Despite the growing adoption of conversation intelligence and revenue intelligence, analyzing and learning from sales calls gets very little attention in contrast to preparing before the call.
Every sales rep worth their salt has some sort of a pre-call routine—but what do they do once the call is over?
I looked up the topic on the internet and there isn’t much written on the subject. I scoured the sales communities on Reddit, Sales Hacker, and Bravado—but couldn’t find anything significant except a lot of chatter around the best tips to follow up with prospects.
So I turned inward and interviewed our internal sales champions at Avoma—Nathan Hymas, our VP of Sales, and Thomas Minturn, one of our Senior Account Executives.
To be clear, we aren’t necessarily talking about “sales postmortem”—although it does feature in a big way under this topic.
But what are the essential things that a successful AE does in their individual capacity immediately after the call is over? What’s the routine they follow as a non-negotiable protocol? We asked our sales experts and I have some great answers you can apply to your own post-call routine.
Do you really need a post-call routine?
At Avoma, we look at all meetings as a lifecycle that you can divide into three parts: there are things you do before, during, and after the meeting.
Preparing for a sales meeting is like the takeoff procedure that airline crews follow—you have to make sure all the nuts and bolts are tightly screwed so that the flight doesn’t fall apart even before the takeoff.
Once the meeting is on, you have to dodge the obstacles and navigate the call to your desired destination—much like maneuvering the plane’s controls to ensure a smooth mid-air journey.
The landing comes last, but it’s in no way any less important than the previous two exercises.
There are a series of complex workflows the flight crew follows as part of their standard operating procedures like checking all the moving parts from a safety standpoint, vacuuming the flight, wiping down the restrooms, refilling supplies, refueling the tank, and preparing for the next flight.
Phew! For the flight crew, landing can be as exhausting as taking off or flying.
It’s not much different in sales, although not all AEs might have a standard post-call practice. And that’s what sets a major-league AE from the average Joe/Jane.
Analyzing your sales call by looking at the conversation insights is a great way to organize your thoughts around the conversation, reflect back on it, and prepare for the next stage of the sales process.
If you don’t regularly examine your sales call after it's over, you are missing out on powerful customer insights that can help you understand the buyers’ psychology and improve your sales performance.
A post-call routine can be an enlightening experience for you to evaluate your interaction with customers, where you continuously learn from the experience, and get a new level of clarity about your customers. It’s like developing a new sales muscle every time you look back at your sales calls.
Set up your post-call routine
To develop a solid post-call routine, both the sales experts I interviewed suggest that it’s best if you divide the routine into three sub-categories: organize, reflect, and plan. Think of it like a workflow that appears in a chronological order.
Arrange your notes
Note-taking is an integral part of every sales call. The idea is to note down the important details that a prospect mentioned during the call, retain the information for future reference, and share the data with others (if necessary).
If you are not a diligent note-taker, you probably hate taking manual notes and wasting time in data entry. Some reps barely take notes in order to focus on the call and lose the important information.
But you need notes for context. If a colleague asks you for last-minute context before their calls, it can be damaging to the sales process. It can also ruin the prospect’s experience if they need to provide the same information multiple times to different team members.
This is where Avoma helps with its automatic note-taking and CRM updates.
Avoma’s AI-powered note-taking capabilities go beyond the basic transcription functionality of typical conversation intelligence solutions by taking notes automatically during your calls and updating them to your CRM.
This lets you actively focus on your conversations and do what you do best.
Update your CRM
Right after you hang up the call—or leave the Zoom meeting—the first thing you should do is update your meeting Purpose and Outcomes in your CRM.
Why? Because, at a glance, you need to know—what was the outcome of the call? Did you agree on the next step? What’s the potential deal value you’re looking at?
Many AEs procrastinate this step or don’t follow through it as diligently because they have other customer calls lined up back-to-back calls. Or, perhaps they don’t realize the importance of updating the CRM thoroughly.
This is where Avoma makes your job easier. As you read above, the meeting notes get automatically synced to your CRM. In addition to that, you can also update your meeting outcomes and deal values from Avoma, without having to go to your CRM.
The screenshot above shows that the purpose of the sales meeting was a “demo” and the outcome was that the prospect was qualified for the next level of discussion.
Similarly, the screenshot below showcases how you can update the deal values.
