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October 31, 2016

Peer-To-Peer Coaching – Empowering Sales Teams to Learn Collaboratively

The longest winning streak in sports history was not a case of luck – but one of preparation, a commitment to personal development, and a stubborn insistence on leveraging the power of teamwork.

The story of Bob Ladouceur and the Spartans contains a lesson that all sales leaders can, and should learn from:

As leaders, we often think it’s our responsibility to coach each individual team member – but we forget that if we’ve done our job in the first place to align everybody’s priorities, they will coach each other.

In a Forbes article discussing the major motion picture inspired by the book about coach Ladouceur and his team, the book’s author described the moment he realized he had to write it.

It was halftime during a game, and the team had been playing poorly.  They were behind and it was looking like they might throw away this incredible winning streak, when coach Ladouceur walked into the locker room.  At this point, any of us might assume he would proceed to deliver a situation analysis, pep talk, and some pointers to individual team members on how to move forward to regain the lead in the game.  But this is the exact opposite of what he actually did.

This coach walked into the locker room and said to them, “Why do I always have to be the problem solver?  Group problem-solving is a skill you will use your whole life.  Figure it out.”  And on that note, he turned around and walked out!  The team was left to work as a unit to learn from each other so each member would know how to do their part in securing a win.  They went back out on the field, executed on their strategy and won the game – protecting what would go on to become the longest winning streak in sports history.

A Profitable Approach

Industry-leading sales organizations are using this same approach and seeing spectacular results.  Any sales professional can attest to the value of learning tips and tricks from their peers, whether it’s how to handle that tricky objection to a newly rolled out product, or what language resonates best with a certain type of prospect.  There is a treasure trove of value sitting with that one rep who has experience with that type of prospect, or with that other rep who has already been on a few sales calls with the new product.  It is crucial for sales leaders to find a way to facilitate collaboration among their teams so that the treasure trove doesn’t just sit there in the mind of those few reps while everybody else has to go out and learn the lessons themselves – in front of the prospect.

In fact, 65% of sales reps agree that sales pitch advice from peers is more effective than training from the corporation.  It’s much more powerful when you can enable team members to share recipes for success with one another, rather than always scheduling face-to-face coaching sessions with managers that often have an atmosphere of formality which can impede learning breakthroughs.  Not to mention the fact that managers are often farther removed from the “ground truth” compared to the reps who are on the front lines with prospects every day.

The Power of Mobile-Video

Leading organizations today have tapped into an almost endless source of value by leveraging the power of mobile-video to make this kind of collaboration between reps second nature.  A team member coming out of a sales call where he had to navigate a tricky pitch with lots of questions around compliance issues can walk right out to his car and record a 2-minute video on his smartphone outlining how he answered them.  He can then immediately share the video with his whole team, tag it, and make it easily discoverable for any team member looking for a refresher before they go into a similar sales call.

Or a manager can create a short video on her smartphone asking for each team member to record and submit their version of how they handle a certain selling situation.  She can then go through and pick out the best pitch, and share that video with the whole team as an example of what “good” looks like.

The result is that sales organizations create a sort of “corporate YouTube” of best practices and procedures for all the most common challenges specific to their individual company – essentially, a self-updating, YouTube-style sales playbook filled with distilled, highly relevant content coming straight from the field.

21st century technology is revolutionizing the way we coach our teams and allowing us to take this more organic, hands-off approach.  It’s proving to be a much more effective way to drive top-line growth, and like many other technological advances for business, it dramatically reduces cost by eliminating much of the T&E (travel and entertainment) expense associated with in-person coaching.

For more on how industry-leading sales organizations are using the power of Allego to revolutionize their performance, schedule a custom demo today.

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