Here at Troops, we’re always looking for new ways to optimize our own workflows to drive better sales processes and improve the way we coach our reps.
Our sales development team uses call cadence software Outreach.io. It’s an incredible tool for scaling our outbound efforts, but it’s not so easy to access the information you need to really understand the quality of the activities your team is doing beyond just high level reporting.
For example, our reps customize certain parts of their emails to stand out, and of course, they make lots of cold calls. But how do you know if the customization was good? How do you know if we’re saying the right things on calls?
As managers, we can’t be on every call or read every email — that’s simply unrealistic. But when the success of these actions is how we grow our business, we need to take these quality measures very seriously.
That’s why in this post, we’re going to talk about how to improve cold call quality and coaching.
3 (Costly) Challenges of Typical Call Reviews
Most companies today are probably recording their SDRs calls. If you’re not, you definitely should be. And if you are, you’re probably having a call review once a week where your rep brings ~1-3 calls to go over and get feedback.
There are many challenges with this approach:
- Selection - How do you know these were the right calls to review?
- Sample size - What about the other 50+ connects your reps made that week?
- Delayed feedback loop - By the time you get to the actual coaching, there may have been 40 other call connects whose outcome you could have influenced. (Many of them probably more important than the calls you’re currently reviewing!)
Now, let’s take a look at how Troops’ Sales Development Manager, Kevin Fu, found a way to use Troops to solve this challenge and rapidly improve the performance of his team in the process.
The Need For Immediate Visibility
As a sales manager, you want to give feedback in real-time as often as you can while things are fresh in your mind. This is especially important on the sales development side of sales, where SDRs make over a hundred dials a day. Imagine then, if your reps could immediately apply coaching to improve on their next call?
With these challenges in mind, we wanted to create a better way to deliver feedback and improve coaching.
Identifying The Right Calls
The first part of the challenge to crack was using automation to identify the calls that were best for coaching. We found that call connects that lasted a certain amount of time but didn’t convert into a meeting were ideal coaching moments.
Using Outreach’s Salesforce integration, we mapped three key fields that allowed us to identify these instances:
- Call duration
- Call outcomes
- Link to the call
In order to identify the calls which didn’t turn into an opportunity, one of our call dispositions is Call - Connect NO Opp. This is marked by the BDR if a meeting is not set after the activity is completed.
The threshold for enough talk time that warrants a conversation was set at 45 seconds.
Creating a Channel For Real-Time Coaching
The best time to provide coaching is immediately after a call, while the interaction is fresh in your rep’s mind. This way, they can make adjustments for the rest of their calls that week.
In Slack, we created a channel called #sales-calls-sdrs and used Troops to automatically disseminate calls that met the 45 second duration, but did not result in a meeting.
When these conditions were met, we routed the call details to the channel with a link to the recording so that managers could listen to it and instantly provide coaching.
The listen to call button directs managers to the recording link mapped to Salesforce that is hosted by Twilio.
Moving from Once a Week Coaching to Real-Time
At any time, Kevin (or anyone at Troops) can quickly see who our SDRs have spoken to, what happened and, with the press of a button, listen to the call on demand. As such, we’ve created an extremely relevant and high value way for the sales development team to give feedback and improve their conversion rates, all while saving time.
“As a manager, one of the highest leverage activities I can do is help my SDRs get better on the phone, but I'm also extremely busy. I was seeing things late, or missing them altogether, but now [those things] just come to me in Slack.”
The Benefits of Real-Time Coaching
Having complete visibility and context is paramount when it comes to supporting your reps.
Whether it’s responding to a lead, or coaching your team, sales is a never ending cycle with room for constant improvement. The best organizations are striving to make everything run in real-time.
By instrumenting a real-time coaching culture, we have vastly accelerated the rate of improvement of the team along with new hire ramp times, which means a bigger sales pipeline.
This is the first post in a series we are going to be doing on real-time coaching. Why? Because it’s through real-time coaching that the best companies are rapidly improving not only their team, but also accelerating learning and process iteration.
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