Last month a Sales Manager who had recently downloaded our Inside Sales research report sent me this note:
I saw in your report, that 69% of Managers aren’t hitting the target of 3-5 coaching hours per rep per month. Guilty as charged.
The issue for me is that when I do live coaching I’m either a) listening to my reps leave voicemail after voicemail or b) joining a pre-scheduled call. It is rare that I actually get to hear something in-between (meaning a live connect and how it plays out).
What are you seeing other Managers do about this?
To be honest, I didn’t have a great answer. I’m a huge fan of call recording & review for scheduled calls (discovery calls, demos, proposal reviews, etc.). I’ve seen companies build great coaching process around those. Kim Reisman from OpenView Venture Partners recently offered advice on this topic.
Three Big Issues
But in terms of live (side-by-side) coaching, three big issues remain:
#1 - If focusing on outbound prospecting, at best, you are looking at 1 maybe 2 live connects in that hour. Taking 60 minutes from a Rep & Manager for what amounts to 6 minutes of coachable selling just isn't efficient.
#2 - When a Rep does connect with a prospect, there’s little chance they’ll remember exactly what they said that resonated.
#3 - There’s no way to institutionalize what great sounds like. If a Rep knocks it out of the park with a customer story, there is no way to share that example with the wider team.
A Potential Solution
With that as the backdrop, I had a call the other day with Josh Freeman, CEO of TeamVisibility. Steve Richard had introduced us and spoken very highly of their technology in allowing Managers to “Better see, hear and coach their teams.”
Being a proud and true New Englander, I was skeptical.
But 10 minutes into the demo I was thinking about the email above. “What are you seeing other Managers do about this?”
Josh presented the concept of what I’ve come to think of as time-shifted call coaching. He calls it "reviewing the game tape."
Time-Shifted Call Coaching
The idea makes perfect sense to me. A Manager spending an hour sitting side-by-side, and waiting for a coachable moment, doesn't scale. Why not capture the 'game tape' as it happens and review after the fact?
I asked Josh to share a few clips to illustrate what it sounds like. (Note: Massachusetts is a two-party consent state, so you’ll only hear one side of the call)
Sales Managers, would you rather spend precious coaching time reviewing voicemails & live connects or wading through dial tones, gatekeepers & automated greetings?
Towards a Call Library
For me, the real power comes from Reps being able to select their own clips for review by the group - either in looking for constructive feedback or in disseminating a sales moment worth sharing.
I asked Josh how his team uses their technology internally. He shared:
We built out a Library as part of our normal review of game tape. Whenever we hear a call that we feel is Best Practice, we simply tag it and it’s shared with the entire team. That same clip also is archived to build a training library for new reps to use during the on-boarding process.
In addition to entire calls, we went a step further and broke down each call into key elements (intro, making a connection, elevator pitch, etc.). So we now have Best Practices for each individual element as well. It has been a very powerful tool for helping our reps get up to speed.
I see some real promise in time-shifted call coaching. For most, 69% according to our research, the current way of doing things just isn't getting it done.
I’d love to hear what others are doing.
Sales Managers, how are you call coaching today? What processes and/or tools are helping you scale your efforts?
Find Matt on Twitter and Google+
(Photo credit: National Football Post)