Using Conversation Intelligence to Transform Your Sales & Support Teams

Sean Lund-Brown

If you want an efficient sales team, conversation intelligence software can help by providing critical insights into your customers' world. Determining what the customer wants is crucial to achieving success. In many cases, customers often communicate their needs to a sales or a support member.

You want to make sure that the customer has a positive experience and help them resolve their issues. This software enables you to harness the information from their comments and complaints to improve your products or services and drive your company toward more profitability.

Why your sales team needs a change

When it comes to sales and support teams, it's essential to make sure all of your associates are on the same page. They should have access to the same information and protocols so they can assist customers (or potential customers) in a relatively uniform way. This uniformity ensures that customers will receive a similar experience no matter who they speak with when they call.

Scripts, training, and key performance indicators are three ways to ensure this. However, there are other tools available. We'll be taking a look at one of those tools: conversation intelligence software.

In many businesses, sales or support calls are sometimes listened to at random. While this method can provide valuable insight, you end up missing a lot of information. That data can be critical for improving your processes, so don't let it go to waste! Conversation intelligence software can transcribe every call from your sales or support teams.

What does conversation intelligence software do?

Conversation intelligence software helps you capture meaningful data from conversations with your customers. These conversations can help you learn why customers are buying, what complaints or grievances they may have, and in the long run, how you could improve your product or service.

This information is usually gone the second the phone disconnects, but conversation intelligence software can help you retain and use it to help grow your business. It isn't about simply monitoring calls — it's about learning from each experience and making each customer conversation more beneficial than the last.

In general, conversation intelligence software may be hugely helpful for your sales and support team:

● Conversation intelligence software (CI) has many functions, which are more advanced than simple call recording software.

● Artificial intelligence (AI) analyzes the caller’s speech, text, and sentiment (how the caller feels).

● Natural language processing (NLP) technology allows a self-learning algorithm to analyze these elements.

In other words, AI improves accuracy over time.

The power of keyword recognition

Conversation intelligence software will transcribe and analyze sales and support calls. Through the analysis of these calls, conversation intelligence software can help identify keywords as topics of conversation. This keyword recognition will allow you to jump to specific points in the discussion and gather valuable insights.

CI software can analyze key conversations, particularly from potential buyers. It can also do the following:

● Identify non-compliance

● Pinpoint risky discussion topics

● Use all this information to coach new employees

These tools help sales and customer service representatives improve their skills.

How can conversation intelligence software benefit your business?

In most organizations, sales and support representatives are the primary employees who interact with customers. These employees need to have the tools to understand and effectively resolve customer issues, also often referred to as “pain points.”

Conversational intelligence can help improve service to your customers. Customer service representatives can solve issues more quickly and increase customer satisfaction using this software. In addition to customer pain points, you gain insights into:

● Topics of interest

● Keywords

● Common complaints

● Questions

You can also use this software to gather common complaints and comments into a frequently asked questions section on your website to improve your customers’ experience. In addition, conversational intelligence software can direct customer concerns to the appropriate team.

Think of online chatbots and phone trees that provide another way to save your customers (and your customer service representatives) time and help them solve their problems expeditiously.

As many sales teams focus on meeting a quota, conversation intelligence software can be a huge benefit. Rather than meticulously taking notes for every call, your sales staff will be able to spend more time doing what you want them to do—selling.

Why do you need conversation intelligence software?

Small business owners sometimes make the mistake of thinking they can and should do this work manually. In the case of a small business, this may be possible (although not recommended). Still, business owners need to think of efficiency if there is any hope to scale the company in the future.

If you have 10 or 20 calls a week, that might be manageable for you now — but as your company grows, you simply won't have time to monitor the hundreds (or even thousands) of calls coming into your business every week. Allow conversation intelligence software to do some of this work and analysis for you.

Establishing conversation intelligence software early on can help you train and coach employees, so you're all working like a well-oiled machine.

Common elements of conversation intelligence software

A product must meet specific criteria to be considered a conversation intelligence software. The program must transcribe calls into text (and data), allowing this information to be analyzed. Additionally, a conversation intelligence software should also identify keywords, themes, and other important items from a phone call.

Conversation intelligence software also needs to produce statistics on a conversation, particularly customer interactivity, call duration, and talk ratios. There are a whole host of companies and software options that can provide similar versions of this service.

What is sales coaching software?

Source: Lessonly

Sales coaching software is related closely to conversation intelligence software. In fact, it generally offers some conversation intelligence capabilities but focuses more specifically on the sales associate. Sales coaching software will identify a sales representative's language, cadence, tone, and technique. As the name implies, management often uses this technology to train and coach sales and support representatives.

