Alongside their many other responsibilities, sales managers must also coach their reps to drive sales. However, many sales managers are “super-account-executives (AEs)” promoted into managerial positions. This makes many of them under-trained and ill-equipped to coach and develop their teams. 

Pete, our co-founder, recently sat down with two sales leaders from high-growth companies, and SaaSOptics, to discuss how they drive sales management by having access to the right data.

I wanted to highlight a few key points they brought up in the conversation. You can watch the full discussion here if you're interested.

The conversation focused primarily on the joint use of Atrium and Chorus. At a high level:

  • Atrium helps sales managers use data to improve team performance.
  • Chorus helps teams replicate the performance of their top-performing reps by analyzing their sales meetings.

In this blog post, we highlight some of the top answers given by Randy, Will, and Pete about achieving revenue excellence with data

What does it mean to be data-driven in sales?

According to Will, being data-driven isn’t just about focusing on the data that leads to outcomes, such as percentage-to-quota, win rates, or average deal size. Instead, being data-driven means you focus on data that drives inputs and results in desired outcomes.

One of the keys to successful data-driven sales management is making reps understand that they own their metrics. If they take ownership, they can control the outcomes rather than just hoping for the right ones. 

To find the indicators that can lead to desired outcomes, reps should understand these three traits of each metric: 

  • Quantity, or the number of ops owned.
  • Tempo, or whether the op is moving or stagnant.
  • Quality, or the number of next meetings scheduled relative to the total number of ops.

Will encourages his managers to have reps share their strategies of getting ops unstuck as a “lessons-learned” form of knowledge sharing. 

And Randy agrees. By identifying “true-north” key performance indicators (KPIs)—meaning the key indicators that lead towards desired outcomes—reps can hit their numbers throughout the funnel and identify conversation-based metrics that a manager can use to develop a coaching plan

How do you use data to coach and develop your teams?

For Randy, coaching is about finding the metrics that matter most in the sales motion and driving accountability around the metrics so the outcomes become more predictable. By basing the coaching plan on a set of metrics, sales managers can develop a specific plan for each rep. 

Because metrics are solely based on data, the problem can be identified objectively. After all, as Will points out, data never lies. 

Instead, data points directly to a rep’s issue. And with a clearly defined problem, there is also a clearly defined solution. For example, if calls are down, a rep needs to increase their call rate. With this approach, managers can solve issues before they become problems. 

What are you doing differently in the era of remote and distributed sales?

All of us experienced periods of isolation during 2020. For many people in management positions, managerial styles had to be adjusted to accommodate distributed teams.

As part of his weekly tasks, Will goes through his team’s recent sales meetings in Chorus to find one top “play” of the week, much like a coach going through game footage. At their weekly meeting:

  • Will shares the snippet with his team.
  • Together, they break down why the rep nailed the meeting.
  • Each rep discusses how they will implement that “why” into their sales practice.

Consistent meetings are key—after all, salespeople are social beings to the bone. So, to make them feel part of the team, Randy suggests sending those winning snippets into all communication channels. Celebrating wins keeps teams together.

More Efficient Ramping

One of the upsides to distributed teams is a more efficient and direct ramping process. You can control the messaging and curate the best content, providing model performances without all the fluff. 

Improving management, one data point at a time.

As we hope you have learned, sales tools shouldn’t just focus on the forecast, but rather on how to improve the forecast.  By tracking leading indicators, you can get early warnings into potential shortfalls. Setting goals enables you to ensure there's a clear "there there" when it comes to performance.

The legendary sales managers balance the art and science of sales management when it comes to driving their teams. Ready to inspect reps and root out performance problems? Download our guide, Rep Metrics Inspection & Diagnosis

Sales Metrics Inspection Guide