Data Driven Coaching - Let’s Break it Down…
What is Data Driven Sales Coaching?
In his book, The Sales Acceleration Formula, Mark Roberge, former CRO at HubSpot, describes it perfectly:
“My most effective sales managers…perpetually identified the one skill that, if improved, would lead to the most substantial improvement in each salesperson's performance. They then customized coaching plans to hone in on the development of those particular skills. I encouraged HubSpot sales managers to use metrics to diagnose each salesperson's most deficient skill area. I call this sales management approach “Metrics-Driven Sales Coaching"”
Let’s break this down and walk through a real world example:
Step 1: Starting with WHY
Gary is an SDR at ACME Inc and focuses on generating leads and booking meetings.
He and his Sales Manager are sitting down together for a coaching session.
They open their 1-2-1 coaching dashboard.
The first thing they review together is what Gary wants to achieve…
This is important as this is Gary’s WHY. It’s what connects Gary to WHAT he needs to do and HOW he goes about doing it.
By focusing on the WHY, Gary’s Sales Manager can bring more meaning to the rest of the coaching conversation. She now understands what is driving Gary and can relate everything back to that.
Gary has also identified the key metrics that will enable him to reach his goal. Let’s call these ‘CRM Goals’.
Step 2: Use metrics to diagnose each salesperson's most deficient skill area
Now we understand Gary’s WHY, together he and his Sales Manager look at the reality of his situation.
If Gary wants to be
a) consistently hitting target and
b) considered for promotion
he needs to be top of his game and the team’s game.
This is where we need to transition to WHAT the data and metrics are telling us.
From our 1-2-1 coaching dashboard, we can immediately see:
Gary is hitting 100% benchmark against his team mates on activity (Calls and Emails) - this means his activity is higher than the other reps in his team. So we’ve no immediate concern about his activity levels,
However, it looks like this is not translating into meetings
In fact, on the ratio of calls to meetings Gary is performing in the lower third of the team
The data is telling us that to help Gary improve his overall performance, he and his Sales Manager need to focus on improving Gary’s call to meeting conversion.
Step 3: Identify the skills that, if improved, lead to the most substantial performance improvement
As a business, we know the skills and behaviours (sales competencies) that drive this area, but for absolute clarity, both Gary and his Sales Manager can cross check this.
In this case, the underlying skills and behaviours that will most impact Gary’s performance in converting calls into meetings are:
- Problem Discovery
- Prospect Qualification
We can use the dashboard to crosscheck where Gary is against these competencies (below) and can quickly see that Problem Discovery is also an area where Gary is lagging behind.
So Gary and his Sales Manager can identify this as a focus coaching area.
Identifying the skills that will most impact a given metric can be described as the HOW aspect of this coaching journey.
Step 4: Customise coaching plans to hone in on the development of focus skills
It is not enough to simply identify an area of improvement and pack Gary off to work on it.
Gary and his Sales Manager need to agree an action plan that can be managed and reviewed regularly to ensure it is having the desired outcome. This is a 2 way street and needs accountability and commitment from both Gary and his Manager.
- Set SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound)
- Provide timely feedback
- Provide a scorecard against the focus skills
- Review together in each coaching session
By doing this and capturing it all in once place, it is easy to see what action has been taken by Gary and how it has impacted his performance.
Make sure the plan is fit for purpose and don’t overload! Remember, the Sales Manager can add to it over time as Gary’s skills improve.
Mix it up a little - throw in some video or role play practice alongside training, call listening or written skills improvements
Step 5: Measure the outcomes
Gary and his Sales Manager need to ensure that the coaching action plan, focussing on Problem Discovery, is having the desired effect over time.
If it isn’t then intervention and a change of plan will be needed (see above).
In this case, by reviewing this together each week via their 1-2-1 coaching dashboard, we can immediately see Gary’s improvements over the time.
In working together on Gary’s personalised coaching action plan, his conversion rate not only improved straight away but it has gone from 3% to as much as 14%.
As a result, Gary’s rating against ‘Problem Discovery’ has also improved.
As a result of applying a transparent data driven sales coaching approach, Gary and his Sales Manager were able to quickly and easily:
- use metrics to diagnose Gary’s most deficient skill area
- identify the one skill that, if improved, would lead to the most substantial improvement in Gary's performance
- create a customized coaching plan to hone in on the development of those particular skills
By having this all in one place, automatically updated and collated means that Gary’s Sales Manager can do this at scale across each individual in their team, without spending hours of precious time preparing, evaluating and chasing.
Kate has over 20 years’ experience in sales leadership & transformation within cyber security and technology companies, building, developing and managing high performing sales teams. As both a former VP of Sales and Sales Trainer, Kate has seen the challenges from all angles and, as a result, is passionate about training, developing and...