kickoffs. Create a culture of continual learning and improvement to help your sellers excel.

These Are the Top Sales Skills According to 9 Sales Leaders

You probably have an ideal customer profile to identify when a prospect is a good fit for your product or services. But most companies don’t have an ideal rep profile to map out the skills and competencies that their sales reps need to nurture those prospects, close deals, and convert them into paying customers.

Mindtickle ideal rep profile generator

Companies need to identify the skills through which their top-performing salespeople excel. Then they can look for similar abilities in new hires and train and coach their other reps to increase skill levels across the sales team. To help you identify the important abilities you need to prioritize in your hiring and training, we asked nine revenue leaders what the top sales skills are for their teams.

1. Product knowledge

Sales reps need up-to-date product knowledge to answer prospects’ questions, address competitor comparisons, and run confident demos. David Bitton, co-founder at DoorLoop, explained, “Customers will ask unexpected or difficult questions. Having a profound grasp of your product will reduce the likelihood of salespeople getting caught off-guard and stumbling over their answers.”

David Bitton headshot“Customers will ask unexpected or difficult questions. Having a profound grasp of your product will reduce the likelihood of salespeople getting caught off-guard and stumbling over their answers.”

The more your sellers know about your product, the better they’ll be able to tailor a demo or sales presentation to each prospect’s particular needs or challenges. “You must know your product inside and out,” said Freya Ward, global sales director at Headley Media.

Freya Ward headshot“You need to be able to deal with any questions a client may raise and handle any potential objections they may have with confidence. You also need to understand exactly how the product will help the customer and why it is they need it,” she added.

Run dedicated training sessions with your product team when you launch product updates or new features. These will allow your reps to get hands-on with your product and learn to use it in a structured setting. Then run short quizzes to test their knowledge about your new features and virtual role-plays or practice demos to check that they are ready to present your new products to potential customers.

2. Active listening

Active listening helps sellers strengthen their rapport with customers. Cayla Thurman, business reputation consultant at Rize Reviews, explained, “Active listening is all about staying in the moment and making sure that you understand what the buyer is saying. You can rephrase what the buyer just said, verify if you got the message correctly, or slow the conversation down to ensure that you are perceived as an effective sales consultant.”

As well as helping build customer relationships, active listening is important for companies that take a more consultative approach to sales. This is the case for Frontify, and Stephanie McSwiney, their VP of sales, told us:

Stephanie McSwiney headshot“Our AEs really need to understand the process and drivers of our customers and match them with the different use cases for our product. It’s often a very educational sell, so really understanding the client by active listening is key.”

You can assess reps’ active listening skills by reviewing call recordings — listening back or reading call transcripts. You want to see a good split in the talk time, with prospects talking more than your sellers. You can also look for key questions or phrases, such as, “did I understand that correctly?” or “have I got that right?” These questions demonstrate that a rep is actively engaged with what a prospect tells them.

3. Prospecting

Sales development reps (SDRs) need strong prospecting skills to find and reach out to good-fit potential customers, so they can maintain a healthy sales pipeline and hit quota. According to Crunchbase, top sales professionals “spend an average of 6 hours every week researching their prospects,” including seeking information about the company and looking up decision-makers on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Thurman explained:

Cayla Thurman headshot “To be an effective salesperson, you need to be consistent in identifying new business opportunities, which means being great at researching potential customers, conducting cold outreach, and creating new options for better sales.”

Using a sales readiness platform like Mindtickle helps you provide AI-powered training and coaching for your reps. We found that cold email intros are the top use case for written role-plays in the Mindtickle platform as reps work to develop their prospecting and outreach skills.

4. Negotiating

Negotiation is an important skill for keeping deals moving forward and overcoming potential objections and blockers to closing deals. Tim Clarke, director of sales and marketing at, explained:

Timothy Clarke headshot “A sales representative should have solid negotiation skills to create a tailored experience for their customers, helping [customers] get the products or services they want while also ensuring that their company benefits from their customers’ decisions.”

Nina Pączka, community manager at Zety, has a clear idea of what reps with strong negotiation skills look like. She says:

Nina Pączka headshot“A good negotiator takes customer objections and turns them to the company’s advantage. They are assertive in finalizing the deal, showing different solutions that will appeal to the customer.”

You can assess your reps’ negotiation skills by listening to their call recordings for later-stage sales conversations with prospects. Alternatively, your reps can run practice calls with their peers to see how their colleagues approach negotiation, learn from each other, and identify negotiation tactics that work in real selling scenarios.

5. Identifying and understanding customer needs

Reps need to be able to identify the challenges customers are facing and understand what they want from a product like yours. Otherwise, they won’t be able to show how your product will meet customer needs and resolve their pain points. “A good salesperson has to be able to listen to clients and understand their needs rather than just jumping in with a sales pitch,” said Ward.

To understand customer needs, sellers need to ask thoughtful, relevant questions. Ng Jiong Han, CSO at Novocall, said:

“The ability to ask the right questions is an essential skill. It’s important because SDRs understand prospects’ problems and magnify them by asking the right questions. With this, they can easily position themselves to help prospects solve their problems without being pushy.”

This is another area where reviewing call recordings can pay off. A conversation intelligence tool like Mindtickle’s Call AI can identify the main themes and topics covered on a call. You can also track mentions of specific keywords, such as common challenges or competitors.

6. Written and verbal communication

Soft sales skills like effective communication are just as important for sellers to master as hard skills. Clarke explained, “Salespeople must know how to communicate effectively throughout the sales cycle and be confident in speaking or presenting, whether through video conference or in person.”

