Sales Readiness Blog

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How do you know if your business is sales ready?

Is your business sales readyYou need a license before you can drive a car. Your SAT scores open the door to grad school. Applying the same lens to sales teams, how do you know if your sales team are ready to have customer conversations?  

If you don’t know whether your reps are sales ready, you’re really just hoping they know what to say and how to address your customer’s pain points.

While your business might be winning deals today, a more agile and sales ready competitor could leapfrog you and adversely affect your quarter in an instant. There are so many things that could and do affect your deals, but sales readiness is one of the few that is within your control.

Sales readiness ensures that your reps aren’t losing deals because they simply do not possess the required knowledge or skills, or they aren’t receiving the right coaching. These are all things that you may not know about if you aren’t measuring the sales readiness of your reps.

So how do you know if your business is sales ready?

Your company strategy filters down to tactics and go-to-market strategy

Business strategy doesn’t operate in isolation. For a business to be successful it’s sales and go-to-market strategy has to be continuously aligned with the changing strategy. Businesses that achieve this are able to align their sales organization with their strategy seamlessly. Consider these questions:

Sales enablement is a priority

While some businesses have jumped onto the sales enablement bandwagon with vigor and understand its importance others are still a bit sceptical. Then there are those who set up a sales enablement team because everyone else around them is, not because they see the value in the role.

Only businesses who prioritize sales enablement at all levels of the organization will succeed. However, if you’re not sure whether your entire business is along for the ride consider this:

Your new hires are ramping up quickly

If you don’t start them on the right foot your reps are less likely to succeed. MongoDB has experienced sales success because they set up a robust onboarding program – this has translated into $200k more revenue per rep in their first year and a reduction in new hire ramp up time from 11 to 5 months. Some questions to answer about your organization include:

Your sales team is meeting quota

According to SiriusDecisions only 27% of sales reps meet or exceed their quota. If the majority of your team are meeting quota then hold onto them because they’re clearly ready for any situation that’s put before them. However, if many of your reps are struggling to meet their targets then it might be time to consider the following:

Coaching is an integral part of your organizational culture

The better your reps’ sales skills are the more sales ready they’ll be. One of the best ways to improve sales skills is through coaching. Research has shown that as little as three hours of coaching a month can increase average close rates by 70%. But if your business supports sales coaching at all levels then you already know this, if not perhaps ask yourself these questions:

Your reps are all singing from the same songbook

The larger your sales team, the more challenging it is to ensure that they’re all on message. While there was less urgency for consistent messaging in days gone by, there’s too much happening these days to wait until your annual Sales Kickoff to bring all your reps up to speed. If your reps understand your value proposition and can articulate it on-demand then you’re on track, but if you’re not sure consider these questions:

The bell curve of your A, B and C Players is flattening

Let’s admit it, in most companies only a handful of reps consistently meet quota, and it’s virtually unheard for every rep in a sales organization to make their target. Businesses that have effectively managed to bring each of their reps closer to meeting quota are those who are able to tap into what makes their A Players tick.

Focusing in on leading indicators is key to achieving this, yet most managers still focus their energy on lagging indicators like pipeline and conversion rates. But managers aren’t to blame, they require training and frameworks that help them identify what drives those leading indicators and coach their reps to achieve this. Here are some questions that you should answer if you’re not sure how your managers coach your reps:

Your sales team know what’s going on internally and externally

New product features, competitor movements, industry changes; things are changing so quickly in the digital age. This means sales teams need to receive and absorb a lot of information quickly to be sales ready. When your team is on top of everything they’re well placed to stay one step ahead of their competition. If you’re not sure whether your reps are up-to-date, consider these things:

Unicorns like AppDynamics, Cloudera, Mulesoft, Nutanix and Qualtrics rely on sales readiness to power their sales success. What are you doing to make sure your sales team is successful?
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Shankar Ganapathy
Author
Shankar Ganapathy

Director of Marketing at MindTickle. Shankar is passionate about enabling human capability. He believes in the power of digital to improve sales effectiveness.