Step 3: Is the Coaching Working?
Now you can confidently track metrics to see if your coaching is paying off. These metrics will show the sales team if they're performing better and there won't be confusion as to whether they are executing or not, as outlined in my second blog of this three part series.
Step 3: Is the Coaching Working?
Once you provide the coaching guidance and you have confidence that the sales rep is following the game plan, you have to measure if it’s working. You can tell if your overall strategy and coaching plan is working by looking at specific sales leading indicators (drivers) and lagging indicators (outcomes).
Leading and Lagging metrics to watch
These metrics tell you if your overall strategy and coaching plan are working by showing you:
- How long a sales rep holds onto a deal before they finally move it to a close
- Reasons for the close (won or lost)
- How often the sales rep wins when they say they’ll win it
- How many of the deals does a sales rep win compared to all the deals they’ve worked
- Cycle times of deals
These metrics are much more than an overall win rate or cycle time. You have to watch the multiple dimensions of these metrics because there are different scenarios of each.
Avg Time to Closed Lost
This tells how long a rep likes to hold onto a deal. It is calculated on the time it takes for a rep to close a deal and compared to all deals. If the deal is taking too long, but the rep has indicated that all the proper activity and questions have been answered, then they’re probably asking the wrong questions or you need to look at whether the rep fully understands what they are asking or doing. You need to watch the averages of your A-players and benchmark reps, but you also have to take note of the deal type. For example, an enterprise (large business) deal vs. an SMB (small to medium sized business) deal. Enterprise deals will take longer and may require their own unique sales process as compared to the stages of an SMB deal.
If the reason for a closed-lost deal is no decision, it indicates that not enough discovery was done. So you may require a re-vamp of the questions, or guide the reps to better questioning habits. If there’s not enough pain discovered, the right roles/sponsors are not involved, or if the rep is not qualified to understand the pain, then the deal will end up in a no decision.
I like to call these “Zombie Deals” since they tend to linger out there forever and never die. If a deal pushes once, that’s usually ok, because a rep is doing their duty to try and get it into this sales period but it may fall into the following period before it closes. If a deal pushes a second time, it usually indicates that the rep is overly optimistic about it. Lots of multi-pushes are a problem and should be addressed but the occasional one, or very small percentage, is ok.
Now that you are scoring the pipeline, you will have a good handle on the pipeline health and will be able to do much simpler math on what’s required. Close rates and win rates will be much more accurate with a scored pipeline and now you can be more productive and efficient in sourcing pipeline. This is a big topic that we address more on 'Recipe for an Accelerated Pipeline'.
Looking at win rates by stage shows you where deals get stuck. You may need to evaluate and modify activity and questions that are performed at each stage, or potentially add a stage of activity that pulls more deals through.
By Close Dates
We also call this the “scheduled to win” rate. By understanding the proper close date, the sales team demonstrates their confidence, understanding, and effective management of opportunities. Multiple pushes into future periods indicates the lack of the same. Re-work the strategy if this is happening to everyone or coach the individual sales rep where this is happening.
Be sure to identify ICP by industry segment, roles involved, competitors, and the multiple scenarios of other attributes to tell you the proper deals you should be going after. It’s important to coach the sales reps on focusing on the right deals.
Comprehensive Win Rates
This is the overall close rate. It’s different than the “scheduled to win” rate described above, because it calculates all the opportunities in the pipeline and compares it to what’s actually been won. This is the highest level of analysis.
By making sure you give proper effort to all three components of coaching - Technique and Process, Execution, and Measurement of Success. If you do, you’ll be much more effective in coaching and the sales reps will enjoy winning more. The outcome of your coaching process has a much much higher success rate by making sure you’re following your plan and then measuring results with the proper metrics described in this blog.