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3 Key Findings From the 2021 State of Sales Coaching

3 min readJune 3, 2021

In sports, coaches help develop the athlete’s and the team’s strengths, identify weaknesses, put together plans to improve performance, and drive them to perform at their best.

All elite athletes at the top of their game have coaching. In fact, all professional musicians also have coaches. And all movie stars have coaching. Virtually everyone at the top of their fields have coaches. And all sales professionals should also have coaches if they want to stay at the top of their game.

The good news is that the industry as a whole recognizes the need to coach reps, so we’re seeing a considerable rise in the adoption of sales coaching. However, many sales leaders don’t know what good coaching looks like. What do high-performing coaching organizations do differently than the rest? How do you deliver effective coaching to reps? Where do companies struggle most?

The answers are here in The 2021 State of Sales Coaching.

Revenue.io set out to engage hundreds of sales leaders in an in-depth, original research study. The resulting report distills the stats you need to know to understand the current state of sales coaching. We’ve identified the top coaching challenges, what technologies companies are investing in, and more.

We heard from nearly all roles and levels of seniority in sales, including individual reps (both SDRs and AEs), sales managers, sales operations, sales enablement, and sales executives. This report uncovers new realities, emerging trends, and the future of sales coaching.

Below are three of the most notable findings this year.

AI-Powered Sales Solutions Lead to Higher Rep Satisfaction

As software continues to transform the sales org, leaders are investing where it matters. Our results show that reps using conversation intelligence and AI-powered conversation guidance report being more satisfied with their coaching. Similarly, companies where coaching is effective are more likely to be using call recording software and sales performance management software than companies where coaching is not effective.

The Majority of Sales Coaching Time is Not Data-Driven

Our research shows that 38% of companies who coach reps on call performance do so “at random,” while another 31.9% coach reps only on their most recent calls. This means that 70% of coaching is not driven by data. Consequently, companies that coach this way report having low effectiveness in their coaching programs. It’s clear that it’s time for companies to rethink how they coach their reps if they want to see better business results. A data-driven approach also leads to happier reps, since they can understand the reasoning behind the coaching they receive.

Scaling Sales Coaching is the #1 Priority Among Sales Teams

Despite declining quota attainment and sales seniority at the time of hire, the number one challenge in regards to coaching sales reps is time. 43.1% of respondents said their number one sales coaching challenge right now is not having enough time.

With the increasing expectations on sellers to deliver a personalized buying experience, combined with the increasing demand from management to do more with less (especially with the economic events resulting from the pandemic and the widespread move to remote selling), coaching reps to develop their skills is more valuable than ever. Yet research shows that regularly scheduled coaching sessions often get skipped.

Much More In The Full Report

Download the entire research study which answers more pressing sales coaching questions, including:

  • How much time should each rep spend getting coached every week?
  • How are top performing companies delivering coaching to reps?
  • How do top coaches prioritize which calls to review?
  • What criteria do top coaches use to prioritize which reps get coaching?
  • How much time do top coaches currently spend coaching each rep per week?
  • How many reps per sales coach do top companies have?