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How To Turn a Manager Into a Coach Through Data Analytics

Data Analytics can be the best friend to a Sales Manager if used properly. We investigate the difference between a mediocre manager and a great manager, and how data analytics factors into that equation.

Data Analytics is the new wave of management in the workplace. Here's how sales managers can leverage data analytics to become better coaches and more effectively train their Sales Reps.

Two months ago, MIT and the Sloan Conference released a joint report, finding that 87 percent of managers were looking for better use of data analytics in their business. Calls for better coaching and data analytics represent two of the most in-demand ways to improve a sales team's performance. In fact, it logically follows that they go together.

Data’s Role in Sales Coaching

Sales reps who have struggled with improving their performance know what a bad slump does to mentality. Their confidence, will, and love for the game slowly erodes as each day passes without completing a new deal. 

Luckily, two universal truths were taught to me during my third year in Little League: 

  1. Anyone can succeed with great coaching.
  2. The difference between success and failure is in the tiny details.

Most sales managers, deep down, want to be coaches. They hate seeing their reps fail. To those managers struggling with personnel performance, look deep into the data to see where a breakthrough can be made. 

Step #1. Get Integrated

First: integrate all your employee productivity tracking software. Few things are as maddening as launching a new data-tracking platform, only to find that the data you are generating is inaccurate or incomplete.

If your sales team is not already using sales analytics softwares to track its e-mail performance, you need to start downloading these softwares before you even finish this paragraph. You can integrate a number of these softwares with CRMs to track and organize their insights as part of your metadata. 

Employees have a million better things to do than manually keep track of how many emails they send get opened or responded to. Integrating with the right software lets them focus on the more important tasks and gives you all the data you need to discern where issues with performance might be.

Step #2. Get Real-Time Insight

Building on this point, a baseball coach that can immediately discern a player’s inability to hit a fastball is more effective than a coach who looks at the data from the last month before he comes to the same conclusion.

Unlike my Little League coaches, however, sales managers simply cannot watch their reps’ every phone call, client meeting, follow-up communication, and so on.

For a long time, companies relied on productivity data from monthly or quarterly reports to discern quality of performance and identify problem areas. Technological breakthroughs, howeverm have transformed that reality.

Software programs, including Ambition, have begun offering real-time productivity tracking and scoring. The information delivered by these programs should be both:

  1. Continuously updated in real-time.
  2. Immediately accessible to employee and manager alike.

Most of the recommended softwares are able to do both, and a good coach will not let that benefit go to waste.

Step #3. Separate Activity from Productivity.

My first two years in Little League were a twist on an old phrase: “You can bring a player to the batting cage, but you can’t make him hit.” During those seasons, I attended every practice and played every game. I genuinely tried to get better (embarrassment is a powerful motivator), and my coaches did their best to help me improve and stay positive even when I wasn’t performing well. It just wasn’t enough.

Using productivity metrics to measure performance is skin-deep analysis, nothing more. Effort matters, but overall performance matters more. Unless you work in a call center, chances are that there is a substantial more that goes into your job than bare bones productivity metrics can measure. Most important of all: managers care about productivity, coaches care about performance. Ask anyone: It’s better to play for a coach than a manager. And the same holds true in the sales profession, only amplified ten-fold. Baseball is just a game, but sales is your professional livelihood.

Parting Thoughts: Effective Coaching is All About the Details

Let's return to the sad state of my little league career as it entered its third season. The very first day of practice, the skippers of my new team -- Coach Overszet and Coach White -- spent 15 minutes analyzing each player’s batting performance. When my turn came up, I took one swing before Coach Overszet was yelling.

“Jeremy, why the hell are you so far back in the box?! Get up on the plate.”

Next pitch. Whiff.

“Okay, now choke up more on the bat."

Next pitch. Smack. Foul ball, but I’d made contact.

“Better. Now look the ball all the way in -- you looked away on that last one.”

SMACK. Line drive.

“Attaboy!” Coach White yelled, grinning. “You’re going to be hitting homers before you know it.”

I did improve dramatically as a baseball player, on a team that finished number one in the league, and had more fun in the process than ever before playing organized sports. And it was all due to coaching. My prior coaches managed their teams, these guys coached us. They kept detailed track of our stats. They scouted opposing teams to get insights into the pitchers we would be facing.

They pushed us at batting practice. Even put us up against 65 mph pitching machines that we had little hope of hitting, but would make the 45 - 50 mph pitches we faced in real games seem like slow motion. The point is: A manager figures out where to put you in the batting order. A coach notices that though you lack power, you make the best contact when you are standing at the front of the batter’s box.

In sales, data analytics are the tools that give managers the details they need to become coaches. Ambition specializes in offering these metrics clearly and concisely, to both the player and the manager.

Ambition: Give Reps 360° Sales Coaching and Analytics

Ambition is a sales management platform that syncs business teams, data sources, and performance metrics on one system.

Sales leaders use Ambition to enhance sales performance insights and build sales reports, scorecards, contests, and TVs that supercharge focus, effort and accountability.  

Ambition is endorsed by Harvard Business Review and AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization). Hear more from business leaders who use Ambition in their organization.

Watch Testimonials:

  1. FiveStars: Adam Wall. Sr. Manager of Sales Operations . 
  2. Filemaker: Brad Freitag. Vice-President of Worldwide Sales.
  3. Outreach: Mark Kosoglow. Vice-President of Sales.
  4. Cell Marque: Lauren Hopson. Director of Sales & Marketing.
  5. Access America Transport: Ted Alling. Chief Executive Officer.

Watch Product Walkthroughs:

  1. ChowNow. Led by Vice-President of Sales, Drew Woodcock.
  2. Outreach. Led by Sales Development Manager, Alex Lynn.
  3. AMX Logistics. Led by Executive Vice-President ,Jared Moore.

Read Case Studies:

  1. Clayton HomesHBR finds triple-digit growth in 3 sales efficiency metrics. 
  2. Coyote Logistics: Monthly revenue per broker grew $525 in 6 months.
  3. Peek: Monthly sales activity volume grew 142% in 6 months.
  4. Vorsight: Monthly sales conversations grew 300% in 6 months.

Contact us to learn how Ambition can impact your sales organization today.

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About Ambition
Sales Leaders, HR Professionals, and C-Level Executives use Ambition to recognize, motivate, and develop employees into more engaged and productive versions of themselves. Funded by Google, used by the Fortune 500, endorsed by the Harvard Business Review.

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