Feedback or Fluff?
When it comes to company culture, everybody claims to be "feedback-forward."
However, not all feedback is good feedback.
In fact, there are 4 kinds of feedback:
2 are genuinely valuable, 1 is fluffy but unhelpful, and 1 is straight-up toxic.
Read on to understand what each type of feedback looks like and how to provide better feedback and coaching to your SDRs.
The 4 Types Of Feedback
As an SDR Manager (or coach of any kind) it's important to take a step back and recalibrate your approach to coaching - specifically, what kind of feedback you are giving your reps.
There are 4 types of feedback, two positive and two negative, that vary in impact and effectiveness - according to TED-Ed Club.
This feedback is positive, but vague and unspecific.
Like a heart, it's "fluffy" and it "feels good".
It is the most common type of feedback we give our teammates because we want them to like us, and we know compliments go a long way.
While this feedback is encouraging, it's not actually helpful, because it is unspecific and doesn't zoom in on the specific action or behavior that the rep took to generate a positive outcome.
Example: "Tyler, you're great at objection handling."
Tyler may feel good after hearing that, but it's not very helpful feedback because it doesn't call out why he is great at objection handling, was it his tone? His response? Something else?
How is he to know what specific behavior to replicate in the future so he can succeed again?
This feedback is positive and specific.
Like a diamond, it is valuable, and it is sharp and pointed.
Diamond feedback is calling something good out, but taking the time to explain why it was good, so whoever is getting that feedback will know what actions and behaviors led to the positive outcome.
When they can identify what works well, they can focus on delivering that input consistently and sharpening it even more.
Example: "Tyler, you're great at objection handling because you take the time to summarize the objection back to your prospect without firing right back without a response, I think this makes prospects feel heard."
Now Tyler knows that summarizing objections back to prospects makes them feel better, and he can focus on doing this consistently in future conversations.
This feedback is negative and unspecific, and when delivered, can feel like getting clubbed over the head.
Example: "Tyler, your opener sucks, it's too confusing."
Well...okay? Now what? Tyler is pushed into a hole with no way out.
The feedback, while possibly true, is not specific enough to be helpful.
It is criticism with no hope of a solution or offer to help.
This is toxic!
While negative, this feedback is specific, helping receivers understand what they did to end up with an unfavorable outcome so they can avoid the same mistakes in the future.
Example: "Tyler, your opener feels a bit rushed, it may be hard for prospects to understand you and that's why they're asking you to clarify who you are, what would it look like to slow your opener down?"
Boom! Way better than a club.
Spades are named such because they are like a shovel - giving specific feedback will help your teammates dig themselves out of a hole and avoid future missteps.
Yes, Tyler got called out for not having a great opener, but his teammate was specific with why it wasn't that great, giving Tyler the feedback he needs to make changes and get better.
Spades are imperative to the success of a team and an organization.
You are human, therefore, you will screw up.
But knowing your team is there to identify gaps and isn't afraid to call out failure is way more comforting than being surrounded by people too afraid to be real with you.
Who would you rather be friends with - the kid who tells you that you've got food stuck in your tooth? Or the kid who sees it and doesn't say anything because they don't want to embarrass you?
Call the food in your teammate's tooth out, but even better, be there to help them pull it out.
Look, nobody likes to feel uncomfortable.
Feedback can be an uncomfortable thing to give and receive.
But having a formal approach to handling feedback makes feedback loops much more natural and way less awkward for everyone involved.
We have to teach our reps how to give feedback, otherwise, they'll be too nervous to give anything but hearts, or turn toxic and hit their teammates over the head with clubs.
Where you give feedback matters too.
There are many places to give feedback in the remote office; Slack, email, post-call reviews, etc.
However, humans connect the most face to face, so delivering coaching and feedback over Zoom or while on a virtual salesfloor will yield the best results.
Understanding the 4 types of feedback above, you can create a collaborative culture where people aren't afraid to make each other better because they are equipped to deliver helpful & specific feedback that actually makes a difference.
Rid your hand of hearts and clubs, diamonds and spades are the winners here!