Companies often use sales coaching software and conversation intelligence software in tandem. Sales coach platforms are designed to facilitate teamwork and personalized feedback on sales calls.

Managers can observe calls and offer assistance in real-time. Sales coaching platforms (along with conversation intelligence software) can also help new hires quickly become valuable members of your sales staff.

What is sales intelligence software?

Sales intelligence software accumulates data from multiple sources to assist their sales team. This data can help the team identify potential sales leads, prioritize their schedules, and strategize for the best possible outcome.

Sales departments often have hundreds or thousands of prospects available. This wide range of potential projects can make it a challenge to know where to begin. Sales intelligence tools help representatives use their time more efficiently, resulting in less wasted time and more focus on the most beneficial calls. Sales intelligence and sales coaching software tie in closely with conversation intelligence software.

The overall philosophy of conversation intelligence

Conversation intelligence is a way for leaders to determine what is working best for their sales team. These software programs help capture customer interactions, determine what they're asking about, and ultimately deliver insights.

For example, conversation intelligence software might recognize that associates are spending more and more time on the phone. As a leader of your company, this insight might encourage you to make changes to improve that. Overall, we can sum up the philosophy for conversation intelligence in just a few words: stop losing business you should keep.

Sales leaders can instruct their teams to take specific notes and pass along information, but it can be more proactive to implement conversational intelligence. Think about how efficient your team could be if you could replicate sales calls from your top performers for the entire team.

Which parts of your business may benefit from conversation intelligence technology?

Conversation intelligence software can benefit you in many ways. For instance, CI software can:

● Aid you in making data-driven decisions

● Identify best practices within your sales and customer support teams

● Help you act on those analytics to improve the company's practices overall

You have to be able to determine customer motivation. The best way to understand what your customers really want is to hear what the customers are actually saying. In many cases, sales teams have needed to rely on indicators such as abandonment and link clicks. While these indicators can be important, they're just one aspect of the whole picture.

Customers will generally indicate exactly what they want, the reason for their call, and what will drive them to make a purchase. These conversations are specific and very valuable to you. In the past, we weren't able to thoroughly analyze these conversations. With conversation intelligence software, we now have this ability. Conversation intelligence can benefit many parts of your business, including sales, marketing, eCommerce, and customer service.

How can conversation intelligence improve customer service?

Conversation intelligence has really evolved the customer service industry by bringing attention to potential problems in the buying process. Most importantly, conversation intelligence can help your brand develop better relationships with customers by identifying pain points and common complaints.

With an accumulation of data, you can ascertain where you might be having issues and address them in a data-driven way. For customer support teams, these platforms allow visibility into overall engagement levels. You can also document customer feedback, accruing even more potentially useful data.

How conversation intelligence software benefits sales and eCommerce

For strategic members of teams that drive revenue, like sales and eCommerce, conversation intelligence software can help inform critical decisions. Before removing a product from your services or making drastic changes to it, you could check through the calls that have mentioned that product to find out what customers think.

Ecommerce teams benefit from conversation intelligence software as well. Conversation intelligence allows them to create a data-driven system to refine and continually improve your customer's digital experience.

Potential benefits for marketing departments

Additionally, marketing teams can use conversation intelligence software to connect sales to specific marketing campaigns. If a person calls in to make a sale based on a digital campaign, that's important information to know! Conversation intelligence software allows you to track the data efficiently. A marketing team can search for specific keywords or phrases and even listen to specific calls to see trends.

You can extend the benefits of conversation intelligence software to almost any revenue stream. It provides opportunities for corrections and improvements in sales, eCommerce, marketing, and customer service. Conversation intelligence software can even score calls, customers, managers, or representatives based on results.

Overall, CI software can generate various metrics to help improve your company’s conversation strategy and customer sentiment towards your product.

How does conversation intelligence software work?

Conversational intelligence software can transcribe information from customer communication. Once the software analyzes these conversations, the data is returned to the sales team in graphs or charts that are easy to understand.

This software contains algorithms used to identify information that otherwise might slip through the cracks. As one example, using conversation intelligence software can isolate keywords and cues that indicate a potential customer is ready to buy. You can identify conversation patterns that are more or less likely to make a sale.

Again, this is a massive benefit to your sales staff. It enables them to spend less time on selling efforts that are less likely to produce results.

Features provided by conversation intelligence software

While each of these software programs is different, there are many common elements featured in most conversation intelligence. The most basic of these is call transcription. Once transcribed, conversation intelligence software will generally use cloud storage for the transcriptions.

Call scoring

Call scoring is a feature found in many kinds of conversation intelligence software. It's the ability to grade calls based on the outcomes. The goal of most sales calls is to make a sale. Even though not every call will make a sale, it can provide you with valuable data when you employ CI software.

