Most discussions about sales coaching tools involve listing a bunch of options as though all sales coaching tools are the same thing. They’re not. Broadly speaking, modern sales coaching tools fit into one of two categories:
- Direct Feedback: Provides performance feedback based on practice or live sales calls.
- Training Platforms: House training resources, offer sales reps guided learning opportunities, and provide sales managers with the ability to provide coaching and feedback.
In this article, we’ll explain these categories and provide a list of leading sales coaching tools in both categories so that sales managers can find the correct tool to solve their immediate problems.
Table of Contents
Direct Feedback Tools Explained
Training Platforms Explained
Direct Feedback Tools: Guidance and Metrics That Count
Direct feedback tools are what most people are referring to when they think of sales coaching tools. They provide direct feedback on how reps are performing on sales or practice calls. Feedback can range from the tone of their voice to how engaged their customers are during the call.
Some feedback tools will even assist in the sale by surfacing relevant product information for the rep to reference as the software listens to the conversation for relevant keywords.
Depending on the software, feedback, and sales performance, insights can come from managers or AI-powered software. All feedback tools provide meaningful metrics to gauge improvement over time.
There are considerable differences between options when comparing direct feedback tools, so it’s important to carefully consider what tools will work best for your needs.
In our experience, here’s what to ask when making a selection:
- What type of feedback does your team need? Do you need to coach on keeping your clients engaged during a sales presentation? Or maybe your team could use voice coaching so they can present themselves in a favorable way over the phone or in person. Maybe your sales reps could use support during customer interactions, and a tool that provides prompts and real-time feedback.
- How many employee hours are available to coach sales reps? If you’re the only coach in a growing team, sales coaching software that harnesses the abilities of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide feedback and coaching cues might be the ideal choice.
The list below explains several popular direct feedback tools, so you can find the exact fit for your needs.
Have you ever noticed how two team members can say the exact same thing, but one will close the deal way more often than the other? This difference can oftentimes be attributed to that seemingly impossible trait to coach for: a person’s “vibe.”
As we covered in detail in our article on voice analytics software, VoiceVibes is an AI-powered practice and coaching platform that assesses how sales reps are perceived when speaking.
VoiceVibes goes beyond analyzing words and can actually provide metrics on the quality of delivery across multiple dimensions. This means the software can provide a detailed report on every conversation, and provide insight on “vibes” like confidence, approachability, clarity, and more.
An independent study by Towson University showed that the VoiceVibes algorithm successfully predicted 11 “vibes” with at least 97% accuracy and all 20 vibes analyzed by the software with at least 90% accuracy.
These vibes cover a range of positive and negative characteristics, including:
As a sales coaching tool, VoiceVibes’ conversation intelligence and analytic reports provide data-driven and numeric feedback that can be used to track improvement over time, ensuring your team sounds more natural, personable, and polished when they speak.
As a manager, you can track team progress and design assignments your sales reps can work on independently.
Imagine the boost in sales if your entire team had the same “vibe” as your top seller. Get your demo today!
Brainshark offers direct feedback to sales reps through a virtual coach that uses machine analysis.
Brainshark’s machine analysis provides instant feedback and encourages sales reps to try until they get it right. It also automatically evaluates the reps adherence to the message. You can specify the words and phrases you want your rep to say when delivering the message, as well as words you'd rather reps avoid.
Sales managers can do all this when setting up a coaching activity. The machine analysis also assesses reps' percentage of filler words (ums, ahs, likes, and you knows), rate of speech, emotion conveyed, and more.
Like several of the services on this list, ClearSlide’s direct feedback functionality comes bundled in their larger sales engagement software offering, which we’ve previously discussed in our article on sales engagement software.
What’s unique about ClearSlide’s direct feedback tool is it monitors customer engagement in real-time during online sales meetings. This is innovative because most feedback tools only provide feedback on the sales rep’s performance or actions, not the customer’s.
