What do personalization tech, social networks and content portals all have in common? User-directed action. All three represent the large-scale culture shift away from undifferentiated, mass-market broadcasting and toward greater individual control over the speed, form and scope of content they interact with on a daily basis.
That same trend is now clearly evident within the realm of sales coaching. The 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization report by CSO Insights outlined this new reality with a series of surprising statistics:
- A casual, random approach to sales coaching is in rapid decline, dropping from 47.5 percent of trainings down to 34.7 percent in the last year. For many years, half of all sales managers handled sales training that way.
- Instead, companies are increasingly moving to an informal set of sales coaching guidelines, without specifying a formal sales coaching process. Those numbers jumped last year from 25.5 percent of companies up to 35 percent.
- While informal coaching guidelines are an improvement over directionless coaching, it still can’t pull lower performers up to the average level of win rate for forecasted deals.
The Significance of Dynamic Coaching
The average win rate is just over half of deals: 51.8 percent. Random coaching produces a win rate of 43.6 percent and informal guidelines can improve performance up to 50.9 percent. Better, but the competition still wins. A formal training process can bring a win rate up to 58.8 percent, but the best results come from dynamic sales coaching, which can deliver a 66.1 percent win rate.
Dynamic sales coaching aligns sales coaching with social selling activities and sales enablement tech to reinforce and enhance performance based on the strengths of each sales rep.
Tamara Schenk, Research Director at CSO Insights, explained why dynamic coaching matters so much, “The good news is that organizations are shifting from random to informal approaches to sales coaching. The bad news is that significant performance improvements can only be achieved with a formal or even dynamic approach to sales coaching. That means that 69.7 percent of organizations don’t leverage the potential to improve their sales performance significantly.”
Correlating Learning to Revenue
That's true for B2B buyers in every industry. They are more sophisticated about sales techniques than ever before, they are more likely to rely on the advice from close contacts than any sales content they read and they have been trained by consumer customer service standards to expect a much higher level of control over the buying process.
Dynamic coaching has proven more effective because it goes to the heart of how sales reps learn. Each has their own way of assimilating information and each needs a base level of mastery over the material before they begin applying it in the marketplace, where their income depends on what they do.
Our own correlation of learning behavior data to CRM postings revealed that sales reps who were able to finish our sales enablement platform all the way to certification posted measurably better performance. Within six months after certification, sales reps who stuck with the process were responsible for 38 percent more revenue and 55 percent more pipeline than those who didn't make it all the way through training.
Data-Driven Sales Practices
Those numbers echo sales leader findings by McKinsey on what top-performing sales manager do differently. They reported that top-performing sales leaders built their sales teams using an analytical approach. Unlike the 75 percent of sales managers who rely on their own intuition for hiring, top sales leaders identify intrinsic traits and behaviors associated with strong performance, then create coaching plans to develop the right sales reps.
McKinsey wrote that:
“Many organizations rely on static training methods that tend to focus on a universal set of seller capabilities. Leading organizations shake up that playbook. They are twice as likely as laggards to tailor training by sales role, and nearly half say they spend significant time and money on training, compared with just over one-quarter of underperformers. They are also more likely to invest in technology and processes (e.g., differentiated CRM interfaces) that support the specific needs of different sales-team members. That investment translates into stronger capabilities in all major skills areas.”
Dynamic coaching has delivered the most significant performance improvements overall, including a 27.6 percent spread in win rates for deals in the forecast over the more common, random approach to sales coaching. Dynamic coaching is the preferred choice of future-forward sales teams, as it incorporates the functionality of sales enablement tech with social selling techniques into a customer-oriented sales process, tuned to what each individual sales reps needs most.