Leverage Coaching to Make Sales Enablement More Effective


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In recent interactions I have observed confusion around what Sales Enablement really is.  Some organizations think it’s about sales tools/content.  Some think it’s about training and product messaging.  Sales Enablement is much more than that.  It’s about making the sales team more effective.  That includes tools, messaging and training.  But many organizations lose sight of one of the most important aspects…COACHING.  Coaching is intimate and impactful, because it’s conducted one on one.  And it’s highly customized to the individual.  This makes it highly effective. 

Your Sales Enablement strategy needs to encompass different modalities and tactics to improve effectiveness.  Coaching must be one of them.  Our annual Research Report has an entire section dedicated to Sales Enablement.  The report references the attributes to a world class Sales Enablement strategy.  Download the report now.  There is a wealth of knowledge beyond just Sales Enablement.  This will help you drive your entire sales strategy for next year.

How do you build a Coaching program? 

  • Develop the Coaching Initiatives:
    • What initiatives are you trying to accomplish?  What are the tactical plans that are being executed in the year?  This needs to be clearly defined for front line management, by the enablement team.  You want to drive consistency and adoption throughout the organization.  Coaching enables that.  There should be specific goals and success criteria for each initiative.  A few examples:  Sales Process coaching.  Social Prospecting coaching.

  • Develop Train the Trainer Material:
    • The fact is, not all Sales Managers are great coaches. Most are good at what they do, because they inherently know how to do it.  But teaching others how to do it, isn’t as easy as you may think.  Therefore, the Sales Enablement team needs to ‘teach’ the front line managers how to ‘teach.’  Coaching and developing people is a unique skill set.  If the manager has it…GREAT.  If not, you will need to train them.  The front line managers are in the trenches with the reps on a daily basis.  You need them to help you scale.  It would be impossible to conduct one on one coaching as a Sales Enablement team.  Unless the sales team is very small or centrally located.  Training the Sales Management team is one of the keys to success.

  • Develop Coaching Playbooks for the Managers to follow:
    • Tools and job aids are not only for executing a sales campaign. Nor is content solely for customers and prospects.  Tools can be developed specifically for coaching.  If the managers aren’t armed with tools, chances are, they will be ineffective.  Remember the goal is to make the sales people more effective in their respective roles.  Ensure the front line managers are armed with the right tools, content and playbooks.  They need to know when and how to coach.  Playbooks will enable the management team to do that.

  • Define the Cadence:
    • What is the frequency as to which they coach their team? Is it daily, weekly, monthly?  The cadence should be defined by the content.  If it’s a heavy lift, then daily micro coaching session could be optimal.  If it’s reinforcement of activities and process, then a weekly call would be more appropriate.  The point being, is that the cadence is clearly defined.  Ambiguity or a lack of defined cadence will breed a lack of adoption in the field. 

Remember, Sales Enablement is more than just tools, messaging and training.  It’s about making the sales team more effective.  Don’t let your Sales Enablement initiatives fail due to a lack of coaching.  The majority of the retention happens in the field with the management team.  Your Sales Management team has a heavy burden already.  They need to make the number.  It’s the responsibility of the Sales Enablement team to build the Coaching Program for them.  For more Sales Enablement coaching tips download our annual Research Report.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eric Estrella
Eric Estrella serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a professional services firm focused exclusively on sales force effectiveness. Eric brings over 15 years


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