Analyze the meeting
The aftermath of a sales call is your chance to look back and reflect on it. The storm is over—what remains now is for you to take stock of the debris scattered all over the place, discard the useless stuff, and gather the things that you can use for the future.
Here’s what Nathan has to say about this part of the sales routine.
Take a minute to reflect what went well and what could have gone better and apply it to your next call.
This is solid advice because it forces you to derive insights that you can apply to your next meeting immediately after. If you skip this step, you would just be running from one sales call to another without anything to improve your performance.
Our brain is wired to learn from our daily experiences—even when we aren’t paying full attention. But when you do it with intention and focus, the learning process becomes fast, hyper-focused, and sustainable for a long time.
Also, take an inventory of the meeting highlights. What were the key highlights during the conversation? What made the prospect smile, excited, or curious?
Similarly, think of the low points—what topics made them quiet, dismissive, or snappish?
Analyzing the high points helps you double down on certain topics to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. The low points help you understand their concerns better and handle objections at a later point. These analyses help you understand your prospects better and prepare you well for the next steps.
Rate your call
You are used to dialing and smiling day in and day out—but have you ever reviewed your sales call against cold hard questions?
Granted, it might not be practical to apply this technique to every call because some prospects are poor-fit customers, some don’t show up, or many are relatively low in deal value and impact.
But if you can develop a habit of rating your calls—at least the ones that you think can contribute handsomely to your pipeline—you will get a slight edge on each one of your next call.
If you can rate each of your Uber rides every time you hail a cab, you can certainly make this a practice for your high-stake prospect meetings.
Here is a list of questions to help you rate and review your sales call:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the interaction?
- Were you able to achieve your objective?
- Was the call a success, failure, or somewhere in between?
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- What could you have done differently?
- What information did you gather?
- Did you advance the sale to the next stage?
- Does the client meet your pipeline expectations?
- Does the call/prospect qualify as a good sales opportunity?
- What else can you do to progress to the next step?
- Who else should you involve in the next step?
- What’s my objective for the next meeting?
- What is going to be your next move?
At first, the answer to many of these questions might not be obvious to you—which is why Avoma exists.
Avoma lets you go over the call recording, analyze the talk-listen ratio of you and your prospect, track specific keywords or topics, and get actionable insights about the conversation.
The key is to learn from your past calls and also from the calls of your peers. Check out the average time you and the prospect spent on specific topics, similarly the time spent on those topics by the best performing AEs on your team, and you’ll know your areas of improvement.
Share important insights with others
At Avoma, we have a culture of sharing important insights about meetings every time someone gets off a call with a customer. This helps our sales team a lot more than you can imagine.
What we do is—we quickly create a snippet capturing a key part of the conversation and share it on Slack with the rest of the team.
The insights they share can be positive (e.g., praise for the product), neutral (e.g., questions about integrations, roadmap), or negative (e.g., negative comments about the product, praise for a rival product). We have created different Slack channels to push these insights for everyone in the organization to see or talk about.
The practice of sharing relevant meeting data helps us spark a healthy debate around a certain topic—which eventually ends up making a tangible difference in sales or product development.
Here’s an example from Coleman Schleifer, one of our star AEs, posting a customer query on an internal Slack channel:
Notice how Coleman’s thread elicited an immediate response from others in the team—mostly the product experts who are qualified to answer his question. This helps the sales team get clarity on certain issues, respond to the prospects on time, and improve the likelihood of closing a deal successfully.
Thankfully, we built the perfect tool for this use case. If you take a closer look at the above thread, you will notice that Coleman has shared the meeting link for people to click and listen to the entire conversation so that they have the full context of customer concerns.
Start sharing important meeting insights with internal experts and you will start seeing its immediate impact on your sales conversations. The more urgently you share, the better your likelihood of getting specific and contextual comments from your peers. After all, sales is too important to leave it just to AEs—which is why collaborative selling is taking over traditional sales practices.
If you are dealing with high-ticket clients, this is where running a sales postmortem becomes massively helpful. You basically huddle together with others in your sales team, analyze the meeting from all angles, and devise an effective strategy to win the deal.
(By the way, the answer to Coleman’s questions is: no, you can’t recover a meeting once you delete it in Avoma.)
Another area to get insights is to get feedback on your calls from your peers and sales leaders. With Avoma, your team can contextually comment on specific parts of your sales conversations, thus helping you improve continuously with every call.
