What’s so special about the year 2021?
And why do you think conversational intelligence can drive growth specifically this year?
Does that ring a bell?
You've probably figured out the answer to this question.
It’s the uninvited year of remote working and remote selling. And let’s take a moment to thank the pandemic for this opportunity!
The COVID-19 pandemic shifted buyers and sellers to go digital platforms. More and more salespeople found themselves in remote selling environments. Initially, a crisis response, selling remotely has now become the new normal and probably the future.
New changes witnessed by sales teams in 2021
- Digital Collaboration- Sales teams, relied on digital platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams for internal and external communication. As far as video calls and meetings are concerned, it shifted to Zoom, MS Teams, and Google Meet platforms. The Zoom mobile app saw a surge of users with downloads amounting to 485 million times in 2020, increasing business users to 467,100. Unbelievable numbers, right?
- Time zone differences- Remote teams selling from different time zones barely meet on common occasions. Selling norms for different locations worked differently in In various parts of the world. Some countries were stable, while others were mortified with new cases looming in all directions. With everyone working from their native, it was challenging to collect the team in one place for internal engagements or training sessions.
- Zero Physical Engagements- Face-to-face engagements with customers went down considerably and became a trend that here’s to stay. As stats are predicting, online sales are projected to grow and amount to $6.388 trillion – nearly 2x of 2019’s overall e-commerce sales. B2B sellers faced challenges in building trust virtually as both buyers and sellers were dedicatedly riding the remote work for the first time.
- Product demand declined- Product demand, in comparison to pre-covid time, reduced drastically. Businesses witnessed a sudden drop in product demand in specific verticals like hospitality, travel, aviation, timeshare, or automobile.
- Delayed payments and projects on hold- If sales pipeline forecasts and actual numbers are to be compared, the revenue flow dropped drastically, and new predicted projects went on hold in 2020. The majority of customers were facing an unprecedented cash crunch during the crisis.
- New sales channels needed identification- Old sales channels failed or didn’t respond as well as expected. Online methods such as chatbots, messengers, websites, etc., were performing comparatively better than 1-1 sales meetings. In some cases, direct selling didn’t work anymore; alternative channels took precedence.
- Incentivizing salespeople- Sales performance was unlike any other year- 2020 was more a year of efforts and no results. Understandably, the criteria for evaluation needed manipulation, and delivering performance-based incentives required restructuring.
- Managing and coaching sales teams virtually- Thanks to all the new changes mentioned above, coaching teams on virtual platforms was difficult. But the bigger question was on what grounds to assist and coach salespeople; deciding the topics and gaps was dicey and undefined.
By now, you must wonder how exactly the conversation intelligence eases the pain or brings revenue in these hopeless circumstances?
Well, the CI tool played a bigger role.
It created a doorway for future needs and helped in preparing for the new normal.
What is conversational intelligence?
For a long time, we at sales and marketing invested time in social listening. In search of insights on social media, the social aspect went missing. We overlooked valuable conversations originating directly from the audience.
Here’s where conversation intelligence comes into play. With CI, you can capture the source of truth instead of chasing market research by listening to:
- First-hand experiences
- Compliment great services
- Rant about everything that doesn't go right.
- Personal stories
- Emotional and behavioral changes
- Insider knowledge
As evident, conversational intelligence goes beyond social listening.
Conversation Intelligence software solutions turn routine conversations into actionable intelligence that your company can leverage to optimize its sales, marketing, and customer service strategy.
You can record, store, and analyze customer conversations, as well as take advantage of a plethora of functionalities, including speech recognition & analytics, speech-to-text transcription, Keyword analysis, and in-call analytics.
How did conversation intelligence drive growth during the new normal?
In particular, Conversation Intelligence (C.I.) gained immense popularity as one of the most intuitive platforms for sales performance improvement during 2021. Involving conversation intelligence improved performance by providing:
1. Market preference-
“People do business with people they trust.”- Bob Basiliere, VP Sales at Allego.
And to build trust, it’s essential to understand where sales can earn trustworthy points.
Customer conversations guided sales teams on users’ preferences. Customers prefer engaging at the consideration or decision stage directly. Meaning, the majority of information and communication could turn into a self-serve format on the website. Interactive websites clearly, made customers’ life easy.
For example, promoting online pricing and purchasing is easier because 70 percent of B2B decision-makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve, or remote purchases above $50,000, and 27 percent would spend more than $500,000.
2. Rise of Empathetic selling-
The pandemic had caught off guard every business on its way. Be it B2C or B2B- clients expected empathy rather than solution consultation. Conversations during sales meetings helped sales enablement teams and managers understand how to break the ice and include empathy-based selling in their sales calls and product meetings.
3. Embracing digital platforms
Sales associates embraced sales technology to a large extent, but customers made it even easier. Most customers requested communication on digital platforms and automatic payments.
Some customers even appreciated companies introducing voice technology and AI-based chatbots.
4. Market survey
Sales conversations make spying on competition easier, considering customers evaluate all the top contenders. Also, customers provide honest product perception, helping software development. The product team and sales work in tandem because of the product feedback received from clients and prospects.
5. New sales channel
You’ll soon realize that customers may not directly purchase an item from you on learning customers’ product preferences. But that means there is someone more trustworthy they’ll buy from. Hence, either you invest in customer relations or search for a suitable channel partner to push your product to the right market.
6. Video and live chat trend
While social meetings were disrupted, several customers preferred to come online on video calls rather than hide behind the camera. Video calls made the call much more exciting and personal.
Live chat portals also performed exceptionally well, and customers were vocal about it in their sales conversations. The use of chats was more inclined towards customer service or product inquiry.
7. Sales teams analysis
While customer and their preference took precedence, another area that attracted a lot of attention was sales teams’ performance and gaps.
The sales performance metrics collected from the conversation intelligence tools helped protect teams’ morale during the crisis. Some sales guys performed better with just a little nudge(sales coaching) from the sales manager in a few calls.
When the crisis ends, the choices made now( last year and in 2021) will strengthen sales forces' competitive positions. What’s more critical is harnessing the opportunities that come your way now. As digital adoption increases dramatically, B2B organizations face tremendous possibilities.
Don’t let customer conversations go unrecorded. Each call offers an unrealized opportunity. Take charge of the conversations and store them carefully along with the analysis received.
Conversation Intelligence can change the sales landscape in your organization, too, specially post-pandemic. You must invest in the sales tool and invest early.
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