3 Secrets to Sales Coaching
Devin Reed: Go off. I would. Hello, everybody. Welcome. Welcome to today's session. Thank you for joining us. I'm going to give everyone else a couple minutes to get logged in here. Busy sales people, I'm sure there's plenty of people getting off of a call and jumping over here. So, we'll start in about two minutes. We'll start in about two minutes. Let's do a little small talk. I'm going to put Bryan and Dana on the spot here. I did not prep you for this at all. Dana's our guests. So, I'll give BT the spotlight first.
Bryan Tucker: Thanks, Devin.
Devin Reed: As we wait for people to come in. Bryan, when you think of all the coaches, all the sales coaches put in the sales world that you've had, what was the most inspiring or impactful moment that you've had in receiving coaching?
Bryan Tucker: That's a good question, Devin.
Dana Feldman: Gosh, Devin. Really?
Bryan Tucker: I hope JD isn't listening. I'm sure he's busy, but I would have to say the most inspiring moment was my former boss Chris Lawson, who works over at Snowflake now. We were preparing for a huge onsite meeting at DocuSign and he essentially told me like, “ Hey, BT. I got this. Watch how it's done.” And he proceeded to go in and put together just the most ridiculous whiteboard pitch I've ever seen. And I just got to sit there and watch a master at work. I left that meeting feeling 100% more confident in my ability to emulate him. Yeah, helped me with every onsite meeting moving forward.
Devin Reed: Love it. That's a good one. I think I've heard that story before too, so I know it's authentic. So, really the most inspiring one. Dana, what about you? I know you're a senior leader now, but I have to imagine at some point in time you had a fantastic coach and were inspired in some way.
Dana Feldman: Oh, I've had so many amazing coaches. Just reactively, what comes top of mind for me and as I know, coaching is a broad topic, Pete Kim, who was a leader at LinkedIn was my mentor and coach there. And that was more around a lot of career coaching and career development. He was incredible. I'll never forget one of the things that he told me, was he said, “ When delivering feedback, you should always let the person know where it falls in terms of, ‘ Is this needle moving in terms of your success?' Or is it just like, ‘ Hey, if you started to do this, it'd be a little bit better.'” And I always loved that barometer to use it when you do give feedback, but not to really go into the subject matter, but it was an awesome tip for him.
Devin Reed: That's great. I like that a lot. Welcome, everyone. If you're joining, we're just doing a little small talk, talking about inspiring coaches. And now that we're four minutes into the hour, let's go and dive in. Thanks for everyone. Unprompted, and I love that, everyone's telling us where we're from. We've got folks from Minneapolis, Boston, Columbia, Canada, India, South of Spain. So, we were thoroughly global today, which tells me that sales coaching is very global. So, thanks for joining. We are here to talk about three secrets to powerful sales coaching, how to increase revenue and turn mid- performers into top performers, something everybody wants. Now, the goal of this session is to share with you insights and tactics that you can take and put into play immediately. You've spent some time today, you've made a decision to better yourself as a coach, which doesn't just impact yourself and your career, but also your team and your organization as a whole, you're going to continue to share your knowledge and help elevate others and that's what it's all about. So, whether you're a aspiring sales leader, maybe you're an IC and you're looking to become a great coach, this will help put you on the right track. Maybe you have reps or managers reporting to you, we'll give a shout out to BT in a moment, we have you covered as well. Or maybe you're a coach of coaches, you're senior leader, looking for ways to better coach your managers, directors, maybe VPs. Everything will be covered, there'll definitely be something that you can take home today. So, let's go and get into it. Before I introduce our fantastic speakers, a little bit of housekeeping. Just so you know, webinar's scheduled for one hour. We will end at 11:59, if I can control it best as I can. And if you have a call at 11:30, so you can only be here for half the time, don't worry. It will be recorded, the entire thing, and we'll send it out to you tomorrow. Everyone is on mute. And in case you haven't located it already, you can ask questions or just comment over in the chat in the questions box. I'm only moderating today. So, I will be taking a look at the chat and the question. So, if you have anything, please bring it up. We'll do our best to answer all of them, either throughout the conversation or some allotted time at the end. All right. Let's get into our intro. So, today we have Dana Feldman, Head of Enterprise and Mid- Market sales at Amazon. Quick disclaimer, opinions expressed solely are hers. We don't express the views and opinions of her employer. We're all big companies now. We've got to cover our bases. We were very grateful for Dana. Dana, if you want to introduce yourself any more than I already have, now's the time.
Dana Feldman: Hi, everyone. I am thrilled to be here and I'm grateful to Gong for making this channel available. I think the topic of coaching, I cannot tell you how many messages I got about this session today. And it's such a wide- ranging topic coaching. I think there's so much we could cover. An hour is not even part of it, but it's something super near and dear to my heart. It's something that I've made a lot of mistakes in. I continue to be a student of. And I hope that everyone today gets a lot of goodness out of this. And then I'm always happy to follow- up as well, but really excited to be here. So, thanks for having me.
Devin Reed: Of course, of course. We also have Bryan Tucker who's head of Mid- Market Sales At Gong. Fun fact, Bryan and I started at Gong together back in 2017. I was the second sales hire and he was the third sales hire. So, I am technically more tenured than he is, but it's been fantastic to see Bryan go from an IC role, now leading … You're an enterprise, BT and now you're leading the Mid- Market Team.
