Great Coaches Step Up When the Game is On the Line

The best sales managers understand the people they manage, and apply their insights to motivate and coach effectively. But coaching gets harder when the sales team goes remote. Unable to spend a day in the field or walk the sales floor to check in on their reps, managers can’t rely on traditional sales tools to get the job done.

Today’s managers need a way to gauge how their sales teams are transitioning from field to remote—and to identify the top reps in this new climate. To help, we developed a playbook with six essential plays designed to help your team perform its best—from any location. Read on for the first two plays designed to help you do just that:

Play 1: Stay Close to Your Reps—Even When They Are Far Away

Play 2: Identify Your A Players

Play 1

Stay Close to Your Reps—Even When They Are
Far Away

At the head of every winning team—both on the court and in the sales field—is an inspiring leader. Simply put, great managers are also great coaches. They know how to mold good reps into great ones.

But when the team goes remote, coaching gets harder. When reps are working from home, managers lose touch with their team’s energy, focus and how they spend their time. Event basic activities like phone calls and meetings get much harder to monitor when the team doesn’t sit together.

What’s worse, activity levels typically serve as a barometer for deal health. So when managers loses touch with rep behavior, they lose touch with the pipeline too. They struggle to spot at-risk deals and may see more of them push or, worst case, close for the loss. And that wreaks havoc on the forecast.

Great coaches step up when the game is on the line

Here’s the good news. In this new selling environment, managers can still stay close to their teams and provide the kind of coaching that turns B players into A’s and at risk deals into new customers.

For starters, managers should recognize that with access to the right information, they are in the best position to share what is—and isn’t—working. To do so in a remote environment, start by capturing reliable activity data for each rep. Information on leading indicators such as the following is best:

  • Total volume of emails, phone time, and meetings
  • New business meetings booked and completed
  • Decision makers engaged

Next, use this information to determine behaviors that separate the best from the worst performers. For instance, perhaps your top salespeople are scheduling more meetings via phone, while lower performers are sending more emails.

This real-time visibility into how your team is engaging with prospects and customers is the equivalent of walking the sales floor. It’s how you identify signals for intervention, understand the focus and energy of your team and glean data-driven insights for coaching your team on what is or isn’t working as conditions change.

 

 

The three powerful leading indicators noted above—combined with core data from CRM such as committed, best case, and closed deals—provide an end-to-end view into rep performance.

Last, use the data you’ve captured to drive weekly coaching sessions and daily check-ins. Here’s a cadence you might follow.

For weekly coaching sessions:

  • Review your rep’s past week of activities relative to benchmarks
  • Inspect deals to determine the level of activity and stakeholder engagement per deal
  • Pinpoint what’s working and where the rep is coming up short
  • Establish goals for the coming week

During each daily check-in:

People.ai streamlines this process. We automatically capture behavioral data like email, meetings and contact engagement directly from mail systems and load it into CRM. We also use that data to power People.ai’s sales manager console—an AI-driven solution that gives managers a bird’s-eye view of what’s going on with their reps and what they can do to improve performance.

 

“With People.ai, we can accurately understand and give proper guidance about the state of our pipeline and forecasts for the current quarter, along with our overall pipeline strength for next year – even with our sales reps working remote.”

Vadim Zaikyan

Head of Sales Operations

liveperson

Play 2

Identify Your A-Players

In the sales field, a manager’s assessment of rep performance tends to be based on how much business they close and associated factors like sales cycle times and deal sizes. But when the economy experiences a sudden shock, even the best salespeople find it challenging to close deals—at least in the short term. That makes it hard to distinguish top reps from the rest.

Yet companies have a greater need to know who their best performers are when times get tough. This knowledge informs decisions about where to invest extra time and energy to retain top talent—and who to let go if necessary.

It’s tough coming up with the winning lineup

When the economy slows down and large swaths of buyers hit pause, metrics tied directly to revenue no longer reflect a salesperson’s contribution. In response, companies must instead assess rep behavior to identify their best players.

This approach works because behavior isn’t impacted by economic conditions. It’s also a leading indicator of who’ll be back on top with the economy heads north again. Remember: Exceptional players are always in motion and quick to pivot their game strategy in response to changes on the field.

While measuring salespeople based on their behavior makes sense in theory, the challenge is coming by objective activity data. Salespeople are notorious for not entering information into CRM, and what they do enter is often biased. Managers need a new, more reliable set of metrics to gauge performance.

Create a new scorecard

  • Total volume of emails, phone time, and meetings
  • New business meetings booked and completed
  • Decision makers engaged

Once you’ve captured this information, you’re in a great position to implement a new set of activity-based scorecards.

  1. Surface what best in class looks like based on the moves your top-performing reps make
  2. Benchmark all your reps against the gold standard
  3. Rank your team and provide pointed feedback for how they can move up in the standings.

The data from this scorecard is powerful. It can be incorporated into coaching sessions, compensation structures and/or performance improvement plans (PIPs).

Activate Your Modern Coaching with People.ai

These two plays explain how to track three powerful leading indicators for each of your reps, and create activity-based scorecards. You can activate these by harnessing People.ai to:
  • Automatically capture activity data for a true understanding of how your reps spend their time
  • Surface insights on where reps are performing well and what they can do better to progress deals and close business

Download our sales playbook, “Out of the Office But Still in the Game” for the other four plays that will position your organization to thrive with a remote sales force.

Download the Full Playbook Now

Download the Full Sales Playbook

Access the next four plays that will position your organization to thrive with a remote sales force.

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