What makes a good sales coach?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee is the Sales Effectiveness lead at Autodesk India. He spoke to Pooja Kumar, Regional Host for India and ASEAN, about the importance of sales coaching. Here are a few key insights from the conversation.

– Sales Coaching helps to embed new sales behaviours effectively

– After launching his own start up, selling art and then technology Biswarup has found his career and his purpose in Sales Enablement.

– Previously at Oracle and now Autodesk India as a Sales coach, we talk about the importance of developing managers as coaches, having a robust process for coaching and the evolving nature of measuring success .

Give it a listen and remain curious.

Audio Transcript

Pooja Kumar
Welcome to coffee collaboration and enablement for India and ASEAN. My mission is to create a place where sales enablement and business leaders can come together and learn new ways of accelerating their sales performance. Today, I am extremely thrilled actually to have an old friend and colleague with me. His name is Mr. Roberto chargee. And that’s a tongue twister. So we call him BB. BB is the sales coach and onboarding lead at Autodesk. Autodesk India. Baby, please introduce yourself and the business that you work for.

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Thanks, Pooja, very good morning to all your listeners to you and the collaborator team for inviting me. Yes, I’m called BB and I’m happy to be called that face. That’s my industry name. I’m working with Autodesk as a sales coach and onboarding lead for the India inside sales hub. And yeah, I mean, it has been an absolute pleasure for you to invite me here today.

Pooja Kumar
Fantastic. It’s a pleasure having you here. And in fact, I think that I guess we’ll find it interesting about how you got into enablement. And when?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Yeah. Well, the journey started many years ago, however, you know, let me let let me give an overview to your guests. I mean, I started my sales career as art consultant, when I used to sell art works murals and sculptures to interior designers and architects in the country in India. From there, I went on to launch my own business, which was into hospital softwares. And then, you know, Oracle happened, I think that was a very life changing moment, for me. And, you know, I have been, I had the pleasure of working with incredible people, incredible managers, great companies. And, you know, I would emphasize on great people, because great people are, who make great companies. So, and today, I’m part of part of Autodesk, a very powerful team, incredible company, again, because we are helping companies, you know, build the future of making, you know, attend for companies to attend a sustainable future and design, manufacturing and construction. So that is something which is very much related to my purpose. So yeah, that’s it, and I’m really enjoying what I’m doing today.

Pooja Kumar
Fantastic. So you just talked about your sales career I love I, you know, I love that you’re currently aligned to your purpose in the company values that you see that’s so important. But how did you get into enablement?

Unknown Speaker
Hmm.

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
More filtered question, actually, yeah, that’s, that’s an interesting one. And I’ll tell this to you, it was not accidental, I made my choice. And I should mention that, that it’s you Pooja, who got me into in enablement. When I was back in Oracle. It was quite, I mean, three or four years back, as you would likely know it. So I started in enablement, when I was not sure about what I’ll be doing. But as I, you know, however, as I had learned, and saw the change in the teams, which I was coaching, and I decided that this is what I’ll be continuing now, the journey started though I formally started four years back, I mean, I think, as I mentioned, that I launched my own business, and I always had this knack towards coaching and mentoring, sales folks. So that was my passion. And I realized it when I actually formally got a designation and worked towards that. So yeah, that’s my sales enablement career. Engine.

Pooja Kumar
I remember that clearly. I remember when the penny dropped. So for for, if you’re listening to this, BD was in the sales team. And and we decided one day I as I was establishing the function of sales enablement and organization, BB, said, You know, I think I’d like to apply for this. I don’t know what it is yet. But I like the idea of coaching people and training them and I think I’ll be good at it. And we went through a series of interviews and gosh, you were good at it. You helped me establish a function that I’m very proud of. And you were one of the founding members of creating that that space and creating our mission. Excited So thank you for all the exposures. Back to Autodesk. And what you’re doing. And what’s really cool as as actually is, once you’ve left the sales enablement function, by the way, with with when you work with me at Oracle, is that you’ve gone into another sales enablement function. And, and that is fantastic. And I’m really thrilled with that. So tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing at Autodesk. Tell us about the inside sales business, and what do you do there.

