Conversation Intelligence: Closing the Sales Readiness Loop with Field Evidence

Recently, Forrester Research released its latest report, “New Tech: Conversation Intelligence for B2B Revenue, Q3 2021.” Mindtickle’s conversation intelligence solution, Call AI, is featured in this report.

Why is this important?

Simply put, this can be interpreted as acknowledgment among premier industry analysts that conversation intelligence is a critical component in the world of sales readiness.

Gathering field data from conversation intelligence is a key aspect of Mindtickle’s readiness approach – where real-world selling meets the world of enablement and training for effective readiness. We’re excited for this research into how and why our Call AI offering is so helpful in making sales teams better.

Conversation intelligence replaces hunches, bets, and personal crusades

Arguably, enablement programs have historically been built on hearsay, not actual evidence. Enablement leaders take input from sales leaders about what they think to be true about their teams — gaps in product knowledge and capabilities, for example — and then build programs and curricula around these inputs. The programs resulting from this “hearsay” approach is then applied broadly, in some cases to the entire sales team, whether or not they all need it.

This spray and pray technique results in poor results.

Use field evidence to build programs that create behavior change

Using conversation intelligence, enablement leaders have real-world evidence as to which team member needs more training or coaching, for example, on pricing or product, or which group could use help in negotiations. It provides insight so that enablement programs and curriculum can be customized for a team, a region, or an individual and therefore more effective, benefiting the entire organization.

Onboarding, which falls under the enablement umbrella, is another area that benefits from conversation intelligence. Typically, new hires must read through written content, PowerPoints, PDFs, and web pages to help them get up to speed. In addition, they must sit down with tenured sales reps, listening in to their demos, and taking notes on how to present and how the prospect responds. In those initial months on the job, there are few hours to devote to these tasks. Conversation intelligence provides a bird’s-eye view of real-world customer interactions, recorded and transcribed for easy reference. New reps can get the information they need and get up to speed and productive, faster.

Conversation intelligence delivers the real-world evidence managers need to inform strategic and impactful coaching sessions

Now more than ever, sales managers need to step up their game to increase their teams’ productivity and identify areas for improvement. Coaching — even more than tools and processes — is key to this endeavor, but with the average number of reps per manager at seven, there is little time to devote to it. As per a study by the Sales Management Association, 73% of frontline sales managers spend less than 5% of their time coaching. That’s two hours a week and if you have five reps on your team that’s less than half an hour of 1-1 coaching time per rep per week.

From my own experience, most frontline managers spend 1-1s with reps looking at Salesforce opportunities, asking about the status of each deal in order to confirm their forecast for the month or quarter.

That in essence is a deal review, not coaching.

Conversation intelligence belongs in the sales readiness world

Conversation intelligence fills the void in deal and account planning, providing an actual recording of what, exactly, transpired during a prospect call versus the rep’s unverified version. For example, a rep may insist that a certain deal is in the bag; a recording — which captures the prospect’s actual choice of words and tone — may indicate otherwise. Armed with this field evidence, 1-1 meetings become more strategic, and the manager becomes a greater asset as they coach the rep through the next steps of the deal as well as help them navigate long-term skill gaps.

Conversation intelligence is critical for coaching reps on long-term skills as well. Indeed, a sales manager who can foster substantial changes in the way a rep sells, their strategy, their behaviors, and their approaches is a memorable mentor contributing to the creation of a great sales professional. To do this, managers first must identify which skills must be developed. This insight comes from observing the life cycle of won deals and lost deals. Conversation intelligence provides the insight needed — not just once, but on an ongoing basis — to guide impactful coaching sessions and track progress over the long term. Leveraging AI helps managers focus on “moments that matter” rather than listening to the entire recording.

Mindtickle Call AI, our own conversation intelligence solution, is part of our sales readiness platform and is the industry’s only solution where users can identify and fix the real-world behaviors that prevent success. Here are a couple of ways in which conversation intelligence and enablement combine strongly in Mindtickle:

  • Key moments from customer calls – good and bad – can be built into libraries and added to your onboarding and sales everboarding programs
  • Customer snippets can be added to a mission and set as a challenge for all reps as a method of informal learning
  • Based on skill gaps identified in conversations, managers or enablement can assign reps to a very custom learning path designed for the rep

Interested in learning more? See more about Call AI here.