“What did he just say!?!?”
Please, don’t ever handle that objection that way again:
“What did he just say!?!?” is exactly what I thought when I first heard one of my team members blurt out something I would never have anyone say on a sales call. We didn’t have software to track sales calls or good sales call reporting software – tracking sales calls just wasn’t a thing.
I had a Y-connect, a recording that I would never listen to, and a team of newbies that needed a ton of coaching (based on what I had just heard). We were in the thick of it trying to help attract new customers and support incoming customers. What we said, and how we said it, was critical to the success of our team.
Our outbound sales calls were connecting with customers, but they didn’t seem to be going swimmingly every time. We had a team that worked in another country that we used for Outsourced sales calls, those were going worse. Our Inside Sales team had some experience, but they were all new to the industry. They would constantly have to pause to search for competitors, products, and terms they didn’t understand online or on the intranet.
There were significant challenges that we had to overcome.
What we tried:
Clearly, the team needed more training than I was capable of giving. Tracking sales calls at night was going about as good as you would expect with a family at home. I needed more hours in the day. Sure, I could totally spend every night listening to 20 or 30 calls! But I would never sleep or have any time outside of work. This was not an option, because my spouse would kill me and I value staying alive. I decided to implement a widget that would allow reps to quickly reference competitive information and talk tracks.
For the most part, it worked ok – having several tabs with paragraphs of information proved to be less helpful on the fly than what you might expect because the reps had to multitask too much and ended up sounding disconnected. Tracking sales calls in this way was also just as hard, there was no automation and no way to make sure everyone was using the most updated excel sheet.
We Lacked Modern Toolkits
Our outbound sales team wasn’t much better when it came to success around tracking sales calls. They would not use the sheet and more often than not would not have it up. We would y-connect and things would go better… until the y-connect was unplugged. The problem was that we had no sales call reporting software to track who was using the tools provided. In all fairness, ABSTRAKT did not exist then, but the problem remained unsolved.
An old-school solution:
What we decided to do was basically nothing – what else could we do? The end result was we didn’t track sales calls, we simply measured and churned employees based on performance. While we preached “hire for attitude train to success” the reality was that there was not enough capacity to “train to success”. Literally, not enough trainers to teach the reps what they needed to do.
Because of that, there was no hiring for fit or leveling up employees. Rather we were forced to train our inside sales and outbound sales teams through the school of closed-lost deals and hard-knocks.
They would still use the wiki to learn how to handle basic objections, but over time best practices would fall off and performance would suffer. It felt like we were throwing inside sales reps into the pool and hoping they could swim.
The modern evolution:
If sales call reporting software existed when I was coaching at the call center, things may have been much different. The real evolution of sales call reporting software arguably was revolutionized by modern call recording software. But, even those great companies would not have solved the problem that we were facing. We needed more.
Now, outside salespeople, inside sales reps, call center agents, and anyone making an outbound sales call can use the power of live information based on the prospect’s voice (future space music theme plays*). While still remaining human, we can take the recordings and best practices and allow for them to be used out of the gate by a new cold calling rep.
Tracking sales calls couldn’t be easier with a transcript, live cues, and a call guide to follow. Not because your inside sales or outbound salespeople couldn’t handle it without it, but because now you can hire for attitude and train to fit. Your best performers will perform better, your worst performers will outrun your competitor’s best performers. You might even save the world… ok… maybe not, but at least you could go down in history as an innovative sales leader.