Consistency, Connectedness, and Coaching: The Three Cs of Seller Engagement

November 25, 2019

Seller engagement is an area of sales enablement that has been underestimated over the past couple of years. In CSO Insights’ Fifth Annual Sales Enablement Study, it became obvious that a highly engaged Sales force not only produces better results, but also reduces turnover rates.

Seller engagement is the emotional commitment of Salespeople to solve customer problems and drive sales results.

Interestingly, 57.7% of our more than 900 global study participants reported having an engaged Sales force. And guess what? They had better sales results than the study’s average for all three main KPIs: revenue plan attainment, win rates, and quota attainment.

Driving force #1 for engaged Sales forces is engaging Sales managers.

The results were even better if these Sales forces also had inspiring, motivating and engaging Sales managers, as win rates increased by 9.5% and quota attainment by 9.3% (compared to the study’s averages).

What should Sales Enablement do to drive seller engagement and ensure Sales managers are engaging as well?

The key to achieving these connected goals is the “Three Cs:”
consistency, connectedness, and coaching.

When it comes to the third C, coaching, I can hear many of you saying you don’t currently provide sales coaching. So what should you do?

You get started at the foundation, with consistency and connectedness. Then you are positioned to make a big difference in the right direction. After that, why not build a sales coaching pilot program based on the first two Cs and experience the results? This will make the business case for a more comprehensive sales coaching implementation. But first let’s look at the details of the Three Cs and what you should be doing with each:

#1: Consistency: Ensuring all enablement services tell the same story, without contradictions.

This is about ensuring all sales enablement services (content, training, tools and, ideally, coaching) you provide for your target audiences are consistent with each other. It means the messages in your enablement services and their meaning should tell the same story and not conflict. For instance, if your sellers learn one thing in your product training and then find information that tells a different story in your content, there’s no consistency.

The problem with a lack of consistency is that sellers lose trust, adoption goes down, and sellers might stop using your content and training services altogether.

The key driver for consistent enablement services is a holistic, tailored and integrated value messaging approach that covers the entire customer path. If you have that in place, then all enablement services have to be adjusted accordingly. If you’re missing such a value messaging approach, it’s time to collaborate with marketing and CX to develop those value messages. For more details, click here.

#2: Connectedness: No content without training, and no training without content and coaching.

Sales Enablement teams often provide great enablement services, such as playbooks (often highly interactive) or scripts for discovery calls and objection handling. However,  providing these tools on any given platform does not necessarily lead to utilization and adoption. Sellers have to learn how to effectively use these assets to become more successful. Only if they see the connection between applying something new and their success will they be engaged and try it.

To enable this, ensure you work with a group of early adopters in the Sales force and that your new content services are combined with short (one- to two-minute) video trainings, ideally done by sellers for their peers.

#3: Coaching: Effective sales coaching drives adoption, reinforcement and sales performance in a double-digit manner.

The third C is about coaching. You can have the best enablement services in the world, but if Sales managers are not on the same page – if they don’t coach at all or if they coach in different directions – then your sales enablement investments are at risk and your organization’s sales performance is in danger.

The first step to getting Sales managers on the same page is to involve them early on, before you even start an enablement initiative. Listen to them and their wisdom, and factor their feedback into your strategy and enablement services.

Next, figure out whether they have been developed as sales coaches. If not, pick one or two who may know how to coach from previous roles, or work with field or external sales coaches to set up a coaching pilot. The pilot should be based on the work you have done with the first two Cs (consistency and connectedness).

Let’s assume you have done a value messaging overhaul and adjusted all of your content and relevant training services. Next, create sales coaching guidelines for this specific case with the coaches, and get your pilot going. Be sure to measure before and after with leading indicators, such as conversion rates (value, volume, and velocity). The results will speak for themselves. In general, sales coaching set up this way improves win rates by 19% (and up to 55.2%) compared to the study’s average.

Remember: Effective sales enablement leaders focus on consistency, connectedness and coaching to drive adoption, reinforcement and performance.

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