The sales enablement function exists to onboard new sales hires and to drive revenue per sales head up. However, it’s common to hear confusion around what Sales Enablement should be tasked to perform.
Some organizations think it’s only about sales tools and 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 and driving revenue per sales head up.
Sales enablement provides the sales team with tools, messaging and training. But most organizations lose sight of the most important aspect…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 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017 has an entire section dedicated to Sales Enablement. Turn to the sales strategy section and review the Sales Enablement phase on pages 319 – 322 of the PDF workbook.
4 Steps to Build a Sales Enablement Coaching Program
1. Develop 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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. Much 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. To go deeper, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to the sales strategy section and review the Sales Enablement phase on pages 319 – 322 of the PDF workbook.