For example, when hosting a meeting or call on ClearSlide’s web conferencing platform, sales reps receive an alert when the prospect loses interest or becomes distracted by something like answering an email in a different window.
These alerts prompt sales reps, in real time, to stop and engage the customer with something like a question in order to recapture their interest.
On top of this, ClearSlide automatically stores every recording and logs meeting engagement metrics and details like who attended. This can be invaluable for follow up emails and calls. This engagement data helps managers determine if their sales reps are speaking effectively without having to listen to every call to observe how reps communicate.
With ClearSlide, managers can see exactly when and how sellers engage with prospects so that they can find the best opportunities for working with their team to increase sales.
Recorded calls and engagement data can then be used in a variety of ways for sales training, including:
- Clips from call recordings can be stored and shared internally via ClearSlide’s Perfect Pitch Library as examples of how to handle objections, product messaging, and improve sales methodology.
- Setting and tracking engagement benchmarks for the entire sales team to beat.
- Sales reps can review their presentations to build self-awareness.
- A sales coach or manager can asynchronously provide sellers 1-1 feedback, avoiding having to coordinate schedules.
Beyond sales presentation metrics, ClearSlide offers a host of other sales metrics by flagging at-risk deals, providing account-based management dashboards to track workflow, monitoring sales rep activity, and providing insight into how customers interact with emails and promotional materials.
For more information on these features, see ClearSlide’s Engagement Dashboards article.
Only engaged clients can hear and understand the value proposition communicated by your sales reps. And that understanding can lead to more sales. Book a demo today!
Second Nature’s AI-powered software can have live conversations with your sales reps, simulating real world sales calls while providing call coaching and certification.
ExecVision provides a platform for post-call feedback. Managers can add annotated notes to each recorded sales conversation, create coaching programs, and create customizable scorecards to keep sales reps motivated to build lasting behavioral changes.
Salesken software provides AI-powered support during live calls, showing data and talking points as customers ask questions. Salesken metric tracking software gives managers the insights they need to get sales reps reaching the KPIs of their top performers.
Wingman provides AI-powered coaching during live calls, alerting sales reps when they’ve been talking too long and rating their performance. Wingman software surfaces relevant data for your sales rep to reference as customers ask questions.
ringDNA software is a coaching solution that lets managers provide feedback on calls, save the best calls and teachable moments to a library for training and future coaching sessions, monitor conversation etiquette, and track performance improvements over time.
Training Platforms: All Your Knowledge and Training in One Spot
Unlike direct feedback tools, training platforms store institutional knowledge and make it available in ways that facilitate learning. These platforms house training resources, offer sales reps guided learning opportunities, and give sales managers the ability to provide coaching and feedback.
When choosing a training platform, it’s important to consider:
- Is it designed for mobile and offline use? Remote teams, hybrid offices, the Millennial workforce, and diverse working conditions require thoughtful product design. Does the sales coaching tool optimize for mobile phones? Will it work in sales territories without reliable internet access? These factors are often taken for granted, but not every training platform offers them.
- Is the tool implementing the latest in micro-learning research? Bite-size training improves retention and often feels less daunting to sales reps.
- Does the tool include gamification features? Mandatory training only alienates talent. Modern training platforms can harness the successes of social media and online gaming platforms, providing gamification-style motivation like progress metrics, scoreboards, leaderboards, rewards, and more.
- Can the tool track each sales rep’s learning progress and provide training metrics? Training platforms vary in how they handle assignments, learning paths, progress metrics, and the coaching process. As a manager, it’s crucial to find a tool that presents training data in a way that will inform strategic decision making.
- Will the tool work well with your existing training assets and make it easy to create new ones? Your organization likely already has training resources hosted somewhere. Will these require manual transfer or does the sales coaching tool automate the migration process for you? Does the training platform support the creation of training resources, or will video and text document creation require an additional software solution?
Below is a list of some of the leading training platforms on the market. While they all perform the basic functions associated with a training platform, the differences between how those functions are implemented can be the difference between widespread adoption and a struggle to get sellers onboard.
