Call evaluation may seem like a mundane process, listening to call after call, but it’s worth every minute.
It allows you to collect an insane amount of data you can use to improve your sales calls. At XANT, we’ve gathered valuable information about top-performing sales reps, which has helped us to train lower-performing reps more effectively.
Sales team morale and performance have improved based on this feedback. Call evaluation research is also being built into the XANT machine-learning algorithms to provide real-time feedback to sales reps while they’re on the phone.
Here are five tips for effective call evaluation:
1. Understand your purpose
Call evaluation is worthwhile for many reasons. One is to collect data. Calls are seeping with data that provides key training points for managers. When you have reps making sales calls every day, it’s beneficial to snag the data before it slips away.
Evaluating calls helps managers know how to train their employees because they have specific data. By watching the game film — in this case, sales calls — you can give specific, personalized feedback to your reps.
One of the lower-performing reps at XANT applied the call evaluation reports he received and greatly improved his performance, becoming one of the top reps and later receiving a few promotions.
2. Use a nonthreatening approach
Don’t take a Big Brother approach. Employees don’t want someone looking over their shoulders, watching their every move. Don’t tie call evaluation scores to raises, promotions or bonuses, at least not at first. Communicate the purpose to your employees so they understand that call evaluation is a tool to help them.
When you evaluate calls, look at each call from a neutral point of view. Don’t allow the employee’s position or reputation to bias your judgment. Evaluate the call based on the lead/client/other party’s perspective and the established criteria.
3. Give feedback
Instead of collecting the data and storing it away for only select people’s eyes, share it. Let everyone know where they stand. If your company has a transparent culture, create automatic reports of the evaluations and let the whole company see them.
Share specific reports with individual employees so they know how they’re performing. Don’t be secretive. Make the information easy to access, so your sales team can use it to grow.
4. Create a quality rubric
Design a quality rubric specific to each position and type of call you evaluate. Know what you’re looking for in the calls.
You won’t know how many “um’s” people are saying unless you count them. You won’t know what type of questions people ask in calls if you do not track them. You won’t have the data unless you create the rubric for it.
Build the rubric directly from your sales process and your company’s best practices.
5. Use systems thinking
Continuously improve your call evaluation process through evaluating, analyzing, designing and implementing. Gather the facts, ask why, design something good enough, and just do it.
The process and rubrics I created at first have changed multiple times. And that’s OK. I’m continuously gathering new data, analyzing it, designing changes, and implementing them. Then I start the process over again.
And that’s how call evaluation is done.
Arianne Sperry is an education specialist at XANT, where she performs call evaluation research. She also teaches clients how to implement effective call evaluation programs in their own sales organizations.
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Image credit: Dustin Gilbert