Too much emphasis on sales inputs and not enough on sales readiness!
Business-to-business sales take more than just a meeting and a lot of preparation for the person you are meeting. And yet, businesses emphasize scheduling more meetings with the false belief that simply getting on them can close more deals.
The very model of selling has evolved. Sellers' main mode of sales is through the virtual platforms, but sellers are not trained for it leading to underperforming sellers while the quota numbers keep increasing.
It takes the right mindset, a sales plan, and the right technology to enable virtual sales-readiness.
And probably that is why the need for sales ramp-up time is at an all-time high, quota attainment tends to decrease, and sellers end up leaving the organization.
Now let’s deep dive into it.
Impact of not working on sales readiness
When sales reps are not ready for the sales meeting, they end up underperforming and stumbling in the meeting with the prospect, which in the end makes the prospect feel that sellers do not know their material and hence have no confidence in the sales pitch.
Sellers not being sales-ready leads to underperforming sales
Consider this – it takes a top performer four to five engagements to close a deal, whereas it takes up to engagements touchpoints for a general salesperson to close a deal.
It is because a top performer works on sales readiness by learning about the company, past conversations, the particular accounts challenges, and the current process, which in turn helps them to navigate the conversation better.
But that’s not the only part of sales readiness. Even working on sales soft skills is essential for sales readiness. The Pipedrive State of Sales report states that sales executives who work on their soft skills are 11% more likely to close deals.
Being not sales-ready leads to failed quota attainment, which causes high sales turnover.
All the latest reports suggest that six out of ten sellers fail to meet their quota, which just means 60% of sellers end up not being able to meet their quota. This not attainment of quota leads to sellers losing confidence in their skill set and getting over-stressed. And studies suggest that aggravated work-related stress can impact the mental health of the employees, which translates to lesser productivity and more work-related anxiety.
A study conducted by asking sales and revenue leaders by Xactly showed that more and more salespeople are leaving their job. And in the B2B industry, the number is much higher, i.e., more than 60% of sales reps are voluntarily leaving the sales department and start looking for other jobs elsewhere. Even the average sales rep's tenure has been reduced to just 18 months, which puts a strain on the sales pipeline and process as it takes on an average more than 6 months to hire and onboard the new rep.
Another shocking survey conducted by Hubspot suggests that sales turnover is 35% higher than other departments' turnover!
You must be thinking, what’s the reason for reps not being able to achieve their quota?
Let’s answer it for you.
Reasons for not being able to attain the quota
There are many reasons why sales reps are not able to achieve their quota, one of the main beings the very work culture in all the companies has changed, and even with the pandemic reaching its endpoint, these changes will continue to persist, and sales reps are not ready for it. Nor is sufficient training provided to be sales-ready even on virtual mediums.
Sellers are not prepared for having virtual end to end meeting.
A hybrid model of working has firstly increased the number of call volume sales reps used to make. On average, sales reps are having 10-20 genuine meetings per month, with only a few of them closing– a drastic increase in the meeting and close ratio.
A new study suggests that only 27% of sellers initially reported conducting more than half of their sales activities virtually pre-pandemic. Now, 71% are conducting more than half their sales virtually. That’s a 163% increase—a major shift in a very short period of time.
More and more meetings are happening virtually than in person.
Even though the number of meetings is rising, sales reps are not actually being prepared for this meeting. They just end up getting on the meeting and losing more and more potential customers.
Few more reasons why sellers are not achieving their quotas
- Ambitious sales quotas: One of the main reasons is that sales reps are faced with volatile revenue goals and ambitious sales quotas pertaining to the number of calls they can now make with the hybrid work life. More than 65% of the companies have sales quotas that are the same or higher since the pandemic, as reported by the Xactly Crop group.
- Siloed and outdated sales practices: Even with the advancement of technology, most sales reps are still leveraging outdated sales practices like using Excel spreadsheets (more than 28%) for tracking deals, which adds to the seller's misery.
- Not effective sales material: More than 50% of sales reps feel that the sales material used is either of mediocre quality or unprofessional. When the sales materials are not comprehensive enough, how can you expect sellers to leverage them for closing deals?
