When your sales coaching activities are done in a random, ad-hoc fashion, moving the needle become stubbornly difficult. I call this “Random Acts of Coaching” (RAoC).
The idea is to turn your sales coaching efforts into a steady, systematic, programmatic set of activities. When this is done, win rates trend upward.
While this article won’t address the entirety of putting a comprehensive sales coaching program in place, it will give you the first set of activities and routines you can put in place today to eliminate Random Acts of Coaching Syndrome.
System 1: Data-Driven Sales Coaching Diagnostics
Recommended Time: Monday, 8 am
Description: Analyzing sales activity and pipeline progression data to identify sticking points at the team and individual level.
Data and analytics point your coaching efforts in the right direction. Without them, you’ll find yourself randomly jumping from topic to topic, and rep to rep, hoping to address the areas that need to be addressed.
David Duncan wrote a great post about how to do this on SalesHacker. The summary is to analyze your reps’ and team’s activity as they flow through the pipeline, as well as conversion rates between opportunity stages to figure out where within your sales process people are struggling.
For example, let’s say you have the following opportunity stages:
- Second Presentation
Further, let’s say you notice one of your reps has great conversion rates from stage to stage, except for going from “Demo” to “Second Presentation.”
This probably means he or she is struggling with getting the main point of contact to agree to have the economic buyer sit in on a presentation.
You can confirm whether that’s the case by diving into a few call recordings that occurred within those stages.
The key to making this a systematic process rather than a one-off activity is to put time on your calendar for the same day and time every week so it becomes a recurring activity.
System 2: One-On-One Coaching with Reps
Frequency: Once a week per rep
Recommended Tools: A conference room where you won’t be interrupted
Recommended Time: 4 pm Daily
Description: Schedule 30 minutes with each rep each week to discuss coaching needs, sticking points, and to give mentorship and advice.
Now that you’ve implemented the first system, diagnosing your team’s coaching needs with data, you can use those insights to address each individual’s coaching needs in one-on-one sessions.
During these sessions, you’ll discuss the data, how the rep feels about his or her strengths and weaknesses, and ideally, review some call recording snippets that happened within the relevant opportunity stage.
The goal is to make these reflective learning sessions where the rep is doing as much self-discovery as you are dispensing your wisdom.
System 3: Group Call Recording Reviews
Recommended Tools: Gong, or another source of call and demo recordings
Recommended Time: Monday, 5 pm
Description: Weekly team meeting where the team reviews one rep’s call, frequently pausing and playing the recording to analyze and dissect what went well, and what could’ve been better.
The SalesLoft account executive team are masters of this. Every Monday at 5 pm, they review one call from the team as a group, constantly starting and stopping the recording to break down and analyze everything down to the specific word choice the rep used in key situations.
The rate at which knowledge transfers between team members accelerates during these sessions since everyone can get alternative views from each other and swap ideas for how to sell better.
The keys to making this work: make it systematic (same day and time every week), and create an atmosphere of openness and trust.
When SalesLoft first started this routine, the account executives told me they were a bit reluctant to have their calls critiqued in front of everyone. After 2-3 sessions of this, they now fight over who gets to have their call critiqued.
System 4: Binge Watch Call and Demo Recordings
Frequency: One a week for 90 minutes
Recommended Tools: Gong
Recommended Time: 3:30 pm on Friday
Description: Schedule 90 minutes to “binge” on as many relevant call and demo recordings as you can. Leave feedback in the form of comments or a call scorecard.
Once a week for 90 minutes, lock yourself in a conference room and listen to as many call and demo recordings as you can on 2x speed. Aside from immediate coaching and feedback benefits, this will help you get a sense of what’s going on during your sales interactions. Are we doing the right things in order to make our number?
When delivering feedback on each call recording to the corresponding rep, be sure to deliver more positive feedback than you do constructive criticism. This releases dopamine in the brain and reinforces good habits.
While reviewing these calls, it’s worth filling out a call scorecard. This is a blueprint of what a successful sales call looks like specific to your organization that you can coach the call against. Outline the key points that should happen through an ideal call, and rate how well the rep executed against that playbook.
Use this scorecard (as well as the call recording) as a discussion piece for your next one-on-one with the rep.
System 5: “Best Sales Call Moment” Incentive
Recommended Tools: Gong, recordings from conference calls and demos
Recommended Time: First or last day of each month
Description: Organize a monthly incentive program to reward the person who had the best sales call moment; have the entire team vote.
Throughout the month, incentivize your reps to send and share their best sales call moments from call recordings. Each moment should be no longer than 60 seconds. Once the month is over, get the team in a room to listen to them one after another, and vote on the best one.
The winner should receive a tangible prize: quota relief, a gift, cash prize, or simply recognition from the CEO.
System 6: Call Sharing
Recommended Tools: Gong
Recommended Time: Ongoing
Description: Continually share interesting calls and key moments within calls among your team to accelerate learning.
The beauty of having conversation intelligence technology in place is that the best sales moments are captured and made available to everyone in the company.
When you come across those special sales scenarios contained within call recordings, share them with people. Encourage your team to do the same.
If you read this entire article, chances are you’re currently bridging the gap between Random Acts of Coaching and implementing a programmatic, disciplined coaching process.
Implementing these programmatic coaching activities will take you across the rest of that gap. Many of these routines (not all) depend on technology – including both technologies we do, and do not, provide.
For the part that we do provide, check out our conversation intelligence platform.