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ATD Blog

How Splunk Created a Culture of Remote Coaching in Three Steps

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The new normal has thrown a wrench into sales enablement. While the desired outcomes remain the same—driving revenue and brand value—the effort to get there is changing. Success is now defined by helping sales connect with customers and each other in more impactful ways without in-person interactions. At Splunk, we’re creating a remote coaching culture that empowers managers to elevate their coaching and build plans to win in today’s environment.

Creating a remote culture of coaching began with three questions:

  • What are the most impactful things we can do?
  • What can we leverage and build upon with a new/remote perspective?
  • What new experiments can we initiate?

Here’s how Splunk’s enablement team is working to create a new coaching culture.

What Are the Most Impactful Things We Can Do?

“Find an immediate need.” Turns out, this wasn’t so hard. We planned to run in-person onboarding sessions to after the sales kickoff. We also were launching an onboarding pilot focused on coaching, early activity, and demonstrated knowledge. However, the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted those plans, and we had to shift our core program from in-person to virtual in two weeks. We consolidated a four-day global in-person session into three two-hour sessions. During the debriefs, we learned valuable lessons:

  • Virtual instructor-led training works, especially when using breakout sessions and complementary pre- and post-work.
  • We don’t need more content; we need context and community.
  • We must find ways to virtually share our culture.
  • Rapid and iterative deployment should be part of our DNA.
  • Focus on authenticity more than perfection.

Prior to the shift, we were running a new onboarding pilot, which is highly dependent on Splunk Coach activities. Splunk Coach, which is based on MindTickle’s Sales Readiness platform, provides a method to virtually develop, deliver, and measure training and coaching programs, scaling and reinforcing coaching concepts and principles.


What Can We Leverage and Build Upon Sith a New/Remote Perspective?

To tackle this question, we turned to something familiar—Splunk Coach. Sales and sales enablement leadership worked together to define excellence profiles, which include Splunk values, core behaviors, experience, critical competencies and background. Using these profiles, we created an assessment in Splunk Coach as a benchmark for leaders to assess and identify coaching opportunities and individual development plans.

We expanded our manager-reviewed role plays and pitches, “stand and deliver.” We created a new stand and deliver focused on ensuring sellers could clearly articulate how Splunk helps customers in today’s macroeconomic environment. While the Splunk value proposition isn’t new, how sellers need to deliver it is. Sellers review a scenario, new messaging, and scoring rubric. They then record themselves in Splunk Coach. Finally, a manager reviews against the scoring rubric and provides feedback—all remotely. The results and feedback are incorporated into enablement and coaching plans.


What New Experiments Can We Initiate?

Our long list of ideas includes building an on-demand coaching library so managers can deploy exercises on their own; new ways to integrate prescriptive coaching into our onboarding program; and challenging teams to extend into new areas.

We rolled out a manager coaching series remotely and are in the process of integrating it with the Splunk Coach library. The first session centers on opportunity coaching and emphasizes the areas where sellers can reduce risk and increase focus. We’ve noted significant engagement and participation as well as positive sentiment.

Innovation is part of Splunk’s DNA, and our team is tackling today’s tough environment by creating a culture of learning and coaching remotely. Through smart technology investments and new thinking, we’ve built a framework to ensure we can iterate and be stronger on the other side.

About the Author

Linda Page is the vice president of global field enablement for Splunk, where she focuses on program and curriculum development across all customer-facing roles (including partners) and lines of business. She partners with senior leadership, vice presidents and line of business owners to assess and design initiatives to meet desired outcomes. Her team supports new hire time to productivity, existing field effectiveness and real time enablement such as releases and acquisitions. These efforts are delivered through a variety of methods, including on demand as well as virtual and in person options. Previously, Linda was the senior director of worldwide field enablement for Adobe.

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