Are you familiar with the phrase ‘chuck enough mud at the wall and soon enough some will stick?’ Well that's the ‘clean’ version anyway!
Take a look at your modern day sales tech stack, and you will see one thing which is consistent across all of them. They are all about MORE. More leads, more contacts, more emails, more dials; everything is about more activity and more automation to help sales reps fill their funnel. Not creating enough meetings? No problem - here’s some technology which helps you triple your daily email output! Not making enough connects on the phone? Fear not - here’s a platform to automate your dialling! Can’t find enough names and numbers? It’s your lucky day - here's a SaaS platform which gives you more contact details.
The reality is however, despite most sales teams having tools such as these fully ingrained within their teams, a big problem still exists. Given that less than half of reps in a sales organisation are hitting quota, something points to the fact that ‘more’ is not the solution here. Due to the amount of noise our prospects are facing, the competitiveness of products which all share very similar features and functionality, Sales Leaders in 2018 are realising that their key differentiator is making their people better. How do we do this? The answer is in conversation intelligence.
What is Conversation Intelligence?
Conversation intelligence refers to a person's ability to assess the outcome and direction of a conversation. Within the field of sales, it means understanding the reasons as to why a rep achieved certain outcomes from a conversation, and how to optimise conversations to have more successful results.
It is providing busy Sales Managers with rapid insights into where coaching opportunities exist in their sales organisation, and intelligence on why their top performers succeed.
It also provides real data behind common trends in their sales calls, removing the guesswork and predictions on things such as their most common objections and how many questions are required to be asked to properly qualify a prospect.
The importance of executing on sales conversations
A recent Bridge Group report which surveyed 434 B2B organisations identified a startling statistic that SDR’s on average are only having 5 quality conversations per day. Work that out across a typical 8 hour day, and that’s just over half a conversation PER HOUR. It doesn’t surprise me therefore, that when I speak with most Sales Development Leaders - I frequently hear of quotas that are in the realms of one or two meetings per week per rep. And still - most reps aren’t even hitting those numbers. So with conversations taking place across a working week at such a premium, then the criticality of executing on those conversations is higher than ever before. Conversation intelligence technology is enabling Sales Leaders to extract data and insights from the conversations that do take place, to reduce mistakes, optimise their messaging and call tactics, and ultimately increase success in their team.
Finding the right conversations in the first place
Most sales organisations nowadays are recording the sales calls that their reps are having. The problem is, across a working week, they could end up with a jungle of call recordings which end up collecting dust on the shelf. One of our clients really described it as an ‘Easter Egg hunt’ - not knowing where to start or where to look in finding relevant calls to listen to. Conversation intelligence allows managers to be alerted to calls based on specific rules - ranging from those which have competitor mentions, through to those which include a pricing discussion but didn’t have any positive next steps. Conversation intelligence is like GPS for call recordings, routing busy Sales Managers to listen into and coach the right conversations - rather than rely on sales reps to cherry pick the calls they want to be heard.
Trumping the CRM in showing rep performance
I’m still amazed when I ask Sales VP’s how they measure their rep’s performance, and they give me the answer of “I can look in the CRM”. A CRM is ultimately only as good as the notes which a rep enters into it, and let’s be honest - most reps notes of their meetings and calls are vague at best.
‘Good call with prospect, need to get decision maker involved, 20 sales reps, follow up next week’
This kind of detail is nothing more than a handful of words to summarise a 30 minute conversation. A 30 minute sales conversation which on average will contain over 6000 spoken words. How this helps a Sales Leader measure rep performance is beyond me, and who even truly knows if this really was a ‘good call’?
Conversation Intelligence removes the ambiguity and subjectivity of summarised notes in a CRM, and gives Sales Leaders the source of truth. Insights such as how many questions the rep asked, the type of questions, how engaged the prospect actually was, and the way the call ended is all revealed in seconds. Furthermore, no longer do reps need to worry about typing up notes, when instead they can simply revisit the key moments of their call.
Replicating your top performers
When I ask a Sales Leader who their top performer is on their team, they have no problem telling me the name of that rep and how much more successful that rep is compared to the rest. I often hear that their top performers are doing more than DOUBLE the number of meetings or revenue to even the middle of the pack. When I drill down into what makes their top reps so much more successful, often the answer comes down to their sales skills and specific intricacies in their sales conversations.
Up until now, extrapolating those skills and cloning them across the team has been the secret sauce which sales leadership have long strived for, but never been able to access. With Refract and conversation intelligence, winning sales behaviours and moments from interactions with prospects can be extracted from the calls of your top performers. Those can be shared and played back by other reps in seconds. New hires can learn about how to best handle a common objection, how to summarise, the best discovery questions to ask, and call openings which have proven to have greatest success of engaging prospects - all from their own peers. Winning sales conversations are no longer locked away behind closed doors.