Bryan Tucker: Yeah. I knew you were going to slide that in, Devin. So, quick question are the opinions expressed by me, the opinions of Gong and my employer? Why didn't I get a disclaimer?
Devin Reed: You know what, our legal team did not ask for that disclaimer for us. I think you and I are free to speak out will.
Bryan Tucker: Fantastic. A little dangerous as well. Hey, everyone. It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Bryan Tucker, otherwise known as BT here at Gong. I lead our Mid- Market Sales Team, which is a small and mighty team of 12 reps right now. We are hiring. We have big plans this year, so feel free to give me a shout. But yeah, I've been in leadership for approaching a couple of years now. Was one of the first ICs at Gong and I'm excited to share all of my best practices on sales coaching.
Devin Reed: I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited. Let's talk about our agenda a bit. Just so you know, we're here for the secret sauce. Everyone wants to get better here and just inaudible you're here to get better at helping other people get better. So, there's three main pillars that we'll talk about. It's building a coaching culture, servicing coaching blind spots, how to measure the impact of your coaching, and we'll touch on some coaching technology before we recap as well. So, let's go ahead and get started here. So, the secret sauce. Everyone wants the secret sauce. Whenever I think of secret sauce, I think of In-n- Out. It's a burger joint here in California. Everyone wants to know what's inside of it because it's so damn good. And so, that's what we're going to break down. Now, as Dana said, we could probably do a weekly hour- long session and till the end of the year, and probably not get through all of the aspects of coaching. And so, as we were creating the content for today, the goal is, some of the things, these pillars you've probably heard before, making it a part of your culture. That might not be the secret for you, but the secret sauce might be in the how. How can I actually take these ideas and build a framework and make some action at my own company? So, that's what our speakers are here to do today. And so, for the very first secret, what if you could make coaching a part of your culture? I always like to think of coaching as kind of going to the gym. It's something that I know is good for me. It's something that I genuinely want to do, but it has to become a habit or a part of who I am. And so, Dana, maybe you can kick us off here in terms of, why is coaching being a part of culture even so important to start with?
Dana Feldman: Yeah. I think it's interesting. The topic of coaching, most reactions to it are not people or reps going, “ Yay. I want coaching.” It's this incredibly confronting thing if it's not set up the right way. And I know subconsciously our brains five times a second are actually scanning our environment to say like, “ Is it safe or is it not safe?” And we don't even know our brains are doing this. And so, it's so important that in order to have a sales organization where coaching is really well received and everyone feels safe with it that you do make it part of your culture. And I think we'll talk about the different ways that you can do it. For me, my opinion is that it can have such a confronting or a negative tick to it that there's so much we need to do to put into place to overcome that being the natural reaction to the topic of coaching, which it often is.
Devin Reed: That's true. People talk about coaching and coachability as a part of that as well, which is like the receiving end of that. BT, I think you're about to say something.
Bryan Tucker: Yeah. I think that's a tremendous point, Dana. I think that it's really important to combat that, to include the why and because and have that coming from the top down. We're not coaching to just coach. We're not coaching to coach someone out of the business or make someone feel bad because they failed in a certain scenario. We're coaching because we want everyone to win and we want the broader organization lifted up and we want to build a world- class team. So, couldn't agree more with everything you just said, Dana.
Dana Feldman: Yeah. I think too with this, it's so important when you are creating this culture of coaching to lead from the front. And so, for me and for the other leaders on the call, you've got to first put yourself out there and let your teams know that you're getting coached and what are you getting coached on. Then even, it's even more powerful that when you share what you're getting coached on, to share back to the team where you didn't do well or where you fell back into an old habit or what feedback you got. You have to be incredibly transparent as a leader that this is not about perfection and everyone is getting coaching. There are executive coaches getting paid a lot of money to coach our CEOs and the C- level suite. So, I think that's such an important piece of how to make it part of your culture. I also think, a lot of times I see people wanting to make it part of their culture, but the investment is not there. So, what do I mean by that? When I moved from an IC into a manager a long time ago, and it's so funny, Donika Murphy is on here and he was on my first team that I managed from Ireland. You do really well as an IC and you get moved over into leadership role and it's like, all of a sudden magically, you're supposed to be this amazing coach. What you quickly find out or actually not quickly, what you do find out is as you go through your career is, you think coaching initially is about telling people how you did things really well and then directing them to do the same. That's just a common pitfall. And then what you end up learning is that, coaching is so much more about how do you help the person that you're working with draw their own conclusions, evaluate other options, consider other things, have their own thought process to get to a different endpoint. That is not easy. And so, you need a lot of training and investment and frameworks given whether you are a brand- new manager or whether you've been doing this a long time, you need that investment. And I often find that is missing. I find that a lot of organizations want to have everyone coaching and they want everyone doing it, but it's like, what skills or training or backup have you given to your people to ensure that that's going to happen?
Bryan Tucker: When you say framework, Dana, one of the things that I feel like I've picked up from management here at Gong as I made the transition, something that was unique about our coaching culture here was just the discipline around the activities that we did, whether it was a weekly call review or some type of deal review, having those types of activities on the calendar with the team and taking them really seriously. They're not those types of meetings that just float around and get pushed all the time and there's not actually a value being created for your team. That's something that I feel like has just up- leveled our coaching culture, just having that rigor. When you say frameworks, I'm curious from your perspective, you're a couple of levels higher than I, how do you think about that?
