Most sales managers know that effective sales coaching starts with accurate measurements and rapid identification of critical sales metrics. The good news? Now there are sales coaching tools and software that create an almost instant, constant cycle of feedback between coach and team members. Better yet, sales reps can self-coach in real-time.
Sales coaching tools fit into 4 categories:
- Integration Capability
- Performance Oriented Metrics
- Real-Time Reporting
- Actionable Alerts
1) Integration Capability
Hundreds of micro-activities that go into closing deals are taking place in a sales bullpen each day.
Here are just a few:
- Prospect sourcing
- Phone calls
- Client visits
- Sales meetings
- Monitoring client activity
Until recently, software couldn’t give you the whole picture of workplace performance without many hours of manpower.
Here’s a few sales coaching tools that produce time-efficient sales hacks:
CRM + Email:
Cirrus Insight fully integrates Salesforce and Gmail. Users can input data into their CRM without ever leaving their Gmail page.
CRM + Phone:
Avaya phone systems integrates with many CRM systems. Phone calls made over Avaya phone systems essentially track themselves.
Now there’s sales coaching tools that can collect phone call activity metrics from your company phone system. To make things even sweeter, those tools can integrate with your CRM and enterprise software to extract data from custom built excel files and store that data all in one place. Voila! There’s the accurate, comprehensive measurements you need for effective sales coaching.
2) Performance Oriented Metrics
There are some industries where productivity is a direct indicator of performance. Sales is NOT one of those industries, because productivity metrics are too shallow to be useful.
To operate as a sales coach, a sales manager needs actionable, advanced metrics.
- Conversion-rate of sales meetings to deals closed
- Average response-rate to cold emails
- Aggregate profit-per-call.
Productivity metrics inspire management, actionable metrics inspire coaching.
Two great examples of data-tracking software that creates actionable metrics and induce self-coaching are Yesware and ClearSlide.
Yesware doesn’t just track the number of emails sales reps send out (i.e. their productivity). The software tracks email effectiveness, such as how many of those emails get opened, how many receive a replay, etc.
Sales reps can use that meta-data to continuously refine and improve the content and subjects lines of their cold emails, learning which approaches generate the best response rates.
Clearslide has an email-pitch feature that informs sales reps when a prospect opens an email, the length of time he or she spends reading that email, and if any attached materials to the email are viewed or downloaded. Such features allow sales reps to adapt quickly to the timing and structuring of subsequent email correspondence.
3) Real-Time Reporting
Performance-tracking that measures in real-time and reports directly to employees, teams, and managers is now a reality. So is real-time reporting of customer business intelligence, giving your sales team a powerful feedback loop across your sales efforts.
A great example of a company that uses high-powered, real-time communication of sales response is HubSpot. They communicate real-time activity data not just vertically, but horizontally between different departments.
Marketing communicates critical customer intelligence in real-time to sales and vice versa, so that the sales and marketing departments coach each other.
Common sense dictates that the most effective time for coaching occurs in the heat of the moment, not several weeks later after an employee has hit a major milestone or seen a hot lead go cold. Real-time reporting makes immediate feedback and self-coaching possible.
4) Actionable Alerts
There’s a new breed of software that provides a meta-score of individual employee performance as well as alerts when specific activity benchmarks have been reached. One of example is Ambition (full disclosure, I am the CSO and Co-Founder of Ambition.)
This solution messages both the sales rep and sales manager with an accurate measure of new sourced prospects. It also enables the sales manager to set a new, actionable benchmarks and adjust them as necessary.
- Measure performance, not productivity
- Use software which integrates systems (phone, email) with performance
- Leverage real-time information for real-time sales management and self-coaching
*Editors Note: Guest post by Jared Houghton, CSO and Co-Founder of Ambition.com, a team-based sales competition platform which enables real-time monitoring of sales performance metrics.