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Um, first of all, you know, I’m part of a very, you know, robust and global team of sales enablers, including sales coaches, and enablers. And we are spread worldwide, what we do is we help drive performance, productivity, and most importantly, customer centricity. Because as I mentioned that Autodesk I am really thrilled to work with this organization. Because, you know, we help companies to, you know, lay the foundation of the future of making, and whether it’s in design, manufacturing, convergence of, you know, construction and design. So, I help our insight sellers, you know, have those customer centric conversations with, with the customers, because that’s, that’s something which we all are supposed to do, because it’s not about our products, you know, our solutions, you know, how great we are, but it’s all about their, their challenges, you know, how we can help them. So on a

Pooja Kumar
vision for the customer.

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Okay, exactly, exactly. So that is what I do every day, day in, day out. Okay. And I, you know, I work very closely with the business, one in a very, you know, important learning, which I had in my sales enablement journey is that sales coaches specifically have to work very close to the sales team, you know, close with the sales team, that the business, and I’m proud to say that, you know, I’m part of the sales team. And we work, you know, every day hand in hand. So,

Pooja Kumar
yeah, that’s really nice. Tell me though, go back to the enablement organization at Autodesk. You said you’re part of the global enablement team. Yeah. What, how many people in the team? And what are some of the key roles in the team? And also how many people in enablement in India?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Well, we are a big team. And I mean, so, you know, it’s actually not a funny question. But a very important question, actually, every sales manager at Autodesk is a sales coach. And I think that’s what it should be. And I’m proud to say that, you know, I’m part of a global team, a big team. And we are spread across the US, Europe, India, and APAC. And we have, you know, specific sales coaches, and I’m the, who’s representing our organization, our internal organization in India. But to answer your question, I think when it comes to sales enablement or sales coaching, all the managers I’m working with right now, they are sales coaches, in in themselves, and we are, you know, collectively helping our team to have that customer centricity.

Pooja Kumar
Right? That’s really cool. So so you’re apart from you being a sales coach, you’re also enabling the managers to coach effectively, which is really where the rubber hits the road, right. So is it just you in India, baby? Oh, is there a few?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Yeah, it’s me. So I’m the sales coach and onboarding lead for India.

Pooja Kumar
Okay, and how many sales people in the team member in the scope of your role?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
It’s a it’s a, it’s a, you know, growing team, and we have a robust team of about 25 sales reps who are helping customers every day. Just to mention what I mentioned before. And yeah, and and it’s a it’s a growing team.

Pooja Kumar
Okay, so 25 and growing, and how many sales managers?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
I mean, it’s a global team. So we have two managers here. Yes,

Pooja Kumar
sir. Sorry. Sorry. Let me explain that. Let me ask that question. Again. I don’t think I did did a very good job. How many people do you support in your inside sales organization? How many?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Yeah, I mean, so it’s all the 25 people, including the managers, and so you know, yeah. So it’s you know for sales coaches we have that you know like every in a given timeline we will be coaching a specific set of people and then moving on to the next year so it’s just happened that way yeah okay to answer your question it’s 25 plus year

Pooja Kumar
it’s 25 plus and growing wow that’s a that’s a nice number to really make an impact with you must be loving it so tell me more about the coaching program that you rolled out actually let’s start with what what were there any challenges when you started did you have to put in a process tell us about the program and any success that you may have be able to share with us off the program you may not be able to so so tell us what you can i’m very interested in your program

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
i think i think yeah that’s a great question and i i sure you know you and our listeners will your listeners will agree to it that it’s an ever evolving process the good part is we have a robust process and a structure in place and that is something which i’m proud about my sales managers and directors proud about and i’m following what we have right now whether i have laid any process or not i will just say that you know it’s it’s ever evolving process and i have been talking to you even before and we have kept in touch you know i speak to my leaders every day every week we come across new ideas you know fresh ideas how to coach how to improve productivity how to you know measure the the change you know whether there’s there’s a shift in the needle so it’s very dynamic and i think it should be because you know what we have experienced in the past one year and our world has changed and you know i mean we just can’t stop talking about it it’s very dynamic and so as you know the sales coaching process is evolving because it’s it’s happening you know online i mean because of this yeah because of this world so i work from home process i mean i haven’t met my coaches yet to being in india they haven’t met me yeah started