Dana Feldman: Yeah, sure. I think you can use frameworks in two different pieces. One is, how do you measure that coaching's happening and how do you measure that it's successful? The other framework that I'm thinking about though is, it's really common that as you begin to coach someone in a one- on- one or whatever setting it's in, the advice monster pops up. I learned that term recently in a training that I took my leadership to. It's just like, you ask one question to the person or they ask one question to you, and it is just so easy to go into, “ Here's the answer, here you go. I'm going to give you my advice.” And so, when I said framework just now, I meant ensuring that your leaders have some sort of coaching framework to follow. Whilst I'm not necessarily here to say one is better than the other, there's the grow model. There's a whole bunch. I will say recently I, myself went through and took my leadership team through the coaching habit. I actually, I have it right here. There's a book too, The Coaching Habit. And the reason why I like this one the best out of all the ones that I've done, is it gives you seven questions to ask while you coach someone. And so, that I think is just such a nice, simple thing to give leaders so that they don't have to think of all the questions on the fly. And so, there's seven questions. It's also the training that really coined the term, the advice monster, which I thought was awesome. The other thing I like about it is I think people can get into coaching and then they can feel that one of the ways they're coaching is by giving advice, but turning it into a question. An example is, if I really, Bryan want you to go and get more decision- makers involved in your deal, this is what happens. I'll say like, “ So, have you thought about getting more decision- makers in your deal?” And right there, it's like me directing you on what to do rather than coaching you to come to that conclusion. So, it also talks a lot about how to avoid that and actually not to do that, but I think there's the framework there. And then I definitely want us today to talk about frameworks, to make sure that coaching is happening and how to measure those. It's interesting a philosophy that I've gotten better at certainly during my time at Amazon, but I think this happens is, everyone has the best of intentions to coach. All leaders have the best intentions to coach. They want to coach. And so, you say, “ All right, let's coach our reps.” Everyone's like, “ Great, I'm going to go do it.” And then without any sort of measurement on that, how do you know it's actually happening and then how do you know it's effective? And so, this is where good intentions don't work because everyone has the good intentions to coach, but if you don't have that measurement and that adoption behind it, you lose it. And so, I think one of the most effective things that I've seen for leaders is actually giving leaders a coaching KPI. So, that is, I think in alignment, Bryan with what you were talking about, “ Hey, on a weekly basis, I want to see at least five coaching sessions that you've done and measuring those in Gong or whatever it might be.” But I think without that KPI, you, especially me as a top- line leader, I don't know if it's actually happening. I don't want to rely on anecdotes. I actually want to see the data that tells me it is.
Bryan Tucker: Totally. In that vein, I think one of the biggest realizations I had over the past year, as my team grew exponentially was, as a leader I can't be the one responsible for all of the coaching. There's just not enough time in the day. There are too many things going on and it's so easy to over- commit yourself with those really great intentions that you genuinely want to do. When push comes to shove, it's like, “ All right, I'm already putting in 40, 50, 60 hours a week, and there's just not time to do this.” So, one of the biggest things I've learned through our scale here at Gong is, it's really important to create leverage. And one of the best leverage points that you have as a leader are the aspiring leaders on your team, the reps, the managers that you wholeheartedly trust. In many ways you look at them and you're like, “ Wow, you're a fantastic seller. You're better than me. I want to learn from you.” And you create situations and opportunities for those individuals to disseminate their knowledge, their feedback, and to help others, so you are not the advice monster, I guess, as you might call it.
Dana Feldman: Bryan, I love this point. There's so much to this point. One of the things is, before something like Gong, it was so tough to get as much leverage because it required that human having that time and that moment to engage on that call or that deal or whatever it might be. And one of the coolest things that a tool like Gong or any of these coaching tools gives you is that ability that you don't have to be right in that moment as a human, but it also allows this peer learning. And so, as we rolled out Gong, a lot of my enterprise reps, and even it's funny, last night, I was talking to my stepdad about that. He's in sales. And he was like, “ I don't know if I'd want them recording my calls.” The way that I look at it is, I expect my senior reps to record their calls so that our reps that are wanting to get better or less experienced, can use those to learn and to grow from it and to steal best practice. So, there's an incredible peer learning that I expect to happen from coaching. I also love the idea where reps can self- service their coaching now. So, they can go in. I've had reps joined during COVID and they have completely ramped listening to these calls and using this to do that. Now, I guess in the same way that I think sales leaders, and as we have these new tools, there's no excuse for any sales leader not to be using them. I think the same exists for individual contributors, where there is an expectation that you do some self- learning and some self- coaching from all that we're putting out there for you to listen to. We highlight certain topics, keywords. So, I think it's super interesting. And also to make it even safer as a coaching culture, I think a great place to start to your point is that peer coaching that goes on. Rather than it always being tossed down, how do they learn from each other? So, I think it's an excellent point.
Devin Reed: Absolutely. I think we've covered this a little bit, but there's a great question from Alison Stevens. And if you folks have questions, again, there's a questions box monitoring. There's two good questions here. Maybe BT and Dana, we can do like a 60- second shot clock for each of you for whichever point. But the question from Alison is, “ What are some best practices for coaching a top performer consistently 150% over quota that is set in their ways and everything they do is working quite well?” The other aspect is Norman, who says, “ What's your typical approach to motivating sales reps through their low moments?” So, I think there's two different things here, and I'll let you folks choose. It's like, how do I get the maybe close- minded over performer who doesn't think they need feedback versus maybe just a rep that's in a slump? How can I motivate them?