- Time and efficiency: Most organizations to date are using outdated sales tools and not leveraging sales automation tools which leads to 21% of their time being spent on sales administration tasks and internal meetings – and not enough on sales calls and call preparedness.
To understand this further, let’s see the state of sales readiness before we can get into steps to enable sales readiness.
State of sales readiness in 2022
Most sellers feel that they are not sufficiently trained or prepared to build relationships virtually, collaborate, and close the deals. And ultimately, the whole virtual selling process becomes a challenge in some capacity or the other.
Here are more stats indicating the state of sales readiness impacted by lack of advanced sales training:
1. 55% of salespeople lack basic sales skills. - Forbes
One of the major problems arises when the hired sales reps are not properly vetted. It results in a major chunk of sales enablement team time getting acquired in training non-skilled sales force. And suppose the sales enablement process is strong for the company. In that case, these non-skilled sales forces end up facing the sales calls only for losing the deals, which eventually results in them leaving the company and costing the company an average of $2 Million dollars.
2. 82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared. - Blender
It’s a shocking number and one that should concern all businesses. A lack of sales training can cripple a business, leading to a lack of revenue, unhappy customers, and a drop in reputation.
Yet, it's not all doom and gloom.
There are plenty of sales training solutions out there like Convin that can help you ramp up your sales team faster.
You just need to know where to look!
3. 58 percent of buyers report that sales reps are unable to answer their questions effectively. - Spotio
Did you know that more than 50% of buyers want to know how the product works on the very first meeting?
Convin, after analyzing sellers' call history and verifying the data, saw that the buyers were interested to know more about the product and its capabilities in the very first meeting. But unfortunately, sellers don’t thoroughly prepare for the meeting or learn about the product, and hence they end up not being able to answer the client.
4. 87% of the new knowledge learned in traditional sales training is lost within 12 weeks - Xerox
A similar study conducted by Sales Performance International shows that salespeople forget at least 50% of what they learn in the onboarding sales process in less than five weeks, and 84% of the training is lost after 90 days.
That’s why sales training should be an ongoing process enabled by AI-powered technology.
AI-powered personalized sales training enables sales readiness
AI-powered technologies like conversation intelligence uncover sales incompetencies in the sales funnel and skill gaps of the sales professionals by evaluating the sales conversation happening over any cloud medium.
Convin evaluated more than thirty-eight thousand deals and saw that by listening to previous call recordings and reading through the call transcript, sales reps were better able to engage customers in the conversation and even able to answer their questions effectively.
Apart from this, Convin also uncovered that by utilizing a holistic sales platform for assisted selling like Convin for sales readiness, sellers were able to increase the uptake of closure rate by more than 40% and increase the deal size by more than 70%.
Also, a conversation analytics tool allows businesses to create a sales playbook, an essential tool for sales training and onboarding. And by utilizing this feature, sales teams were able to improve the ramp-up time by a whole month, and sellers were able to perform in the sales calls better.
Other than this, even tracking sales professionals' performance at a minute level is possible by analyzing the daily call, and using this, sales managers can enable personalized sales training, which in the long run would be more effective for overall sales readiness.
A personalized sales training program using an AI-powered sales training platform can enable sales reps to learn at a deeper level about the product, customer, competitors, and market needs. It would also enable sales reps to uncover their own skill gaps and get the training to help them perform and sell better and more effectively.
Sales training is essential for sales-readiness.
Sales training can be a valuable tool for developing the skills and knowledge of your sales team. It can help your sales team grow and improve in certain areas like performance and sales pipeline.
The sales training provides a framework for the sales team to diagnose their own challenges and fix them. Regular and AI-based sales training also teaches how to stay persistent and tenacious when trying to reach customers.
That’s all a sales team needs to do to stay sales ready!
Convin is a platform that reimagines virtual assisted sales for businesses and was founded in 2021 in Bengaluru. It received its pre-seed funding from Titan Capital and 9Unicorns back in June 2021 and its seed funding from Kalaari Capital, Good Capital, Plan B Innovations, BFF, and Digital Sparrow. Aakash Institute, PlanetSpark, Care Insurance, Capital Float, and others are some of the renowned names who are Convin’s clients.
Results first, payment later.