Diligently tracking a variety of different sales metrics has become a necessity for any business that hopes to achieve consistent results. It is such an important component of the contemporary B2B organization’s sales strategy that the data software industry has exploded in recent years, producing hundreds of products that promise innovative, efficient ways to collect and analyze every bit of information from the sales process.
However, there are still some details that you just can’t glean from an analysis of the hard numbers, and that's where the importance of the sales-call recording comes into play.
Recording your reps’ sales calls and using the results to inform coaching and training sessions can yield new insights into your team’s performance and your sales strategy as a whole. While many managers are reluctant to utilize call-recording for fear that it will alienate their employees, most reps understand that the initiative is designed to help them succeed.
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They'll welcome constructive feedback that is meant to empower them and help them achieve greater goals. Here are the necessary steps.
First, understand the legal and ethical issues.
Before instituting sales-call recording as part of your strategy, think about the legal and ethical implications involved. The legality of recording conversations can be tricky, because each state has its own specific rules regarding consent. In general, federal law allows for call-recording as long as one party gives consent.
Many laypeople tend to conflate call-recording with wiretapping. That's incorrect. Wiretapping usually involves an unidentified party eavesdropping on and recording the conversation, and is usually categorized differently, legally speaking. So consulting with a local legal expert concerning your state's requirements is a safeguard.
Even if your salespeople don't have to legally inform their prospects that a call is being recorded, ethically it is "good form" to do so. Many experts recommend asking for that permission in the context of the salesperson's giving his or her full attention to the conversation rather than taking copious notes. Most customers will be appreciative of a sales rep who wants to focus on their interaction.
Next, locate and correct listening gaps.
Many people automatically think they are great listeners, although an examination of the evidence may prove otherwise. Active listening is one of the most important skills for sales professionals to master, and prospects are typically adept at knowing when a salesperson is proceeding with his or her own preconceived agenda rather than remaining intently engaged in the conversation.
It can be hard to teach the fundamentals of active listening without real-world examples to fall back on, so a recording demonstrating where your sales reps are lacking in this regard will be extremely beneficial.
Then, build a foundation for a solid training program.
Plenty of generic sales-training programs feature video or audio of dramatized sales calls, in order to teach new reps the fundamentals of the process. Why rely on non-specific examples when you have a library of real-world experiences you can use to demonstrate both the best and worst ways to handle a client interaction?
These calls will provide new sales reps with relevant information about your specific company and customers, so they can immediately get a sense of the common hurdles they face when speaking with prospects.
Over time, curate a resource center for best practices
Sales-call recordings make for great instructional tools for new sales reps, but that does not mean that established employees cannot also gain new insights from listening to them well after their initial training has been completed.
Consider maintaining an evolving collection of your most instructive call recordings, and give your reps access to them for whenever they come up against an issue they are unfamiliar with. It is wise to develop an intuitive system for labeling and categorization so that reps can quickly find an example that fits their situation.
Finally, strengthen the connection between sales and marketing.
Conversations between your salespeople and prospects will often let you know if a disconnect exists in the lead-qualification process. If you repeatedly find your salespeople coming up empty-handed even using the techniques that should set them up for success, you may be able to use customer information from these calls to enhance the marketing experience.
Marketing will then be in a better position to identify the leads that will put your reps on the fast track.