In a world increasingly driven by data and technology, utilizing AI models and data analysis has become integral for sales organizations to be competitive.
AI and data are game-changers when it comes to coaching and enhancing sales team performance. They hold the key to unlocking untapped potential and driving remarkable results.
In our recent webinar, Strategies for a Strong Finish in 2023 and a Fast Start in 2024, Navin Gopwani, General Manager - Customer Journey Management at Adobe, Michael Quattrucci, VP, North America Enterprise Sales at Red Hat, and Susan Zuzic, Global Accounts Senior Director at People.ai, shed light on how their organizations leverage AI and data to coach their reps.
Here are 5 ways to be a more data-driven sales leader in 2024:
Data-driven sales coaching! Yay! Sounds great, right? But have you set up your sales team for success with access to the data they need?
Both Red Hat and Adobe recognize the importance of empowering their first-line managers with the necessary data for effective coaching. Michael highlighted the significance of training managers to interpret data insights and turn them into actionable strategies. By providing self-serve data and insights, first-line managers can see what’s working and what’s not. Then, they can help them prioritize their time effectively and share actionable advice.
"Your firstline managers are where the coaching needs to take place. Sales leaders need to provide guidance [to their managers] on how to coach their reps and have those crucial conversations. " - Michael Quattrucci, Red Hat
Michael emphasized the importance of looking at common denominators and trends in the data to make informed decisions about where time and effort should be invested.
Real application example from Red Hat: “When we rolled out People.ai to our first-line leaders, one use case we gave them was looking back at the past 2 quarters to see the accounts your reps are spending time on. You might see they’re spending an unbelievable amount of time, energy, and resources on XYZ account. Then you look at the CRM and don't see the pipeline or the forecast showing up. I may have a problem where somebody is sandbagging or we have a hard decision to make. Maybe that's not the right account to be spending all of this time and effort right now. But you are empowering your FLMs and reps to prioritize and use their resources efficiently. Now, we can put that time and effort into an account where we can monetize. We want to maximize what we're getting out of all that time investment.”
Navin emphasized the need to use data to positively impact the team. Use what the data is telling you to make your reps more effective and efficient with their time and proactively address red flags before they become issues.
Real application example from Adobe: “The eye-opening moment for me was looking through the data and seeing one of my FLMs was working double the amount of time our top FLMs were working. They were working hard and they were stressed out. Having this data gave me the opportunity to proactively look at what they were doing before having a conversation with them. I used our data to see what our top FLMs were doing by comparison and saw where we could shift things for better results with less work.
I got on a call with this person and actually said, "You're working too hard. You are spending way too many hours in the day working and you don't have enough of your own time." And they were looking back to me like, what are you talking about? What do you mean? I pulled up the data and showed his time vs. other top FLMs. You're just doing too much as a new manager. You need to figure out what you need to be a part of and what you don't. Let's look at your calendar together. I think I can remove 35% of what's on it.”
"Nobody's gonna tell you they're working too hard. It's one of those things we're not allowed to say. The ability to proactively have that type of conversation before burnout or turnover is what coaching should look like. We're using the data to bring the positive insights to the surface." - Navin Gopwani, Adobe
Both Michael and Navin emphasized the value of using data to bring positive insights to the surface. Analyzing the data of a top-performing sales rep allows you to extract valuable knowledge that can be shared with the rest of the team. This approach saves time and allows first and second-line managers to focus on highlighting best practices for rapid improvement.
Real application example from Adobe: “On the rep level, I looked at the data of one of our top reps to see exactly what they were doing to become a top rep. Instead of going to them and saying, ‘Hey, explain to me what you're doing.’ Using the People.ai data, I was able to get right into what I wanted to know and pull out the knowledge to share with the rest of the team. That's what my second-line managers spend a lot of time doing, trying to bubble up the goodness in a rapid fashion.”
Using 1:1s and QBRs as information-transferring sessions isn’t only ineffective but also takes time away from real coaching. At Adobe, all first-line managers are required to go through the data before QBRs ensuring they have relevant talking points and can provide meaningful insights during coaching conversations. This also steers the conversations away from a practice in storytelling and allows you to focus on what’s actually happening in accounts.
"At Adobe we are empowering our FLMs with self-serve data so they can spend that 1:1 time with the rep on what we are really focused on, which is driving pipeline, getting them out into the field, and making sure they have customer time." - Navin Gopwani, Adobe
As a sales leader, you probably don't have regular access to a data analyst to surface insights for you. This is where AI comes into play. You need a purpose-built AI solution that will not only automate activity capture, and match those activities to accounts correctly, but can also draw insights and answer useful questions for your sales leaders and reps.
Navin and Michael emphasized that AI and data have become integral in coaching and enhancing sales team performance. They hold the key to unlocking untapped potential and driving remarkable results for your teams.
2024 is the year of AI in sales. And with that, data is more accessible than ever. It’s time to put this dynamic duo to work in your sales coaching. To recap, here are the 5 ways to be a more data-driven sales leader in 2024:
AI is transforming sales across the board. Organizations that can harness AI’s power will achieve remarkable results and drive continuous improvement. Don’t get left behind.
Watch the full conversation here.