The Sales Leader’s Guide to Conversation Intelligence

We’ve all been there. One day before an important sales pitch, you find yourself standing in front of a mirror, practicing your speech and delivery to ensure your message gets across as clearly as possible.

Conversation intelligence is the new mirror. It helps you nail your delivery message to a new audience, but unlike a mirror, it comes up with insights to help you achieve your goal.

Conversation intelligence is a helpful tool that can alter a sales rep’s behavior to achieve increased win rates. In turn, conversation intelligence insights will improve your sales team’s overall performance.

What is conversation intelligence?

Conversation intelligence is software that uses AI to transcribe, analyze, and provide insights into the performance of sales calls.

The insights provided by conversation intelligence are generated by recorded interactions between sales reps and prospects, including calls and emails. Essentially, conversation intelligence scores and records key moments within an interaction to grade sales reps on their product knowledge, pitches, and overall sales approach.

Conversation intelligence can pinpoint what sales skills need to be developed, or if the rep’s overall sales approach should change to match the behavior of top sales performers.

For example, conversation intelligence can analyze a failed sales call and highlight moments when the sales rep didn’t have enough product knowledge or if the seller’s tone was off, then it provides resources to improve the sales rep’s approach for the next prospect interaction.

Sales reps are informed of the root causes that led to failed negotiations. This knowledge can then be used to dedicate coaching and resources to fixing ‌sales skills.

Why should you use conversation intelligence?

Studies have found that 89% of teams using conversation intelligence have seen an improvement in team performance.

Here are a few ways conversation intelligence helps to make that happen:

1. Improve your customer understanding

Conversation intelligence identifies customers’ needs and pain points through transcribed conversations.

This is achieved by picking up on the keywords, themes, queries, and questions that customers consistently raise. The patterns in keywords and themes identify the customer needs at each buying stage.

Once the customer needs at each stage are identified, the recurring themes are compared across the entire company to deliver insights into which sales approach best handled the theme and why.

For example, conversation intelligence can pick up when a competitor’s name is introduced into the conversation. With the help of conversation intelligence, sales reps can focus on why a competitor’s name was introduced, for example, if the sales rep didn’t answer the customer’s question satisfactorily or failed to enforce the main difference between the competitors.

Conversation intelligence is then able to provide the sales rep with action items for future interactions that remove any hesitation or comparison with competitors.

Once the call is finished, conversation intelligence gives insights into the customer’s needs based on the customer’s questions, requests, and keywords regarding the product’s performance.

By doing so, conversation intelligence removes sales reps’ biases and personal perspectives and instead offers data-driven insight. In fact, 37% of organizations say using speech analytics has helped them support “root cause” trend analysis, understanding the “why” behind each customer’s needs.

2. Increase close rates

Conversation intelligence can identify buying signals and deal risks within interactions with customers that reveal certain keywords or phrases, like “What are my payment options?” or “Is there a free trial available?”

For example, conversation intelligence can pick up on deal risks if a buyer starts to ask lots of follow-up questions or speaks hesitantly when the sales rep brings up pricing. This alerts the sales rep to work on their sales skill around pricing to improve delivery in the next iteration and win deals.

And with insights on deal risks, sales reps can effectively prepare for their conversations and react proactively with the right sales approach, content resources, and tone in their next interaction.

When conversation intelligence finds prospects who indicate interest, it helps sales reps keep a closer eye on these prospects and get them moving through the pipeline.

In fact, studies of conversation intelligence insights show that when all sales conversations are evaluated, 75% of sales reps considered the insights to be “very effective.”

By understanding customer needs and their purchase intent from conversation intelligence insights, sales reps can accurately define their next step to win more deals.

3. Coach sales reps with individual insights

In sales coaching, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. If you want your coaching to be impactful, it needs to be individual and data-driven.

Personalized training ensures that sales reps are engaged and motivated to learn, as the skills are relevant and actionable. In fact, a study found that 94% of respondents agree that conversation intelligence enables better coaching.

