Are you looking to level up your sales team's performance? Given the win rates in SaaS in the current economy, you’re not alone. In today's marketplace, every sales organization is looking for a better way to sell and be more relevant to get a wallet share.
And that means learning and sales coaching need to happen faster. But there’s a problem. Many companies invest in sales and sales enablement technologies but don’t make the best use of them.
Our research shows that 75% of sales leaders don’t even listen to sales calls—despite having the right conversation intelligence tools.
And here’s why 👇
Most sales managers face three practical problems:
i. How many calls can they listen to in a given day?
ii. And if they hand-pick a few calls to listen to and coach their team based on it—what should be the basis of choosing the calls they listen to?
iii. What a sales rep needs coaching on differs for every rep. How do you identify who needs what at scale?
Let me put that in context for you:
Imagine that you have a team of 5 AEs who do 5 demos per day on average, and each of these demos is a 30-minute meeting.
That’s 5 x 5 x 30 mins = 750 minutes of demo meetings daily. Which sales leader will ever have that much time to listen to calls every day?
This blog post will discuss how AI can solve this problem and help sales reps succeed faster, enabling an accelerated coaching loop.
The gap between sellers and buyers in SaaS
Let’s start by looking at how most sales teams operate, set targets and expectations, and how that creates a gap between how sales reps sell and buyers' expectations.
Setting an unrealistic quota
Until six months ago, many companies focused on growth at all costs, which is a costly choice in the first place if you want to run a healthy organization. In the current economy, we have to be more realistic about the quotas we set and have a basis for how to set them.
If not, it may likely lead to one of the three outcomes:
- High turnover: Sales reps who are consistently unable to meet their quotas are likely to leave their jobs. This can be costly for companies, as training new sales reps takes time and money.
- Low morale: Sales reps who feel like they are constantly under pressure to meet unrealistic quotas are more likely to have low morale. This can lead to decreased productivity and increased stress.
- Unhappy customers: When sales reps are forced to make unrealistic promises to customers to meet their quotas, it will lead to unhappy customers and make it more difficult to close future deals.
Instead, here’s how to set up quotas that’ll work:
- Evaluate past performance: Review historical data and analyze past win rates. Consider the impact of external factors, such as market conditions, on the sales team's performance.
- Collaborate with sales reps: Have regular conversations with your reps to understand their capabilities, challenges, and feedback on quotas. This will help you set realistic targets that motivate and engage your sales team.
- Create a supportive sales culture: Foster an environment where reps feel supported and encouraged to excel. Provide coaching, resources, and continuous training to help them achieve their quotas. Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing among the team.
Not being prepared to handle objections effectively
The second gap is not proactively addressing the objections a buyer might have. Of course, sales objections come in many forms, and handling them isn't easy.
According to data from HubSpot, 35% of sales leaders believe that objection handling is one of the biggest challenges reps and AEs face. At the same time, objections are key to deeply understanding your customer psychology and moving them towards mutually beneficial goals.
The best time to handle objections is not during a sales call—but even before your prospects raise them. Good sales reps wait for prospects to voice their objections so that they can respond to them. Great sales teams proactively seek objections to address them during the discovery call.
But how can you pre-empt objections?
- Anticipate objections: Before the sales call or demo, identify potential objections that prospects may have. Build a buying scenario matrix that outlines common objections and their corresponding solutions.
- Address objections proactively: During the sales conversation or demo, bring up potential objections and address them early on. This demonstrates your understanding of the prospect's concerns and builds trust.
- Focus on validating influencers: Identify and understand the key influencers in decision-making. Tailor your messaging to address their unique objections and concerns.
- Incorporate fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) discussions: During the discovery phase, not just the demo, discuss and address any fears, uncertainties, and doubts the prospect may have. This helps build trust and confidence in your solution.
Broken product demo experience
The third key gap is twofold:
a. Not understanding the priorities of the buyer
b. Not being able to give them a quick demo addressing their problem
Even today, for many SaaS sales teams, the first conversation with the prospect is confined to discovery alone. Now think about it from a prospect’s perspective—their goal is to improve revenue by 25%. Out of the multiple ways to get there, let’s say they have decided to invest in conversation intelligence software with sales coaching insights as one of their initiatives to attain their goals.
They might have already narrowed it down to 2-3 conversation intelligence solutions they want to compare. And the key job of sales is to convince them why your product is a better option, show them how you can solve their problem, and how your product differs from the ones they’re comparing you with.
