Coaching Best Practices to Improve Productivity
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Learning a new skill on the job doesn’t just begin and end with training onboarding. The velocity at which the business landscape changes require apt agility for any sales organization to not only survive but to thrive. To keep up, sales organizations must invest in sales coaching to support every rep and help equip them to effectively reach their goals while productively contributing to the team’s overall success.
“The beautiful thing about coaching is that it meets those folks where they are,” said Dianne Kleber, vice president of sales enablement at Paradox. “That’s the goal. Training, on one hand, says, ‘okay, we have this track, and we know these folks need this knowledge.’ Whereas coaching is, ‘I want to meet you where you are and help you get to the next place you want to be.’”
When sales coaching programs are consistent and personalized to the needs of individual reps, it can help teams ultimately close more deals and increase the bottom line. Enablement teams can have a significant impact on driving the success of sales coaching for teams by aligning with sales managers to create consistency in how managers coach their reps and deliver feedback.
In fact, the Sales Enablement Analytics Report 2022-2023 found that teams that regularly collect manager feedback on their coaching programs report a 10-percentage-point increase in average rep quota attainment. While sales managers are often tasked with coaching reps, sales enablement can play a key role in coaching the coaches and gathering insights to help drive rep performance and increase desired behavior change.
“That’s why coaching has such an important role in enablement because you always have those situations where someone is struggling or needs help, and somebody else on the team or within the organization has that requisite skillset or can help unlock the ability for that person,” said Monty Fowler, vice president of revenue strategy at Kentik.
Below, learn how enablement can partner with sales managers to deliver effective guidance on what good coaching looks like, and download our sales coaching do’s and don’ts checklist to keep coaching programs on the right track.
Preparing Sales Managers for Coaching Success
The first step in ensuring an organization’s enablement function can positively impact sales coaching is to build strong relationships with the managers responsible for putting coaching programs into action for their teams. In the same way that enablement provides sales teams with the tools, processes, content, and knowledge to perform well, enablement can also equip leaders to effectively coach their reps to success.
“The first step is to design a sales leader program to show your leaders what you want them to be coaching on and how they’re supposed to do it,” said Annelie Girard, sales enablement manager at PlayPlay. “That should include training such as what a good manager routine looks like, developing communication skills, and how to provide constructive feedback. At the same time, it is crucial to train sales either on processes and products their team is using or pitching daily.”
Other ways to build that trust and collaboration include creating a peer-to-peer mentoring program or facilitating ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions for new coaches. Enablement can partner with sales managers on the type of content and materials they will need to coach successfully, as well as develop guiding questions that will help them understand the needs of each rep and keep track of their progress along the way.
“Coaching is a lot like doing a really great discovery in the sales process in that you don’t have to know the answers to the questions, you just have to know the right questions to ask,” said Kleber. “The mindset of curiosity, I think, is the most important thing a sales leader needs to have.”
Enablement can also help managers mix up their coaching styles and equip them with the tools to address coaching to specific skills. Coaching programs can include tactics such as reviewing a call with a sales rep and discussing what went well and what could be done differently. Enablement can help managers with regular check-ins and reviewing the resources used in customer conversations, where the manager can offer helpful training and tips to improve.
It is essential to prepare managers with the resources they need to be able to personalize their approach to coaching their reps and encourage them to invest in a variety of resources that can help them reach their reps in a meaningful way that will enhance performance.
Leveraging Insights to Enhance Coaching Programs
To continuously optimize and improve the impact of coaching programs, it’s important for organizations to leverage qualitative and quantitative insights to analyze success.
For example, qualitative data in the form of feedback from sales managers can be invaluable as enablement teams strive to create programs that address top areas of concern for the business. As a best practice, it’s essential to involve managers early and often in the process to tailor to the specific needs of their team and gain the crucial buy-in to set coaching programs up for success.
Quantitative data can also be leveraged to analyze rep performance to help improve the effectiveness of a coaching program. Tracking key performance metrics aligned to the KPIs that matter most to the business can help enablement ensure coaching is having the desired effect on behavior change and help managers personalize coaching programs based on areas where reps may need the most support.
“Because sales coaching is individualized and inclusive when offered on that one-to-one basis, you can easily identify areas of improvement and ensure that no team members fall into the cracks.,” said Girard. “That is because self-discovery is not easy, so coaching will allow you to have a closer look at how every sales rep uses your resources.”
To enhance a sales team’s productivity, coaching must be a top priority and investment. Enablement can be the unifying force between sales managers and reps to improve sales coaching and drive rep behavior change through creating personalized approaches and leveraging both qualitative and quantitative data to improve and scale.
“Coaching can impact not just productivity but actually can impact the end results and revenue,” said Kleber. “I think any organization, if you have those new sellers or reps who are going along in their career and get a little stagnant, coaching can take them to the next level where they learn some new tricks.”
Download the Sales Coaching Do’s and Don’ts Checklist