Here are some key metrics conversation intelligence can keep track of:

  • Product knowledge
  • Selling behavior
  • Selling skills
  • Message consistency
  • Tech skills
  • Competitor knowledge
  • Overall sales process approach

By keeping track of these metrics, coaches can compare sales reps’ performance and improvement with live data that continuously gets updated. As such, coaches can identify areas of weakness and coach their sales team on the skills, resources, or additional content they may need.

4. Change sales reps’ behavior

With conversation intelligence, sales reps can change their behavior by understanding their own personal approach to sales and how it affects their overall quota attainment. In fact, 82% of companies with top sales performers already use conversation intelligence for sales improvement.

Conversation intelligence provides firsthand data that analyzes a sales rep’s behavior. It informs sellers if their message is landing based on the customer’s reaction. It also compares each rep’s behavior with colleagues to identify the best traits and skills that affect the outcome of a successful deal.

By having their behavior recorded with each sales call, sales reps are able to continuously track improvements and witness an increase in their quota attainment.

Conversation intelligence also reduces the risk of delayed follow-up by coming up with designated action items after a call. In turn, this reinforces a sales behavior from sales reps to follow through with an appropriate follow-up action.

For example, conversation intelligence captures promising terms such as “I will send” or “the next step is…” and automatically creates action items for the sales rep. In doing so, it reduces the chance that sales reps will forget or not follow through on promises.

5. Accelerate onboarding

Conversation intelligence allows new sales hires to listen to real conversations from top-performing sellers and learn winning behaviors from the start. And it allows new hires to practice their sales skills before they take on live calls with prospects, which helps new hires discover and work on weaknesses in their sales delivery.

By doing so, new sales hires can effectively improve their skills and confidently prepare for their next sales interaction.

With conversation intelligence, new hires are 10x more likely to feel prepared for future interactions. Conversation intelligence allows past sales calls to become a learning resource. In turn, the exposure to relevant sales calls helps new hires improve their confidence early on as they are shown real-life scenarios and conversations.

New hires can also listen and understand the customers’ voices early on.

6. Improve the product offer

Conversation intelligence can analyze recordings to uncover product insights that have implications across the entire organization.

For example, conversations between sales reps and prospects can offer insights into your product’s weaknesses.

This is possible as conversation intelligence listens for positive references to features of your competitors’ products that your product lacks or for specific pain points that are brought up by customers that your product can’t resolve.

By learning about missing features or competitors’ benefits, product managers can develop plans that improve a product offering to better suit the customer’s needs.

How can you use conversation intelligence in your sales strategy?

Use conversation intelligence at each part of the sales cycle to prepare your sales reps to meet prospects at the stage of their buyer’s journey.

This is because conversation intelligence provides both sales reps and sales managers with insights and best practices for each stage in the sales pipeline.

Sales reps can also prepare using role plays and scenario navigation with coaches who build their confidence for their next call.

And with recorded conversations, sales reps can share snippets from past conversations to highlight what tone, words, and products to include in their next sales interaction that helped customers gain value from the solution.

Conversation intelligence use cases

There are several scenarios where you can use conversation intelligence within your sales team:

Sales managers

Sales managers can leverage data to study top performers and support their teams to learn resources and skills that mimic top-selling strategies

Pipeline management

Instructs sales reps when to incorporate specific strategies, sales-enablement content, or counteroffers, depending on the stage of the buyer’s journey.

Sales improvement

Improve sales call outcomes and navigate deal risks with data insights, and react proactively to mentions of competitors.

Team sharing

Improve teamwork by enabling access to previous calls for feedback and expert advice.

Identify non-compliance​

Identify when and why sales reps veer from company guidelines and values. Conversation intelligence ensures sales reps follow brand tones and represent the company’s offer appropriately.


What are the essential features of conversation intelligence software

When looking to incorporate conversation intelligence within your sales teams, there are several features to keep in mind that’ll make all the difference to their overall success.

