Every company onboards new hires. Few do it well. This 6-step model can help sales enablement leaders break the cycle.
Whether it's missed quotas, inconsistent messaging, or lack of sales readiness, there are many issues you can improve with effective sales coaching and incorporating more video coaching into your plan. Of course, implementing an entirely new process can seem daunting. People inherently don't like change, and the excuses for putting coaching on the backburner are never-ending.
Today, too many sales teams merely guess whether their reps are ready to engage buyers – even with a coaching program in place. Others believe they need a "coaching culture" to drive better results. In both cases, video coaching provides a practical and straightforward solution. Sales coaching is one of the best ways for organizations to improve rep performance. But do you know all the ways video coaching technology can help you see better results?
Leading research firms have found that video is a preferred and highly effective learning format for most professionals and improves sales training results. Consider the following:
- Sales teams who reinforce training with video learning see 34% more first-year reps hitting quota. (Aberdeen Group)
- 75% of employees are more likely to check out video lessons than read a document, email, or web article. (Forrester Research)
- Video is “well-suited to refining the human element of [B2B] selling,” writes SiriusDecisions’ Peter Ostrow, who adds that younger generations are especially engaged with rich media such as video. This includes millennials, who will make up 75% of the U.S. workforce by 2025.
Video coaching also carries critical benefits: it helps every rep become more prepared, knowledgeable, and confident by simulating real sales situations – without "practicing" on buyers.
The mechanics of video coaching are pretty simple:
- An activity is assigned to a team member (example: “Show us your best elevator pitch”)
- The team member records a response via video and submits it for review
- The pitch is reviewed, and feedback and/or a score is provided to improve performance
But those are just the basics. At the end of the day, video coaching is about more than what its name indicates: it's about assessments, practice, and most of all, READINESS.
Here are 9 of the most valuable ways you can use video coaching technology to improve the readiness of your sales teams.
#1. Boost Sales Manager Productivity
The daily routine of a sales manager can be hectic. The list can seem endless, from helping reps on calls and handling administrative tasks to monitoring sales activities and pipelines. Often times there is a lack of appropriate coaching, which can happen for several reasons. Whether it’s the manager running out of bandwidth, the challenges of overseeing a remote sales force, or the absence of proper coaching skills., these are all areas video coaching tools can help. With video coaching tools, managers can coach reps no matter where they are – company headquarters, out in the field, across the country, or anywhere else in the world. Video coaching tools also allow sales managers to continuously ensure the sharing and documentation of best practices across their entire teams.
Managers can use video coaching tools to help improve their coaching abilities and develop their own coaching skills. Still, the sales enablement team can provide constructive feedback while teaching them how to use video coaching technology.
#2: Peer-to-Peer Learning
When the Q4 crunch bears down, and your salespeople need to close deals, who do you think they're turning to for guidance?
More often than not, it’s their peers who serve as go-to sources of sales advice. In fact, ATD found that 91% of sales reps believe peer learning helps them succeed. Forrester Research, meanwhile, reports that 99% of millennials prefer sharing knowledge with peers at work.
This should come as no surprise. Your 'B' and 'C' players can learn a lot from the habits of your star salespeople, and they may feel safer engaging a colleague over a manager. When high-performers or veterans exit a company and take their institutional knowledge with them – it can leave the remaining sales team high and dry in the peer learning department.
Enter video coaching, which allows companies to document sales best practices and share them with the entire organization (among several other use cases).
When it comes to peer learning, there are three main challenges that a video coaching tool can address:
- Making it super easy for salespeople to share their best practices
- Converting peer knowledge into formal training content
- Tagging, managing, and measuring newly created training material so it's accessible in times of need
Suppose a salesperson has just closed a pivotal deal for the company. In that case, the sales manager could assign an unscored coaching activity prompting that rep to explain how he or she won the business. The rep would then detail specific steps leading to their success in a video recording. This gives the rest of your team an example of what "good" looks like.
Once the rep has submitted her video, it can easily be converted into learning content by adding additional texts, visuals, and attachments. It can also be tagged, making it searchable for reps looking for best practices, centrally managed to ensure it's compliant with your sales approach, and that outdated peer videos are archived.
These videos make great sales content; incorporate them into training, so new hires can see 'what good looks like,' and experienced reps can discover some fresh tips and tricks to use.
#3: Embedding Video Assessments Within Online Courses
Traditional, in-person training leveraged role-plays and ‘stand and deliver’ methods to better engage learners. With the overwhelming shift to virtual learning, it is essential to continue with these methods by embedding video coaching assessments within and at the end of training curriculums.
For example, you can create a formal training curriculum for a new product release with coaching activities designed to prove whether reps have absorbed the material. Reps can first view a series of short learning presentations (courses) about the new product, followed by a scored coaching activity requiring them to demonstrate how they’d pitch it.
