Guest post submitted by Howard Brown
One of the biggest mistakes that many inside sales managers make is not doing enough to help underperforming reps hit their quotas. Many sales managers only look at a single success metric – whether reps are hitting quota. Reps who do are rewarded, and those who don’t have to find new jobs. The best sales managers, however, actually try to ascertain why certain reps aren’t hitting their numbers, and then look at what they can do to help underperforming reps succeed.
Since RingDNA sells sales acceleration software to inside sales teams, I get the opportunity to speak to a lot of heads of sales. In doing so, I’ve noticed something that separates the top sales executives from the rest of the pack. Sure, they’re tracking sales metrics diligently, but they also go beyond simply reading dashboards.
One coaching method that many of them implore is listening to call recordings. Actually listening to reps pitches can be the clearest way to gauge what is working and what isn’t.
The granular insight that comes from listening to recordings often enables sales managers to lift the overall performance of the entire team.
In this post, I’ll focus on 5 ways that some of our customers are using call recordings to coach inside sales teams to success.
Identify What’s Working
As you try to identify why certain reps aren’t hitting quota, the best place to begin is by discovering what is actually working. No sales manager has time to listen to a recording of every call, but a good place to start is by listening to recordings of your top reps closing their biggest deals. If your call recordings are logged against activities in a CRM, it can be easy to identify these key conversations. Focus on how your top reps handle objections, ask qualification questions, and listen to their prospects.
Do your top reps speak with a more excited tone than reps who miss quota? Are they telling more stories? Are their pitches more down-to-business? Note any similarities you notice that exist between your top reps’ pitches.
Spot-Check Short Calls
A short call usually means one of 3 things:
- A rep botched their pitch
- A rep scheduled a better time for a follow-up conversation
- Or a rep was able to quickly disqualify a prospect.
Remember that a short call isn’t necessarily bad. Weeding out unqualified prospects is one of the most important skills for any salesperson to possess. But if a rep is having too many short calls because their pitch is off, offering additional coaching early can avoid a lot of missed opportunities down the road.
Help Reps Avoid Tangents
Successful sales reps tend to be great storytellers. But one of the biggest reasons salespeople fail is that they waste time telling the wrong stories. Just as short calls aren’t always bad, long calls aren’t always a good thing, either. If underperforming reps are having a lot of long calls, it could mean they are spending too much time talking and not enough time listening and learning from prospects. Luckily, this is one of the easiest problems to correct. Simply coaching a rep to avoid tangents can transform an underperforming salesperson into a top closer. (Success in sales often comes down to negotiating this balancing act — successful salespeople are often bold and humble.)
Examine Lead Quality from Marketing Campaigns
Many of our customers use RingDNA to track which marketing campaigns are driving the most valuable calls. If a particular marketing campaign isn’t performing well, it’s easy to assume from metrics alone that the campaign isn’t generating qualified leads for your sales team. While this is often the case, sometimes reps aren’t skilled at selling to a particular type of prospect. If this is the case, listening to recordings can help you identify if a rep needs additional training, or if you need to hire a rep skilled at selling to that type of prospect.
Listen to Recordings with Reps
Phil Jackson is the winningest coach in NBA history. During his time coaching the LA Lakers, he spent countless hours with Kobe Bryant watching recordings of previous games, analyzing his performance. The results paid off. Similarly in sales, just listening to a few call recordings with reps can be enough to analyze what’s working and what isn’t.
Even your top performers can improve. Empower them to listen to their own recordings and improve over time. Don’t only focus on the negative. Figure out what they’re doing right so they can nurture those skills. If a rep is losing deals, is there a consistent reason why? Finding these patterns is the quickest path to sales optimization.
Both receiving and giving feedback will be important to your sales team’s success in the long run.
Howard Brown is the CEO and Founder of RingDNA. The company maximizes inside sales performance by helping inside sales teams qualify, connect with and convert more customers. Learn more at RingDNA.com and @howardbrown.