1. Real-time transcription of emails and call recordings

Conversation intelligence should automatically transcribe past interactions and create call notes to summarize key points. And your solution needs to be able to distinguish between questions and statements, as this affects the direction of the next steps and improves customer understanding.

With real-time transcription, teams can leave public comments to collaborate and close a deal. And with access to call recordings, the conversation can be used for team feedback and team learning sessions.

Coaches can use email transcripts and call recordings to work with sales reps to skim through and discuss the highs and lows of calls. This helps sales coaches integrate relatable real scenarios with sales reps to improve their delivery.

The transcription from calls allows sales reps to track action and tonality throughout the call, ensuring they stay on brand and represent the company effectively.

2. Sentiment analysis

Conversation intelligence can understand the sentiment of prospects and help sales reps navigate positive or negative reactions. By doing so, sales reps get a detailed overview of the customer’s health and provide actionable next steps to secure deals.

Customer sentiments are gathered from call interactions by understanding the words and trends in questions that lead to a negative or positive outcome. And conversation intelligence also provides sales reps with the trend of customer sentiment throughout the sales cycle. This highlights areas where extra caution is necessary or how to introduce features and pricing so the recipient has a positive sentiment.

The main benefit of using conversation intelligence is to remove the risk of human bias when rating prospect sentiment and giving an accurate sales forecast with effective next steps. And it provides the data to sellers instantly, without reps spending time looking through transcriptions. Instead, it allows sellers to focus on what truly matters, addressing any negative sentiment before it results in a failed deal.

3. Analytics

Conversation intelligence should offer comprehensive analytics that creates reports and insights to guide your team to continuously improve their sales quota.

Your conversation intelligence should offer analytics around:

  • Voice of the customer: The overall sentiment and common pain points prospects face. This helps reps understand their prospect and build an effective selling approach using real-time data.
  • Sales reps skills: Individual reports on sales rep performance compared to the sales team’s top-selling performer. This helps sales managers track sellers’ skills and intervene with training when necessary.
  • Objection-handling: Understand which questions or objections sales reps most commonly face and which approach is the most effective based on real data.
  • Common deal risks: Insight into the most common signs of deal risks and how to prepare deal negotiations based on successful past performance outcomes. This helps sellers improve the sales forecast when a deal is at risk.
  • Sales rep performance: Insights into the level of active listening by sellers, the follow-up questions, and action items on a call to see if the sales message is being received and appreciated.

Each conversation and interaction is stored and used to update suggestions that will optimize the sales team’s approach and improve sales forecasts and deal outcomes.

4. Integration with sales enablement and content management systems (CMS)

With so many tools and platforms used daily, it can be hard to fully optimize each platform if they don’t share information with one another. Therefore, your conversation intelligence should integrate seamlessly with your sales reps’ day-to-day platforms to fully reap all the benefits the tool can offer.

By using conversation intelligence integrations, you ensure the tool provides accurate and comprehensive insights into each customer account. This is because each customer interaction, sales touchpoint, and sales approach is recorded and analyzed against calls. In turn, the analyzed sales rep’s behavior can be used to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses throughout the buyer’s journey.

With a holistic approach to sales enablement using conversation intelligence, you empower relevant sales training, personalized sales coaching, improved use of content resources and distribution, and updated sentiment on customer interactions.

When conversation intelligence integrates with sales platforms, it helps sales reps continuously improve their selling skills with data-driven insights that’ll lead to improved sales results.

Your conversation intelligence is only as powerful as your readiness platform

In order to truly reap the benefits of conversation intelligence, you need a platform that will complement insights with tracked coaching, centralized content distribution, and a CRM that holds all prospect information and behavior.

We’ve created a comparison list of the 10 best conversation intelligence tools to help you navigate your choices.

Mindtickle provides a 360-degree approach to your prospecting customers, giving your team all the tools they need to close a deal. From training courses and content tracking to benchmarking sales performance, sales reps can continuously improve their sales quotas with evolving real-time data.

Learn more about how Mindtickle can help your sales team achieve more, or schedule a demo to discover how the platform can work to reach your company’s goals and needs.