When it comes to training your sales reps to be successful in the digital, agile, modern world, it might seem like there are a lot of different kinds of tools to help them do that.
And that’s because there are.
Not knowing what you really need is bad enough, but to make matters worse industry analysts can’t seem to all agree on what tool falls under what category. We’ve attempted to sort out some of the confusion in our Sales Tech Buyers Guide.
Now, the difference between an LMS and sales readiness software is particularly tricky to pin down because they do have some overlapping features.
At a high level, sales readiness is about training reps and an LMS is about organizing and delivering training modules.
So what's the big deal? They’re more or less the same, right?
Well, if that’s what you think, we’ve got news for you: the Matrix has you.
The Matrix of sales readiness
In The Matrix, did Morpheus just upload kung-fu into Neo’s brain, give him a pep talk, and send him off to fight the Agents? No!
He took Neo through scenarios and trained his mind to be prepared for the challenge that lay ahead of him. He also got very dusty in the walls of an old building but I digress.
Sales readiness software vs LMS
An LMS, to extend our Matrix metaphor, is the upload. It's a great way to push a ton of knowledge to reps in an organized and structured way.
A sales readiness tool is about taking information, teaching it ro reps when it’s relevant, giving them a place to practice and learn from each other, and providing the infrastructure for ongoing coaching.
Sales onboarding and training delivered via e-learning modules on an LMS might have worked find in the past. But selling is harder now.
Coaching, pitch practice, peer-to-peer learning, and just-in-time content aren’t nice-to-haves – they’re critical in a world where most reps expect to miss quota.
Plus, attributing revenue results back to an LMS to prove the value of training and understand which bits are especially effective is at best difficult and at worst a total pipedream.
LMS vs sales readiness is the difference between delivering knowledge and delivering outcomes. In short, an LMS delivers training, whereas a sales readiness software ensures that training is actually put to use.
What sales readiness entails
Sales readiness software supports an outcome-based approach to bolstering the skills of your reps with the capabilities they need to close more deals.
Sales readiness recognizes that sales enablement is an ongoing and iterative process, paired with structured, on-the-job coaching.
An LMS will allow you to deliver training and then assess sales reps through quizzes. But is this really enough to validate if reps have truly absorbed and will use that knowledge? How many times have we been guilty of studying something just to pass a test, only to never think about it again?
(For instance, I learned hundreds of french nouns to pass my highschool exam… but today my vocabulary is 100% restricted to food and food alone).
Not to mention, an LMS isn’t going to correlate training to outcomes, which is what the executive team really cares about.
It’s not difficult for a rep to read some content and answer a few questions. But once they do that, a sales readiness software will also help you find out if:
- Your reps can apply what they learned. Sales readiness focuses on a variety of assessments above and beyond quizzes, including roleplay training, customer-facing development, and field coaching.
- Your reps are applying what they learned. Most readiness tools won’t tie practice to real-world behaviour, so we teamed up with Gong to provide insight on what your reps are saying on their sales calls.
- Your training is driving outcomes. Are your reps hitting their KPIs, and is the training you gave your rep responsible for it?
A good sales readiness software will enable you to do all of this. An LMS will not.
Over to you
Sales technology is like any other tool – more than picking the best solution, it’s about picking the right one for the job. There are tons of use cases when an LMS makes a lot of sense. For example, if you need your sellers to be trained on organizational or regulatory processes and procedures, then an LMS is probably fine.
At the same time, there are lots of things a readiness platform is going to do that a LMS, even if it’s technically capable, is hardly designed to do, like supporting practice pitching, peer to peer learning, and helping managers coach effectively (especially now that most sales teams are remote).
So here’s your homework. Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between an LMS and a sales readiness software solution, rethink your own tech stack. Clarify what you’re trying to achieve, adn what the basic purpose of enablement is within your organization. If your goal is to make sure knowledge is available to reps, and they’re certified on that knowledge, then an LMS is perfect. But if your core goal is to change how reps do their jobs in order to improve key revenue metrics meetings, pipeline, and closed business, then a sales readiness tool is probably in your future.
With the right tool, you too can turn your reps into gravity-defying, bullet-dodging warriors.
Cover image credit: David Guliciuc via Unsplash