Pooja Kumar
in the middle of COVID so so how was that how was that getting started actually i would imagine having a coach meet their sales rep over zoom and say i’m gonna coach you that would have been a challenge

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
it was a it was a challenge and it is a challenge today not just for me as a coach however from my i mean but for my coaches too and for all sales coaches around i mean i have moved countries during COVID from malaysia where i was based to bangalore india and that was a challenge and i think i think it’s about crossing the chasm i mean okay so so we did it pretty well and we are adapting the fact that sales coaching is a very niche segment and we are having this interaction the collaborator is doing a fantastic job so we are learning every day because that shouldn’t stop and it’s working well so far and i think i think everybody is loving it so so that’s my take on this virtual setup

Pooja Kumar
is fantastic that is such a great perspective you know what you said about coaching and and your program evolving all the time i think that’s really important one of the most important things to do with any enablement program is make sure that you know keep the business challenge as your northstar and reflect on it reflect on what you’re doing to solve that business challenge or business requirement weekly adjust you adjust and pivot as you need to and especially for a sales coaching program because that is so it’s it’s about human sales coaching is about humans coaching humans to be better at what they’re doing and develop their highest potential so i think it’s really important to to to reflect and adapt as you go i’m glad to see you’re doing that so it sounds like sales coaching was quite a well established program within autodesk before you is that right

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
that’s right yeah

Pooja Kumar
that’s right did you need to sell this internally to get started and especially during COVID time

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
you know here there as we speak i’m again proud to say that i’m working with exceptional sales leadership in apac in india who value sales coaching and who know the difference between sales training and sales coaching that’s very important in a sales coaching function in ai you know enablement has many things training and coaching is what are two important you know job function and net so my internal team internal leadership they know the difference they value it and i think i think it more than selling to the leadership it’s about it’s about you know the moment of introduction we have between myself and my coachee so i asked this question to my coaches every time you know in the introduction session session what do you know about the difference between a trainer and a coach and i listened to their perspective how their experiences

Unknown Speaker
tell me what is some of the things that you’ve heard

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
yeah no i would i have i have heard probably you know the right answer they also know because you know we work with experienced sales reps and they are world class world class sales rep and they know the difference what it is you know between training and coaching and what i will be doing every day again i’m lucky to do that it’s just that you know it has to be reiterated again and again because because one key aspect in sales coaching is listening to calls you know call listening and helping them improve those calls those customer engagement tactics whether on calls whether written communication so it’s a one on one you know engagement every time because not every key fits every lock so it’s unique so i think i think that part of selling is more essential in my my part of the business yeah right i always sell to my coaches yeah

Pooja Kumar
exactly what your role is you know what maybe it’s at the very end i’m going to ask you what is the difference between training and coaching and the reason i’m going to ask you this is because i don’t think many people do know i do think that many people think the trainer does the coaching and the trainer train so you should be ready to go after that but there is really quite there is a distinction between learning the material and then coaching so i’m going to actually without saying you tell me what’s the difference

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
i am i personally i’m exploring that you know every day but however what i can tell you that i am not a trainer i am a sales coach and what i know about the differences in our training is to tell people the best practices what they can do should do to the trend train them on the best practices and coaching is you know helping them show the path which they already know about you know it’s not about telling them it’s about influencing behaviors you know you you mentioned the very important fact that you know changing human behaviors and that’s what i’m doing the interesting part is it’s already there in my in the sales rep in my coachee and i am helping them figure out that path that lie at exactly how to apply it yeah that’s

