As the field of sales enablement has evolved and matured, so, too, have its supporting technologies. Accordingly, video coaching has become a popular tool for driving readiness in sales organizations of all sizes and across industries.
The benefits of video – in terms of bringing learning to life – are well-known. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a minute of video, Forrester has postulated, is worth 1.8 million words. With its highly personal, interactive and visual nature, video coaching shows not just what reps are saying but how they’re saying it – with all the nuances of confidence and competence that impact message delivery. Reps and their managers can see what their buyers will see, and learn from it – making course corrections before those high-stakes conversations.
Here’s How it Works
Video coaching (or video-practice or video-role-play) tools aim to provide an easy, scalable way to validate that reps have mastered their messages – usually incorporating video-based activities, practice opportunities and feedback mechanisms. Typically, a coach (often a rep’s manager) will issue an activity: for example, “Show me your 30-second elevator pitch.” Reps record a video of themselves completing the activity and submit it through their system for feedback.
Sales coaching like this has many documented benefits – from reinforcing training, to culling and promoting best practices, to even positively impacting the bottom line. CSO Insights reports that implementing formalized sales coaching leads to double-digit improvements in win-rates and quota attainment. But despite all this, 76% of organizations don’t provide enough sales coaching (Sales Management Association).
Improving video coaching usage and results often involves branching out, and applying technology across different use cases. Here are nine ways and examples to get the most out of video coaching technology:
1. Assess messaging and skills
Leveraging video coaching to evaluate and confirm competencies is one of the most common use-cases. Here, coaches create activities and assignments based on messages and skills they want individuals – or their team as a whole – to sharpen. Example queries might be: “How would you message this product to Persona X?” “How would you respond to these common objections?” “How would you position our product compared to Competitor X?” etc. Again, reps respond via video.
The assignments can reinforce in-progress training or be given to reps cold, to get a baseline for their aptitudes.
2. Validate training and certify reps
This next use case elevates coaching to a core part of reps’ overall learning curriculum – certifying that reps have absorbed their training and can put it into action. For example, if an organization has a key, new product release coming up, sales reps might be required to view two training modules on the solution – and then submit a video of how they’d pitch the product for evaluation.
3. Promote pre-boarding
Organizations can ease their new hires into the onboarding experience, even prior to Day 1, with pre-boarding. This onboarding preparation process gives new reps clear expectations about their role within the organization and a faster connection to the company at large.
There’s an opportunity to use video coaching platforms in a fun way – asking incoming reps, for example, to create a two-minute “About Me” video that will be shared with the team and other new hires, or even to create a video discussing their opinions on a polarizing season finale (“Game of Thrones”). Alternately (and getting down to business), incoming reps might be asked to articulate the market landscape they’ll be selling into. Regardless of the assignment, it should be short and used to expose reps to the coaching platform they’ll be using.
4. Drive peer learning
Sales reps are often most receptive to learning from each other. They can use video coaching to solicit peer feedback – sending their responses to a fellow rep for input before delivering their final version to a manager.
Video coaching tools can also be used to create a knowledge and best practices video repository across the sales organization. Success stories (“How I won the deal”), advice (“How I reignited interest with a prospect who went dark”) and more can be stored for central access. Managers can also circulate outstanding submissions to various coaching assignments to drive home what “good” looks like.
5. Practice with purpose
With increased repetition comes increased confidence and better delivery. As such, organizations are increasingly applying video coaching to give their reps a comfortable, pressure-free practice environment to sharpen their skills. Coaches can encourage reps to attempt multiple video takes, knowing that reps will get sharper along the way. Reps can then submit their best video for formal review.
6. React to the unexpected
The above use cases have focused on driving readiness in response to internal triggers (new product, positioning, etc.). Many times, though, there’s a need for reactive enablement, and video coaching can play an important role.
Put simply, reactive enablement involves equipping the field force to manage unexpected events that have an immediate impact on the business – such as good or bad news about the company or its competitors, geopolitical events, etc. For example, let’s say a company is en route to a trade show when its primary competitor announces a huge acquisition… something that’s sure to cause buzz on the show floor. Managers can send out talking points and assign coaching activities to their reps – asking them to respond to tough questions on video – to validate that reps will deliver consistent, on-message answers.
7. Host contests
Video coaching can tap into reps’ competitive spirit. Coaches can attach rewards and incentives (e.g., gift cards, a day off, being featured in an internal newsletter, etc.) to their assignments to spur healthy competition and, of course, learning.
Contests can be structured in a simple way – for example, showing an in-platform leaderboard – or can be more complex: think bracket-style, with peer voting components.
#8 – Encourage manager coaching
With time-sensitive and competing priorities, sales managers may find it difficult to prioritize coaching, even though it’s a critical activity. Video coaching can make the process easier, especially with geographically dispersed teams – as the asynchronous format lets reps and managers complete activities and deliver feedback, respectively, on their schedules.
Organizations also use video coaching to empower, encourage and even remind managers to coach – with alerts letting them know when reps complete assignments and require feedback. Managers can respond within a feedback format/structure that optimizes learning. In addition to being familiar with their own feedback toolset, managers should also try out the tools from reps’ point of view, so they’re familiar with and can advise on the process.
9. Provide career pathing and development
Salespeople are typically ambitious and seek career advancement. Video coaching can be used to validate they’ve achieved the competencies required for the next role: for example, moving from a business development rep to an account executive. A well-constructed sales enablement and readiness strategy can build in video coaching to confirm reps have absorbed and mastered the necessary skills and materials for career advancement.
The Future of Video Coaching
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list – and the ways to apply and benefit from video coaching will no doubt expand. For example, as artificial intelligence (AI) continues to gain traction in the enterprise, its impact will be felt in coaching too – augmenting manager input, making coaching more scalable and providing objective feedback on qualities previously deemed intangible (reps’ emotions and personality exuded, etc.).
As sales enablement continues to be prioritized as a discipline, video coaching will likewise play a central role: sharpening reps’ knowledge and skills, driving readiness and helping turn conversations with prospects into conversations with customers!
Lauren Boutwell is senior content and programs manager at Brainshark, a leader in sales enablement and readiness solutions. Brainshark equips businesses with the training, coaching and content needed to prepare salespeople when, where and how they work.