Close the conversation loop
From a customer standpoint, it’s always a nice feeling to have someone send a thoughtful message after a meeting. Besides helping you offer a delightful buying experience, it’s a habit that will pay you high dividends when you send customers a round-up of the meeting.
Here’s Thomas Minturn’s on the importance of this routine:
After the meeting, I always send a follow-up email with relevant collateral that ties back to the customer discussion. For example, I include a one-pager description of Avoma for different sales roles…depending on who I was chatting with. I then try to get a follow-up meeting scheduled.
There are three great things about this post-call routine:
- You have an opportunity to thank and acknowledge the prospect for taking out the time to join the meeting.
- You give them a quick recap of everything that you discussed in the call—including reiterating the value that they will get out of your product.
- You can close any gaps that were there in the conversation by sending them relevant content collateral.
If you can bundle this routine into a wholesome experience for the prospects, there is a good chance that they will be eager to set up another call in the future.
Be on your customers’ radar
Most AEs overlook the part about being in the prospects’ proximity once the meeting is over. Several AEs email their prospects or call them multiple times, sending the wrong signal or irking them by being too frequent.
A better way to hang around your customers’ orbit—without bothering them too much—is to leverage your social media presence. Send your prospects a connection request on LinkedIn or follow them closely on social media right after the call. People are more likely to accept a new connection request from people they have just met or had good interactions with.
Assuming you and the prospects are moderately active on LinkedIn, now you can get your prospects’ attention and engage with them frequently on social to improve your rapport further. The intent is to build trust, hang around their social sphere, and develop familiarity.
For instance, you can DM your prospects contextual links about their business domain or a light-hearted meme something you had discussed during the call to improve your social interaction.
After all, there’s a good reason why the top 10% of sales reps close more deals simply by being active on social media. It’s also the reason why we suggest every salesperson should have a good LinkedIn content strategy.
The science behind this is simple: people buy from people they like and trust. The more people see content that reminds them of your product, the higher the chances they will buy from you.
According to behavioral psychology, that’s exactly how “familiarity bias” works—people invest in products that they are more familiar with because it’s a natural choice over buying products that they aren’t sure about. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t—right?
Prepare for your next call
This is one of the most important systems you can develop to make your post-call routine better. Based on the outcome of a meeting, prepare yourself for the next step in the sales process.
Did the customer ask for more information about your product? Send them the right collateral over the email. Did they agree on a time or date? Mark your calendar and send them an invite before you forget.
Did they ask for more time? Set up a reminder on your CRM to follow up after a few days. Did they ask for a deep-dive demo session? Prepare the slide decks or talk tracks that will help you give them a personalized walkthrough of your product.
You are essentially looking for action items to follow depending on the meeting’s direction. For instance, let’s assume that the meeting was so-so because your prospect had a few objections about your product that you couldn’t counter immediately.
In such a situation, list down all the objections that your prospects brought up during the call and start preparing strong answers for each of them. For instance, most objections revolve around four topics: budget, trust, need, and timing.
Rank the objections from highest to lowest on the scale of their impact so that you can allocate the right amount of time and resources to answering your prospects' concerns about them.
Many times, handling customer objections is as simple as asking your prospects a thoughtful counter-question. But you will have to tap deep into your curiosity about the prospects’ business environment to come up with such questions.
Once you are confident about the responses to the prospects’ objections, rehearse them a few times to make sure you have them down pat in your natural speech. If you need help, ask your manager or peers to give you feedback about your preparation.
Pull in experts from the product or engineering team if it means getting down to the core of an issue. Use the time between this call and the next customer interaction to prepare yourself in all manners possible.
Make use of the break between your sales calls
Sales is like a big league sport—you either go big or go home depending on how well you handle the ball in the arena.
And all big league sports have some sort of post-game routine—sports pundits gather around in front of a TV camera to break down a team’s strategy, team coaches run a locker room debriefing, and players discuss their performance with each other after a big match.
Selling is no different—developing a systematic post-call routine gives you an edge in your sales performance. It allows you to look back at your performance while you are still immersed in the inertia of the customer call. You can take notes of the valuable insights for the next round of the game before they evaporate in thin air.
If you don’t already have a post-call routine, let this blog be a primer for you to build one for yourself. We are rooting for you for your next big-ticket sales call!
And if you liked this article, give us a shoutout on LinkedIn.