Pooja Kumar
that’s really the benefit of sales coaching is you could have rockstar training but human beings tend to forget and i can’t remember what the forgetting curve is but there is a thing as the forgetting curve and in the first week you only retain 10% of the information right you have learnt in no matter what training program and sales coaching really helps you reflect apply and learn the behaviors to be able to move forward with this great training that has been done

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
absolutely and yeah i call it reflective learning i mean i have read about it i have practiced that you know when you conduct a training you always think about how to monetize that and how most importantly it’s not about just you know conducting a training session but for sales coaches who are also doing training sometimes like myself you know we always work how to you know make that you know make that execution we’ll you know on the ground when when people are calling when people are interacting with the customer so yeah likely said

Pooja Kumar
cool all right so tell me something what is the business impact that you’re seeing of the po Sales coaching and how do you measure it today? And I know you said that it’s constantly evolving. Yeah. How do you measure it today?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Well, you know, I think I think this entire community of sales enabler in which you are part of which I am part of which my managers in Autodesk at Autodesk, are part of, we are always figuring out how to measure it. Before answering that question, I will, I’ll tell you, I read it somewhere, a sales coaches view. And somehow I’m inclined towards that, that we many times we do the mistake of, you know, measuring in a way, where we kind of forget the importance of sales coaching, because as I mentioned before, that it’s all about influencing sales behavior. And to do that, there has to be an element of trust between, you know, you, as a coach and your coachee. The moment you, you know, put numbers and, you know, you show the graph, you know, how’s the improvement or the downfall? I think there is, there is a depletion of trust there. Now, I, you know, I don’t know the solution, but that’s my personal opinion. And I would say the best way to measure it, which I’m doing currently is self assessment of the coachee. And, you know, what I assess, and, you know, we have a one to one interaction with the sales rep, including the managers, you know, we all have to be on the same platform, we have to agree to disagree at certain points, and then, you know, apply it back to best practices. So that’s, that’s one way which I’m doing it. And then the second ways, you know, identifying the skill shift. So, so it’s all about mindset. You know, when I, when I say, customer centricity, it’s not just about the questions, you’re asking to the customers, but how you are asking the questions, and you can only observe that by listening to calls and observing, you know, the sales. Yeah, customer engagement. touchpoints. So, we do it on a regular basis, and then have a mutual conversation assessment. So that’s, that’s how we are measuring, not to forget the fact that we are definitely. I mean, as a sales coach, I am also very much inclined towards number and I believe that, you know, applying sales coaching will help sales teams, you know, up the game by 30%. You know, I would, I would say it this way that it’s, the chances of meeting sales quotas will increase by anywhere between 20% to 30%. If sales coaching is applied, strategically. So that’s how we measure that yes. Okay, centers that answer your question.

Pooja Kumar
It does, we do it a little bit differently. As you know, over here, I am very numbers driven. It’s a different type of organization that I’m working in as well, though, which is. And that’s why I need to be able to do that. So we have a couple of aspects, but I really liked what you said in terms of measuring, having the conversations about the piece that I think I’m missing is having the conversation about what’s changed with the coachee. Yeah, and, and, and making that aware. But we do measure on competency. So a weekly competency assessment around the various variables that you actually set up for me. Benson said, We agreed to in terms of what coaching on the aspects, we coaching on the program, we run a six weeks and after six weeks, there is there is a review done on the coaches performance before they started, and after they started. So it’s just it’s I think it’s a function of what and I think that’s important part of sales enablement and coaching. It’s what’s relevant to the business at that particular. Absolutely. And as you know, I also KPI my sales coaches, in that 90% of the of their coaches need to have exceeded or achieved, achieved or exceeded their targets at any given point in time.

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Oh, yeah. I mean, that’s, that’s fantastic. I mean, personally, I also set the same target for myself, because it’s all about I mean, we do need to have a commercial mindset. Yeah. When when we are coaching so I agree to your points. Yeah.

Pooja Kumar
No, but I love how you guys do it as well. It’s very nice and and you are you are currently coaching a much more mature level of seller, someone who’s been in sales for a lot longer. So you need to absolutely work that a little bit differently.

Unknown Speaker
Okay?

