Stop Simply Monitoring Your Team and Start Actually Empowering Them

Learn how the best sales leaders coach their teams by focusing on engagement, not quotas.

January 2, 2017

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As a sales leader, you’re keeping close tabs on a variety of data to track a rep’s progress: qualified leads, expenses, and monthly sales target, among other metrics.

But the best sales leaders know that these metrics don’t tell the whole story. The most successful sales teams aren’t led by the managers who are best at monitoring metrics, but by inspiring leaders who are also great coaches. You’ve likely seen these leaders in action, and also observed leaders who certainly do not fit that category.

As more organizations make the move to adopt social selling—developing relationships with customers by leveraging your social networks—the more managers should embrace their roles as chief-enabler, not head number-cruncher. The good news is that the move to social selling can help facilitate this kind of enlightened coaching. Read on to learn how.

Engagement Metrics

If you want to be an inspiring and helpful coach, it doesn’t mean you should toss aside all your monthly numbers. But if you’ve embraced social selling, it’s best to look at new kinds of numbers tracking how engaged your reps are. The numbers show how many new customers your reps are connecting with, if they’re the right buyers at that company, and if they’re talking to them at the appropriate stage in the sales cycle.

Thanks to LinkedIn and other social networks, that engagement can be tracked, and can be part of your conversation coach reps. Take a look at one such tracking system – the Social Selling Index (SSI) for on LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. That SSI, which is a score from 0-100, gives the rep more points if, for instance, their connections requests are accepted, which is one way to measuring whether reps introducing themselves to buyers in warm and appropriate ways.

Whether you use the SSI or not, a lesson can be gleaned from this kind of tracking: sales is about building and sustaining relationships, engaging with insights, and targeting those insights to the right people at the right time.

Coach Your Team to Engage Early in the Pipeline

By shifting your coaching strategy from monitoring sales quotas to enabling better engagement, managers will notice that their focus shifts from end of the sales cycle to the beginning. That’s because top-performing reps are facilitating warm introductions, nurturing buyers at every step of the sales process, and educating and listening to prospects rather than selling to them to early.

This early coaching has become key to gaining new clients, since 70% of a buyer’s journey is now complete before a buyer contacts a salesperson; your rep must influence that person early on to have a chance to close a deal down the road.

Scott Edinger, a management consultant who writes about sales leadership, is critical of managers who obsess over the status of deals close to closing. Instead, he writes that if you shift half of that time to the early part of the cycle, you can determine where along the journey your rep should place her focus to create the most value.

See How Buyers Respond

While you shouldn’t be single-mindedly staring at sales quotas, you should monitor how buyers react to your new tactics—and what reps can do better. Dissect the sales journey with your reps to review where he did well and where he fell short. Successes and lessons can then be shared with the whole team. The whole experience is then about getting better at your craft, something every good rep craves.

Modern sales techniques like social selling introduce a world of new metrics; some managers and executives may find them daunting. But if you’re paying attention to what really matters—empowering your reps to engage prospects effectively—you’ll be well on your way to building a world-class sales organization.

To learn how top sales leaders seized the opportunity of social for their organizations, download our free eBook: Crossing the Chasm: How to Capitalize on the Social Selling Trend.