Sales coaching tools, tips and trends to watch in 2021
Sales coaching is something that a lot of sales managers say they do, but the way they go about it is all very different. Some common ways managers coach their sales reps are through call review coaching, role playing scenarios, deal coaching, pipeline reviews, developmental coaching, training through modules, career pathing or quota & compensation management. In the recently released G2 winter sales coaching report, you will see the “competitors” in the sales coaching leader quadrant are all sales coaching tools, but they all do very different things. If you have a coaching initiative at your organization, and you’re unsure of what sales coaching tool or tactic is right for you, here are a few trends that the sales industry is showing for 2021 and some coaching tips to help you get started!
Sales Coaching Trends
Peloton unknowingly developed the most effective sales coaching strategy and managers will adopt it like crazy in 2021.
2020 was a landmark year for Peloton. While home gyms were spinning up everywhere around the nation, savvy sales leaders began picking up on the fact that the motivation model Peloton uses can be applied to sales coaching for optimum sales rep performance. For those of you that, unlike me, didn't “Pandemic-Purchase” a Peloton (I’m obsessed!), here’s the gist. Peloton coaches and instructors meet you live or on demand and verbally coach you through the workout. Alongside the instruction and coaching, there is a gamification component where you compete against other riders on a real-time leaderboard. In addition to the competitive leaderboard, riders can earn digital awards and badges for hitting daily streaks, besting their previous records, and participating or hitting milestones that have never been achieved. The overarching strategy that Peloton uses and sales managers can steal is: coaching+gamification+accolades.
When you know you won’t finish first against other riders, you still want to compete because you know you could best yourself and earn that badge. The coach is there talking you through it. When you see someone overtake you on the leaderboard, you pedal just a little bit harder to bump back on top of them. These cues from Peloton are some of the best sales coaching tips you can take right now as they are amassing a cult-like following with this performance based coaching strategy.
Here is how sales managers can steal the play:
Give Accolades (badges and awards) when reps hit milestones like largest contract sold, 4+ meetings in a week, or 75+ dials. These are automated through metric tracking so you can set it and forget it while reps rack up the motivational awards that they can broadcast in their dashboard or on LinkedIn
Celebrate the sales development reps with a Slack celebration alert when a meeting moves from a meeting to qualified pipeline. More motivation and positive recrognition works to drive culture and performance. These are also automated through metric stage tracking in your CRM. You can set it and forget it!
Hold a 1:1 and review performance while coaching your rep on specific efficiency metrics to move into the highest quadrant corner. Managers are the Peloton instructors in the 1:1s. Motivate your reps-- don't just coach them on calls. Help them achieve PRs, set individual goals, and create a culture of team first with coaching 1:1 sessions
Broadcast the leaderboards in Slack or on scoreboards for visibility allowing some friendly competition for your reps. You can go beyond a traditional rank leaderboard and use "most improved" boards to encourage reps to continue to best their own performance week over week
Let peers award each other virtual high fives with Accolades that can be shared across LinkedIn
The Sales Management Cloud integrates all disjointed data and strategy for a more comprehensive coaching approach
Right now, managers around the globe are pulling data from several different sales coaching tools to try to bring data to a 1:1 coaching session with their sales rep. Between deals in CRMs, call recordings in tools like Gong, and activity in places like Outreach, the data aggregation is a manual, time-consuming process for most. Managers will oftentimes bring these individual reports to the coaching session then log their coaching notes into a Google doc and hope that something sticks.
While CRMs and call recording software are where sales managers have historically managed and coached from, the pandemic fast-tracked a more obvious burning pain and need for a true sales management cloud that brought visibility into KPIs, aggregated data from a thick tool stack, gamification, and metric driven coaching into one tool.
Ambition, a comprehensive sales management tool, has moved up 6 places in the various coaching software reports just released by G2. Now appearing alongside learning management and conversation intelligence tools, Ambition is a momentum leader in the sales coaching space thanks to the ability to marry a wide number of sales coaching tools and strategy into a streamlined scorecard and 1:1 platform that has the added benefit of integrating gamification capabilities into the approach.
In 2021, we expect to see the momentum of the sales management cloud pick up steam as more leaders seek out the best way to combine call coaching, pipeline management, gamification, visibility into KPIs, and performance data into a single pane of glass.
Culture and Morale find a place in the cut-throat numbers driven world of sales
Sales has always been a numbers game. You hit your quota or you don’t. Are you converting deals at the right pace? What is the average order value? Is your profit margin high enough?! In such a relentless role, “culture” and “morale” don’t often seem to have a place. 2020 changed all of that as pipelines and quotas were destroyed by the pandemic. Sales leaders started echoing the word “empathy” all over the place and culture and morale became real initiatives in the sales world.
The truth is, it’s still all about the number. Sales leaders know that teams with “a great culture” are hitting quota more. And science will tell you the quota doesn’t come before the culture-- but rather culture has to come first.
Sales leaders need to invest in a sales management platform that will allow them to manage the numbers, but in a culture and morale boosting approach. Get visibility into all of the reps activity-- and celebrate when they hit a milestone like 75+ dials. Broadcast a leaderboard of meetings set for the month, and lift up those who are most improved for the week in addition to top players.
Revenue leadership will seek out the ROI on coaching and training
A big ask from our customers has been how to see the ROI on the sales training, learning and coaching that is happening. While a lot of tools offer a platform to house training materials, they only report out on consumption and use of the materials. Leaders are looking into data to go further to see which training and coaching materials yield higher performance results.
In 2021, we'll see leaders integrate their learning management software with their performance and coaching data to begin to model and report on the ROI of coaching and training.
In Ambition, this foundation is underway showcasing insights and peformance data alongside a coaching timeline.
Top Sales Coaching Tools Going into 2021
The top rated sales coaching tools on the G2 Grid going into 2021 are:
- Gong: Conversation intelligence for call recording and coaching.
- Chorus: Conversation intelligence for call recording and coaching.
- Salesloft: Sales acceleration platform
- Mindtickle: Sales enablement and onboarding
- Outreach: Sales acceleration platform
- Brainshark: Sales training and readiness platform
- Lessonly: Team training and learning
- Ambition: Sales coaching + gamification platform
- RingDNA: Sales engagement and voice communication
- Saleshood: Onboarding and training platform
Some other tools incorporated into the tech stack are mentioned in chapter 6 here in our Winner's Guide to Sales Coaching
Sales Coaching Tips to Borrow in 2021
1. Move the middle Too many sales leaders focus their coaching efforts primarily on their teams’ top and bottom performers. The magic happens in the middle: you’d be amazed at the revenue impact if you get 5% lift out of each rep.
2. Set an objective You should know the exact purpose of your 1:1s — and so should your reps. That level of transparency creates trust and holds both you and your team accountable.
3. Measure what matters Give your reps specific metrics to track between sessions. Be sure those metrics are tied directly to the activities and behaviors you’re trying to drive.
4. Get S.M.A.R.T. with your goals Sales goals should be Specific, Measured, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-constrained. For example: 50 outbound dials per day. It’s specific (50), measurable (tracked in your CRM), achievable (one dial per 10 minutes), relevant (warm leads become opps), and time-bound (per day).
5. Make an action plan Goals should be part of a clearly communicated action plan. If the goal is: 10 new leads this week, the action plan may simply be the answer to: “What are the specific steps you’ll take to make that happen?”
6. Be consistent Every type of touchpoint in your program should be in the same format and scheduled on a frequent, recurring basis, so that your reps know what to expect and everyone comes prepared.