For sales agents, it’s all about closing—closing the deal, booking an appointment, making the number of calls required, and more. But it’s a delicate balance, ensuring sales reps are closing deals (i.e. doing their jobs) while delivering a great customer experience. That’s why it’s critical for sales managers to provide agents with proper training before they navigate the proverbial sales battlefield and forge relationships with customers—both current and prospective. When managers set expectations and gain access to the call activity data of their reps, the result is an increase in closed deals and customer satisfaction.
Understand the behaviors of your reps and customers
In order to improve customer experience at each touch point, sales managers need to arm reps with a list of proven responses to common objections, and ensure that they’re focusing on the right messaging to the right people at the right time. By recording phone-based sales interactions and analyzing the metrics of those calls, sales managers can learn what transpired (on both ends) over the course of a call, and can better understand (based on the spoken word) what a customer may or may not do next. Using predictive analytics, based on historical conversations, sales reps can increase cross-sell and upsell initiatives by listening to successful examples of calls conducted by their peers and colleagues.
Call recording not only captures sales reps’ behaviors, it also captures the spoken word of the customer. By reviewing analytics or listening to sales calls, managers can identify whether the products and services reps are talking about are indeed the products and services their customers want to hear about, or whether the rep is responding with an appropriate counter. If not, managers can capitalize on this new insight by adjusting the scripts quickly and applying it to future sales interactions.
Recognize patterns associated with success or failure
Recording and analyzing agents’ phone conversations can significantly help to retain current business, win new business, and reduce sales rep churn. Calls should be measured from a sales effectiveness standpoint with optimal or sub-optimal behaviors identified and either promoted or corrected to the rest of the sales force as a specific indicator of patterns that lead to success. By organizing agent call data, managers gain a clear portrayal of an agent’s performance on a particular call. If certain metrics—like too much silence, hastiness, or inability to tout a particular product benefit—are undesirably used, sales managers can immediately intervene, put a stop to the negative behaviors, and enforce the positive ones.
Train to a standard of expectations
As mentioned above, sales managers will benefit from training based on specific patterns of historical behavior—both negative and positive—as well as benchmarking and making sales performance into a friendly competition amongst team members (i.e. gamification). Once a sizable amount of call data is accumulated and analyzed, managers can showcase concrete examples of behaviors that exhibit successful selling methodologies, as well as poor selling tactics. Both of which will be invaluable to new hires—even seasoned reps—to show them which activities will lead to greater sales and more money.
Many training programs focus on hypothetical “methodologies” that don’t always account for each company’s quirks and industry dynamics, like the nuanced ways in which businesses are run. The best source of data to train sales reps comes from capturing and showing the successful behaviors of reps who have done it before. This shows new reps that success isn’t magic, but rather experience and the power to learn based on behavior…or more importantly, data. Enforcing a training and benchmarking system can aid in rewarding good behaviors, and allow for sales reps to learn (quickly) from their mistakes.
Call recording and analytics are not the silver bullet that will instantly solve all of an organizations’ sales-related issues. But the observed learnings from these recordings—when properly applied to organizational processes—will establish a standard of success and enable practical changes for the better. Smart managers should be regularly revisiting existing procedures and should always be looking for new successes to promote or potential pitfalls to avoid in order to make those improvements a continuous cultural reality.
Effective selling managers focus on ensuring that agents’ customer-facing activities are captured and analyzed, and managing their team to patterns of success—encouraging positive, effective behaviors and discouraging negative ones.
Once these patterns have been established, agents can replicate them across the team and put a stop to poor behaviors to improve the productivity of every rep, not just the top 20% of high performers.