Forced remote work by virtue of the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating sales management trends that were already underway.
As a result of social distancing and remote work, many sales leaders are presented with a lower-fidelity picture of how their sales team is doing, what the sentiment is on the (virtual) sales floor and how their ever-evolving messaging is being received by panicked prospects.
In a recent webinar, we uncovered data on drastic product usage changes that indicate how managers are leaning more heavily on technology to support their leadership efforts.
Sales leaders have long relied on simple call recordings to augment their in-person coaching with their sales teams. More and more managers are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to scale and expand their abilities as a sales leader, and analysts are recommending that revenue leaders begin evaluating AI conversation intelligence tools immediately.
It goes without saying that there is no “walking the sales floor” to gauge the sentiment of a sales team when working remotely.
The sales floor has now moved online, and that means sales leaders have a less-accurate picture of how their team feels at any given moment. The CRM is becoming the true “single source of truth” and accurate record-keeping is paramount.
Even with the most perfect records in place, sales leaders can be trapped with less information than they need to make critical leadership decisions.
When sales leaders are remote, they need to move beyond just the CRM as their information source, and look to call recordings.
Call recordings are the easiest way for a remote sales leader to keep their finger on the pulse of the team they lead. These recordings are where one can hear deal progress and access the voice of the customer.
If you are at least fortunate enough to have been recording your calls before this crisis hit, we recommend setting up some simple criteria for checking in, with a personal commitment to listen to a certain amount of call recordings, per team member, per day.
Your criteria can be filtered by disposition – obviously “contacted” or “answered call” dispositions are useful. You also may want to filter by call length. Try to choose a variety of calls – 3-10 minutes long is an ideal length. If you are reserving an hour for call listening per day, you can probably get through 12-20 calls per day.
Just listening to random call recordings is not enough to make meaningful progress and stay competitive.
Keeping tabs on your team and hearing the voice of the customer is incredibly valuable. But you don’t have the time, even in remote work, to spend identifying every ideal coaching moment, or capturing calls that can still be turned into opportunities before they slip away.
In other words, the right call recordings are the next step in the process. The fundamental problem with live-listening or recorded listening is that you are introducing chance into your coaching strategy. Hopefully you hear a meaningful moment. Hopefully the areas you decide to coach on are more than an isolated mistake so you can make an impact for improvement.
The old saying goes – hope is not a strategy – and that applies here to call recording just as much as anything else.
Sales leaders who use AI to surface their call recordings for them are the most agile and adaptable right now. By monitoring a set of keywords related to current events, you can accomplish several things very easily – without lifting a finger:
What seemed to work yesterday is not working today. It seems like the news and the pace of what we are experiencing collectively is changing minute by minute. This is where AI listening to every sales call, alerting you to the moments that matter, is a game-changer. This is why Gartner’s latest recommendation for sales teams to weather the storm of COVID-19 is to invest in AI-driven conversation intelligence software.
Sales calls offer amazing opportunities to surface real, meaningful coaching moments. Your team will benefit from these much more than standard sales training sessions or impromptu guidance because the value is derived from real conversations and experiences that actually involved the rep.
If you double down on call recordings during the remote work period of the pandemic, you are building your team’s future. Rather than emerging from our social hibernation as weaker, less fit sellers, we have the opportunity to emerge as more skilled sellers. I would say, right now, that is a worthy goal for any sales leader.
Alex Lamascus is the Sales Content Manager at RingDNA. He has previously scaled and managed an inside sales team and has supported B2B sales in various industries for the past 5 years. When not writing or buried in the latest sales book, he can be found repairing vintage turntables in his garage or honing his grilling skills.