Sales Call Analytics: Coaching in Real-Time
Have you ever sat through a seminar or training session with an “expert” sales shark that has written books on how to win over prospects, if you only follow those methods? I have. I’ve also thought things like “wow, you’re totally right, if I just did all of those things in that order, then I would be much more likely to close a deal”. Maybe they could just sit next to me and give me coaching in real-time then give me immediate feedback on every call? So, why doesn’t everyone who takes one of those classes/seminars/training not exceed in sales and conquer the world? It’s simple – there is too much to remember and apply at once. Not only are there a ton of things to remember, but every conversation changes the game, and might throw you off.
Freeze Time to Apply Coaching?
Yes, if you could freeze time, go review your notes, take a few practice swings, and then unfreeze time, it might actually work. But I have not figured out how to do this yet and if you have, then you should probably stop reading this (or read it… I mean… you have the time…). But for the rest of us who, eventually, fall back into the habits we were in before, and don’t really apply the “proven method” we were taught after a small amount of time, there is Real-time Sales Call Analytics.
The only way to truly make a copy of your top salespeople to date is to practice it ahead of time, be reminded of structure/flow during a call, and then look back at what happened to make sure it was correct. The tricky part here is to have live feedback while you are actually on the call and that is what this blog will focus on.
Take Action in Real-Time
You have probably been a coach and been coached quite a bit in your career. The strategy behind coaching is to make sure we are as effective/efficient as possible on the next call. But what about coaching while the call takes place? Taking action in real-time requires a specific set of tools to help you advance the conversation. Why not just sit with every rep on every call? You could do that, but then you would need as many coaches as reps, and that more than doubles your spend on employees.
Alternatively, you can use software to give you, and your salespeople, real-time sales coaching that will gently prompt them to say and do the right things when they need to hear it the most – during the call. If you choose to use software over sitting knee-to-knee on every call, it’s less intimidating, invasive, and distracting. The lesson here – use software to coach. To help you get started, we have compiled a shortlist of the benefits of real-time call coaching.
Real-Time Sales Call Analytics Benefits to Think About
Following the process – We have all been the new salesperson who doesn’t know what to say, how to say it when to say it, let alone answer a question. There is a process. It might be written down, it might be unspoken. Normally, it’s something like “set an agenda” then set up an “up-front contract”, then transition with “this line” to Discovery, etc.
There are questions about what to say and when to say it when actually demoing. I.e. Our software does X, Y, and Z because of _____. That could be powerful, but it’s not if you never say it. My advice is to double down on what is working for your best reps, follow the process, and emerge victoriously. The challenge is being able to do that in real-time, with reps that don’t have years of experience. If not, maybe check out a free framework as a starting point.
Key Word Tracking for Coaching Purposes
Every industry is completely different. Even inside of the same company sales organizations can be vastly different. How much do things change between B2B Fortune 500 sales and B2C sub $2,000 sales? So. Much.
If I can analyze how many times my buyer said the word “Price”, “Cost”, or “Value”, maybe they are thinking about buying and your salespeople can react with more closing questions that can shorten the sales cycle. On the other hand, maybe tracking the words “uhh”, “umm”, and “hold on” might indicate that you’re salespeople are losing their prospects interest and prompt some type of attention-grabbing line by the salesperson like “It seems like I’m boring you to death? ”.
Industry Lingo – Does that Mean What They Think it Means?
Teaching new reps the lingo, or at least making sure they know what something is, can be really important to maintaining credibility in a sale. That’s why being able to track specific industry Lingo is so important. Being able to highlight specific words to prompt responses is critical. For example, I am familiar with Channel Sales. The word “Channel Conflict” should make any Channel Manager and any Salesperson in the area quake with fear of losing partners, losing mindshare, or killing deals.
In context, Channel Conflict is simply when direct sales are bumping (intentionally or not…) into Channel Partners. Being able to define Channel Conflict, in the moment, might make or break a deal. Other popular terms that have commonly caught green sales professionals off guard over the years are acronyms like RFP, MVP, POC, RFI, ICP, Etc. If you can track these words, and other words from your sales cycle in real-time, you might just give your salespeople the boost they need to get a deal over the line.
What to Say About Your Competitor – A Surgical Strike
Depending on the industry you represent, there could be no competitors to hundreds. If there are no competitors, then there is probably an alternative. That said, all companies must train their salespeople on how to speak to market forces including competitors. In industries saturated with competitors, salespeople finding a company they have never heard of might leave them scrambling. They go to the website and get information quickly which is not effective.
Instead, getting real-time coaching with a few competitive points enables your salespeople to look like weathered industry experts and advisors vs scatterbrained and less-than-knowledgeable commission goblins.
Umm, uh… Using Filler Words
Your customer isn’t the only person that should be watching out for filler words like “umm” and “uhh”. Using these words comes naturally and I would be a hypocrite to say that I am an expert at avoiding them. Most salespeople know to avoid filler words. Can you think of the last sales call you heard where they were not used?
Behaviors tend to change when salespeople can see how often they are using filler words. What if someone sat next to you on a call and tallied every time you used a filler word? Um – you would immediately see them tally a mark against you then, uh, stop using them as often. With real-time call coaching, you can begin to get mild feedback on when you are using filler words. As practice continues, you will use them less frequently and even your most ADD salespeople will find themselves sounding much more confident, and the prospect will feel this, too.
Your Talk Time is Killing You
Speaking too much is something that salespeople usually find out after the call. That is if you are even analyzing your sales calls (you should be…). Coaching after the call amounts to little more than “get ‘em next time, Tiger”. Being able to ask the right questions is key to having a lower talk time and allowing your prospects to feel heard. Real-time sales coaching enables both your salespeople to be gently reminded that they might be talking too much, while also prompting them with a question that could invite the prospect to unload a plethora of information that otherwise would have never been uncovered.
Your Talking Speed – If I had a gallon of greasy hair product for every time a salesperson tried to speak at double the normal rate… wait… I wouldn’t, that’s because all of the fast-speaking greasy salespeople literally used all of it. Of course, I’m half-kidding here, don’t change your slicked-back style on my account. However, speaking more slowly will make sure you are understood, and real-time call coaching can tell you when you need to “slow down”. It’s probably the most common problem across all salespeople.
Don’t believe me? Look no further than to every sticky note on the monitors at call centers that say “SLOW DOWN!” Those sticky notes are literally your people desperately trying to remind themselves to not get too excited. Why not trash the sticky notes and allow them to be reminded with real-time call coaching? A gentle reminder that says “Slow down, there, Slick”.