Sales training vs. sales readiness: Making the case for just-in-time learning

By Leigh Famigliette | April 11, 2022

Why do some sellers have more success than others? Is it luck? Drive? Territory? A seller’s success comes down to their ability to adapt in the moment to provide value to 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? And ultimately, how can we give reps and account managers the support they need to enhance their sales performance to close more deals?

Sales Training vs. Sales Readiness

Traditional sales training happens in a classroom at the start of a seller’s tenure with a company. It aims to prepare sellers to deliver product demos, paper-based collateral, and impersonal sales scripts. Once they check the boxes, reps are deemed “ready” to sell and put in front of buyers. This approach to sales training is “just-in-case” learning, where sales reps have all of the information they will ever need upfront and are expected to recall the right pieces in any sales scenario. 

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 sales training. 

Sales Readiness is a shift from “just-in-case” to “just-in-time” learning. This approach ensures your sellers are equipped to lead value-based conversations that successfully address buyer challenges at every touchpoint, 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. Lessons 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 sales reps take control of their destiny.

Because marketing, enablement, sales leaders, and CROs can track and measure sales-readiness outcomes more efficiently and effectively than traditional sales training, sales readiness also creates new opportunities to align revenue teams and refine sales processes, best practices, content strategy, and pipeline management.

You’ve Said Goodbye to Traditional Sales Training. What’s Next?

Where “just-in-time” learning ends, guided selling begins. 

Everyone needs coaching, but a sales leader’s time is limited. Now that your reps have shifted from “just-in-case” to “just-in-time” learning, implementing a guided selling approach with machine learning-powered insights can keep everyone on the path to success.

Guided Selling is like an automated assistant, sourcing information at the right time and providing helpful hints and guidance on how to execute at every stage of the customer journey. SiriusDecisions defines dynamic Guided Selling as the automated collection of seller activities and buyer interactions, both human and non-human, and the application of analytics leveraging AI capabilities to enable the delivery of near-real-time, context-sensitive, role-specific guidance and coaching to sales professionals.


Guided Selling puts your team in a position to succeed by assigning Actions. Actions are easily customizable by the user, role, opportunity type, stage, region and more and based on best practices learned from previous deals. They drive accountability back to sales reps and account managers to ensure your funnel accurately represents the quality of your opportunities. 

Managers can then focus on at-risk deals and opportunities to coach their team. In sales, timing is everything. Actions enable sales reps and managers to apply their experience and judgment where they will have the most impact.

Sales Readiness + Guided Selling: A winning combination

Sales readiness prepares sellers with the resources, tools, and effective sales training they need to lead engaging and informative buyer-seller interactions. It teaches them how to sell. Guided Selling provides reps (and their managers) the data-driven support they need to enhance sales performance and close more deals. It helps them decipher what to sell, when to sell it, and who to sell it to. 

While just-in-time learning prepares reps with the confidence, capabilities, and credibility they need to have more valuable conversations with buyers, Guided Selling offers insight into what factors impact the sales cycle and overall customer journey so reps and managers can quickly adapt the sales process and inform sales best practices. Actions then help scale and enforce the sales process and best practices across teams, prompting reps in the moment with prescriptive next steps based on proven results.

Together, sales readiness and guided selling make a winning combination.

Want to learn more about how you can better prepare your sellers to achieve sales quota? Watch our on-demand webinar Are You Struggling to Forecast and Hit Your Revenue Targets this Quarter? You Are Not Alone.

Leigh joined the content strategy and growth marketing team at Mediafly in January 2022 where she helps with all content marketing initiatives to drive traffic, demand, and growth. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst Isenberg School of Management and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Marketing.

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