Sales is dynamic. After the first 10 seconds of your conversation with a customer - everything you say or do - has to be in response to what the customer says or does.
This is easier in traditional field sales, where reps can “read the room”, take in nonverbal cues like body language and improvise to drive the conversation. But it gets incredibly hard when you have to gauge the buyer’s reactions during a phone call or online meeting (say Zoom or Webex).
Even with access to advanced analytics and insights, sales managers spend considerable time trying to understand why some conversations evolve into closed-won deals and others don’t. Or why some reps always seem to close deals faster or at higher margins.
Historically, sales teams have always focused more on measuring the outcomes of a call than quantifying the quality of their sales conversations. However, to see what really works in your selling motions you will have to look beyond performance parameters like deals won/lost and focus on the effectiveness of your team’s conversations with prospects.
Conversation Intelligence platforms such as Salesken provide insights into how your conversations are progressing. It provides you with metrics that reveal which of your reps engages your customers well. The two most fundamental metrics of customer engagement are:
- Talk Time - The amount of time your sales rep spends on average, in a customer conversation
- Talk to Listen Ratio - This golden ratio tells us the split between the time spent by your rep in speaking and listening to the customer.
Being able to dive into this information will allow you to know the true engagement parameters in your sales conversations - How much time your reps spend speaking with your customers and how much of that time they spend listening to them. While there are no industry benchmarks for talk time, a Talk Ratio in the range of 55% is considered ideal (i.e your rep speaks for 55 seconds in every 100 seconds of conversations)
With these two simple metrics you will be able to pinpoint potential or current problems in the selling of your reps and see whether a sales rep needs more personal attention to improve these metrics.
You can plot reps on Talk Time vs Listening Ratio and cluster your high performers and low performers.
If the clusters correlate with your actual performance data, you can understand your top reps tactics and coach the lower reps on it. If they do not correlate, then check for outliers -
- High Engagement and Low Performance : A rep who engages customers well but cannot close is probably one or two critical missing steps or not following up enough. For instance if one of Jen, Tre or Liz are not in your top closers - prioritize coaching them to close more. Given that they are engaging the buyers well, you could make them a star performer in no time
- Low Engagement and High Performance : These indicators could be a cause for concern. If reps like Dot and Ken, who aren't engaging the buyer enough, have good closing rates, it could either mean unequal lead allocation or unethical activities(probably hacks!). It would be worth investigating these outcomes.
These metrics are two of the many that can help you adopt a data based approach to coaching and improving your team. Conversation analytics in Sales Engagement, once on the cutting edge of sales tools, is now table stakes!
As a sales leader, it is of utmost importance that you track the most effective sales strategies and give your reps the tools they need to be at the top of their game every day.