An interaction may result in a follow-up, upgrade, or new purchase. On the other hand, a call could end with a frustrated customer. Conversation intelligence helps sales leaders track these types of calls and score their sales team. Ultimately, this can help a sales leader determine where an associate might have shortcomings and address them through training or coaching.

Actionable insights

Another metric provided by conversation intelligence software is something called actionable insights. These insights include call response time, calls-to-sales ratios, customer anger, etc. Actionable insights look to provide a sales team with the information they need to improve response times and decrease customer irritation.

Other features in conversation intelligence software include call analytics and topic tags. The important thing when deciding what conversation intelligence software to choose is your team’s needs.

Comparing CI software: what to consider

The most important factor is one that we inherently consider with every purchase: the value you're getting for the cost. Cost is a crucial factor for many businesses. However, there are three other important considerations, as well. We’ve outlined all of these factors below:

1. Software pricing

Depending on the vendor, pricing may be monthly or yearly (some companies also charge a one-time fee). A start-up fee is usually about $5,000. From there, subscription costs vary from $800-$1,600 annually ($100-$175 monthly).

Pricing information is not always listed or easily accessible for these conversation intelligence software programs. You may have to contact a vendor to receive a quote.

2. Language barriers

First, every CI software is not the same. If your company is doing business worldwide or in many different languages, this will undoubtedly be something you take into account as you make a decision.

More and more companies are offering conversation intelligence in multiple languages. Therefore, determine your greatest need for languages; some companies provide a more extensive library of languages or higher support quality.

3. User experience

Another factor is the software’s ease of use. You'll want to start using this software as soon as possible, so you may not want to choose one with a high learning curve. Often, you can try a free trial to see if a platform is a good fit for you and your business.

If you get a free trial, try to use the software in as many ways as possible. Have a team member experiment as well to find out if this will be a good fit. When it comes to new software, you want it to have all the functions you need, but efficiency is still the standard that rises to the top.

4. Transcription accuracy

The accuracy of transcriptions is something else to consider. Conversation intelligence software vendors that have been around longer will tend to have more sophisticated transcription technology. Transcriptions must be accurate — otherwise, a lot of the information ascertained from your customers may be inaccessible or miscategorized.

There are other essential factors, but these are the main details to consider when making your purchase.

How does conversation intelligence help a sales team?

Conversation intelligence covers all of your sales calls rather than conducting random sampling. Sales teams can use conversation intelligence to gain insights on who performs the best and who could use additional guidance. Overall, this can help the team with productivity and efficiency, leading to higher revenue overall (and hopefully increased employee retention).

Another example of conversation intelligence helping with efficiency is “alarm” calls. These are calls that need to be responded to as soon as possible. With a systematic approach to conversation intelligence, the sales team will answer those alarm calls more quickly (and with more information).

Conversation intelligence can also help you and your team catch problems in your methodology quickly. This gives you the chance to remedy mistakes while the customer receives the service they need efficiently.

Supplying data trends

Conversation intelligence software produces analytics. Based on these analytics, a sales team could compare numbers and determine why the top producing sellers succeed—a helpful metric when figuring out what's really working for your company.

Observing these trends allows the sales team to grow as a unit, since you can share this information across the sales team in real-time. This feature may allow you to have fewer sales meetings and give your sales team even more time to focus on making sales.

Closing skill gaps

Another challenge with sales teams is identifying skill gaps among individuals. Conversation software analytics can provide insight into how specific associates can improve. This establishes consistency across departments and keeps everyone in the organization following the same methods. In other words, conversation intelligence helps identify areas for improvement in sales coaching.

Supporting sales leaders

The main focus of a sales leader is to train new employees and help your existing employees improve. When utilizing CI software to transcribe and analyze all conversations, sales leaders can listen to specific topics or “problem calls”) with those records.

This is much more efficient than systems in the past, where a sales leader might shadow their team's calls for a day. CI software can also help companies determine who their strongest associates are and the reasons for their success.

Upper management

Many organizations have separated teams, meaning information from one department might not necessarily make it to another department. However, the most successful companies ensure that separate departments always communicate effectively.

With more communication from all parts of the company, the customer experience will improve. For high-level leaders within a business, all departments need to have access to important information about sales and customer interactions. Conversation intelligence software will help you reach this goal.

Is conversation intelligence necessary for your sales or support team?

There are several reasons to recommend conversation intelligence software. First — and probably the most important reason for many businesses — is cost. CI software can help you save money and time while cultivating leads. Setting benchmarks will allow agents to be analyzed quickly, efficiently, and fairly. It can also:

Improve customer communication

Conversation intelligence provides more than just leads. CI software can even project your customer's emotions and what they need. Through conversation intelligence, your sales representatives will be able to communicate with customers in a better way. Furthermore, conversation intelligence software will help to soften our forgetfulness.

