Every business depends on its ability to sell.
Unless your business is transactional or heavily commoditized, you must communicate effectively with prospects and existing customers.
Great conversations matter, and conversation intelligence is critical.
What is Conversation Intelligence?
Conversation intelligence is the art and science of understanding, measuring, and improving communication in ALL business conversations.
Traditionally, conversational intelligence processes and tools focus on analyzing the language, tone, sentiment, pace, volume, and word choices.
Body language analysis should also be considered by those implementing a program around conversation intelligence.
While we will focus on conversational intelligence from a business perspective, note that the topic has long been important in other professional areas, including public speaking, executive presence, and job interviews.
We will also primarily focus on improving the sales team’s performance, not looking at call centers and other areas where analyzing conversations is equally important.
The Conversation Intelligence Improvement Process
While we are certain each vendor has their special process, the improvement process can be considered a variation of our overall Enablement Execution Model (defined in our definitive guide to enablement), with the method including the following steps:
- Analyze and define the business need. The business need might be as straightforward for sales as improving the conversion rate between sales stages (which further ties back to higher win rates, increased ACV, and higher revenue).
- Collaborating with sales managers, top-performing reps, customers, and others, define the key attributes of “good conversations.
- Measure where your teams, and individuals on the team, are currently (i.e., set your baseline). You could shadow calls, run role plays, and listen to sales call recordings.
- Prioritize critical changes at the team and individual levels.
- Use the Surrounded Learner Technique to train, coach, and improve overall performance. Remember, sales training is a part of driving general behavior change, but nothing beats sales coaching for real improvement with sales reps and the entire sales team.
- Continue to measure the business impact, measure improvements, adjust programs, execute, and repeatedly repeat the Surrounded Learner Technique to achieve desired outcomes.
This process allows you to set up a framework for collecting and analyzing data from your conversations. This framework may involve setting up specific tools, surveys, tracking customer interactions, and developing a solid understanding of customer behaviors.
Best Practices for Improving Customer and Prospect Conversations
Here are a few best practices your sales teams must incorporate in all sales conversations.
Actively Listen To Your Customers And Prospects
Listen to understand — not to respond.
This approach will help you better understand customer feedback, gather meaningful insights, and understand and overcome objections.
Use Active Language
The language you use in your communication can make or break the conversation. Active language helps to convey confidence, empathy, and authority.
You will become more effective at building rapport with your prospects.
Be Clear And Concise
Ensure that your customers and prospects understand what you are saying. Avoid industry jargon, stick to the facts, and communicate clearly.
Even in challenging situations, the tone of your voice can make a significant impact. Staying positive will project confidence and help build trust with your customers and prospects.
Use Open-Ended Questions
Asking open-ended questions helps you gain more information, encourages conversation, and allows for a better understanding of customer needs.
Top Conversation Intelligence Software
Conversation Intelligence software is an excellent solution to analyze conversations at scale. These tools help identify patterns at the individual and team levels.
We will go deeper soon. For now, the top tools to consider include:
Effective communication is key to success in any business. You can quickly improve your communication skills and strategies by utilizing conversation intelligence.