Whether your sales team works in B2B, B2C, or anywhere in between, it’s critical to make investments in your personnel. Your sales reps are just as essential a part of your day-to-day operations as engineers, marketers, and support agents. And as DePaul University reported in 2016, the average turnover cost for a sales rep is nearly $115,000 — a happy and well-trained sales team is quite literally priceless for your business.

This is why training is one of the most important investments you can make in your reps. Career development may cost you time and energy up front, but it can pay big dividends down the line in the form of a happier and more productive team. Ignoring this imperative can lead to less happy and effective employees, which means more burnout and turnover.

If your sales team uses phones for inbound or outbound calls as part of their day-to-day, one of the most effective training tools at your disposal is call recording. There’s a reason why the greatest pro sports players use replay recordings as part of their training regimen — it helps them identify key strengths to capitalize on, as well as any stumbling blocks that need to be addressed.

By recording your team’s calls and using these replays as a training or coaching resource, you’re not just doing right by your team; you’re making an important investment in the health and success of your business.

Make sure your recordings are legal (and ethical)

Before you start, you absolutely need to make sure you’re following your local and national laws around call recording. Every U.S. state except Vermont has its own laws around recording phone calls, most of which require some form of explicit notification that the call is being recorded. For example, you’ll hear a message like this every time you call in to your ISP’s customer service line: “Your call may be recorded for quality assurance and training.”

And no matter which state your business operates in, it’s considered a violation of the law to record a call that you are not a primary participant of, a call where you have not received consent to record, or a call you otherwise would not be able to overhear under normal circumstances.

Countries outside of the United States can have even more stringent laws around call recording notifications, so it’s always best to err on the side of ethics and front-load your inbound and outbound sales lines with a clear and unambiguous message that the call may be recorded.

Review recordings with your reps to instill the importance of ‘active listening’

One of the simplest and most effective methods of using call recordings for training and coaching is actually a passive exercise: Just listening.

As managers review calls one-on-one with their reps, they should take special note of the back-and-forth flow of the conversation: Do your reps sound like they’re just reading from a script? Are they picking up on the other side’s verbal cues, and responding appropriately to small talk? You probably have a good sixth sense for when a salesperson is just providing rote responses without actively engaging in the conversation, and your prospects do too.

Instill the importance of active listening in your reps — when reviewing calls, help them by identifying key opportunities to improve their conversation skills:

  • Are your reps allowing natural pauses in the conversation to occur, so the caller can fully formulate their thoughts? Or does it sound like the rep is just waiting for a lull in order to hit the next talking point on their script?
  • Do your reps demonstrate the proper level of engagement with what the caller is saying? Or do they sound dismissive, and in a hurry to ‘close out’ the conversation?
  • Can your reps properly tweak their response according to the caller’s tone of voice, and not just the words being spoken?

Making active listening a core value for your sales team will lead to better performances from your reps, and a more enjoyable sales journey for callers and agents alike.

Identify your team’s key stumbling blocks…

Oftentimes, your team will encounter a stumbling block that consistently prevents them from making a conversion or bringing in a new lead. Maybe there’s a specific part of your product’s featureset that isn’t properly documented, so your team has difficulty conveying its value to prospects. Or, your callers might be consistently asking a highly technical question that your reps aren’t equipped to answer.

Without recording and reviewing your calls, you won’t know these troubling trends are happening, which means you won’t be able to address them!

This is one area where managers (and even executives) need to roll up their sleeves — it’s worth the time and energy you’ll spend reviewing a wide sampling of calls from all of your reps in order to spot difficulties like these. The payoff is worth the extra effort, because addressing the stumbling blocks faced by your team means more leads and conversions, and more revenue.

…but don’t just focus on the negative!

While it’s always important to correct mistakes made by team members or identify skill gaps that need to be addressed, you should also use call recording as an opportunity to salute positive achievements.

Is one of your ace sales reps closing deals left and right while maintaining a killer customer satisfaction score? Were you impressed by how one of your team members navigated a contentious conversation with a prickly prospect, even if it didn’t result in an on-the-spot conversion?

Take the time to shine a spotlight on the good work your people are doing, so that their teammates can benefit from their example. Even better, praise for high achievers can inspire some healthy competition among the whole sales team, and bring out the best in everyone.

Consider starting a biweekly or monthly prize raffle for sales reps who turn in excellent calls — not only will your team be motivated to achieve more and take greater pride in their work, they’ll be downright excited to come in to the office.

Curate your best calls and use them to create training resources

Call recordings are a great instructional tool for on-boarding new team members, but veteran reps can glean plenty of insight from them as well. Even the most accomplished and established reps can still learn from their teammates’ example.

You’ve spent plenty of time reviewing your reps’ calls and identifying the best of the best, and now you should gather them all in a central location. Consider setting up an internal wiki or knowledge base containing your top-tier call recordings, so that your entire team can use them as a resource.

Collections like these can also be helpful when a sales rep runs up against a question or issue they’re unfamiliar with — you’ll also want to setup some kind of tagging or labeling system in your wiki so reps can quickly find an instructive example that matches their need.

If you’re ready to see how call recording and advanced call analytics can help take your sales team to the next level, you can start right away: Request a demo of CallRail or begin your 14-day free trial today.

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