Bryan Tucker: Yeah. Mind if I take the first one, Dana?
Dana Feldman: Go for it.
Bryan Tucker: I think one of the most important and impactful things that you can do as a leader to get buy- in from who are skeptical starts with explaining the because and explaining why this is important that development is happening in this area. One of the things that we do on a monthly cadence across the Mid- Market Team here at Gong, is we bring in business data, whether it's conversion rates, cycle length all of the KPIs that the senior leadership team is looking at, and I present them to the Mid- Market Team. So, when we talk about our focus area, why it's so important in early stage conversations for us to do XYZ, the entire team understands that these areas are the places that this has the attention of the entire organization. And of course, Amazon is coming to my house to deliver a package. Dana, I told you that would happen.
Devin Reed: inaudible a time to plug for Dana and Amazon inaudible.
Dana Feldman: Yes.
Bryan Tucker: Yeah. Just to summarize, it's really all about the because and using that because to gain their buy- in. I think the only other thing that I'd add is, that works a lot better if you know that reps motivation. Are they just there to make money? Are they there to advance into a leadership position? Why are they doing what they do? Sales is not an easy job that you just do to do. You're not really a normal person if you're in sales. So, it starts there and then delivering the because.
Devin Reed: inaudible, BT.
Dana Feldman: Bryan, it's interesting. I couldn't agree with you more about the why, but I think something else that is really new in our world is we finally have the tools and the data to turn coaching from being something very subjective, to being able to be objective about it. So, I think often a lot of our top performers were resistant to coaching because it was such a subjective environment. What does that mean? Well, back in the day, in whatever format I could, I would grab whatever call or I would try and make their call. And then I'd give them my feedback. Well, that is just my feedback. Now, we have all this amazing data to baseline off of, and then to use that to coach our top performers. So, a great example is, I know Gong Labs just this week posted about calls that have groups on them, those deals are two times as likely to close win. And so, that makes it easy for me to go back to my top performer or top performers and say, “ Hey, out of your pipeline, I see these deals are single- threaded. What can we do to get some more group calls going?” That's not Dana's opinion. That is actual data telling us how we can increase it. So, with top performers that might be a little bit resistant. I think you've really got it to get into using the objective data point of view. I think the other question around coaching top performers is, you've got to ask yourself, is that really where you need to be focusing? So, when we talk about scaling and growing teams, and as a top line leader, I'm really interested in moving my middle. And so, it's not always about figuring out every way for the top performer. I want them to continue to learn and get better. And I think a lot of that will come with peer coaching and just using some of the data points, I'm going to go and focus on my middle. I think the other thing that I've seen really successfully done and that I've loved personally, and I actually was on a LinkedIn chain this morning about it, but for you on the call that might not have this or haven't thought about it, it's a great idea to think about converting one of your headcount into a dedicated sales coach role and the idea behind that and why it's so effective even with skeptical reps is because, and most coaching books will say this, even as much as you don't want it to affect a coaching environment as a leader you hold rank over the person, generally that you're coaching if we're talking about like, I'm a sales manager and the person reports to me. That always has some play into the environment of coaching, but when you take someone as a third party and they are a coach and their results are tied to your team's wins, it creates a whole different environment. And also that person's whole role is to coach where we all know as leaders, we quickly get pulled away from what it is we really want to be doing, which is coaching and often in the meeting. So, I think that's another way to think about addressing maybe some of the skepticism of coaching and looking more at pulling someone just into that role.
Devin Reed: Great points and the perfect transition, because we're saying, “ Hey, removing as much subjectivity as possible.” Leading with data, leading with Dana and data, as you have a great quote from Dana here. I'm going to skip just for time, but it will be in the deck. You'll be able to read this fantastic quote that I sniped while we were prepping. It's really right here, is surfacing coaching blind spots, which is like you said it's really subjective if Bryan's my manager and I come to him and say, “ Hey, Bryan. What can I work on to get better?” It's really easy to say, “ Hey, we're focusing on discovery as an org this quarter. So, we're going to focus on discovery with you.” Or Bryan was on my closing call and I did okay and I did okay. The deal closed, but he heard one small example of what my skills are. And so, what I think can happen is these blind spots start to exist, which things that managers and leaders cannot see, but if they could see, they could start to coach around and to drive different results. So, Bryan, what are some of the … Well, I'll tee you up because I know the answer is actually is like, I know some of the blind spots for you is, there's only deals and deal drivers. You want to walk through that? I know Dana is going to be right behind you because I know she loves deal drivers as well.
