Coaching for frontline managersFollow
Who's this for:
You're responsible for getting the maximum out of your reps, and you don't need us to tell you that coaching is a big part of that. Whether you have new people, seasoned reps, or are rolling out new products, coaching is key to getting your team where you need them.
Read on for our guide on how to coach your sales team, and see our recommendations on how to leverage Gong for your coaching.
If you're new to coaching or don't yet have coaching practices built-in to your regular workflow, here's a few ways you can get started.
Our recommendation: Listen to one call per direct report once a week.
Increase playback speed to save yourself time.
While playing back your reps' calls, you can:
Listen out for any critical details that will help unlock the deal.
Identify places in the talk track where the rep did a good job or could have discussed better.
Our recommendation: Give each of your direct reports feedback once a month.
There are 4 ways you can give your reps feedback with Gong:
Replaying pivotal moments of their games allows sports teams to analyze what happened, without the adrenaline rush of the moment. Similarly, getting your team to play back their calls helps them analyze what happened with their prospect.
Have team members request feedback on one call a week to begin with.
Have team members review their calls and those of their peers 1-2 times a week.
Make sure your coaching is aligned with the needs of your individual reps by focussing on new hires and people who are actively asking for help.
Use the Coaching Inbox to find out how much coaching you've done, and who has requested feedback from you.
Our recommendation: Review the Coaching Inbox once a week.
One-on-one call reviews get reps thinking critically about how their calls could be improved. Be sure to conduct a weekly review of at least one or two calls for each sales team member. This should be an ongoing and consistent activity on your team. It’s one of the best ways you can give each of your reps tailored feedback.
“The other benefit to reviewing the live call is hopefully they get something out of it that they can apply to the actual deal. Close that actual deal, make commission”
Mike Bullard, Mid Market Sales Manager, Lever
The pipeline is a great place to start coaching in order to shape the outcome of open deals.
Ahead of your 1:1 meetings, use the deal board Warnings column to identify a specific deal with issues. Find the places in recent calls that you can listen back to together with your rep, address those issues, and help drive deals to closed-won.
During the 1:1, give your feedback and discuss the calls on certain deals to help your rep course-correct.
Here are some more tips for coaching on calls:
Review calls beforehand, so you can form your own view on how they went.
“The prep is almost more important than the actual one-on-one, because if we're spending all of our time listening to a call, I could have done that whenever it was convenient for me and then come prepared for that meeting, and I want them to do the same.”
Hannah Newberry, Sales Manager, Gusto
Have the rep request feedback on their best and worst call of the week before the meeting. Or have them pick a single call and comment on three things that went well and three things that were challenging.
Start the discussion by letting your rep give their take on the call, and ask questions to guide them to reflect on what happened and why. Don’t be too quick to jump in with advice.
"The first thing I always try to do is allow the rep to give their read on the conversation... getting their read and understanding why they took the approach they did, seeing if they're going to be self reflective and understand that, ‘Yes, maybe I missed here’. That can immediately tell you how you need to be coaching in that moment."
Greg Allen, Commercial Sales Manager, Log Rocket
Focus on the data at hand, so that no one has to rely on opinions or personal anecdotes about the calls.
Gong makes it easy to find coachable moments.
Our recommendation: Use Gong to find out what your reps need coaching on once a month per rep.
Check the following places in Gong to see who on your team needs coaching and in what area:
Coaching > Coaching Inbox (as described above).
Insights> Team: Get the overall picture of how your reps are doing on their calls in terms of activity, interaction, topics, trackers, past scorecards, and coaching. This view enables you to get an understanding of how your reps are doing, who's doing well, and what areas need work. Use team stats.
Use the weekly coaching digest that's dispatched every Wednesday to stay on top your coaching with a quick summary of the week, any pending feedback requests, and a list of 5 coaching moments based on your reps last call with their biggest deals (based on ARR).
Your org must have a CRM integration in order to receive this mail.
You can manage the coaching digest in your notification settings.
Pinpoint your team’s areas of improvement by benchmarking their behaviors against key best practices. Your reps improve even when you don’t have time to coach by receiving automatic course-corrections and coaching tips.
Our recommendation: Talk to your Gong business admin about getting up Whisper in Gong to make sure your reps get coaching on calls.
Streams capture calls that match certain filters, which you can use to find coachable areas. For example, calls where the rep talked for over 65% or for more than five minutes without pausing for the customer to speak, discovery and demo calls in which next steps weren’t discussed, and so on.
Our recommendation: Set up a stream
Once you've started coaching regularly, take it up a notch by increasing frequency and introducing new practices such as coaching in team meetings.
Our recommendation: Listen to two calls per direct report once a week.
Stay involved on critical deals and let your rep know you've got their back.
Our recommendation: Give feedback to each of your direct reports once a week.
Use scorecards as a more formalized way to provide feedback, particularly if you want the team to apply a specific sales methodology.
Our recommendation: Score one call per rep once a week.
“How did that conversation actually go when we re-listen to it as opposed to when you were on the call? I score it and I have the rep score it. So they have to score the call and they send me the call to score as well. And then we talk about it and set very clear action items of what was missed, maybe, and what could be done moving forward.”
Hannah Newberry, Sales Manager, Gusto
Our recommendation: Ensure your scorecard questions are framed in a way that allows you to accurately assess your reps' performance. Scorecards are typically managed by Gong business admins - talk to yours to find out more.
Our recommendation: Increase the velocity of your targeted coaching by checking your Inbox for coaching opportunities twice a week.
Our recommendation: Involve everyone in the team to encourage a strong coaching culture. Here are some ideas for how to run coaching sessions:
When you feel confident that your coaching is baked in to your day-to-day, compare yourself to other managers, and give back to your team and other sales teams.
Go to Coaching > Coaching Metrics to see how your coaching efforts compares to other sales managers in your org, and discover whether you have any areas you could be doing more in.
Our recommendation: Review coaching metrics once a month.
Seek out or create your own streams for a range of topics you're watching or that you want to coach on.
Our recommendation: Check with your manager, peers, or sales enablement to see if anyone has set up a stream that can be useful to you for surfacing coaching moments in calls.
Collect calls that are topic-specific that you can use for future coaching (or work with your enablement team to put this in place).
Create a call library folder of team-reviewed calls. Capture everyone on your team's observations as Gong comments, and refer to the calls in that library folder in future coaching and onboarding sessions.
Our recommendation: Add calls to the library on a regular basis.
Set up library folders to save examples of good calls to go through with your team, or to send them to watch asynchronously.