Christoffer Bergstrøm, Sales Director at House of Control, discusses the impact of data-driven sales coaching.
More than 100 people recently registered for our webinar ‘How to sell more with data-driven sales coaching.’ Since this topic was so popular, we’ve summarized the takeways into 3 steps. Each step includes sales KPI’s you can use to measure effectiveness in the sales process and identify areas of improvement.
Why data-driven sales coaching?
Being ‘data-driven’ means having a systematic approach to sales coaching based on quantitative sales metrics. Instead of starting coaching sessions with a general feeling about how things are going, each session starts with clear, measurable expectations that both parties agree on. From there, you systematically review what’s happened and plan next steps, developing one area at a time.
From a coaches perspective, a data-driven approach makes coaching easier and more effective. Not only will you help reps hit their targets in the short run, you help them develop a better understanding what they can do, on their own, to be more successful in the long-run.
From a sellers perspective, data-driven sales coaching is easy to understand. There’s no ‘fluffy’ terms or uncertainty. Every goal is measured and sellers can take control of their own development, without being forced to rely on anyone else.
Keys to success
Data-driven sales coaching employs well-known, but sometimes overlooked techniques:
- Base coaching on measurements and actions that increase sales
- Recognize sale performances to reinforce desired behaviors
- Coach often – set fixed times for meetings
Before you start, it’s important to clearly define your sales process and ensure the process is set-up correctly in your CRM system. There should be one process per sales type.
If your sales data is inaccurate or poor quality, don’t worry. As you and your teams use data, the quality will improve because all the parties see its advantage. It’s a ‘win-win’ situation.
Step 1: Determine what is required to reach budget
A good starting point for coaching discussions is to agree personal targets with sales reps. This is often a revenue target they should reach per month, but it may also be other relevant targets such as new leads, upsales, cross-sales, margins etc. With the end goal in sight, you can reach a common understanding of what it will take to reach that goal.
If your goal is 100,000 in revenue for the month, for example, work backwards with the sales rep to see how that can be acheived.
This includes knowing:
- How many leads needs to be in the pipeline to hit the target?
- How many new opportunities need to come into the pipeline (refill requirements)?
You can also measure hit rates, average deal size and lead time (average length of sales cycle) to develop a better understanding of what factors have the greatest impact on revenues and where to focus you efforts.
Once pipeline requirements are established, each sales rep has their own roadmap. This makes it easier to control what’s happening and make adjustments. It’s better to know there are too few new opportunities before the end of the month, so there is time to do something about it.
Step 2: Secure movement through the pipeline
Coaching sessions often include a discussion of opportunities and activities in the sales process. The goal is to uncover specific actions or steps the sales reps can take convert a prospect to a customer.
In this case it’s important to have accurate and readily available information about customers in specifics stages of the sales process and the activities during that stage. This includes:
- A list of new agreements have been won because it’s encouraging to start with reviewing key wins and the factors that led to success.
- A list of opportunities that are within reach because these deserve focus and attention.
- A list of planned activities to ensure that no potential customers are forgotten.
Additionaly types of activity reports based on information in your CRM system can help you spot where there are issues or opportunities to followed up. This may be:
- Cases without a planned activity. e.g. email, phone call, new meeting.
- Cases that have an activity planned, but the plan hasn’t been followed.
- Time to action – how long it takes to follow up a leads or response to inquiries
With good information, it’s easier to prioritize the right customers and make the best use of time.
Step 3: Evaluate and plan ahead
The final step is to evaluate sales performance and look at long term developments. Even the best salespeople can have bad months. As a coach, you want to know whether it is a one-off occurance or whether there is a downward trend. With data-driven sales coaching, you can analyze data to try to understand underlying reasons for change in results. This will help you do more of what’s working well and stop doing the things that aren’t.
Some key reports used in analysis include:
- 12 month revenue report
- Win/loss reports – understand win/loss rates and reasons
- Sales anaylsis per customer type or product segment – see whether reps are working strategically towards the right customer segments
While there is certainly a mix of skills that are important to being a good sales coach, data can help you understand what the i whether you are moving in the right direction.
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