Bryan Tucker: Yeah. And just to reinforce what you said, Devin. As a leader managing a frontline team and getting involved in deals, it is so easy to just get so focused on the deals that can move your forecast and influence your quarter and where you're brought in often as late in the sales cycle for a big negotiation call or executive alignment or whatever it may be, and the challenge is, is that I would argue the top reps don't always necessarily … Those moments aren't necessarily the moments that make them the top reps. It's what they're consistently doing across their entire sales funnel on a day- to- day basis. So, now I'm going to try not to turn this into a Gong pitch here. What you're looking at, is just a quick snapshot of a portion of the deal drivers on my team and what this enables me to do as a leader is to see whatever time period I'm looking at for whatever type of deals I want to look at, whether they're in forecast early stage or something else, to understand how many of those deals have a next step on the calendar. How many of those deals are my reps being ghosted, where they haven't had any type of response or contacts from the prospect for over 14 days or any type of deal where we are not at power or multi- threaded, which we know? Honestly, Devin I get lost in all the data sometimes that you throw at me, but I know you've got some great stats on multi- threading and getting to power early on in outcomes. Yeah, I would say that, if all that you're looking at are those big moments and all that you're experiencing are those big moments, you're not being as effective as you can be because you're not looking at reality, your bias to these micro moments across all of the sales interactions that are happening.
Dana Feldman: Before you even get to all this awesomeness too, Bryan, I think talking about blind spots, I think as leaders on this call, unless you have this tool or a tool like it, you are blind. It is a very subjective coaching environment. And like I have in past lives tried to manage some this by logging some coaching in the CRM or keeping notes somewhere on a spreadsheet, but it doesn't also have then the analysis of the data across the whole team or across all the sales profession. So, I think the first question to ask is, for the leaders on the call, what sort of visibility do you even feel you have into coaching your team and how that's going? And so, it's a problem that has been solved now, which I'm so grateful for, but I don't know how to solve the blind spots without giving this technology and tool. I have said it before, but I think it's irresponsible not to equip the sales org with Gong so that you can actually get visibility into all of these things you had blind spots before. And so, I think that's super important for us to then be able to be really effective coaches and to move away from the subjectivity that often comes with our coaching.
Devin Reed: It's a great call, Dana. And I think that was one of the questions, was, “ How do I coach effectively, remotely?” There's no surprise Gong does, but whether you use Gong or another tool, I don't know any other way that you can get visibility with 20 reps or thousands of reps across the country or the globe without some sort of technology. There's just no way. Even when we're in the office and Bryan had a pod of eight reps and he's at one side of the table, can only be in one place at a time. And even all in the same room, you can't keep track of what's going on, what's working and what's not. You have to leverage some type of technology. Going back to the blind spots, and this is the most alarming slide of all by design, pun intended, is deal warnings. So, we touched on it when it comes to blind spots there's soft skills. I had no idea Devin was talking 85% of the time on the discovery call. Maybe that's why his deals are stalling top of the funnel. Not that that's ever happened to me. Or maybe it's more like deal coaching, which is, I've worked with Devin for a while. He's good rep. He does well, but without some sort of technology, especially on the deal side of things, how is he executing deals? There could be reasons deals are lost that are very winnable. And so, we talked about it. We've done some data analysis, both in product and as part of Gong Labs, which is a research blog about what deal warnings are. And these are things that are happening right under your nose and you might not be able to see. I love Bryan and Dana, if you could share your favorite deal warning and why, or maybe the impact even it's had on your team. I think that'd be a great way to wrap up this little blind spot section.
Bryan Tucker: Yeah. So, my favorite deal warning is not being multi- threaded. If my reps don't have more than three active contacts for 21 days in a deal, I will be made aware of that. And we will be talking about it in a one- on- one and I will be looking to understand as to why. 85% of the time, there's a good reason. And we end up making tweaks to our strategy against that account and increase our chances of success.
Dana Feldman: That's not fair. You stole mine. Yeah. Let me share why it's my favorite for very different reasons. So, as a top line leader, I'm not digging into every single deal or as involved with the reps. Deal warnings to me, are signal to me as a top one leader of where can I help? And so, where can I either clear a blocker or a runway for my team, or where could I potentially help to get involved to get this deal along? And the reason why I like multi- threading is that often some of the ways that top line leaders can help is by leveraging their relationships, reaching out to someone higher up, whatever the right case might be. And so, for me this is an awesome signal for me to be like, “ Wait a minute, is there some way I can help my team?” I think as well, the same exists. I think this is probably becoming one of my more favorite topics, but as leaders we've got, and this is as people become new leaders and thinking about how they want to become the next level leader and as a top line leader, I have to be thinking about the fact that every part of our organization wants an API into our sales org. So, product marketing, engineering, customer support. They've always for forever and a day come to us, have been like, “ We want to talk to your customer on this. We want to beta them on this. What happened with this?” Even sales- enablement people that are on the phone and L& D, they roll out these certifications and these trainings. And they're like, “ Great, that's done.” We need the way to say, “ All right, I need all these teams around me to be able to hear what my teams are hearing, to hear the objections from customers, to hear how that pitch landed, to hear the pricing discussion that happened, so that we can continue to work to make this better for our sales teams and make the sale easier.” And so, the other thing I love about some of the deal warnings, and even just, I would say the second favorite feature for me is keyword search. So, every time I leave a meeting where my stakeholders are curious about something with the sales organization, I'll go and type that keyword in, and I will surface up to them multiple calls where it got brought up. And I want them to hear the voice of the customer with regards to that topic. I think that this is so powerful to be able to give the other teams APIs into the sales team. I think as a frontline leader, the deal warnings are certainly around, how can I immediately go in and coach the rep? Deal warnings to me as a top line leader are, how can I clear the runway or help them, or remove blockers? And how can I get my stakeholder teams involved in that as well?
