Unfortunately, all too often, sales reps today find themselves practicing on buyers — thrown into buyer conversations before they’ve mastered key knowledge and skills — leading to negative outcomes for both their organization and the buyer. To avoid this, in the year to come, organizations will emphasize continuous readiness.
This begins with the onboarding process, which is morphing from the old-fashioned, ‘drink-from-the-firehose’ model to a more effective approach where reps onboard incrementally, hitting important milestones along the way.
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Video-based coaching and practice platforms also will become more integrated into reps’ day-to-day workflows, so they can rehearse pitches in a ‘comfortable’ environment, gather feedback from managers and peers, and get easy access to what ‘good’ looks like. This approach helps reps develop confidence and competence before stepping in front of buyers.
To validate that practice actually does make perfect, organizations will need to move from consumption-based metrics (e.g., ‘Did reps view the materials’?) to assessment-based ones (‘Can they demonstrate mastery of the skills?’).
By adjusting both their processes and expectations, sales organizations can instill a work ethic of ‘practice with purpose’ (rather than on buyers!). So, reps are perpetually ready for the situations they encounter and add maximum value in buyer conversations.