Call recording on phone

Call Recordings Can Improve Sales for Distributors

Mark McGready

Mark McGready
Director of Strategic Analytics, SPARXiQ

It’s time to start recording sales calls. I know, I know. This is one of those topics that shouldn’t be raised at the dinner table, but we’re at a point where the business benefits of using this technology are overwhelming.

In an industry where 70 percent of all sales are negotiated, a vast percentage are transacted over the phone. It’s where our labor forces shine, helping customers navigate their needs and find the right solutions. Understanding the needs of any particular project or customer is what makes a sales representative a rock star and a productive asset to any company. And each and every call is different – this isn’t an ‘operators are standing by’ or a ‘please press 3 to continue’ interaction.

The sales our workforces make every day are complex, unique and hard to document. And so, we’ve rarely considered recording sales calls. But what could we learn if we did? The technology of recorded data exists, and a business could very well use these calls for training purposes and sale conversions. In this article, I’ll share three ways distributors can integrate call recording for business improvement.

Call recording on phone

Could Call Recording Help Improve Your Distribution Business?

You might think you need to listen to each and every call recorded, but that’s just not feasible. Let’s say the average salesperson make 15 calls a day. If each call averages 15 minutes, that’s just under four hours of calls, that’s 75 calls a week which is 300 calls a month and totals to 3,600 calls a year. A workforce of 10 making 36,000 calls, creates 9,000 hours of content. To put that into context, there are only 8,700 hours in a year.

So, you can’t record all these calls with the expectation to listen to each of them. Nor should you. Thankfully, the industry-leading call recording services are built with intuitive conversation artificial intelligence (AI) functionality that transcribes recordings and converts them into data points.

call recording for distributors

Cost, data measurement and sales efficiency are all reasons to consider digital call recordings. The cost of call recording is cheap and isn’t a big IT investment. You could install this service for less than a dollar a day with some providers. This service would allow you to measure the immeasurable, get a true pulse on your business and make a more effective sales force – all without even having to listen to what’s being said. Here are three use cases for digital call recording.

Call Recordings Help You Measure the Immeasurable

Extract Keywords and Product Information

Recordings would allow you to monitor the frequency of new products or important keywords being mentioned. This develops into a form of key extraction from calls that offers insight into customer pain points and needs. Consider the valuable information gleaned from these recordings. 

Would you be able to spot underlying business issues constantly raised by customers that never bubble up? Would you be able to hear how often there was pushback on prices or requests for products you don’t carry? Keyword extraction modeling can listen to 10,000 calls in a second and tell you what’s being talked about.

Questions and valuable information from call recording

Organize Call Conversions Better

All the transactional data in your company is generated from within, most of which is neatly packaged by your ERP. Conversations are typically a little messier and harder to summarize, but digital recordings would simplify this matter.

Close the Gap That Appears When Reps Leave

We all know and fear the generational shift that’s coming. When a salesperson retires, they take their knowledge with them, and it’s almost impossible to fill the gap left in their place. In picking up the pieces afterwards, most of the work on existing leads is left on the ground. Hot leads go cold, important topics get lost, verbal agreements fade in the wind.

Imagine the convenience of being able to look up the last 10 conversations had with any customer. How much more stable would your customer relationships be if you could ensure topics were never lost? How much more efficient would you be in sales if you could perfectly recall where you left the last call?

Train New Reps with Call Recordings

Many in today’s workforce don’t stay still for long, so you’ll need to become better at onboarding and training. Often with new hires it takes months before they find their footing, get comfortable with their surroundings and start being productive.

If a new hire, on average, stays for three years before they’re looking to do the next thing, a trend in today’s workforce, and it takes them a year to become productive, then how much are you losing in sales force efficiency? Could they be better if they had access to the conversational data that would prepare them for customer interactions? Could you do more by monitoring their own interactions and coaching them on best practices?

Call Recording Helps You Pinpoint What Drives Results

We’d never imagine operating a warehouse workforce without some kind of measurement. Manufacturers couldn’t imagine running a production facility without measuring their output compared to targets. And yet the salesforce only has the final result as the measure, not the elements that drive results. This means you can’t diagnose a salesforce, and you’re effectively blind to what they’re doing.

Do you have a strong handle on what drives results? Quick question, which is better? To call five customers in an hour and spend a few minutes with each, or to spend an hour with a single customer? One has a wider range, the other might get better results, but ultimately which is the activity that drives your success? Put in infrastructure to document calls and you’d quickly learn.

It’s time to start thinking differently and have tools that fit the workforce rather than the other way around.

CRM meant to have solved this problem. In reality, it places the burden of administration on the workforce’s most ill-suited to administrate anything. If sales guys were detail-oriented, they’d be accountants. It’s in their DNA to do the work of selling, and asking them to become something else goes against their nature. CRM makes perfect sense if we ignore human nature, otherwise, it’s going to continue to be an eternal struggle. It’s time to start thinking differently and have tools that fit the workforce rather than the other way around.

Let’s Use the Tools We Have to Our Advantage

As we move towards a data-driven future, one of the challenges we have is to create some of the data we don’t have right now. We have all these digital tools overwhelming our companies that it can feel never-ending, but sometimes we can take a step back and find a common-sense solution to an age-old problem. A new tool for monitoring and tracking sales, documenting customer relationships, and preparing future workers might be just the right investment for the next few years.

Call recordings help improve business by way of training new hires and it’s a measure to understand and replicate what drives lead conversations. These digital recordings then become a source of learning and open the door to AI, the next technological advancement to enhance distribution business. 

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