Devin Reed: There's a great delineation too, between those two levels there. And there's a poll over in the poll section. And the question is, “ What is your biggest challenge with sales coaching?” There's three options, but what you, BT and Dana just talked about is exactly on par with the answers here, because it's number one, is finding enough time to coach. And two, is visibility, I don't know where to coach. I think they're connected because if you don't know quickly where to coach. You spend a lot of time trying to figure out where to coach and then you've got to layer on the actual coaching itself. If you're not doing, like BT said, some peer- to- peer coaching, you find yourself working 60- hour weeks with an easy 20 right around the corner if you just could do those activities in a more efficient way.
Bryan Tucker: 100%. And you end up coaching to just coach. You're not making an impact and you just feel like you have to coach to be coaching your team, but it's wasted time.
Devin Reed: We've talked about culture, we've talked about blind spots and a little bit of technology to help us get there. The next part is, how do you measure the impact? And I think you just said it, BT. How do I know what I'm doing is right, that it's working? What should I measure? There's a bunch of questions about this. What do I measure and how? Dana, I think I let BT kickoff the last one. So, Dana, maybe you could lead with what do you think is impactful when it comes to measuring coaching?
Dana Feldman: Yeah, a couple things. I mentioned before this concept of moving the middle. You've got to put that into a cohort and then see, all right, here's where they were percentage to quota at this point. Now, we've really begun this coaching effort where they landed at the end of that. And I think that's not only percentage to hit their number, but one of the other things that I love to measure is what percentage of my managers teams are hitting quota. So, I think it can be a blind spot when a team hits, but maybe that's one rep that's had a massive deal. I love that, don't get me wrong, but I'm more interested in a higher percentage of CAs hitting quota by managers. That's something that I look for with the coaching. And then I think the obvious are around faster deal cycles, the size of the deal, depending on if we've been doing coaching around pricing and how to grow the size of your deal, but those are really important things to me. And then measuring that middle of the cohort and the win rates there.
Bryan Tucker: That's great. We've got three things that we look at here on the Mid- Market Team and in many other teams at Gong as well. So, first and foremost, to Dana's point, percentage of As hitting quota. Just because the team hit quota, it can be skewed because of that million dollar deal or whatever it may be. Next is improvement in whatever KPI we're working on. So, whether it's deal sizes, conversion rates at that particular time in the funnel. Again, very much to Dana's point. I think the last is through engagement surveys with your team. In collecting feedback from your reps to feel, to ask them and understand if they feel like they are being supported and coached in the way that you believe that you are coaching them.
Devin Reed: That's a good point. And I think too, Dana, you folks, I'd love to know, I think there's probably not one right answer here. Every team is working on something different. Every company is on a different trajectory. So, there's your individual coaching plans, which I guess is, it's custom as well, going more towards the talk time or deal warnings, “ Devin, you're single threading too often.” But then there's looking at the larger business and strategic goals and saying, “ Hey, we're trying to get larger deals.” If we're trying to get into new territory, if we're trying to get into new verticals, we should align our strategic goals with our coaching strategy. And then that way, the day- in and day- out work is heading all … We're all charging in the right direction.
Dana Feldman: I couldn't agree more. Every organization and sales team is in their own circumstance and what they need to go and achieve. So, I agree. It's really something to personalize. And I would also say, don't complexify it. You can always have 10 metrics to measure. I think two to three is right and stick with those. And then you guys, you can iterate as you learn as you go on. I think absolutely Devin, it has to be customized to whatever that sales team is trying to achieve or where they're going in their own circumstance.
Bryan Tucker: And that's why coaching is so important because there is always something that you are looking to achieve. You're always looking to grow. You're always looking to increase market share. There is always something to work on. So, unless you really build the muscle and make this a habit, you're just shooting yourself in the foot.
Devin Reed: Let's keep it moving here. I'd love to read this, but to be fair to Dana, I have to skip your quote if I'm going to skip Dana's quote. So, we'll keep it as an Easter egg for those who get the deck. This is what we're talking about. How do we make it strategic? How do we tie all these things together; the culture, finding blind spots, knowing where to coach, how to do it efficiently? How does technology play into that? And I think that's when you're really combining all these different facets, it becomes strategic and then it becomes what technology will help us get there because I think it's also important to understand all those other components before just going and buying technology. It's not a band- aid, it's an enhancer. Loved Queen's Gambit, by the way. It was a great show for anyone crosstalk. It was great. BT, maybe you can walk us through this. So, we have something that we launched at Gong. For folks who are interested, it's called Complete Coaching. Do you want to just walk through some of the problems that it solves and maybe the impact it's made for you too?
Bryan Tucker: Yeah. I think the biggest thing the Complete Coaching Suite has helped me with at Gong and really solved for me, is to ensure that I'm distributing my coaching the way that I'm intending to. Again, back to my earlier point around, it's really easy to get a perspective from the moments that you're brought in as a leader in opportunities and in deals. Our suite has essentially provided the same thing for me, from just a coaching perspective. Like, are the behaviors that I'm working on the right behaviors that I should be coaching someone against? Am I coaching everyone in the manner that I think that I am? Oh my gosh, I haven't provided feedback for ....for two weeks. I need to make up for that this week. So, yeah, coaching the way that I had intend to coach, I think as been the biggest win for me when it comes to the Coaching Suite.
