Like many sales reps, Richard Smith was thrown into the deep end in his first sales role as an SDR. Along the way, he developed his skills via trial and error, receiving little feedback on his performance.
But, he made it.
He thought, “Wouldn’t I have made it sooner if someone had coached me?”
That driving thought has been the engine for cofounding Refract — a sales coaching company that analyzes sales conversations and helps “unlock the black box” of those conversations so sales leaders can effectively coach their sales teams.
Richard came on the B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast to share some insights into how sales leaders and managers can rethink sales coaching.
Sales leaders believe in coaching (but they still aren’t coaching)
According to Richard, salespeople who lack coaching are 27% more likely to miss quota — which ultimately detracts from the bottom line of companies. Interestingly, most managers agree:
Richard spends his days talking with sales leaders and managers. It turns out, they do believe in the power of coaching. That’s not the issue. But still, Richard says, there’s a large gap between what they’re saying they believe, and what’s actually happening.
Time & lack of training are the 2 reasons leaders don’t coach
There are 2 main reasons sales leaders don’t coach:
- They perceive they have a lack of time
- Lack of training on how to coach
It’s not about a lack of time. It’s actually a lack of prioritization.
Richard Smith – Co-founder at Refract
The time ⏰ issue
75% of organizations will admit that the fundamental role of a sales manager is to coach and improve their team. So, why is the most important function of a sales manager not getting the priority it deserves?
Too often, managers are found looking at dashboards, going to meetings, or explaining metrics to their reps, and their time is not being allocated to coaching.
Here’s one tip: Sales reps don’t need leaders to explain activity metrics. They can use the CRM to view those themselves. What sales reps do need is someone to say, “This week, you made as many calls as Emily, but she had 50% more sales. Here’s what I think she’s doing differently in her calls than you’re doing.”
The training issue
Often, managers are promoted simply because they were high-performing reps, but they are given no tools or training on how to coach. From Richard’s experience, when organizations give their managers the resources to coach, those managers have more confidence and take their coaching role more seriously.
Sales leaders can utilize tech to save time & measure coaching
Technology can be a game-changer when it comes to saving time and equipping managers to coach their sales reps, but here’s a few things to keep in mind about utilizing a sales coaching technology:
If it’s not measured, it’s not going to be effective.
Richard Smith – Co-founder at Refract
Tech supplements culture, but culture comes first
Richard believes the right technology can empower sales leaders to coach their teams (that’s why he founded Refract). But he doesn’t believe it can replace culture — technology simply supplements a culture of coaching.
Companies must have people who want to coach. They also must have a culture that understands, from the top down, the value of coaching. Once the entire organization is bought-in on coaching, and believes it helps retain top talent, encourages company growth, and enables reps to meet and surpass quota, then the technology becomes the enabler to make coaching an effective process.
- Tech saves time
Technology can help identify the areas most ripe for improvement, reducing the amount of time managers have to research and listen to call after call.
- Tech enables peer-to-peer coaching
A rising trend among businesses is peer-to-peer coaching amongst salespeople; using coaching technology has made it even easier to offer feedback for peers.
- Tech helps measure & track coaching
One major problem with sales coaching is the dichotomy between what sales reps and sales leaders perceive:
Often, sales people will say they never receive coaching. But, when you speak to their leaders, they say they are coaching regularly. So, what the leaders believe to be coaching is not being perceived as coaching by the reps themselves.
So, with technology, you can actually track and record the coaching, and, further, create measurable, traceable activities towards which sales reps can strive.