Conversational Intelligence: The Sales KPI You're Not Tracking Yet But Should Be
By Maddy Osman on Jun 10, 2020
From contracts closed to customer lifetime value (CLV), there are sales metrics that matter to your company year after year. These are the constants — the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be evaluated when you’re up against the bottom line.
Ironically, another constant is the always changing state of sales. Right now, emerging trends in the buyer’s journey, virtual meetings, and data analysis have led to a shift in both how teams sell and how they measure success.
For customers, their experience and satisfaction levels are the deciding purchasing factors. With that in mind, sales teams need to analyze their efforts accordingly. This is where conversational intelligence comes into play.
Here’s what we’ll be diving into:
A definition of conversational intelligence as it relates specifically to sales
The importance of finding sales and marketing team alignment
How to track the progress of your sales reps’ conversations over time
Why coaching team members on conversational intelligence at scale is crucial for long-term adoption
What is Conversational Intelligence in Sales?
On the most basic level, conversational intelligence is the ability to engage with those around you in a way that drives connection and trust. It’s a function of care and empathy.
In sales, think of conversational intelligence as the difference between hearing what your prospects say and genuinely listening to them.
When someone expresses concern over a specific pain point within their organization, good conversational intelligence means sending a message and ideas uniquely tailored to their needs, rather than responding with a cookie-cutter email proposal.
Biologically, conversations have the power to trigger hormone and neurotransmitter production within the body — conversation can literally change our chemistry.
If you understand the power behind what you say and how you say it, you begin to understand why it’s important to approach the conversational aspect of sales intelligently.
How to Implement and Measure Conversational Intelligence in Sales
Prioritizing conversational intelligence in sales doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. You don’t have to reinvent your sales process or abandon every sales email template.
If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve already taken the first step by recognizing that conversing more intelligently with your customers is necessary. Now you can work towards implementing the right tools and standards for measurement.
Align Your Sales and Marketing Efforts
There’s a reason why the account-based model (ABM) has taken off in the world of business-to-business (B2B) marketing. For starters, it helps narrow your sales department’s focus on high interest leads.
But even more than that, the account-based marketing model preaches the importance of aligning sales and marketing on a mission to streamline customer experience. Each team informs and feeds the other with messaging geared towards specific people, not just companies.
When implementing conversational intelligence, it’s necessary to foster a mindset of collaboration between sales and marketing. You can’t prioritize meaningful communications from sales and disregard the same need from marketing.
From the first website visit to the proposal, you need to understand the buyer journey flow. How are prospects moving from point A to B — and how can you better facilitate their progression along the way?
Track the Progress of Conversations Over Time
Implementing conversational intelligence and measuring it go hand in hand.
You can’t measure the level of conversational intelligence over time without first implementing practices for your team to follow. And you can’t implement practices for your team to follow until you apply tools that will make it easy for them to do so.
Cirrus Insight’s Activities+ can help you to both implement and measure conversational intelligence over time. Located in the Sidepanel of your inbox, this feature gives your team the ability to review, search, and filter emails in a whole new way.
The full chain of conversation between prospect and seller is threaded front and center for easy reference. This feature also allows you to search years of Salesforce activity history without leaving your inbox.
Everything is consolidated in a timeline format. This helps reps better understand the context around what was said, when it was said, and how it impacted any conversations that took place as a result.
Coach Team Members on Conversational Intelligence at Scale
Any good sales manager knows you can’t create a new way of doing things just by talking about it. Take managing a suddenly remote team. You can give sales reps a Zoom account but you can’t expect them to excel at virtual meetings immediately.
The same is true for implementing AI in sales. Adopting new technologies and methods of data analysis in your organization takes time and coaching.
You have to create a process that amplifies the importance of conversational intelligence — from new hire onboardings to weekly check-ins with your most experienced sellers. Additionally, you need optics on your sales reps’ actions in order to guide them effectively.
Activities+ was built for coaching with full integration into Salesforce. Sales managers can easily view team activities. One click and they are viewing conversations in context. The timeline is also searchable by company, team member name, or keyword.
Once trends have been identified, sales leaders can educate their sales team around best practices specific to their organization. This helps foster a culture of collaboration over competition as reps share tactics and work together to deliver a better customer experience.
Final Thoughts: Measuring Your Sales Success With Conversational Intelligence
The path to greater empathy in sales requires more than talk — it requires action. KPIs like the number of email opens or deals closed can only tell you so much.
To pinpoint why certain metrics excel over others or why reps struggle to hit their quotas, you have to look over your whole team’s actions (or lack thereof). More importantly, you have to put those actions in the context of your ideal customer profile.
Beyond intuition, there’s a reason why certain emails don’t resonate over others. Reevaluate the current set of sales analytics you follow and factor in conversational intelligence to fill in the gaps with actionable next steps.
Eager to better understand everything that’s happening between your company and your customers? Learn more about Activities+ with a demo and free 14-day trial.
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