Devin Reed: It sounds like accountability is a part of that too, which is just keeping yourself honest. We've covered it. There's a lot to coach. The more reps that you have or even managers like Dana for you, there's just more people behind those managers and directors that you coach. It's like, “ How do I keep track of all these things?” And what's nice about this is Gong with this Complete Coaching is really just adhering to the problems we've all had. We've all wanted more. We've all been good coaches wanting to be better. We've all had these desires. But like our poll said, it's really hard to find time to know where to coach. Dana, I know you're a big fan of this. Is there anything you'd like to add as well?
Dana Feldman: Well, it's so interesting, Bryan, what you just said around, it ensures that you coach how you intend to, and at the beginning of this, I mentioned like, “ Good intentions fail without something behind it to show you and to measure it.” And so, I think it's so powerful to be able to do this. My leaders would tell you that I often bring up the coaching leaderboard in Gong to look at my leaders and their actions there. And it makes me sleep well at night because I know that the motion's happening, where I didn't know that before. I hoped it was, but I didn't know that before. And so, that's incredibly comforting to me as a leader. And then of course the next step is, “ Okay, is it effective coaching?” So, I don't want to pretend that just because I see it happening, it's all good. I love this and I'm looking forward to more and more coming, certainly from you guys to help us drill into this. For the first time, I actually have a tool where I can measure adoption of coaching. And that is just, it is truly amazing.
Devin Reed: All right. Well, let's go to the last poll and then we'll do a recap. For anyone on the line, you can jump over to the polls. You've heard a lot of different insights and tactics, and that was the number one goal. If you've heard this and you've been inspired and you want to see how Gong can help you be a better coach, you can jump over to the poll section. You can say, “ Yes, let's chat.” We'll reach out to you. Get some time set up to talk. You can say, “ No, thank you.” Polite, no thank you, never hurt anyone's feelings, or maybe you're not quite ready to take a call, but you'd like to continue on your coaching journey and learn some more from some of the content we have. So, if you go over to the polls and go ahead and pick your selection. Every time I say, “ Go into the polls,” now I think of the actual election and the political landscape, but this is just sales coaching. So, inaudible over there.
Bryan Tucker: inaudible.
Devin Reed: Yeah, crosstalk. I'll change it from polls to something else, away from the voting monocular for a little bit here. Really quick just to wrap up and put a ball on this thing it's, what we talked about today, the three secrets are figuring out how to make coaching part of your culture, to training, regular feedback and opportunities for growth. Number two, identify and overcome coaching blind spots, what's going on with your deals and your people by focusing on deal drivers and deal warnings. Lastly, measure the impact of coaching by finding the correct success metrics for your team. When you put this together, it's like you can apply this almost to any part of your business. Make sure we all care about it. We're going in the right direction. Make sure we understand what the real problems are and what are we measuring, what are our KPIs. And so, it's cool to see coaching fall into this which it hasn't been able to, for most of our careers. All right. We've talked about the poll. Now, we've got time for Q& A. We've got about eight minutes left here before we wrap up. Just as a reminder-
Dana Feldman: There are some good questions in there.
Devin Reed: There are good questions in there. As a reminder, everyone will get a follow- up with the deck, as well as the recording. And if you like sales coaching, if you like data back insights, go ahead and follow Gong on LinkedIn. Dana mentioned a couple of the reports that we publish. We do one or two a month, and they're always fueled by data and then a prescriptive approach to help you and your team be more successful. So, that is the end of the show. If you have to jump off because you've got kids, you've got lunch, you have another call, understandable. But if you want to hang out and ask some questions, we'll go ahead and do that now. Dana and Bryan, there's a cool feature where people can up- click like Reddit, which ones they like. So, the one that was up-clicked and I'm sure up- voting might be the right wording here.
Bryan Tucker: Up- clicked.
Devin Reed: It looks like it. Yeah, up- click. I'm coining it. You're hearing inaudible. Here's a good question. We didn't actually cover this at all. “ How do you assess the coachability of a potential hire as part of recruiting?” So, how do you assess the coachability when you're hiring, I guess is another way to word it. A great question from Koshik, if I'm saying your name correctly.
Dana Feldman: BT, are you okay if I'll share my favorite first?
Bryan Tucker: Absolutely.
Dana Feldman: I think it's a common practice for sales roles that anyone you're hiring does a mock sales call. That's pretty common. I think one of the ways to evolve that is to actually make room to where you allow the person to do a mock sales call, give them some feedback and then have them come back and do it again, or do another version of it and actually see if they can put that into play. That is the most powerful way to see it. Then I think the second piece is, when you're asking the interview questions, making sure it's about, “ Tell me a time when you had a deal and whatever it might be, it was going well, it wasn't going well.” You got some coaching advice and let them answer that and then say, “ Okay, great. What did you do as a result of that coaching advice.” And have them talk you through those examples, I think is another way that you can tee some of that out just through questions. My favorite is actually just putting it into practice during the interview process to some degree.
Bryan Tucker: Man, you stole what I was going to say, Dana.
Dana Feldman: I did? We're on the same page.
Bryan Tucker: So, the one tweak that we actually just put into practice, is we now actually schedule our mock sales calls during the interview process for a longer period of time. So, we will actually stop people mid- interview, provide the feedback and ask for them to implement it right after that box. Yeah. We understand it's a tough exercise, but absolutely agree that that's the best way to test for coachability.
