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Life Health > Running Your Business > Selling

Is Actionable Intelligent Conversation a Necessity?

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What You Need to Know

  • Lofton says that, by the time a rep has called a good prospect, that good prospect has seen the PDFs.
  • He believes there is no time these days for the rep to have a long conversation about the needs of that prospect.
  • His solution: Use an AI-based system that knows what the prospect should hear.

The past two years sales and service has shifted from in-person touchpoints to online, self-service or virtual selling.

That means more customer conversations than ever are starting virtually, via a call center process, but sales leaders must be able to make the most of every single conversation, consistently.

In this new “WFH” — work from home — environment, top sellers who want to stay ahead of the competition and hit their targets need to be able to access the most timely, relevant, and impactful content.

Seller activation is one of the primary responsibilities of sales enablement.

It’s the outcome of an ongoing strategy to maximize revenue per rep by ensuring they convey the right concept using the right content throughout each stage of the buying process.

Activating sellers means powering them up with content, yes, but also with the knowledge they need to nurture and close deals.

It’s a process that should be baked into their sales enablement program to boost productivity across your sales organization, in the most efficient way.

For example, when you produce new sales decks, there should also be supporting assets that define its purpose and show how and when to deploy them, such as:

  1. Corresponding talk tracks.
  2. An intent video describing the best way to use the sales deck.
  3. Best practices examples.
  4. A win story — what a win looks like.

The relevance after “Hello,” for even your newest sales reps, is that, by using AI generated opening statements and personalized talk tracks, you can:

  1. Reduce the ramp up time for the new reps.
  2. Reduce turnover of new reps. (Who will be intimidated by not being perceived as competent by the prospects they call.)
  3. Increase the confidence of both your new reps and your most experienced reps, by building the trust needed for the prospect to buy.

This way, your reps are armed with all the information they need to deliver the perfect pitch.

“The Field” Withered

Thirty years ago, sales managers would “ride with the reps” to know what was happening in the field.

CRMs were invented to create a record of what was happening “in the field.”

Twenty years ago, the internet started the transition that has begun to dry up “the field.”

The sales rep is no longer the only broker of the product information.

Even before COVID induced a switch to work from home, prospects were not welcoming a visit from sales reps to tell them about a product that some of them knew more about that the rep.

The rep’s website now has PDF downloads, and product demo videos. Those materials have already introduced prospects to the company’s products, long before the rep even knew the prospects were looking.

Buyers today are over 60% through their purchase journey before they will take a call with a sales rep.

There are no more “quiet deals,” where the skill of a salesperson could close an order because the prospect did not know the alternatives.

Fifteen years ago, prospects would “suffer through” the rep’s PowerPoint presentations. Now PowerPoint presentations are valuable only, in webinars to structure the delivery of a generalized message.

Prospects have read your PDFs – and looked briefly at the websites of your competitors. When you are lucky enough to have a prospect answer the phone, don’t dare ask, “Can I have 15 minutes to better understand your needs?”

Prospects are now “interrogating” sales reps to give them the information they have not already found on the web.

Casual conversations to build a relationship are a thing of the past – todays’ buyer (especially in the WFH environment, where they can easily come up with a reason to cut off a call) are in a “net it out” mentality.

The New, Intelligent Conversations

The “mediums” of intelligent conversations are evolving, from call recording to call recording and call transcriptions, to 3D views (see the faces, hear the voices, and read the transcript as you hear the words).

The magic in this 3D view is to do this with just the key discussions selected by your CRM platform. (Or, you should be able to do this with your CRM platform.)

As the nonverbal communication researcher Albert Mehrabian famously said, “Communication is only 7% verbal, the other 93% is composed of body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%).”

I’m as big a fan of sales scripts and tie-down techniques as the next rep; I’ve been teaching these for years. But in this new WFH selling environment, perhaps we should also be focusing on body language.

This 3D view of the most important part of the sales discussions gives the sales manager the insights they need for effective coaching, creating more opportunities to remind the rep for their follow up call what was important to the prospect.

Call recording is a great idea, and prospects have become comfortable with Zoom calls being recorded.

These recorded calls or similar meeting videos can add an important visual, letting the sales manager see the facial expressions of the prospects as the rep makes their points.

Why Change?

Intelligent conversation enables a more personalized approach to coaching and team productivity.

Sales enablement teams and sales managers can scale their call coaching by leveraging intelligent conversations to flag calls in need of review via their CRM and provide video-based, point-in-time feedback that’s appropriate for each rep, ensuring more effective and constructive feedback that can be delivered with the right tone and body language.

They can also repurpose call clips to promote as best practice examples.

So, what’s the answer to the question: Is actionable intelligent conversation a necessity?


Lloyd Lofton (Photo: Lofton)Lloyd Lofton is the founder of Power Behind the Sales and the author of “The Saleshero’s Guide To Handling Objections.”

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(Image: Tatiana Shepelva/Shutterstock)