You are not doing your job, because you don’t deliver actionable intelligence in real-time
Okay, maybe that is a bit harsh, but it is your job to ensure the success of your people and you’re wasting years of their time (and yours) by not efficiently molding them into world-class thought leaders in your industry.
You have bought all of the tools, have the best data, and coach like a champ. But your focus is on what has happened, and what is going to happen, and that is how your salespeople are learning. Call prep, call prep, call prep, data, practice, practice, practice, data, coaching, coaching, coaching, data, apply, repeat.
But those repetitions are expensive, you’re burning daylight, leads, and maybe even your people if you are not focusing on making them effective as quickly as possible. The coaching only takes a percentage of the time, the prep can only go so far, and the world would be a better place if only you could stop time, strategize/coach them, and then continue the call they are butchering while you read this. But you can’t freeze time magically like in the movies – you are only human.
Sales Intelligence and Coaching are really just ways to build knowledge and experience
In a world of buzzwords and tools that aid with Call Intelligence, at the end of the day, Sales Leaders really just want to sell more, hit their number, and conquer the world where everyone seems to be some type of thought leader. To sell more, you need to stack the odds in your favor in every way you can. That is where Call Intelligence and call analytics have been making waves recently. One way is getting your reps information ahead of time (Sales Intelligence…). Another is helping your reps build knowledge learned from experience (Sales Coaching…). But nearly every type of sales leadership action is designed to help get more revenue from either foresight or hindsight perspective.
1 Year to Survive, 2 to Thrive
Sales leaders focus on what leads up to the sales call, and then coaching after so that the next call can go “even better”! Maybe that’s why the “1-year to survive, 2-years to thrive” mentality exists – because it takes that long to build knowledge and actual intelligence into your salespeople so that they can actually be effective. Literally, they need a bunch of swings at the plate (a bunch of coaching, call prep, learning, etc) to practice and analyze before the home runs start coming in.
Sales intelligence and sales coaching are really about building salespeople to the point that they have some semblance of a thought leader that can “challenge” and be an “expert” in their own right, in your industry. But how do we get them to the point where they apply everything, in just the right way, to execute and get the desired results?
First, we need to define what separates the problem-solver from the equation.
Information and Knowledge vs Intelligence
To break those down a bit:
Information – This is really raw data relating to a specific customer, call, or subject. What is happening now on a call? In the context of this blog, it could be the speed of the conversation, keywords, tone, talk-time-ratio, ext. For example – “You are speaking 75% of the time” is information. The trick to good “information” is understanding that what is happening may not always be very obvious to the people involved. The salesperson or even the customer probably cannot tell you who is speaking more in the conversation or the pace at which someone is speaking. In real-time, the customer can pocket the information of a fast-speaking sales rep as just a conversation with a “character” that speaks quickly and might be a little hard to understand.
Knowledge – Knowledge can be built up over a career and might override actual information, for better or for worse. Using knowledge about a prospect, call, person, can be really powerful in a sales career. That is why companies pay higher wages for a salesperson that has been successful for 10 years vs much less for someone who has never done sales in the past. A person with experience brings a wealth of knowledge.
Intelligence – Intelligence is applying and analyzing information and turning it into something that can be acted upon. So, if “You are speaking 75% of the time”, then the true intelligence here would be taking that information and applying better questions to get the prospect speaking. Intelligence is about applying knowledge and information in a way that lets you actually take action, and hopefully, to have a really positive outcome.
Sales Intelligence is really just information
When someone says Sales Intelligence, you probably think about a bunch of tools that help deliver what is actually information and knowledge. How incredibly misleading! If intelligence is defined as applying knowledge, are those tools really Sales Intelligence? Of course not. They are actually delivering information and maybe helping create some knowledge, but the salesperson is the entity receiving the information, deciding what to do with it, and then executing on it. That means that they have to know how to execute on the information they have, live, right there in the moment, where you can’t coach them or help remind them of something critical that they are missing (or can you?). True sales “intelligence” should give live guidance on calls – like a heads-up display for your sales call. Not only will this save your call, but it will also add value to your salespeople faster than traditional coaching because of the way people learn.
How do you learn a complex system?
Have you ever played a complex card or board game? If so, then you know that most of the time, it just takes time and experience to learn. In my personal life, my family and I play strategy games, and sometimes we will teach the games to new people.
Can you imagine if you were told all of the rules of a complex board game before you had the board out? How about the opposite? I have found that when teaching people games, getting the basic idea out in front of them, and then playing a practice round really helps. The reason why the practice round helps is that we can do coaching in real-time without needing to worry about who will win or lose. That is how humans learn complex systems, we experience them. Although, much like when learning a game, we learn much more quickly when we can have someone nearby that can help us understand what we are doing right or wrong in the moment. Think of the “No – don’t play that card now because of X, Y, and Z”.
Your salespeople are just that, people. And salespeople are people that learn the same way as everyone else – repetition and experience. But they will learn more quickly if they receive live guidance on what they are doing correctly or need improvement on.
Why Live Coaching is a must
The reality is simple – live sales coaching and truly live sales enablement is a must. Without either, you are wasting opportunities or at a minimum not giving them the same chance of success as your hard-earned leads. If given the opportunity, your salespeople will accelerate more quickly and “power up” in fewer repetitions of sales cycles with proven groundwork to help guide them on their path to hitting their quota, time and time again. Why wouldn’t you want to give them every chance to be successful? Be sure to check out our Blog on Live Call Intelligence that can give you some ideas on specifics you need to be on the lookout for when building your people.