If there’s one thing almost all sales experts agree on, it’s that sales coaching is critically important. And that too few are doing it effectively.
The problems begin with promoting top salespeople into management positions, expecting that they can make everyone else on their team as successful. But outstanding individual performance doesn’t equal outstanding management or coaching skills. The skills involved in doing the job - selling, in this case - are not the same as the skills involved in supporting others in doing that job.
The problems continue when organizations fail to provide training, structure, support, insights, and guidance to managers to help them become good coaches.
I’ve been thinking about this problem for some time, and I’m excited to say that we’re in the process of developing tools that we hope will provide some help to solve this problem. We’ll be extending our coaching capabilities with a Coaching Cockpit™ that will provide dashboards, coaching cadences, calendar imtegration, and other tools within Membrain to give managers what they need to improve their performance as coaches. And for salesepeople to get more value from their coaches.
Put together into a unified cockpit, we hope these tools will give managers and coaches groundbreaking new insights into who to coach, about what, how, and when. Here’s an outline of our work so far - we hope you’ll let us know what else you want inside the Coaching Cockpit.
Coaching isn’t a job that you do once and then sit back. Coaching should be occurring with team members constantly, on a casual and day-to-day basis - as well as within a structured routine.
Salespeople need coaching about their goals, their mindset, and their skills, as well as their pipeline, deals, and individual sales conversations. All of these conversations need to occur within a structure that ensures they are occurring regularly, at a pace and cadence that makes sense, and within contexts that will provide the most benefit to the salespeople.
Great coaching produces growth.
We need tools to help coaches establish these cadences and maintain them. These tools should connect with their calendars and those of the salespeople so it’s easy to see within the context of everything else. And they should provide insights to guide coaches in setting cadences that make the most sense for each salespeople based on their needs.
Of course coaches should ask salespeople where they think they can improve, but people don’t always know where their actual problems are. We want coaches to be able to look at pipeline and other data in a holistic way that enables them to see where each individual salesperson is most likely to need support and guidance.
Membrain already allows for some of this, with our performance insights, pipeline views, win/loss reports, and the ability to create custom dashboards. The Coaching Cockpit aims to increase this visibility for coaches and make it easier to create a coaching plan based on what you see from within the cockpit, for each sales person.
Effective coaching requires the coach to keep track of what each salesperson specifically has planned to accomplish, and to follow up consistently. We think a Coaching Cockpit should make it easy to record what is agreed upon during coaching meetings, and then to provide a simple way for coaches and salespeople to follow up on those agreements, including reminders to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
We want salespeople to be able to request coaching (or training) from within the same workflow where they do the rest of their work. When they run into something that challenges them or they’re worried about something or they’re preparing for a task that they want help with, they should be able to request that help without switching to another platform.
On demand requests for coaching benefit both salespeople and coaches, who can monitor these requests and provide coaching as necessary without breaking their own workflow. On demand coaching means also having the ability to chat in real time, and have those chats recorded for later review as needed.
Effective coaching requires so much more than just a list of skills and the completion of rote tasks. Great coaches demonstrate exceptional people skills, and help their salespeople to become everything they can be by treating them as the individual humans that they are.
Every human is motivated by different things, limited by different mindsets, inspired by different inputs. Great coaches know what each person on their team needs in order to perform their best.
We think the Coaching Cockpit should provide an easy, beautiful way for coaches to record insights into the humans on their team, so that this information is accessible and usable before, during, and after coaching sessions. We hope this will lead to more human coaching conversations that are better for coaches and for salespeople.
Great coaching produces growth. Salespeople who are guided by an exceptional coach will develop more skills, achieve more goals, and generally become better at their job as well as happier and more satisfied in their work.
Often, this progress isn’t captured or it’s only mentioned within the context of an annual review or pay raise.
We think salespeople and their managers should be able to record their personal development plans and watch their progress over time. Within the Coaching Cockpit, we want to provide tools that enable salespeople to record their overall plans, along with everything they need in order to achieve them - the skills and training they need, the courses they want to take, the support they are requesting. And then they should be able to see how they are progressing through that plan, both in real time and historically.
I’m personally very excited that we have reached a point in development where we can begin working on this capability in earnest. I think it’s going to make a big difference for our customers, our partners, and for all people who work in sales.
As we are preparing our roadmap, I would love to know what you think. If you were to envision the perfect Coaching Cockpit, what would you include? What have I left out that simply must be included? What would you dream of if you could dream anything for it? Please drop me a note - I'm eager to get your perspective!
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.
Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn
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