June 4th, 2019 | by

You have to be invested in building a culture of coaching – both for Customer Success and Sales teams – that instills the good habits needed to realize that vision.

Coaching sales skills is absolutely clutch. It’s gotta be there. It can’t take days off. It requires executive level sponsorship and involvement. And it needs to manifest itself in smart, repeatable process.

Here are three things we’re trying right now to root down a coaching culture.

1. Coach at the call level

To be effective, you have to coach when the moment is fresh. That means live conversations.

When you’re a small company, you have a major advantage in this regard! When everyone is within earshot of each other, you’re inherently around when coaching opportunities pop up. For example, you hear the new SDR getting hammered by a prospect, and as soon as the call ends, you can approach them, break down what happened, and provide a couple of strategies to try next time that issue arises.

Just-in-time coaching, in other words.

But as you grow, this advantage fades.

Managers are in their offices. CSMs, AEs, and SDRs are spread around the office, or even across the globe. And the opportunity to hear the calls happens by chance or not at all – because the opportunity cost is too high to plan for it.

Luckily, in this great era of sales enablement, there are options to capture and coach the conversations your team has.

When coaching on the call, focus on:

  • coach time management and pacing
  • key call objectives
  • soundbite tagging

PRO TIP: Build a library of best practices in the best calls. Require your sales management team to log a certain number of hours per week in call review, and create a process around delivering and reviewing the feedback.

Read it: The Sales Performance Bell Curve: A Blueprint for Turning Average Performers into Top Reps

2. Standardizing with a common language

How are different actions defined on your team?

High-performing sales terms should have a standardized vocabulary across the team. A strong sales culture encourages conformity in the way you strategically discuss accounts, calls, and opportunities.

This has several benefits:

  • It’s massively efficient. A common language lets teams skip lengthy definitions – and miscommunication when things change.
  • It improves forecasting: Pipeline and forecasting – new sales, customer retention, up-selling, etc. – has an integrity to it that didn’t exist before, as everyone agrees on the definitions.

…not to mention, it avoids a lot of confusion!

3. Ritualize celebration of small wins

Strong cultures require clear identities. A fast way to forge a team identity (and avoid sales burnout) is to celebrate wins – even the small wins that come as part of your cycle.

Maybe that’s 30 seconds of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” when a deal is closed. Maybe it’s a round of applause, or banging the gong.

Sales organizations often celebrate the big wins at sales kick-off events and quarterly company-wide meetings. But it’s the small wins that create bonds.

One of our customer success managers likes to play “walk-up music” when upgrade wins happen. Whenever an opportunity is closed/won, the whole team learns about it by hearing a colleague’s theme music.  Everyone stops what they’re doing to recognize the accomplishment. There’s an element of surprise, a big reveal, and just a couple nice moments of feeling great for your teammates.

There are countless ways to do this, but the point is to know who you are as a team, then BE that identity – without apology.

High-performing teams have clear communication, a common language, and celebrate individual wins as a team.



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About the author

David Sill

David Sill built an inside sales engine for PC Helps Support, Inc. (now known as Vitalyst) that posted 14 consecutive years of high-margin, YoY revenue growth from inside sales, including two private equity-sponsored liquidity events and one dividend recapitalization. After PC Helps, he went solo as a sales coach and consultant, helping both smaller start-ups and established inside sales teams leverage the power of effective storytelling. This led to David's affiliation with Redwood Shores-based Zyme Solutions, who brought him in to launch an inside sales function for the first time in that company's 10+ year history as a leader in the Channel Data Management (CDM) space. He resides in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and four daughters.