The One Thing Every Sales Manager Needs Coaching On

April 16, 2018

Shawn Parrotte

Coaching is one of the most important things any manager can do. Harvard Business Review published a great piece summarizing why this is true. Here’s a nice excerpt.

“First, extremely talented people are hard to find and recruit. If you are known as a manager who will help those people thrive, they will gravitate to you. Second, an organization cannot be successful on the backs of the extremely talented alone. You need solid players just as you need stars, and they will need a manager’s help to build skills.”

But coaching is time-consuming and until recently was impossible to measure. At Chorus, our motto is “You can’t improve what you don’t measure!” so we asked ourselves how we could use Chorus to measure coaching: which managers coach, what topics they coach on, whom they coach, and whether or not they are consistent.

Analysis performed by Raphael Cohen (PhD), Orgad Keller, and Romain Ammar

One of our favorite features at Chorus is commenting, where a manager can add a comment anywhere in the call for use in a weekly coaching session or for the AE to address on her own. This capability makes coaching easier and more effective, while at the same time providing us measurable data points to improve coaching. In this post we analyze commenting to gain new insights on coaching.

What Topics do Managers Coach On? #

We automatically analyzed tens of thousands of coaching comments left by managers on their AEs' conversations (excluding messages where team members were collaborating on a deal, etc.) and classified the topics using Natural Language Processing algorithms. We found that the number one thing managers coach on are the questions reps ask prospects, how and when they were asked, and whether a question that should have been asked was omitted. This makes sense because the most important calls to coach on are Discovery calls where questions are key. Asking questions happens to be another topic we’ve analyzed in depth (see some of our insights about how and when to ask questions in this previous post).

Value and pain points came in at a distant second and third, followed by performance, discovery, budget, metrics, prospect, goal, and price. Customer-specific data points were removed from this analysis but can easily be added for specific coaching goals such as coaching on the company’s new product/features, etc.

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Do managers use Tough love or Praise? #

We analyzed the sentiment in messages from managers to reps and found that while most comments were neutral in tone, when sentiment did occur it was overwhelmingly positive, with ten positive comments for each negative one.

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When do Managers Coach? #

When are people commenting? With Chorus, managers no longer have to ride-along to meetings and can dig into specific calls on key deals whenever they have a few minutes. The data shows that most of our managers have changed the way they spend their days, using Chorus to stay on top of deals while coaching their reps during business hours.

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Do all Managers Coach? #

Are all managers coaching? In some organizations they do while in other only one manager actively coaches. Using this data helps organizations coach their coaches. With the coaching data created by Chorus, you can drive competitiveness across managers. The top commenter at the high growth SaaS company plotted in the graph below is their VP Sales.

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To sum things up, coaching is critical for achieving business goals, empowering reps and attracting great talent to join your team. Chorus allows managers to coach moment by moment through comments, with little effort and whenever convenient, and at the same time allows our customers to track and improve how managers themselves coach their teams, to improve managers’ performance.

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