Sales Enablement Collective’s Slack channel played host to an awesome “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session with Gail Behun, Senior Director of Sales Enablement at Juniper Square.
Gail Behun is a high-performance sales enablement leader, experienced in all facets of strategy, planning, and program development. Gail kindly took the time to share her wisdom on the topic of frontline manager enablement and coaching the coaches, discussing:
- Building a culture of coaching that includes frontline managers
- Achieving scalability in sales enablement
- Engaging reps during onboarding
Missed the AMA session? Don’t worry, we’ve condensed all the answers right here. 👇
But if you want to catch the next session live, and even ask some questions of your own, join our Slack community and keep an eye on our #announcements channel!
Coaching the coaches – creating a coaching culture for managers
Q: “Do you recommend, when onboarding managers, to have a section dedicated to coaching? If so, what does that look like?”
Heck yes! I always make sure to set up a coaching culture from day #1. When you’ve trained your frontline managers on how to be powerful coaches, you’re doubling down on everything you teach.
And remember, leaders go first! Managers should go through onboarding at least once per year.
Q: “What are some ways to convince sales leadership that frontline managers should do actual coaching – not just pipeline reviews?”
Make it part of their compensation plan! Listen, if frontline managers are only paid on deals, they’ll only work on deals.
Give them bonuses based on coaching plans, increased revenue from mid-level players, retention and promotion standards, etc.
Every employee should have a coaching plan in place; the GROW model is easy to use and easy to measure. Make it easy but required!
Q: “Do you have a coaching playbook or checklist that has worked well in empowering sales managers to best utilize their resources?”
Yes, but it’s always a work in progress. I’ve learned that the frontline manager is the lynchpin, and so have massively revised my way of working with them in the last year.
While our frameworks and checklists work for us, they often don't work for the frontline manager so I have had to work into their workflow.
That means giving them short videos to play in team meetings, gathering their input much, much, earlier in the process, and letting go of a good amount of control in the delivery – to allow them to do it the way they see it working.
Q: “Understanding the importance of coaching in sales, how do you strike a balance between providing personalized coaching for individual team members and maintaining a standardized sales methodology across the team?”
I 100% believe that the best coaching comes from frontline managers, so I coach the coaches.
They have to carry the water here. From there, we can train to what good looks like (WGLL), and then those frontline managers coach reps to those exact WGLL standards.
Scalability and how to achieve it in enablement
Q: “As a leader in sales enablement, you've likely encountered challenges when scaling programs. Could you give an example of how you've successfully maintained scalability and repeatability while achieving dramatic results?”
You have to start with the end in mind, that is key in my opinion. Consider how you will need to scale in 12 to 18 months and back into it.
By doing that, you have the right building blocks from day #1.
Often we don't have time to do that, but we can always take our "random acts of enablement" and revisit how to wrap them into a future program.
Even a live session can be cut into a Q&A page with video snippets, as larger programs grow up around them.
Q: “When scaling organizations, a lot of our clients have to start to balance a common foundation and more tailored enablement for their various teams. Think Account Managers vs. greenfield sellers, SMB vs. Enterprise, etc.
“What do you usually see as that tipping point where the enablement org needs to start really thinking about that?”
For me, there is no tipping point!
We have to design everything from the 80/20 perspective – 80% common content; and 20% customized. Often, I leave the 20% to the frontline managers to codify, and then I wrap it back into the documentation.
Engaging, creative onboarding techniques
Q: “Could you highlight a creative approach or unique technique you’ve implemented to make the onboarding process more engaging and effective for new sales team members?”
Boy, this is a hard one, right? I start with nesting from day #1 so that the new rep has a practice partner. This new rep is more engaged when they get the application of the information, and often their nesting buddy is the best to do that.
In addition, I give them a really clear timeline of what they will learn when and from whom.
That makes it easier for them to feel confident in the process, and they’ll listen to learn rather than check the box when they see the big picture!
Enablement’s role in fostering positive cultures within an organization
Q: “It’s clear that your passion lies in building positive employment cultures. Could you share a key strategy or approach you’ve found effective in fostering such cultures within sales teams?”
Enablement has a cool "new" role in my opinion, and that is of being a culture warrior. Nope – it’s not in our job description but when we embrace that role it provides huge benefits to creating a learning culture.
Consider your All Hands meetings, quarterly winners, and President’s Club winners – how can you shout them out?
How about people who are acting on company values? I often ask the managers for a "1% better" example of someone who is moving the needle and ask them to speak at team meetings.
Finding more AMAs and sales enablement content
First of all, another big thank you to Gail Behun for taking the time to answer the sales enablement community’s questions.
If you want to ask a question of your own next time we host one of our regular "Ask Me Anything" sessions, all you have to do is join our free Slack community.
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