If you spend the first call only to qualify the prospect, and it takes 2 weeks before the prospect gets to see your product in action, you will be on the back foot. And in many ways, the issue boils down to how sales teams are structured, where reps tend to rely on sales engineers to demo the product.
Some ways to improve the demo experience:
- Deep product knowledge: Train reps to have a deeper understanding of the product, including its features, benefits, and use cases. Please encourage them to participate in handling support tickets and onboarding calls to gain technical expertise.
- Collaboration with sales engineers: Sales reps should not rely solely on sales engineers for demos. Instead, they should collaborate with sales engineers, i.e., reps can deliver a high-level first demo to the prospects based on their discovery conversation. More technical demos involving sales engineers can be scheduled later in the sales process.
- Personalized and value-driven demos: Tailor the demo experience to address the prospect's specific pain points and goals. Showcase the value and outcomes that your solution can provide rather than focusing solely on features.
- Storytelling and engagement: Open the demo with a captivating introduction that resonates with the prospect's needs. Follow a structured framework, such as the "what, why, how" approach, to guide the demo and provide context around each feature or functionality.
How an AI coaching assistant can help sales reps succeed
The three major gaps between the sales experience offered and how people buy also have straightforward solutions, as discussed above. And yet, the gap exists.
It’s not that the sales managers aren’t aware of the problems. They are aware, but there hasn’t been a faster way to spot the gaps on the fly and coach their team members promptly based on where the ball gets dropped.
That’s where AI comes in.
A lot of SaaS companies, despite their investment in conversation intelligence tools, still have a manual way of handling their sales workflows—they take notes manually, maintain customer data on spreadsheets, and manually pick and choose the sales calls to listen to coach their reps on the gaps in their sales approach.
But Avoma changes the game by helping you coach reps at scale. Let’s see how it works.
AI listens to sales calls, reviews them and assigns scores
Avoma's AI Coaching Assistant solves your biggest pain when it comes to sales coaching—it helps you figure out which sales call to review amidst all the calls recorded and transcribed for the day. AI listens to all the calls and scores them based on the predefined evaluation parameters.
The way it works is—each call is automatically scored by AI, and you can see which ones need your attention the most based on the ones with the lowest scores. So, no more guessing or picking calls to listen randomly. You can spend your time when you add the most value–coaching.
Removes potential biases in coaching
The second challenge you often face regarding sales coaching is that biases can sneak into your judgment when listening to or reviewing sales calls.
With Avoma’s AI Coaching Assistant, you can set clear objectives for each type of sales call to evaluate the performance based on those parameters.
For instance, let's take a sales discovery call. You might want to know if the rep:
- Set the agenda with the prospect
- Understood their needs before going on to demo the product
- Understood their pain points
- Scope the competitors evaluated alongside
Setting up specific scorecards and letting AI score the calls based on those parameters takes the guesswork out of coaching. So you can now focus on giving precise and helpful feedback to your reps, helping them improve on areas where each needs to be coached.
Avoma offers three AI scorecard templates off the shelf: the SDR Prospecting Call template, Sales Demo Call template, and Customer Success Call template, with more to come!
Gives you 100% coverage for all sales calls
With so many calls, it's practically impossible to have 100% coverage for your entire team. Think about it: Sales managers are juggling many responsibilities—from hiring new recruits to running the sales strategy and monitoring sales performance. You barely have a moment to spare.
And when you do manage to find time for coaching reps, there are just too many calls to keep track of, and it’s impossible to listen to all calls manually. And that’s the best part about having an AI Coaching Assistant by your side—you get 100% coverage on all calls across the board, thus making the need for manually listening to calls redundant.
And not just that, AI offers a drill down of the gaps in each call across team members so that you can help build the right sales habits and save around 5 hours per week.
Ready to increase sales with AI?
The world of sales, especially in B2B SaaS, is changing fast, all thanks to AI. With AI automating repetitive tasks and speeding up sales cycles, the focus is now on minimizing time spent on tasks that can be automated.
At the same time, we want to optimize steps that need a human touch, like handling objections in sales calls and making important judgment calls about each deal. Probably, not every sales organization is ready for AI. But if you want to improve productivity and build a culture of coaching where you iterate quickly, you might want to sign up for Avoma and take it for a spin.