GlobalData Plc's Director of Sales Enablement, Aaron Evans, answered our questions on coaching for sales success, and what 'excellence' actually looks like.

A qualified coach and practitioner of NLP and neuro-semantics (and one of SEC's Sales Enablement Influencers 2020 😉), Aaron’s also a passionate SaaS sales enablement leader who specializes in highly-immersive, bespoke B2B sales training and coaching experiences.

If you've heard him speak at an event or follow him on social media, you'll know to expect honest and entertaining perspectives and insights...

Q. How important is your tech stack in enabling reps at GlobalData? Would you say it’s more important than content, or equal importance?

A. Tech stack is very important, although to extract the most value the content has to work. For LMS, I'd recommend WorkRamp it allows for proper testing and certification in Salesforce CRM...obviously.

Conversation intelligence it’s Gong - come on they rock! Get those working in harmony you will maximize the value and set your sales organization up for success.

Q. Who should sales enablement report to? Or should they be their own entity?

A. I’m a big believer in sales enablement aligning to overarching company strategy. To maximize this, I’d recommend the function reports into C-suite or strategy. Never into sales, you become too myopic in your view.

Q. What’s your favorite aspect of being a sales enabler? And what keeps you motivated?

A. Great question, I am genuinely motivated by making people better at their job. We are lucky in the fact that it’s the core function.

Constant improvement. If you’re getting into SE and you aren’t motivated by that, I can imagine it would be a tough role as there is no end point.

Q. In terms of content, what types do buyers tend to prefer in your experience, versus what sellers prefer?

A. Info that educates them and teaches them something they didn't know before.

Everyone is bored of hearing about your product - teach them something about their market, competition, job role or sector! Then you get engagement and build credibility in the process.

Q. What’s your coaching cadence? And in between coaching, how do you go about ensuring everyone’s actually enforcing what you’ve been through?

A. I’d break coaching down into two categories:

1. At desk coaching - the constant interactions and drip feed of coaching opportunities.

2. Exec coaching which is time put aside for coaching which is in people's diaries. Coaching is a team sport. In fact, it should be deeply ingrained in the DNA of the culture for it to be effective. Tools like Gong can help do that, and also keep scores on improvement through scorecards.

Q. How has your training in NLP/neuro-semantics helped you as a sales enabler? What tips can you pass on from this?

A. It’s helped massively with communicating.

Never lose sight of the fact that all we do in sales is communication. The sooner you realize that, the better you can get at it.

All of my accreditations have helped me become a better communicator. Be careful with NLP as it can be a bit culty and can overcomplicate things.

Q. How have you found decision-maker behaviors have shifted since the onset of the pandemic, particularly for B2B?

A. Good question. More people involved, the need to show ROI is more prevalent and with all of the digital disruption going on there is a need to solve different types of problems. This has affected everything from depth of discovery, to elongating the buying process.

Q. What, according to your experience, are the main reasons sales leaders need to coach their teams in order to achieve commercial excellence. What does 'coaching excellence' look like, and what do you see as the main challenges sales leaders face when coaching their teams with this object?

A. There are layers to it. Coaching on the following areas helps breed excellence:

  • Competencies
  • Behaviours
  • Knowledge
  • Systems
  • Processes
  • Leadership qualities
The biggest challenge coaching facing from internal stakeholders is pressure. It’s an easy thing to drop when the pressure is on, and a difficult thing to get going again.

Like going to gym, when you’re motivated and have a free schedule it works in perfect harmony with your whole life. When you lose time, and have other priorities, motivation drops off, and getting back into the swing of it is difficult.

Excellence, on your other point, is subjective to an organization. Another challenge is businesses agreeing on what good looks like.

Q. How do you approach coaching and building brilliant teams remotely? Particularly developing 'soft skills' in sales that you'd historically pick up by learning from those around you.

A. Learning from those around you or 'osmotically' for lack of a better term is very different from coaching. Coaching in a remote world needs to be in diaries and have the time put aside to do it well. You lose ‘at desk coaching’ in the remote world.

Q. Would love to hear best practice tips for measuring sales coaching efficacy and impact - what prerequisites are there for a successful project? How do you measure success?

A. Coaching scorecards and competency frameworks. They model excellence, show improvement and areas of weakness.

Q. What’s your advice to new entrants to the SE profession?

A. My advice is simple - sales enablement is without a doubt the most generous and giving community. Ask for help. Join the Slack groups, and follow the LinkedIn groups.

Q. What kinds of challenges (and opportunities) will sales enablement face over the next 12 months and beyond?

A. Technology taking our jobs, hahaha! Also, SE functions are always being asked to show their value, and it can be a bit hard to quantify. I always say that the both the top (C-suite) and bottom (sales reps) of an org usually see the value, but convincing all in-between can be tough.