An Approach to Opportunity Coaching That Makes an Impact
If you’ve launched a strategic initiative to improve your sales organization’s success rate this year, ensure your managers are prepared to drive consistent execution and make it stick. Opportunity coaching sessions are an ideal place to reinforce new methodologies and sales behaviors. However, they have to be structured and executed in a way that salespeople see the value in these sessions and managers know how to provide it.
When implemented with the right foundation, a coaching approach to regular deal reviews provides reps with actions to take on an account and a way to learn how to execute better in the future.
In the video, Brian Walsh walks through the challenges managers typically face when approaching deal reviews and why there is often a stigma around inspections that hinders the seller from executing afterwards.
Make Opportunity Coaching Sessions Impactful
If you’ve been in sales long enough, you’ve likely encountered salespeople (both managers and sellers) who view deal reviews as a waste-of-time compliance check or inspection. If you want your sellers to see the value in an opportunity coaching session and leave with executional next steps, your managers have to be able to provide the how. Enable your managers to define where reps are struggling and understand how to provide the how, not just the what to do, to progress deals efficiently.
Put yourself back into the time you may have spent as a sales rep, ask yourself this, “Were you able to make a bigger impact in your deals when your managers gave you a to-do list, or when your managers worked with you to help you understand how to execute the most critical activities on your to-do list?” The more managers can help reps map out their deals and provide the how — the more your reps will see the value of working with their managers and generate better numbers because of it. Help them provide the how by:
Implementing a consistent message that’s focused on the buyer:
Big business problems mean larger deals, increased margins and a higher chance of closing at a premium. To achieve these results at close, the positive business outcomes (PBOs), required capabilities and competitive differentiators that are attached to a big business problem need to be identified in a deal and influenced by your solution’s capabilities.
Having a common language around this key buyer decision criteria ensures everyone is focused on what's relevant to the buyer and what they need to uncover and influence. With a buyer-focused language, managers have a roadmap for identifying gaps in a deal and coaching reps on how to fill them in opportunity coaching sessions. Make the process more efficient for your managers by implementing this buyer criteria into where your salespeople live everyday, so they can quickly define where a deal stands and what gaps their rep will need to fill in the deal to progress and close at a premium.
Implementing a common language to dissect a deal:
Implementing a common language to dissect a deal can help drive a shared understanding of how your managers and reps should approach an opportunity coaching session, to make it impactful for the rep progressing the deal. MEDDICC is a qualification tool sales leaders often implement to create a common language around where an opportunity truly stands. If you’ve implemented a solid sales process, support it with a consistent qualification language, like MEDDICC, that your entire organization can leverage to understand how to qualify a deal and what customer viable outcomes are necessary in each phase.
From there, your managers and sellers can leverage opportunity reviews to discuss how to fill gaps and what sales activities are necessary to progress to the next stage. Like the buyer-focused decision criteria, integrate your qualification tools into your CRM to make preparing for opportunity coaching sessions more efficient and valuable.
Enabling your managers to coach on key sales skills and be experts in your methodologies:
A manager who is an expert on your way of running the business is trained on what should happen and knows how to coach on it. Elite sales leaders emphasize the importance of coaching their coaches to teach replicable skills to their reps and reinforce methodologies and processes that are key to closing the right opportunities for the business. Here are a few resources you can leverage to improve your managers’ coaching skills.
Drafting in a management cadence:
Implementing a management rhythm (MOR) is a great way to provide structure and support for sales managers and drive accountability during opportunity coaching sessions. An MOR can help you as a sales leader, consciously create an operating rhythm for yourself and all of the managers who lead a team of sellers. An ideal operating rhythm provides the plan of attack for progressing opportunities and enables managers with content, tools, metrics and evidence of what good looks like when reviewing deals and supporting salespeople. The structure helps managers know what they should be focused on and the activities necessary for repeatable success. When executed on correctly, a MOR helps managers provide more value to their salespeople, instead of running them through time-wasting compliance exercises.
Our customers leverage our Opportunity Manager™ Salesforce integration to provide pipeline visibility and define how well their customized sales methodologies and MEDDICC qualification information are being identified and executed on within each account.
Build Elite Sales Coaches and Drive Numbers Up
Sales organizations can go from good to great when they work to get more from their managers.
Regardless of how you make each session easier and more impactful for your sales team — just setting the right foundation and approach to an opportunity coaching process is a great first step. If you’re planning to launch a strategic initiative or have already logged off from some type of virtual SKO there’s still time to improve your managers’ coaching skills and internal process for deal reviews. We’ve put together an entire guide on Coaching the Coaches. Use these resources to enable your sales managers to bring more value to their sales reps and drive numbers up because of it.