Sales Training vs. Sales Readiness: Making the Case for Just-in-Time Learning

By Meghan Ganzer | November 19, 2019

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Why do some sellers have more success than others? Luck? Drive? Territory? A seller’s success comes down to their ability to adapt in the moment to drive value for the buyer. To do this, sellers must have the proper knowledge, skills and awareness to conduct the right conversations at the right time. So how can we coach sellers to lead effective and engaging sales interactions?

Why “Just-in-Case” Sales Training Isn’t Good Enough

Traditional sales training and onboarding aims to prepare sellers to deliver product demos, paper-based collateral, and impersonal sales scripts. Once the boxes are checked, reps are deemed “ready” to sell. This approach to sales training is often described as “just-in-case” learning – cramming as much market, company, and product knowledge into sellers’ heads as possible and hoping they can recall the information later on in live sales scenarios.

But companies who adopt this approach often find their sellers fall short of expectations. Why? One-way, classroom-style lectures aren’t conducive to information retention. In fact, after just one day, people forget more than 70% of what was taught in training. To be successful, sellers need to be able to apply what they learn through continuous practice.

During our recent webinar, Peter Ostrow walked through SiriusDecisions’ Activity-Based Learning Framework, sharing the research behind how leveraging sales enablement can create learning that’s more relevant and impactful for sales reps, and ultimately, more beneficial for buyers. The Activity-Based Learning Framework is made up of four defining elements: a buyer-aligned sales process, activities, triggers, and developmental components:




The framework provides in-depth guidance to help sales leaders understand how to utilize sales enablement to train reps in a more impactful way. Instead of scheduling ad-hoc sales training that interrupts the seller’s routine and is administered irregularly, activity-based learning is delivered to the sales rep during buyer interactions when he/she needs it most.

Modern buyers aren’t impressed by a generic sales pitch that focuses on product features and functionality instead of the buyer’s unique challenges or company goals. They’ve already conducted research on your organization and understand the products you sell. As the seller, it’s your job to deliver a personalized sales experience that effectively quantifies how your offering will impact their business. Sales reps who haven’t been coached to uncover unique buyer challenges or effectively communicate your business value will fall short.

What is Sales Readiness?

Sales Readiness is a shift from “just-in-case” to “just-in-time” learning, ensuring your sellers are equipped to lead value-based conversations throughout the sales process that successfully address buyer challenges, differentiate your company and products, and compel buyers to say “yes!”.

“Just-in-time” learning gives sales reps the resources, tools and training they need when they need them. It can be accessed on-demand and prioritized for each rep by what is most meaningful for them. Training received during onboarding or on a quarterly (if that) basis often fails because the timing doesn’t align with the reps’ challenges. Distributing on-demand training materials in various formats opens the door to “always-on” learning where reps take control of their destiny.

Marketers, sales management and sales enablement leaders do their best to stay connected, attend sales meetings, and look at data to understand what sellers really need. But the best coaching, content, and advice is user-generated, interactive, and readily available when it’s needed. 


Download our on-demand webinar to discover the impact of Sales Readiness when combined with Sales Enablement. You will learn:


Meghan Ganzer is the Digital Communications Manager at Mediafly. Since making the strategic shift from sales to marketing, Meghan has focused on content writing, external communications, and event collaboration to support the Mediafly sales team through demand generation. Meghan attended Miami University in Ohio and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications.

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