Making more of every sales opportunity


It’s an ongoing challenge for customer service contact centres everywhere: how do you improve sales performance without compromising on satisfaction or the customer experience? As Will Walker, Associate Consultant at Ember explains, one emerging approach is based on speech analytics, which gives you a richer understanding of sales effectiveness and can help you get the most from your advisors.

Do you know which of your agents are your most effective salespeople? And if so, how?

Chances are, the best indicator you’ve got is their gross sales – fine for a pure sales contact centre, but of less use in a mixed sales and service environment.

Here, the reality is that advisors are dealing with multiple types of interaction, only some of which result in a sales opportunity. So to get a better insight into their effectiveness, you need a way of tracking the number of opportunities they have before counting the number (and value) of sales they complete.

Most common performance measures in the contact centre don’t help here. Average handle time and first contact resolution aren’t measures of sales effectiveness, nor are NPS or other metrics from customer surveys. Instead, to understand their real “conversion rate”, you need to delve into the content of advisors’ conversations. That is precisely where speech analytics fits in.


Looking at the language of opportunity

Speech analytics allows you to examine the language used by the customer and the advisor during an interaction. Using keywords and syntax, you can create highly accurate and selective search categories tailored to your company environment.

In this instance, you could build an ‘Opportunity’ category and search for language associated with a sales opportunity. Depending on your business, that could be upgrades or cross-selling, or more nuanced issues, like the customer referring to an old or broken piece of equipment they plan to replace, or a product or service that they weren’t happy with.

Then, with the key terms identified, the analytics software can examine all relevant call recordings and transcripts to see how often these opportunities occur across the business. Reports can be generated for each advisor.

Putting sales in context

This more accurate information about opportunities then provides the context for sales figures – whether in terms of gross sales achieved or the number of opportunities converted. And that, in turn, offers a more relevant way to compare sales performance across the team.

Advisor A may have had 100 opportunities in the last month, based on the identified keywords, of which she responded to 70 and converted 20. Advisor B had 50 opportunities, and only  acted on half of them… but every time they did engage, they managed to complete a sale.

Who is the more effective? That’s for your business to decide, but now you have a valid and evidence-based point of comparison.

More importantly still, you have benchmarks on which you can improve in a targeted way. Translated into popular contact centre management language, advisor A is trying but underperforming; B appears to be performing and not trying.


Translating insight into training and targets

For advisor A, it seems the most pressing training need is for sales conversion skills; for advisor B, the focus might be on encouraging him to identify and respond to a greater proportion of opportunities. That could be a training issue, but it could equally relate to incentivising and motivating him. Both could potentially benefit from the insight and support not only of their managers but also of advisor C, who has identified 90% of their opportunities this month and converted the majority of them.

For each member of the team, you can then create dynamic performance scorecards based on their sales effectiveness score for the month, week or day – and set tangible, personalised targets with relevant incentives.

See what else analytics can do

But individual performance reports aren’t the only way you can apply speech analytics to improve sales effectiveness. By linking opportunities to completed sales, the business has a means of investigating whether there are common factors that encourage conversion; specific offers or examples mentioned by the successful advisors, for instance, or particular links that seem to work for up- or cross-selling.

These are just some of the ways that the insights from speech analytics can make a difference to sales effectiveness – as well as to many other areas of contact centre performance. If your use of analytics is still limited to monitoring compliance, you’re missing out. It’s time to broaden your horizon.

About Ember:

We are a business services group providing specialist management consultancy, training, analytics and executive search. We’re joined by a shared ethos of doing the right thing for our clients, and a shared focus on the customer experience and how to improve it – with the end goal of increasing value for our clients.

Contact us today to find out how we can help your organisation!