Only after successfully completing the courses and coaching activity would the rep receive his or her certification for the new product. Sellers will take training a lot more seriously if they know they have to 'stand and deliver the material to be certified. And your managers will have more confidence in their team's readiness.
#4: Practice with Purpose
Video coaching tools have a considerable advantage over alternate forms of coaching - practice can take place regularly, anytime, anywhere. Reps and their managers don't need to be in the same room or even the same state, for that matter. Reps can practice via unscored video coaching activities – either on their own or by receiving feedback from peers or managers.
For example, suppose reps are struggling with negotiation skills. You can assign them an unscored video coaching activity to help them continue to work on effective tactics. Reps will be able to practice their pitch, save as many 'takes' as they'd like (or delete them), and share these attempts with their peers for feedback. When the rep feels good about their video, they have the option of submitting their 'best take' to managers for feedback or by receiving an automated machine score.
The Role AI Plays in Sales Coaching
New technology innovations can benefit your coaching efforts in a big way. For example, Brainshark's video coaching solution includes Machine Analysis. This AI-powered engine automatically reviews coaching activities by checking for coverage of critical topics, emotions, speaking rate, and use of filler words and generating a machine score.
This type of automation can help sales managers save time, provide more consistent feedback and quickly figure out which reps need extra coaching. When reps are assigned a coaching activity, they can submit their video for immediate automated analysis. At the same time, they wait for their manager to provide feedback. The benefit is reps can get additional insights that might not be provided by managers or peers.
#5: New Hire Onboarding
Sales onboarding used to be widely known as a multi-day boot camp where reps would train until they were entirely ready to go into the field, the old "firehose" approach. Most companies have been forced to move away from in-person training onto a blended learning approach with online training tools.
Video coaching gives onboarding an added layer of assessment, so managers aren't guessing when new reps are ready to sell. For example, you can set up onboarding to give reps a finite amount of time to prepare for each critical task, such as their first prospecting call. You might provide the rep two weeks to complete training. They can earn their certification before they begin prospect-facing activities by completing a scored video coaching assessment.
When onboarding new hires, it is essential to remember not all will love the idea of someone grading their work on camera. This natural aversion to assessments might lead to pushback against your sales training strategy. Still, the benefits of video coaching outweigh any growing pains experienced along the way. By incorporating a mix of informal video activities, such as peer learning and buyer meeting prep, you can allow sales reps to become familiar with video in a low-pressure setting with formal tasks like assessments. They will then ultimately view it as a valuable learning tool.
#6: Responsive Enablement
In today's 24/7, always-on market, companies may need to react on a dime when unexpected news hits. This could take the form of a competitor product launch or acquisition announcement or even your own company receiving some unplanned media attention. When that happens, your sales team must be up-to-date and ready with the latest information quickly, so they can effectively respond to buyers.
These events require quick action and video coaching tools to let reps practice the new information right away. Managers can then confirm they're on message without missing a beat.
For example, suppose your competitor has merged with another organization. In that case, you can assign a teamwide, scored video coaching activity to follow up on any content that you distribute about the news. The coaching activity can require reps to demonstrate how they would handle burning questions from buyers and ensure teamwide message consistency.
#7: Teamwide Coaching Activities
Anytime there is a new skill, message, or competency your sales team needs to master, a video coaching activity can help them get there effectively.
For example, when new reps ramp up or when your product or messaging evolves, it can be helpful to send out a scored video coaching activity to prompt reps to demonstrate their updated 'elevator pitch.'
Managers can score and provide feedback to every rep or leverage a feature like Brainshark's Machine Analysis to auto-score each video based on pre-set parameters. Video coaching helps ensure each team member is prepared to give a consistent pitch and offers managers a clear view of who is (or isn't) on message.
#8: One-on-One Informal Coaching with Managers
Teamwide coaching activities effectively assess your team's overall readiness. Still, one-on-one coaching can help reps with individual challenges, skills they need to work on, or upcoming calls or meetings.
For example, for pre-call planning, a manager can send a rep an unscored coaching activity that will align with the goal of their upcoming call (which might be to get the prospect to agree to a demo). The coaching activity could prompt the rep to discuss the insights they will share with their prospect. The rep can send his response directly to his manager for feedback or save multiple practice takes and send them along only when he’s satisfied. Receiving feedback can help the rep practice with purpose and be more confident in his responses.
#9: Career Development
Just as sales organizations have to prioritize training and coaching for reps, they also have to consider career development and mentoring strategies to hit their goals.
Video coaching can help with transitions, such as a sales rep moving into a manager role. By assigning relevant learning and a video coaching activity, you can better evaluate if management is the right fit for the person. Their willingness and success in completing the tasks can be a key indicator if they're cut out for the job.
Video coaching can also help facilitate mentoring when the mentor and mentee are not in the same office. They can share tips and best practices via video coaching, and the mentee can receive feedback on various skills or ideas they want to work on.