We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: the difference between elite sales orgs and everyone else is a formal sales coaching program — and more specifically, quality sales coaches.
For decades, sales leaders relied on a chosen methodology to amplify the success of their reps. And while a solid methodology still matters (a lot), today’s sales leaders also have a suite of tools and systems at their disposal, which gives them the ability to ground their coaching programs in good, clean data.
In other words: the best sales coaches marry methodology and software in order to run a metric-based coaching program. Here’s why those metrics matter.
1. Metrics set clear expectations
What does a great rep look like? How does our sales process work? What makes a good (legitimate) pipeline?
Without a set of clear, baseline metrics, there isn’t a good answer to those incredibly important questions. In far too many organizations, the only metric is quota (or quota attainment). (We’ve discussed at length why that isn’t enough to deliver strong sales results). It’s critical to have visible goalposts that guide sales people through the sales process — in fact, your reps deserve it.
By establishing baseline numbers, sales coaching programs start with transparency. Sales enablement leaders and managers can approach the development of sales coaching programs knowing reps will explicitly understand the performance expectations.
That means there are no surprises during your coaching conversation with your reps: “Here’s the expectation, here’s how you performed, here’s how we can work together to improve.”
2. Metrics level the playing field
How many times have sales managers heard the phrase “comparing apples to oranges?” It’s a tired cliche, but it’s a real problem — and one that metrics can solve.
Once clear baseline metrics have been established, a powerful way to engage your whole sales team is by introducing “holistic performance scoring” based on achievement against said metrics.
Holistic scoring across metrics provides reps with a “health” score that can be applied to multiple roles or levels of seniority. While the actual numbers and targets can vary from group to group, the holistic score creates a layer of objectivity — which means: no more oranges.
Objectivity allows managers to compare overall performance and prioritize coaching sessions as well as the effectiveness of change levers (i.e., challenges, goals, and other engagement methods) they’re using for the sales team.
3. Metrics create coaching program consistency
Once sales leaders establish clear baselines, and they’ve leveled the playing field across their sales floor, they can then develop repeatable coaching cadences, focused on the underlying actions and skills that lead to change.
This is one of the most critical aspects of the “metric based sales coaching” movement. Just like the “sales plays” developed for your team to move an opportunity forward, coaches need the capabilities to draw up customized plays to engage reps with distinct deliverables and a clear path to improved performance. Defined metrics, objectives, and target conversion rates facilitate that conversation.
What’s more: as the numbers shift (and, hopefully, improve), they can directly attribute changes to their coaching programs.
4. Metrics highlight growth areas
While everyone gets excited about scalable sales coaching programs, real progress and “delta” is driven at the ground level between a team leader and a rep.
This is where the ability to home in on a single metric is important — whether that's meeting-to-opportunity conversion, opportunity velocity, PitchIQ (when using a product like Showpad’s LearnCore), or call-scoring (using a tool like Gong or ExecVision).
Together, a manager and rep can dig deep on a single point of emphasis and work to improve a key aspect of their skill set over time, maximizing their success.
The bottom line: metric-driven coaching isn’t about turning your sales team into a data machine. It’s actually the opposite — because when reliable metrics become the foundation of your coaching program, it enhances transparency, accountability, and objectivity across the board, which sets your reps (and yourself) up for success.
Want to learn more about metric-driven coaching? Download our Winner's Guide to Effective Sales Coaching.