Coaching is one of the most impactful things you can do for your reps. And when you create a culture of coaching, reps stay longer and hit their quota more frequently, managers are able to provide better coaching and get more out of their teams, and organizations are able to hit their goals. In other words, everybody wins.
In this post, we want to focus on what makes great sales coaches and the things you can do today to create a culture of coaching. We’ll start with four habits of highly effective sales coaches (backed by data in our State of Sales Coaching Report). Then, we’ll dive into five playbooks for creating coaching that drives results.
performance – as opposed to when reps ask for it – are more likely to have effective outcomes.
The data tells us that it’s not enough to wait around until people ask for help. Coaches must anticipate needs by looking at the data. This reinforces a key principle of good coaching: being proactive.
Our research shows that 38% of companies who coach reps on call performance do so “at random,” while another 31.9% coach reps only on their most recent calls. This means that 70% of coaching is not driven by data.
For sales coaches, there are two sets of metrics that we recommend using:
Having regularly scheduled coaching sessions leads to both better coaching effectiveness and higher rep satisfaction.
We recently conducted original research and surveyed thousands of Sales teams in the B2B space. In our State of Sales Coaching Report, the data tells us reps who are most satisfied with coaching report that scheduled sessions happen all of the time or most of the time.
In other words, if you want happy, productive and engaged reps, you need to hold regular coaching sessions.
The majority of sales reps get less than an hour of coaching per week.
However, when you dive further into the data and segment the respondents into companies where coaching is effective versus companies where coaching is not effective, 61.4% of companies with effective coaching spend more than one hour per rep per week.
Our survey revealed that the biggest challenge coaches face is not having enough time to coach. If you’re a sales coach, you’re probably nodding in violent agreement reading that sentence. The good news is that software can help with this by automating some coaching tasks, giving back time to busy coaches.
Companies using a real-time coaching solution reported more sales effectiveness. Real-time coaching with a product like Moments™ by Revenue.io provides analysis and guidance while reps are on calls, helping them to improve the outcome of a conversation in real-time.
Now that you have the habits that form the foundation of great coaching, we also want to give you some actionable playbooks that you can use with your teams today. Throughout the playbooks, you will see some steps that will require you to utilize parts of the Conversation AI product that may be unfamiliar to new Revenue.io customers (for example, creating a Saved Search around a specific Keyword). But don’t worry, later sections of the eBook will cover how to utilize every part of Conversation AI.
Here are five proven sales coaching playbooks.
Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective forms of coaching because it rewards the desired behavior. Research shows positive reinforcement is much more effective for learning than punishment. Research also shows that praise and appreciation increase oxytocin (aka the “feel-good” hormone), which leads to higher levels of happiness.
Here is a 4-step coaching workflow you can put into place right now to leverage positive reinforcement:
In companies with the healthiest coaching cultures, everyone agrees that self-improvement is a core value. Also in these companies, not all coaching is driven from the top-down. In fact, you may be more likely to see coaching that’s rep-driven. When reps ask for feedback, it’s a sign they’re taking responsibility for their own development.
Here is a three-step coaching workflow you can put into place right now to leverage rep-driven coaching:
Reps can get tired of the same coach’s voice in their ear. But don’t worry, coach. Tom Brady didn’t always love hearing Bill Belichick’s or Bruce Arians’ suggestions either. So, turn your reps into peer coaches by occasionally inviting the whole team to review one another’s calls. Not only do you get more feedback, but this also helps create peer bonds.
Here is a three-step coaching workflow you can put into place right now to leverage peer-driven coaching:
Most Sales organizations have recurring, weekly training. Yet as we mentioned earlier, Gartner research finds that B2B sales reps forget 70% of the information they learn within a week of training, and 87% will forget it within a month. The solution is reinforcement. Conversation AI is a powerful system to create reinforcement that makes your critical sales training stick.
Here is a three-step coaching workflow you can put into place right now to train your team on a desired behavior:
Everyone knows reps shouldn’t dominate conversations, speak uninterrupted for three minutes or constantly interrupt a buyer. But how do you help a rep eliminate this behavior when you can’t be on every call?
Here is a three-step coaching workflow you can put into place right now to eliminate bad conversational habits:
The future belongs to the sales leaders who put their teams first and build a real coaching program. It’s time to embrace the next generation of conversation intelligence and use Revenue Science to unlock exponential growth.
Brandon is the Senior Director of Product Marketing at Revenue.io, the revenue acceleration platform that leverages AI to transform sales teams into high-performing revenue engines. He's passionate about the intersection between tech and psychology, especially as it applies to growing businesses. You can follow him on twitter @brandon_lee_09 or connect with him on LinkedIn.