Bigtincan Learning is built to help enterprise sales leaders train their team quickly and efficiently without replacing or tampering with the company-wide LMS.
Instead of submitting each piece of learning content to HR or Learning and Development, sales leaders can quickly publish to Bigtincan, push the content to sellers, and keep them engaged wherever and whenever they have time to learn.
Mobile-Optimized and Offline Enabled
Bigtincan Learning is optimized for mobile performance, making it perfect for modern workforces used to living life through their phones. All training materials and features are fully functional offline for sales reps in the field.
Micro-Lessons for Better Retention
Bigtincan harnesses the latest in the science of learning, providing lessons in a format optimized for micro-learning, a strategy that’s proven to increase knowledge retention and work performance.
We discuss Bigtincan Learning’s mobile and micro-learning features in great detail here: Best Mobile LMS for Sellers: An Overview of the Top 4 Platforms Available Today
Gamification Makes Learning Fun
All the modern functionality in the world wouldn’t help if your team didn’t like using its training platform. That’s why Bigtincan incorporates gamification elements into its training.
As we discussed in depth in our article on gamification, these types of features create a psychological feedback loop that increases user engagement.
Public leaderboards, as an example, work well for competitive members on your team.
Providing Individualized Training
Powered by Bigtincan’s SalesAI technology, Bigtincan Learning provides personalized, adaptive features that automatically adjust content to user roles, skill levels, locations and more.
Cutting Through Resource Overload
Just-in-time learning empowers users to look up the training they need exactly when they need it. Combined with short microlearning content (1-5 min videos and lessons), this AI-powered search feature supports sales reps in the field and quickly helps them find an answer to questions that may come up.
Instead of information on the latest product being locked away in a “monthly training” deck or hour long recording, with Bigtincan, it can be available in a few seconds if the rep simply searches for the product name. This feature can be transformational for sales organizations and instrumental in installing new sales enablement practices.
One-on-One Feedback, Asynchronously
Sales reps can record practice videos at the touch of a button for managers to monitor their training retention. Assignments, quizzes, and a personalized progress dashboard let sales reps know how they’re doing and motivate them to keep improving.
The team at Bigtincan will work with you to ensure the training platform looks and feels just right for your brand.
We discuss Bigtincan’s success in customizing the app for two multinational brands here: Two Global Brand Digital Retail Transformation Case Studies: Lessons & Challenges
Create New Training Materials with Ease
Bigtincan Learning is compatible with SCORM and other common training file formats, but also comes with its own easy to use content-authoring tools.
The authoring tools are designed for ease of use so that the technical barrier is as low as possible. Our article on learning content management system software provides an in depth look and a case study on how the content authoring tool supports team training.
Tools for Managers
Monitor progress on dashboards displaying key training metrics, send assignments, design quizzes, and provide one-on-one feedback and support to your team members.
Bigtincan Learning integrates effortlessly with any CRM, like Salesforce.
Have any questions about how Bigtincan Learning would work for your organization? The best and fastest way to get those questions answered is to book a Bigtincan demo today.
Ambition is a metric-driven gamification and coaching platform. Ambition includes a sales dashboard, sales management software, goal-tracking, rep scorecards, leaderboard software, and much more.
SalesHood is a guided selling software that includes a coaching and learning platform. Teams have access to peer-to-peer learning opportunities, gamification, and manager feedback. Courses and micro-content can be created within the app for a fully customized sales learning playbook that will lead to effective sales.
Lessonly, now part of Seismic, facilitates learning through sales role play and certification pathways while making it easy for content and course creators to build lessons directly within Lessonly.
Lessonly is a coaching solution for all salespeople using your training program, whether they are new hires just onboarding or your best sales members maintaining their sales readiness.
See How Enterprise Sales Teams Use Bigtincan Learning
See how Bigtincan’s sales training software can boost quota attainment and win rates for your sales process by booking a demo today.