Remote Coaching for Results In Today’s Virtual World
As sales teams navigate the world of virtual selling, leaders seek new ways to get—and keep—their teams informed, motivated, and successful. Remote coaching is a strength that organizations must develop to build connections across locations and time zones.
At our recent webinar The Secret to Becoming a Better Remote Coach, Jake Miller, senior product marketing manager at Allego, and Mike Kunkle, VP sales effectiveness services at SPARXiQ, discussed how sales managers are combining thoughtful coaching principles with video and coaching technology to create effective relationships that change behavior and drive performance.
Read on for four key takeaways from their discussion and some helpful ideas on how sales leaders can successfully coach in a virtual environment.
Coaching for the Way We Sell Today
It should come as no surprise that the majority of organizations believe that sales coaching is important to successful selling. Research by CSO Insights shows that companies with dynamic coaching programs achieve 28% higher win rates.
What is surprising is the disconnect between sales managers’ intent in the coaching they provide and the way sales reps receive that coaching.
In our State of Sales Coaching report, we surveyed close to 250 sales reps, managers, and enablement leaders on the importance of coaching. The results showed that while 91% of managers thought that they provided high quality coaching, only 70% of reps agreed with that statement.
“Managers focus on deal-level coaching, where they are tactically helping to move a specific deal forward. While this level of coaching is clearly a critical part of the sales process, most reps also want skills-based coaching that helps them learn long-term skills needed to move forward in their career,” says Kunkle.
Before engaging in a coaching relationship with their reps, Kunkle suggests managers think about what tools and resources reps need to succeed. He breaks it down this way, “If they don’t know what, why, and how to do something, then they need training. If they do know what, why, and how to do something but aren’t doing it, that’s where feedback and coaching come in.”
Generating Actionable Sales Training Data
Connecting information gleaned from an employee’s training into their coaching is a big driver of step–function improvement in a sales organization.
“Data gives the manager a critical baseline read that lets him or her connect what the employee has learned to where they need to improve,” says Miller. “The manager sees key details like what courses the employee took, how they performed on e-learning modules, and what product fact or subject areas they struggled with. This digital trail of how they performed and the competencies they developed lets managers go beyond just a ‘gut feel’ and build effective coaching strategies.”
When a manager can see all the activities reps completed during training—and how well they did on each—they can incorporate that critical information into their coaching.
Providing Critical Feedback to Drive Improvement
Providing feedback is a critical part of the remote coaching process. But managers need to ensure their feedback fits in within their overall coaching strategy.
“Feedback is absolutely necessary, and there are ways to deliver it that are incredibly helpful for sales reps,” says Kunkle. “As sales leaders, we need to understand the difference between firing off feedback that’s corrective and feedback that is helpful.”
To provide constructive feedback that makes a positive impact, many sales leaders are turning to asynchronous video.
Let’s say a sales rep is preparing for an important upcoming negotiation. The manager wants to provide examples of best practices and also get a feel for how the rep is approaching the negotiation.
With a modern sales enablement platform, managers can use their iPad, iPhone, or computer to record themselves talking through a best practices example. This video gets sent to the rep, and they can watch the video when it is right for them—they don’t have to schedule a Zoom or WebEx meeting.
The rep watches the manager’s video sales coaching and then records themselves to show how they have learned this approach. The rep can record as many times as it takes to show that they have mastered the skill. These rehearsals give the rep the chance to practice and to refine their messaging before they are in front of the customer.
The video then goes back to the manager who can review and provide point-in-time feedback and scoring on specific parts of the video presentation.
“Because managers are not meeting reps in person or scheduling Zoom calls, they are able to deliver coaching on their own schedules,” says Miller. “As a result, sales leaders report that they can deliver coaching on a greater scale. I have seen a manager who was coaching ten people grow that number to 12 to 15 reps by using asynchronous video.”
Mining Data for Better Sales Coaching
Kunkle says that effective remote coaching is a formal developmental process where managers partner with their reps to improve sales performance. This process is done by diagnosing performance, selecting solutions, executing those plans, and reviewing the results together.
This type of partnership can be difficult in today’s remote environment. But Miller says that because the sales process is happening virtually, managers have a digital trail they can use to provide actionable coaching to support their reps.
Today’s sales enablement platforms allow managers to gather analytics on actual customer calls and provide precise feedback that supports their remote coaching effort. Recorded call coaching capabilities with actionable, AI-powered insight enables managers to provide the most effective point-in-time feedback.
These platforms also provide the means for rapid updates to messaging and content as needed. Managers can give feedback on just the part of the call where the reps are delivering the new message. Moreover, managers can quickly jump to that part of the video for all the reps that report to them, without having to sit through the whole call with each of the reps.
Modern Coaching for the Next Normal
In today’s ultra-competitive environment, sales enablement supports not only sales reps, but also sales managers. Equipping front-line managers to inspire, motivate, and support reps with good remote coaching and communication skills improves seller productivity and leads to better results.
Download a copy of our report The State of Sales Coaching for actionable recommendations to get the best results out of your sales organization through coaching.