The Worst Sales Call in the History of Sales Calls:
When I was a young rep, I remember one of my first roles as an AE. This was far before Sales Call Intelligence was a thing and certainly, Conversational intelligence software did not exist. I was eager to prove myself and didn’t have a ton of direction. The company that I worked for was not great at training and more or less had me sit for two weeks with other salespeople to see what they did. I remember the first time I was able to work an inbound call. Unfortunately, I did not close the deal, and that is largely because it was the worst sales call in the history of sales calls. After falling down the steep metaphorical stairs of demo disaster after disaster, I realized (through the school of hard knocks) that I had no process. The prospect found me uninteresting, I dumped the information, and I didn’t care about their needs. Don’t get me wrong, here… it was all of the right information, but it was in the wrong order at the wrong time with little conversation. Fortunately, I recovered rather quickly and found a successful flow, but there was a fair amount of pain (and cost of MQLs) to get the process in place. If you don’t think the MQLs are costing you, check out the average cost per lead in your industry – then double the math back on how many leads are qualified – it’s not uncommon for MQLs to cost hundreds of dollars ($200-$600).
Today’s Modern Sales Weapon – Sales Call Intelligence:
Fortunately for new generations of salespeople, sales Call Intelligence is here to stay and that is a good thing. They will not have to suffer as much (hopefully) if we are diligent in using new technology to ignite the acceleration of their skills. So how is Sales Call Intelligence really used? Well… probably not in the best way – unfortunately. Most of the time, it means having a rep mess up a call several times, get coaching, mess the next one up less, get coaching, mess the following call up less, more coaching; you get the idea. How is this any different from learning via the school of hard knocks and trial and error? There is certainly value in coaching, don’t misunderstand, but could we be coaching more efficiently? Some of the top sales call intelligence software companies today are adding components of AI and advanced analytics to speed the process of learning. But, some of the most advanced companies are actually prompting reps with structure in real-time. Spoil alert, one of those companies is Abstrakt. Here are three best practices when it comes to using call intelligence software to get reps on the correct structure quickly.
Best Practice 1 – No Big Blocks of Text (script=bad, talk-track=good)
At first, you do not want your reps to sound like they are reading a cold calling script. Abstrakt, we see the opposite of this a fair amount. Sales leaders tend to want every rep to say the exact words that they would say, but that doesn’t really help them with a real-time prompt. For example, if you would normally structure a call with something like “Let’s do some introductions, chat more about why we are both here, and if everything looks good, do a demo”, you may be able to break that down so that the rep can put it in their own words. Maybe that same sentence is now just bullet points that the software that looks like this to the rep:
- Prompted your interest
- Do a demo if it makes sense
These three bullets can accomplish the same outcome, without having to have the rep read a script. Now, with the bullets, it may sound completely different, but the key elements are there. For example “What do you say we do introductions then I would love to figure out what prompted your interest and then do a demo if it makes sense” – – see how that is different, but the same? The only difference is that it gives the rep more control of the structure, while still keeping your strategic conversational intelligence structure in place.
Best Practice 2 – Iterate Based on Data
The next thing that comes to mind when implementing real-time Sales Call Intelligence is the tendency for sales leaders to change strategy and talk tracks based on gut and feeling. The solution to this is simple, use data. There are probably several top-performing reps on your team and they probably say some sort of structure on their calls. Ask them what they use, and start there. Next, iterate the call based on what they are actually saying on a call. Maybe the top reps always intend to say some particular line during agenda-setting, but it always slips through the cracks. In that case, take that line out of their framework and replace it with what they actually do (as long as it’s validated that what they do is in fact working….). Using data on frameworks for call structure is just as important as nailing down the right objection handling techniques – to really nail this, get an idea for how often the most common objections come up and make sure the reps can nail the top 3-5 in their sleep – but they should have a good idea of how to overcome any/every objection.
Best Practice 3 – Role Play with your Reps
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, you need to role-play with your reps. This ensures they are actually using the tools that will help them succeed and allows the expectation of how a call should go to be set. Using Real-Time Sales Call Intelligence is awesome, but there is a ton of stuff going on around the rep when they are actually on a call. Role-playing using tools like ABSTRAKT is critical because the reps know what they are looking for, have “gotten the kinks out” ahead of time, and it also gives you an opportunity to establish a clear expectation. Now, the rep is ready to handle the call in the correct structure, work through any objections as the system gently reminds them of the proven talk-track path, and can be tracked in the conversation to ensure consistent implementation of best practices.