Avoid forgetfulness

No matter how good a salesperson someone is, they can't possibly remember all of the important details of every contact they make. Conversation intelligence software can fill in some of those memory gaps — this applies both to specific customers, as well as to your training in general.

A new employee may have difficulty remembering your sales script, but conversational intelligence software can help provide prompts and tips. These prompts and tips will help your new sales representative to offer quality service up to your standards.

Promote consistency

Conversation intelligence software will analyze every call from your team, determine positive or winning behaviors and ultimately, result in quality assurance. Consistency across the board is key for a sales team, and conversation intelligence software can help you achieve that.

How can conversational intelligence software change the behavior of your sales team?

Humans are creatures of habit. Building good habits of your own and starting new ones with your sales team is an essential principle of growth. Conversation intelligence tools can help identify areas for change rather than sticking to the old ways of doing things.

A few potential changes stand out above the rest. Here are five ways that CI software can help change your sales and support teams for the better:

1. This software has increasingly made it possible for sales leaders and representatives to improve their performances.

2. More reliable data from software can help management hold representatives and sales leaders accountable for their results.

3. Through repetition and refinement, your sales script will continue to improve, growing your company's customer base and revenue.

4. A knowledge base across your sales teams will help you improve your brand's recognition.

5. Being aware of potential customer pain points can allow you to address those issues satisfactorily, bringing in new potential customers.

With these continued improvements, your staff and leadership teams will continue to build on beneficial habits while breaking those habits that are not as productive. At the end of the day, you're using this software to pinpoint where your processes are failing and using proven data to strengthen your sales and support systems.

What company sizes benefit from conversation intelligence software?

Any company with a sales or support department can benefit from conversation intelligence software. In general, it can provide you with data on the length of the call and what was said. This information can benefit your profitability, no matter the size of your team.

Despite this wide applicability, there are two types of companies that could especially benefit from using CI software.

Companies with limited staffing

Any growing business can benefit from CI software, but particularly those just starting out with limited staffing. In the early stages, customer interactions are vitally important.  During these times, pitches are often still being developed, and additional data will help refine and narrow your pitch to its most effective form.

However, taking detailed notes manually and sharing them with your team is a lot of work when you have limited staffing. It can also be challenging in the early stages of a business when you have a lot of competing priorities. Having an easy way to transcribe calls and go back to review conversations can be valuable.

You should have a set process and system that works. Once your sales pitches, cold calls, and demonstrations are all done in a particular way, conversation intelligence software can help ensure that your whole team follows the company process.

Key transformations:

● Transcribing and reviewing calls and chats for quality control

● Collecting customer satisfaction data

● Creating a dependable process for lead management

● Developing data for more effective coaching and training

Larger companies looking to cut costs

The more time you spend on false or bad leads, the more it will cost your business in the long run. When a business is looking to cut costs, CI software can be a valuable tool. With insights into customer interactions, you can quickly identify what’s working for your team and what isn’t in order to shift your focus in the right direction.

You also won’t need to spend money, time, and manpower on analyzing call data manually, as the software handles this for you. What was once a complex process has become simplified and easy to use to improve your company.

Key transformations:

● Transcribing and reviewing calls and chats for quality control

● Collecting customer satisfaction data

● Insight for targeting the most promising leads

● Automatic analysis of call information and trends

Making the transition to CI for your sales team

Regardless of the size of your team or company, it can benefit your staff and company to invest in conversation intelligence software today. As outlined above, the advantages of conversation intelligence software can be numerous. The data accrued from these conversations is invaluable — it can improve sales techniques, identify pain points and ultimately, give your customers a better experience.

There are a variety of software programs available for conversation intelligence. All of these will transcribe calls, but those key differences lie in the cost, language availability, accuracy, and accessibility. As such, getting started with conversational intelligence software can be somewhat daunting. Luckily, Smith.ai can help you implement conversation intelligence into your sales and support teams with ease.

Smith.ai offers conversation intelligence with virtual receptionist services

Conversation intelligence is one of our newest features at Smith.ai. When coupled with our virtual receptionist services, you can more easily visualize and utilize all the valuable data our team is able to collect when interacting with your customers. You can see the details of individual calls or zoom out to view larger trends for your business.

We also offer call and chat screening for leads, scheduling, website chat transcription, and other services to help you take advantage of every lead. Get the most out of your customer interactions and how you can improve using our call intelligence software and other features.

You can check out our pricing or book a complimentary 30-minute consultation with our team. If you’d prefer, you can also reach out to us at hello@smith.ai or chat with us here on our website, where you can reach us 24/7.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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