Marketers are known for their gift of gab. After all, a marketer’s job is to persuade, to influence.
If you’re familiar with DISC assessments and have ever reviewed team profiles, you know your marketers will likely exhibit a high “I” (influence) on their reports. Enthusiastic, warm, and persuasive, a “high I” thrives on engaging with others. We (yes, we, as I’m a proud, “high-I” marketer) thoroughly enjoy convincing others to see it our way. However, sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves and our teammates is to stop and listen.
If you’re on the go or you’d rather listen to this blog instead of reading it, here’s an audio version.
Hear me out (I get the irony of this).
We’re doing a fantastic job of gathering data, synthesizing, and then executing a strategy based on empirical evidence, particularly as technology has evolved to support our efforts. Gold stars for everyone. Where our efforts fall short is when we need to be listening — listening to the people who are the stories behind the data we’ve come to hold so dear. Yes, I’m talking about our customers, but also our sales reps.
The Value of Recording Sales Calls
A strong sales organization is already using call recording as part of their ongoing training practice. Sales leaders use call recording to ensure messaging is accurate, process is followed, and individuals are improving.
Sales executives themselves review their own calls to identify gaps in their process and to catch any important subtleties they might have missed while they were on the live call. While the call recording and review process has been largely embraced by sales, it’s time for marketing to listen-in as well.
Here are three ways marketers can use recorded calls to be a better partner to their sales teams:
1) Validate Buyer Personas
Buyer persona research typically occurs during an organization’s marketing infancy, but it needs to be revisited on an ongoing basis. For early-stage startups, buyer personas should be assessed and validated every six months because your business is continually in a state of experimentation. More established organizations can go one year (sometimes more) between persona validation, especially if there have been no significant changes to your product or service.
One of the simplest ways to validate your buyer personas is to listen to calls that your sales team is having with your buyers. Read through your documented buyer personas first, then listen in on three to five conversations for each persona.
Were they successful calls? Was there a persona match? Does the person on the other end of the phone sound like the person you’ve represented on paper?
If the answer is no, this isn’t something to be ashamed of. Buyer personas evolve. It’s your job as a marketer to now respond and ensure your persona-based marketing strategy is aligned with your target customer. The worst thing you can do is ignore this gap. This will only dilute your marketing efforts and contribute to the growing silos of sales and marketing teams.
2) Improve Company Messaging
We all know that the better half of the buyer’s journey happens without the involvement of a sales rep. This means it’s critical that your website messaging is 100% on-point, otherwise you may be at risk of missing potential new customers. By listening to recorded sales calls that occurred early in the sales process, marketers will better understand what their prospects think their company does.
A simple audit could look like this:
Build a list of sales qualified leads or opportunities whose original lead source was an organic website visitor and who viewed more than 3 pages of your website prior to submitting a decision-stage form (ie, request a demo, talk to sales) or prior to booking a meeting with an SDR.
It’s even ok if the person you are reviewing has since become a customer. The goal is to find a segment of people who you know explored your website thoroughly prior to committing to time with sales.
Ask sales leadership for recordings from the first call these individuals had with someone at the company. This may have been a sales executive, or it might have been an SDR. As you listen to the calls, hone in on one thing: Did the salesperson need to clarify what your company does, or what value you provide? If the answer is yes, your website messaging needs some work.
3) Identify Sales Enablement Opportunities
How many times has a sales rep stopped by your desk to say, “I could really use a flyer that explains _____?”
Whether we want to admit it or not, marketing plays an enormous role in sales enablement. This encompasses the processes, content, and technology that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity rate.
Rather than respond reactively to requests from the sales team for enablement materials, start by listening to call recordings. You will then pick up on the needs of both your prospective customers and your sales team members. It’s possible that while the sales rep thinks she might need a particular flyer. You’ll be able to see a crack in the customer’s marketing-to-sales experience that demands more than just another piece of product marketing.
Proceed Collaboratively (and with caution)
Regardless of which of these three areas you want to address first, be aware that call recording may be a sensitive subject for your sales team. Imagine if all of your business conversations were recorded and scrutinized.
Call recording is an effective training tool because the sales leader has built trust among the sales team. As the marketing leader, you may not have yet been a part of that circle of trust. Don’t try to force your way in. Partner with sales leadership and explain what you’d like to do and why. Together build a plan that includes the entire sales team.
Also published on Medium.