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Coaching is the #1 sales activity that impacts team performance. Research shows that sales coaching can increase top-line revenue up to 20%. In addition to a proven revenue boost, data also finds that good coaching practices improve both employee engagement and customer retention.

On top of lower rep performance, lack of and poor coaching can result in job dissatisfaction, turnover and a slower sales cycle. Sales managers can’t afford not to coach. Luckily, with the emergence of new sales analytics, you no longer need to sacrifice coaching for other priorities coming your way.

Analytics can make it easier, faster, and more effective to coach sales reps. Using sales analytics, today’s sales leaders can encourage better team behaviors in a positive manner by following proactive coaching principles, including:

Make coaching more timely

For coaching to have a positive impact on sales performance, it needs to be done regularly. Feedback that’s given immediately has been shown to improve performance. In sales, leaders need to continuously coach sales reps throughout the quarter. You don’t want to start coaching after you’ve missed your numbers.

With sales engagement analytics, managers get a real-time view into rep activities. They can see if the reps are sending the right messages in a timely manner. Leveraging prospect engagement insights, managers can assess how prospects are interacting with their reps’ outbound communications. If they see that a rep doesn’t have the right level of activity or isn’t sending out the right type of communication, they can step in quickly to course correct and provide them with real-time feedback and guidance.  

Base coaching on behaviors

In any work environment, coaching needs to be kept objective and behavior-based to be most successful. Using analytics makes it easy for manager to keep coaching based on behaviors and results. With up-to-date dashboards showing what activities and what activity levels have been implemented, sales leaders have concrete data that they can share with reps regarding the number of phone calls, emails, and connections – the biggest predictors of inside sales success. You don’t want to point fingers when you’re coaching. Analytics keep the focus on the activities.

Demonstrate proven practices

Because analytics can give sales leaders insights into team activities, it’s also easier to compare activities between reps. Leaders can quickly spot what top performers are doing that others may not be but should be! This makes it faster to coach and emulate more successful behaviors – all the while still keeping the attention on behaviors. By tracking activities by rep, leaders can also assess where coaching might have the biggest impact.

Have reps monitor their own performance

By giving reps analytics to track their own performance, sales leaders can get reps more involved in the process. Using tools to help measure engagement, reps take more responsibility and become more involved in the coaching process by working against set goals.

Improve sales rep motivation and morale

Sales reps say that they want more coaching from sales leaders. Yet 25% of managers don’t coach their sales teams. Reps want to know that management is paying attention to their work and interested in their success. With analytics, coaching can be given the attention it deserves but without being a pain point, a source of frustration, or a time drain for sales leaders.

When hiring a new employee, it’s critical for management to ramp them up quickly; but, it’s even more crucial to continue the ongoing training to ensure team satisfaction. If a rep leaves because of job dissatisfaction, Aberdeen research shows that it can take you an average of 7.3 months to hire and onboard another contributing seller!

Proactive versus reactive coaching reduces turnover, motivates your team to perform at their best, and keeps your sales cycle humming to close deals faster.

About the Author

Micheline Nijmeh is the CMO for LiveHive, Inc., whose sales acceleration platform empowers sales leaders with deep buyer-based engagement analytic insights into the effectiveness of their team’s sales efforts. A seasoned Silicon Valley executive, Nijmeh has served as Senior Director, Integrated Global Campaigns at Salesforce.com, where she led the market launch of Salesforce’s Chatter and Force platform.