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A conversation intelligence platform is only 13 of the conversational intelligence puzzle

A Conversation Intelligence Platform is only ⅓ of the Conversational Intelligence Puzzle

“Let’s jump out of a helicopter on a military mission with no plan” (said no one ever)

The word “intelligence” is sure getting thrown around a bunch in the SaaS space.  Does a Conversation Intelligence Platform help with Conversation Intelligence (CI) before action?  CI during the action? Or CI after action?  I would argue that it means all three and they are equally important.  Going into a sales call without research (intelligence), a game plan/talk tracks/sales framework (intelligence), and then analyzing the outcome (intelligence) would be just as crazy as jumping out of a helicopter and “winging it”.  

“Guys, what’s the plan here” are not words that you would hear from an elite military team as they jump out of a helicopter on a highly dangerous and critical mission, right?  Or, if on the mission, you wouldn’t expect to hear someone say “Hey, do you guys remember where we are going or what our next steps are?”.  This is a SaaS blog, probably not the best place to talk about special forces operators, but it’s a decent analogy.  The military has intelligence (things they think are happening or have recently happened), soldiers have the intelligence of what is happening right now (i.e. where to go and what to do, and how to react to contact), and after a mission is conducted, everyone debriefs to ensure intelligence is sound for future missions.  

What is Conversation Intelligence (CI)? 

Sales conversation intelligence really means many things to many people depending on who you ask.  Not to start a blog with a lame definition, but let’s look at the core word intelligence.  Webster defines Intelligence as: 

  1. The ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations” 
  2. “Ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (such as tests)”.  

So… there you have it… in short, intelligence is applying knowledge in action before, after, and while on a call.  There is a huge disconnect between coaching to a call after it happens, and what to say while actually on the call. 

But what about CI for Software Companies (call recording…)? 

If I’m being honest, that definition got me confused because all of the companies I know that are “Sales Conversation intelligence” companies are really about looking at calls after the fact, not when they are happening.  Why would they not include a call framework?  Is it just up to managers to coach and hope that the coaching is applied? 

For example, G2 Crowd puts sales conversation intelligence in buckets with companies like Gong, Chorus, and Salesloft.  These are, no doubt, great solutions, but they largely focus on recording calls and analytics after the fact.  Conversation intelligence is great for when you need after-action intelligence but does little for you while the call is happening.  For example, at ABSTRAKT, either Chorus or Gong are mentioned on 27% of all initial communications that our SDRs receive (calls and emails).  That information, is conversation intelligence “after-action”… but what about the conversation intelligence?  We simply ask, “if you are using conversation intelligence, how are your reps applying that knowledge to the call they are actually on?”.  Luckily, our SDRs have a proven game plan we call a sales framework.  

“During Action” Sales Conversation intelligence

Knowing that we hear about Gong and Chorus frequently (27% of the time) means that we can put this into action in our Framework and objection handling.  Frameworks are a map of the call/mission and your team needs to know exactly how it should go.  They are literally bullet-pointed talk tracks in front of our reps that help them structure their call/mission.  Just like real life, it probably won’t always go to plan, so we have contingency plans pop up when something goes sideways.  For example, we were not planning on a competitor coming up, but when it happens, there are immediate sales call frameworks with helpful bullets on how to handle the call. Because of this, our team is able to complete the Sales Conversation intelligence Platform checklist of before conversation intelligence, during conversation intelligence, and post conversation intelligence (analytics).  

Benefits to using Frameworks During the Call as Sales Conversation Intelligence:

We asked some of our most loyal customers, and these are the top benefits that they experienced from implementing “live-action” Sales Conversation intelligence:

  • Improved Ramp Time
    – Really a no-brainer, having a plan for the call and live conversation intelligence helps employees learn the ropes much faster
  • Reduction in Employee Turnover
    Simply put, salespeople that struggled and once would be let go, or quit are now finding success because their coaching is actually being applied to their calls
  • Increase in Conversion Rates
    – If you are able to sell better, then your conversion rate goes way up
  • Increased Confidence
    Being able to articulate accurately, and see the positive impact, makes reps way more confident
  • More Predictable/Consistent Call Outcomes
    – All reps singing similar songs that we know win over customers makes for predictable wins and revenue.

The idea behind a Conversation Intelligence Platform is to leverage technology that provides recommended responses during the sales call or demo. This meaningful real-time data provides is proactive instead of reactively having to analyze the data post-call. With ABSTRAKT Software, the Sales Representative has what it takes to close the deal.

Author

John Bunting - CTO

After being told "no, this can't be built" by 30+ other potential Technology leaders, John was the first person who said "let's try and build this!" when approached with the idea of Abstrakt. John started his career building computer games, and now builds Enterprise A.I. Software solutions.