Your reps’ communication skills affect relationship building as well as their ability to confidently explain the benefits of your product. Many companies think that verbal communication skills are a must for sales reps but don’t look so closely at written communication. But email and outreach messages are a core part of the sales process. Poor written communication can create an unprofessional first impression and lead to missed opportunities for your team.

In a recent article, we asked revenue leaders to share their predictions for the future of sales. One important shift will be that sales reps will start to take ownership of inbound lead generation campaigns and work more closely with marketing departments. With that in mind, we wanted to bring in the demand generation perspective.

Tristan Harris, demand generation marketing manager at Thrive Agency, agrees that communication skills are essential. He said:

Tristan Harris headshot “You need to be comfortable communicating with your clients, customers, and peers in various situations. These instances include knowing how to ask clear and concise questions, effectively communicating and resolving customer complaints, and speaking confidently on the phone or in the video.”

7. Coachability

Coachability is your reps’ ability to receive and act on feedback to develop and improve their skills. It can be the difference between a top-performing rep and a low-performing one.

Srikanth Pendyala, SDR team lead at Outplay, said:

Srikanth Pendyala headshot “Many sales leaders I talk to tell me how important it is for them to hire SDRs who are coachable. Yet there is no yardstick to measure that skill. So we bring an element of coaching into our interview process. No matter how good the rep is, if they are not ready to unlearn and learn new things, we do not make an offer.”

An AI-driven sales coaching program can improve performance levels across your team, combining deal-specific coaching with more general skills training. It helps you personalize your coaching and training to focus on the individual skills and behaviors that each rep is struggling with, so they can make targeted improvements.

Document your team’s top sales skills in an ideal rep profile

Which skills are frequently displayed by the most successful salespeople at your organization? Once you’ve identified the skills, behaviors, and competencies that matter most to your business, document them in an ideal rep profile (IRP). You can then use your IRP in your hiring process to bring on new team members with the skills that will set them up for success. With the right abilities in place across your team, you’ll reap the rewards with a more efficient sales process — and reps who are ready to close more deals to bring in more revenue to the company.

Introducing the 2022 Mindtickle Road to Readiness Roadshow

This summer, Mindtickle is hitting the road for our 2022 Road to Readiness Roadshow. After more than two years of virtual operations, we couldn’t be more excited to catch up with our customers face-to-face.

Each half-day session, held in cities across the US and UK, will give attendees the opportunity to connect with peers, gain insights into making sales readiness a reality, and hear what’s new at Mindtickle.

Read on to learn where the roadshow is headed, what you can expect, and why you should register today.

Coming soon to a city near you

Think you need to travel across the country to connect with peers and access actionable insights? Think again! The Mindtickle Road to Readiness Roadshow is coming to you.

We have three planned stops on our US leg of the roadshow.

The Bay Area

  • Tuesday, June 7
  • The Marker Hotel


  • Wednesday, June 15
  • Convene Willis Tower

New York

  • Wednesday, June 22
  • Convene 75 Rock

We’re also making a stop in London in the early fall. We’re finalizing the exact data and venue and will share those details as soon as they’re available.

Who is the roadshow for?

Just about everyone on your revenue team will benefit from attending the Road to Readiness Roadshow.

Here’s what’s in it for some of your key team members.

  • Sales and revenue leaders: Hear from top revenue leaders about how they’re transforming their organizations, and leave with actionable insights from new research and case studies.
  • Sales enablement leaders: Create your own ideal rep profile and learn how to work with cross-functional stakeholders to align around transforming seller performance
  • Front line managers: Learn how to transform your coaching into an engine of quota attainment and seller retention, and find out how to use your tech stack to streamline your processes so you can spend more time helping on deals.
  • Sales and revenue ops: Unravel sales performance data from 350+ companies and learn how science is transforming how top revenue organizations approach selling.

Walk away with actionable insights to drive your sales readiness program

We’re confident that Road to Readiness Roadshow attendees will leave the event feeling energized and full of insights and ideas that can be applied right away to optimize their readiness strategy.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the sessions that are in store for you.

New Industry Insights: The State of Sales Readiness

Have you ever found yourself wondering what top sales organizations are doing to ensure their reps are always ready to sell? Here’s your chance to find out.

During this panel discussion, we’ll discuss key insights from our 2022 State of Sales Readiness Report. You’ll also have the opportunity to hear how brands are applying strategies to unlock better sales performance and revenue results.

Interactive Workshop: What’s Your Ideal Rep Profile?

You’ve probably already identified your ideal customer profiles (ICP). But what about the other half of the revenue equation?

During this hands-on workshop, the experts at Mindtickle will help you create an Ideal Rep Profile (IRP) for your organization. We’ll also share examples of how Mindtickle customers are using IRPs to benchmark, track progress, and map sellers’ competency improvement to sales results.

Level Up: Creating a Coaching Culture

Everyone knows sales coaching is important. And when it’s done well, it can have a big impact on sales outcomes. But oftentimes, coaching becomes just another box to check.

In this session, we’ll discuss how you can establish processes and leverage technology to make coaching more actionable, personalized, and seamlessly integrated into your full readiness approach.

Register for the Road to Readiness Roadshow today

Ready to unlock readiness insights, hear from top revenue leaders, and connect with your peers? Save your spot for the 2022 Mindtickle Road for Readiness Roadshow today.

Mindtickle Road to Readiness registration