Devin Reed: If you want to see if someone can be coachable, coach them, see how they respond.
Bryan Tucker: Under pressure too.
Dana Feldman: Yeah.
Devin Reed: I know the interview you're talking about and it is not easy to do the mock pitch with a Dana and a Bryan and someone else in the room, let alone, “ And Devin, I want you to go and stop what you're doing. You talking too fast and you're too low level. Go ahead and just adjust both those. Go ahead and just let people go for it.” Another good question here, “ What is the best approach to coaching a large team with different personality types and sales ability?” And that's from Riley. Great question. I imagine Dana, you have to run into this with just the size of the org. We hung out today. There's 200 people on a separate Zoom we were on.
Dana Feldman: Yeah.
Devin Reed: How do you approach this?
Dana Feldman: So, this is where I think you first have to start with the data. I don't believe at first out the gate, you're going to get across everybody. This aligns with making coaching part of your strategy and connecting it to your end result. Okay. Of my sales org and out of whatever number of people it might be, where do we really need to focus the most first? And there are some, if you guys, after we hang up today, go and Google moving the middle, this is not a Dana concept. This is a very popular concept, but when you move your middle performers, just even a little bit, the impact that that has on your end result is massive. And so, I think it's about getting really focused with your coaching initially on where do they need it the most and you pick that focus by the data. So, I don't believe you will be successful if you're going and trying to encompass all. And then, I think through other pieces, like you've got your top performers, those are the ones that can probably do a lot of self- service coaching, which is what a lot of these reps can do, but that's where you can surface the really cool data points around that Devin and the team publish and say, “ Hey, have you ever gone and looked at your own stats around this? Have you ever listened to one of your calls for this?” And they can start to do it on their own, but in large sales orgs, it's really about that middle piece and getting that move because that's going to have the biggest impact on you hitting your goal.
Devin Reed: I love that. Brittany made a point in the comments here, “ Hey, there's a lot of great advice, but I think it's more coaching tips specifically with these topics.” So, why don't we do this, we've got two and a half minutes left, why don't we have Bryan and Dana share your number one tip? If I was watching today, I'm listening and I'm like, “ I just need one thing that I can leave with and go do today, tomorrow, next week,” what do you think they should get started with?
Bryan Tucker: I would say, I would go back to my earlier point of creating … Whether you're operating a team of 100 with multiple layers of management, look for opportunities to create leverage by taking people who are really good at things and giving them the spotlight to disseminate their coaching amongst the team. You can't be a super coach and people learn differently. So, hearing it from every angle is the most impactful way to really move the needle.
Devin Reed: Love it.
Dana Feldman: Yeah. I'm going to build on that a little bit because I think sometimes when I hear a question like that asked, sometimes I sense in that question, how can I go to my rep tomorrow and start coaching them and it'd be safe and it'd feel normal and it not be weird. There's something in that typically as well. But to build on what Bryan said, using these very objective data points and having those and picking one and sharing with a lot of transparency and visibility of the team that like, “ Hey, this month I really want to focus with the team on talk time.” Or, “ I really want to focus with the team on how we finish our calls and if we finish them strong with a mutual project plan in place.” And then that way, no one feels singled out and you can share it with the data points, share how you're going to approach it. And then as you get into those discussions with each rep individually, they know that this is a team effort. Also, to Bryan's point, you then can get leveraged from using those on your team that are really great at it, and using them to help coach the team and share that best practice as well. So, hopefully that's helpful.
Devin Reed: I think it was spot on. There's tons of insights and tips here. So, I think everyone who tuned in hopefully pulled away with at least one or two. I agree, Dana, I do the same thing on my team. I think it's great to have transparency. Side mark, I run a marketing team. So, you can throw shade right after the sentence, but everyone on my team has a coaching plan. Everyone on my team knows that everyone else has a coaching plan, but what they're focusing on is between me and that individual. What's really cool is after a few weeks of this, people will start talking in team meetings like, “ Oh, that's really interesting. I'm working on that with Devin right now.” And so, now you've got this, it's like speaking of building a culture, when everyone knows like, “ Hey, we're on the same playing field, we're all being coached. We're all here to get better,” it takes away that kind oddness or that weirdness, and then people will start to really build momentum around that and share that and it becomes part of your culture. Bryan, Dana, thank you so much for your time, for sharing your wisdom, your expertise. Thanks to everyone for investing an hour of your time, both again for yourself and for your team. As a reminder, you'll get a follow- up with the email. We'll reach out to you accordingly. Thank you for your questions. I know there's no way we could've gotten to all of them, but we'll do our best to follow- up with you individually for folks that have questions and make sure you get them all squared away. Thank you again and have a great rest of your Thursday.
Dana Feldman: Thanks, team.
Bryan Tucker: Thanks everyone. It was a pleasure.
Put me in coach! Your reps want to get better. You want to help them get better. The problem? Coaching has always been impossible to scale. This week, on Gong's webinar series, Dana Feldman, Head of Enterprise and Mid-Market Sales at Amazon, and Bryan Tucker, Head of Mid-Market Sales at Gong, discuss all things sales coaching. From building a coaching culture and finding coaching blindspots, to measuring the impact of your coaching strategy, learn how to increase revenue and turn mid-performers into top performers during this webinar, hosted by Gong's own Devin Reed.