Pooja Kumar
Tell me something baby this is we’ve we about five minutes away from from the 30 minutes that I had scheduled for it. I am thrilled that you have a great to come and talk to me and share your wisdom with so many of us in the sales enablement community just got people pinging me saying great session Pooja. Hi from Sarah, Rishi BB.

Pooja Kumar
So this is useful and very useful for us. Take a minute to, to brag, tell us about what you’re most proud of.

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
I’m, I’m super proud of where I am today, I’m super proud of what you know, the incredible people I have worked with, because that is very important. Even, you know, take take the sales process there, there might be times when you know that your customers might not understand the business value and not buy for from you because of a business value, but they just buy from you because of the people connection. So I value that very much. And I’m absolutely proud about the people I have worked in, in in the past and I’m working with Currently, I’m proud of the learning through collaborator, I mean, you guys are doing an exceptional job, I think I

Unknown Speaker
think you

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
send a little Mint is very important. Because we learn from each other every day is a learning I learn a lot from my coaches. And that’s something which I’m proud about. I’m proud about my passions even out of work, you know, just like you You are doing, I am also running a podcast, which is called spill the tea pods. And yeah, I would I would love to be, you know, not debate but we talk on unconventional ideas. I mean, we have grown up with so many stereotypes in so many conventional ideas. And we always invite guests who have some, you know, some some different idea to those things which they have grown up. I mean, we speak on mental health, we speak on Ott platforms. I remember last week we did you know interview with a guest. And that’s out on our 10th episode with a guest based in Australia. So we actually, you know, we discuss on various ideas which are unconventional. So that is something which I’m proud about. I’m proud about my vision. My mission my to learn Mandarin, which is which is one of my key goal this year. So yeah, I mean, I’m really proud about a lot of things, including sales coaching, which is my absolute passion today. So thanks, I’m glad that you have asked that question.

Pooja Kumar
I love that. And you know what, what comes out? The strongest in your every time I talk to you is your growth mindset, the the your your wanting, your your requirement for more knowledge is is just so key to who you are. So tell me my next questions. For everyone listening out there. What are your top learning resources? Do you have a few learning resources?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Yes, I do. I mean, the first one will be LinkedIn. And this is an absolute fantastic platform I am endorsing lately selling them because I believe in LinkedIn, it helped me in my sales career. Yeah, I mean, yeah, LinkedIn, LinkedIn learning, LinkedIn learning, but also LinkedIn as a whole platform. Because you know, your network is your network big, just because the fact that you learn from them every day. So I’ll tell you a funny thing about my LinkedIn profile. So whenever I get to visit anybody, any buddies profile, which is interesting, you know, the summary they wrote, or, you know, the courses they did, which I view them, I always try to go and look out for them or change my profile. So I think, you know, LinkedIn is a great platform and LinkedIn learning, you know, I spend time, every week, an hour or two, just to go through the courses and self reflect, you know, what I have been doing in job and what I can do better. So that’s the I would I would call out I mean, LinkedIn is definitely a very important tool and I follow that.

Pooja Kumar
Fantastic, good. Excellent. And I we the top of the hour. Thank you so much for being on and just before we go, your podcast is called what spill the tea pods

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
spill the tea pots. We are on Google apple. However, you know, people can find us on Instagram, on at spill the tea pots, they can just, you know, find search for spill the tea pots and people can find out and I have started that with some friends of mine and ex colleagues. So I think you should visit I think I mean, you have visited the podcast, listen to

Pooja Kumar
a few of them. And and they’re all really interesting. So if anyone in the audience or anyone listening to this later wants to go and talk about their unconventional idea, please contact BB of this room better chargee who will be on my LinkedIn file? Yeah, thank you, Bibi, for having us for for being here not having us from for being here and talking to us. And sharing your wisdom on sales coaching. Any last words before we go?

Biswarup Bhattacharjee
Let’s build this community more stronger. And let’s help our companies and our sales team to be more stronger. Excellent.

Pooja Kumar
Thank you so much. Thank you. All right. I’ll see you later. Thank you, everyone.

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