Conversation intelligence is a person’s ability and aptitude to assess and adjust conversations (language, message, tone, speed, amount of detail, etc.) in real-time based on the other person’s reactions in order to better reach their goals.
In a sales environment, this is a crucial skill to develop to succeed. In short, it is understanding what behaviors and language produce the most successful sales conversations and progress opportunities, and then replicating those attributes across a sales team. When done correctly, this results in a better experience for both the prospect and the rep.
How is the Conversation Intelligence of Your Sales Team?
To improve conversation intelligence, many sales organizations leverage software solutions that record and transcribe sales calls and analyze the impact and effectiveness of those calls. The best conversation intelligence software solutions also include speech analytics that identify the key words and phrases that are more likely to lead to success.
All of this data is used by the sales manager to identify what the best performers are doing or saying differently. Consequently, coaching the rest of the team benefits from these insights as managers are able to replicate success.
Conversation Insights Available in Real-Time
One of the most important aspects of coaching to improve conversation intelligence is the ability to understand each rep’s core skills, such as asking probing questions, describing benefits clearly and succinctly, and progressing an opportunity in the pipeline. By identifying the trends and winning behaviors they can be scaled across a team.
Conversational intelligence software also easily identifies which reps have high script adherence and which do not. For each rep, the balance of consistency in message (i.e., staying on script) versus listening, assessing, and adjusting the conversation in real-time will vary. Only through an understanding of each prospect’s needs and objections can reps modify the message in a way that is both authentic and effective.
The good news is that a sales manager can access data and insights at their fingertips to understand which side of the fulcrum is best for each rep, and how far they can travel from the mid-point without negatively impacting their performance.
The Value of Conversation Intelligence
Understanding conversation intelligence is important for reps and managers alike. Reps can review their call recordings, transcriptions, and score cards to see whether their effectiveness is improving from prior weeks as well as in comparison to other team members. Sales leaders use this data to provide actionable coaching, sharing what is working well, and replicating that behavior across the team.
These insights that come directly from real prospect conversations are most valuable when they can be translated into performance improvements across an entire team; changing human behaviors and decision-making.
High conversation intelligence leads directly to better:
- Sales performance (i.e., conversation rates and win rates)
- Sales effectiveness
- Sales coaching effectiveness
- New rep onboarding and training effectiveness
- Deal cycle times
Build the Conversation Intelligence of Your Sales Team
Sales leaders have more data available to them than any time in history, but insight without behavior change doesn’t drive better results. Only when a coach and the players (in this case the sales reps) can together facilitate knowledge sharing and behavior change can sales performance improve. Sustainable performance improvements supported by data- and insight-based coaching is the recipe for success.
Once a sales manager identifies how and why the best players on the team win, they can make it a repeatable formula. Conversation intelligence is one of the most important tools in achieving that success. Modeling conversational techniques and language use that is proven effective will help make the rest of the team perform like the best.