With millennials making up 75% of the workforce by 2025, it’s time for organizations to rethink how they are preparing them for success.
According to CSO Insights, 63% of organizations still have random or informal coaching approaches, which means there are a lot of companies that need to coach better and coach more.
That’s where sales coaching software comes into play. These solutions can make coaching easier, more scalable, and help you evaluate rep readiness in a variety of ways.
But like any technology solution, there are a lot of sales coaching tools to choose from, making it tough to figure out which features and functionality matter most to you and your company.
What is Sales Coaching Software?
Sales coaching software helps sales managers and enablement teams coach more effectively and scale coaching programs, with the goal of improving rep performance.
Traditionally, sales coaching has taken place via in-person role plays and live coaching exercises where reps demonstrate their skills and knowledge live in front of managers and teammates. But as sales organizations have modernized and become more geographically dispersed, they’ve sought alternate approaches.
That’s why many companies have adopted sales coaching technology to fill in the gaps of traditional coaching. With it, organizations can:
- Coach large, distributed sales teams – anywhere and anytime
- Provide tailored, one-on-one feedback virtually
- Reinforce training and empower reps to practice sales skills and messages
- Assess rep readiness using various techniques (video, written communications, etc.)
Some solutions only offer video coaching capabilities, whereas others offer functionality such as screen recording or text-based coaching. That's why it can be helpful to understand which features are available today and how they can serve your sales enablement needs.
1. Video Coaching
Video coaching technology allows managers to coach reps virtually via video assessments. For example, if managers want reps to work on their elevator pitch, they can assign them a video coaching assessment. The assessment will prompt reps to record themselves on video delivering the pitch and send it to managers and peers for review. Managers can evaluate the pitch according to a set of criteria and provide a score and feedback to the rep on their strengths and weaknesses.
Not only does video coaching allow managers to see and hear reps no matter where they’re located, but it also allows them to pause and restart videos to more carefully evaluate rep performance. Video coaching is especially convenient for geographically dispersed sales teams, or organizations where reps spend most of their time out in the field or on the road.
In addition, video coaching can produce a library of useful videos that can be referenced for peer learning. Use them to highlight best practices that can be shared with the entire sales team!
Learn More: 8 Ways to Use Video Coaching for Team Readiness
2. Text-based coaching
Text-based coaching capabilities help assess reps’ writing skills in their day-to-day communications with prospects and customers. This type of coaching ensures that reps are prepared for key buyer touch points outside of live meetings, such as written emails, follow-ups and responses.
Reps can practice crafting personalized responses to prospects, while managers can evaluate their written communications for key areas such as proper messaging, tone, and consistency.
For example, a manager could assign a text-based coaching assessment asking reps to “handle a specific competitive objection from a prospect.” The manager can review and score the write-up, and then share the best responses with the broader sales team.
3. Machine Scoring
When it comes to coaching tools, AI-powered machine scoring can add another layer of scalability (by saving time for managers) and provide a deeper level of insight than humans alone.
For example, when assigning a video coaching assessment to a large group of reps, AI and machine scoring can automatically transcribe, score and analyze key areas such as topic coverage, emotions exhibited, speaking rate and more.
This approach not only saves time, but the machine scores also provide a benchmark for managers to prioritize feedback and easily distinguish which reps need the most help. Reps can review the automated analysis to help improve their performance, as well.
4. Screen recording
If reps aren’t prepared to present on-screen, they can feel like they nailed a presentation without realizing they skimmed over certain topics or didn’t accurately present product information. Coaching software with screen recording functionality allows you to evaluate how reps are presenting a demo or slide presentation.
For example, if a rep is preparing to give a product demo to a prospect, you can first have them practice via a video coaching tool. Managers can use the screen recording to evaluate the rep’s presentation skills, point out where they might be spending too much time during the demo and suggest techniques used by top performers.
5. Practice capabilities
Coaching and practice go hand in hand. When working on a coaching assessment, reps are getting ‘reps’ if they’re practicing messages over and over again, working on areas such as messaging accuracy, delivery, communication skills and more. This simple act of practice helps reps identify areas of improvement, hone their performance and work on specific skills.
Coaching tools with practice capabilities provide a safe, comfortable environment for reps and make practice an easy and repeatable process. For example, if reps are struggling with negotiation skills, you can assign a video coaching assessment to help them work on key tactics.
Reps can then practice recording their pitch, saving as many ‘takes’ as they’d like along the way. Once they feel good about their pitch, they can share it with peers, managers or submit it for an automated machine score.