We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Mike Sadler, VP of Corporate Sales, at Everbridge. We discussed a variety of topics from general sales management to sales coaching, but we found his comments on coaching to be particularly relevant given that sales leaders often struggle to maintain a consistent 1-on-1 coaching cadence that does not devolve into deal coaching sessions.
Please read below for a 3 step guide to how Everbridge standardized their sales coaching process.
#1: Prioritize sales coaching
Mike and his team quickly recognized the importance of coaching via regular 1-on-1 sessions and the impact it can have on sales performance. In fact, a recent study from CSO Insights showed that a dynamic or formal coaching process helped increase the number of salespeople who achieve quota by 10%. The study goes on to say that sales managers need to define, manage, and coach around “the related behaviors (leading indicators) that lead to the desired results (lagging indicators).”
#2: Identify process issues
Over time, Mike and his team began to run into issues around “organizational consistency” during their 1-on-1s. The root cause of the issue was that their 1-on-1s “inevitably devolved into tactical deal review sessions” instead of discussions around “coaching and helping reps improve”. Mike and his team realized that they needed a system to make sure that the majority of their 1-on-1s are “focused on making sure that [sales managers] are helping to develop the right techniques and behaviors” within their sales team.
#3: Streamline coaching workflow
Mike and his sales managers recently began using LevelEleven to run their 1-on-1s with their teams. Some of the immediate improvements he and his team saw were the ability to use question templates so that all front line sales managers used a consistent format, and the ability to see coaching notes from prior months. Now Mike and his front line managers are gaining common insights and speaking the same language on their key performance indicators during their 1-on-1s by looking at real-time data from their Salesforce.com CRM. Furthermore, at the end of the coaching session, these notes are in a centralized location within their CRM so that they can be easily accessed again as a reference during the next 1-on-1 conversation.
Where do I go from here?
If you haven’t already, we highly recommend that you define the key selling activities that make up your sales process (a quick guide on that here). Calculate how much of those activities you need to hit quota and then create personalized performance scorecards for each rep so that they can track performance against those goals. These will become an invaluable resource during your 1-on-1 coaching conversations.
Progressive sales organizations like Everbridge, Paycor, and Square have taken this approach to the next level by investing in a sales management system to monitor sales performance and pacing against goals in real time. In addition to consolidating their sales stack, their sales management systems help them identify areas where salespeople (or their team as a whole) are struggling and which areas to focus on during coaching conversations.
As a sales leader, your job is to monitor and course-correct pipeline performance in real time. When pacing to goal falls behind, you can rally your team around getting back on pace with a team coaching session or quick spiff. You can then discuss rep performance during your weekly one-on-one meetings in order to consistently review their holistic performance and key challenges.