Strong sales reps are the lifeblood of your business and how you choose to invest in them matters.
For frontline sales managers, attributes like competency, quality of work, ease of execution, and length of contribution indicate reps’ overall job success, but you can’t rely on those inputs to tell you if they are personally satisfied. In fact, 46% of survey respondents said they are pessimistic about the future of work, and many have already quit their jobs.
Before we look at the data, it’s important to understand what exactly sales reps expect on the job and what will keep them from having a negative outlook and a desire to churn. According to Forrester, it boils down to three main elements: performance feedback, knowledge transfer, and individual training.
The problem? Most sales orgs already operate at enterprise scale and managers oversee teams of 10+ people, which makes personalized goal setting and customized action plans seem unattainable. That’s when an investment in sales coaching comes in.
In this breakdown, we look at how sales coaching platforms can affect employee retention and how a dedicated program ultimately boosts rep engagement and job satisfaction – bettering your rate of voluntary turnover and saving you the expense of attrition.
What is a sales coaching platform?
Too often, sales managers conduct “drive-by” 1:1s. These are under-prepared and uninformed conversations that last less than a minute and sound like this: “Hey, SDR or AE! I don’t have much to cover this week. Do you? Okay great. Let me give you this time back.” Sound familiar?
A dedicated sales coaching platform can provide everything the above example does not. Successful sales coaching is prescriptive, consistent, and documented chronologically over time to drive growth and accountability. It’s not a singular process. It’s programmatic and includes the following mainstays: culture, insights, process and tools, and actions.
Effective sales coaching should not simply be about going over numbers, tracking goals, and performance-based reviews. It should be about connecting with each individual, focusing on building skills and sharpening sales techniques.
When sales reps are more connected to their sales leaders and their role, they tend to be more satisfied and take pride in their work. When reps are happier in their roles and with their work, their productivity and performance can increase substantially. It’s a win/win situation. Sales coaches become better leaders, and reps become more invested in their jobs.
Part of the reason employees today are feeling pessimistic about work is the lack of meaningful connection. In a recent productivity predictor, employees are 1.2x as likely to feel productive when they feel connected at work. Smart sales coaching platforms solve for this with the right technology. Necessary actions can be automated and world-class managers can be bred keeping employees happy, fulfilled, and contributing at peak capacity.
As a sales leader, it is important to understand the impact that spending time coaching your reps can have on the bottom line. Time invested in your reps and in your team can lead to major increases in close rates and employee retention and satisfaction.
When using a sales coaching platform, sales leaders can build a cadence and agenda that works for them and their team. This can save leaders hours of prep time and create a thoughtful space for reps to openly discuss where they want to learn or improve.
Top-to-bottom value with a sales coaching platform
When considering an investment in a sales coaching platform, one of the first examinations to conduct is how the platform will bring value to your people and their position in the business. An investment in sales coaching has a top-line impact that increases key metrics 5 to 25% for revenue teams across finance, energy, logistics, and SaaS.
Better coaching can improve call volume and other key sales activities an average of 25% and revenue metrics an average of 5% year over year. The Center for Sales Strategy has validated this, reporting that companies with dynamic coaching programs achieve 28% higher win rates.
When looking at bottom-line impact, sales coaching platforms create efficiencies, which saves managers seven to nine hours of prep time per week giving them greater bandwidth to do more with less. On average, sales platform-powered organizations are able to add one to three more direct reports to frontline managers’ teams, allowing organizations to scale at a higher velocity while retaining top talent. When analyzing the employee-to-manager ratios, sales coaching increases that from 7:1 to 9:1.
Concerned about the cost of sales coaching or curious how it directly affects your budget? According to Forrester, the costs of unwanted voluntary turnover hide themselves in the form of uncovered sales territories and lost sales productivity.
Forrester ran a sample of how losing three reps in a year’s time could reach $330,000 in lost revenue. Combine the hidden costs of uncovered territories and lost productivity with the training, recruiting, and onboarding to calculate total turnover. In Forrester’s example, three new reps could cost $417,900 just to recruit and ramp.
Can we afford to invest in sales coaching?
Data example by Forrester
- Company has 20 reps at $360K, $30K each per month = Bookings of $7,200,000
- 15% turnover = 3 reps per year
- February ($330,000)
- March ($300,000)
- July ($180,000)
- Backfill (ramped)
- June ($210,000)
- July ($180,000)
- October ($90,000)
Total = ($330,000)
Sales teams really can’t afford to not invest in sales coaching and their employees. Employee churn can devastate the bottom line, and ramping new reps can cost valuable time and money. It often takes new reps at least three to nine months to bring in similar numbers compared to a more seasoned or top talent rep. The more senior the employee, the more negative impact to your revenue.
With a sales coaching platform, organizations recoup the software investment in eight months on average and it increases employee retention by 2% year over year. No matter how you look at it, sales training and coaching plays a bigger role in all outcomes for high-growth companies when compared to negative-growth companies.
Investing in, connecting with, and motivating the reps you currently have has never been more crucial. Given how much time individual coaching can take, you might be asking yourself if a platform or program is the right answer for your team and business. When searching for a sales coaching platform that’s right for you, be prepared to ask questions to better evaluate fit. With the right questions, you will see who is interested in helping you achieve your goals and not just sell you a product.
Questions to ask potential vendors:
- How can your solutions help us scale the best practices of our best leaders?
- How does your software track coaching impact over time?
- How does your software take the admin work off my plate so I can actually focus on coaching?
- Do you have success with external integrations so insights about my reps can be centralized?
- What does a successful sales coaching template look like?
- Can you share some feedback from reps at other companies who are using the tool? I’m looking to understand its adoption rate and effectiveness.
- What is the timeframe for implementation?
It’s important to note that not all sales coaching platforms are created equal. For the best business outcomes, ensure that the software you choose is grounded in performance data and customizable based on metrics, roles, or expectations.
Best-of-breed solutions allow you to deliver effective KPI accountability among your go-to-market team and powerful recognition to drive behavior and success. They also give sales leaders valuable time back to actually work on 1:1 coaching, scaling their teams, and building their sales culture instead of spending hours each week prepping for 1:1s and team meetings.
As the industry continues to collect the hard data, the effect sales coaching has on employee retention is powerful. The Net Better Off framework reinforces our claims proving that people are searching for ongoing career development and simply put someone (a coach) to hear them and help them attain more.
Pair happier and healthier humans with dollars saved due to sales territories accounted for, less recruiting and onboarding fees, and improved top and bottom line metrics, and you’ve got a true business case for sales coaching.
Sales coaching is one of- if not the most- important parts of sales management and leadership. Lead your team to greatness by focusing on connection, motivation, engagement, and helping your reps close more deals. A sales coaching platform can save you hours of prep and help carve out the dedicated 1:1 time your reps need. Plan a list of questions when vetting vendors to ensure it’s the right fit for you and your team. When you invest, your rep invests, which leads to less employee turnover.
For more information, get this data rich eBook to understand the top-to-bottom value of a successful coaching program, the financial model to determine how you invest, and a vendor shopping guide.