In Sales Training

chris-orlobDo you think you’re listening enough during your sales calls? Think again because you’re probably talking more than you think. How about talking to your customers in a way that calms their fears? Have you thought about that?

My guest today is Chris Orlob, senior director of Product Marketing at Gong.io,. They conducted a study where they analyzed 25,537 conversations of B2B sales reps which enabled them to identify the patterns, trends, and insights leading to the highest win rates, most revenue, and shorter sales cycles.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Chris:

A brief overview of the study they conducted:

25,537 sales calls which were conducted on platforms like GoToMeeting, WebEx, and Join.me

Average call duration: 43 minutes

Customer Data Demographics: Mid-market SaaS (Software as a Service) companies

Methodology:

  • Map the call recordings to the appropriate CRM record.
  • Attach the calls to their outcomes (win rates, sales cycle length, revenue the calls generated)
  • Separated speakers of the call between customers and reps and transcribed them from speech to text
  • Ran Gong’s AI in conversations analytics engine through the data to find the insights

The 5 Insights They Discovered:

  1. Ideal talk to listen ratio
  • The highest performing sales reps on average talk 43 of the call while the prospects talk 57% of the call.
  • Most sales professionals overestimate how much they’re listening.
  • The average sales rep speaks 65%-75% of a call but most think they’re only speaking around half the time.
  • If your prospect is only taking 22% of the time on average, figure out how you can bring them to an average of 33% of the call talking and you will drastically increase your win rates by about 32%.

Key takeaway:Talk less and listen more.

  1. Pricing trends

How often should pricing come up:

  • 3-4 times in a sales call: Highest win rates
  • Less than 3x or more than 5x: Win rates tend to shrink

Note: Treat this as a buying signal, not as a sales technique.

When should pricing come up:

  • Average-bottom performers: Talk about pricing at random points in the call
  • Top performers: They heavily skew their pricing discussions between the 40 and 49 minute mark of the average sales call.

Key takeaway: Establish value before discussing price

  1. Timeline trends

When customers respond with these words:

  • “probably” – good sign as win rates increase and forecast accuracy jumps by 73%
  • “we need to figure out…” – bad sign and a lot of work should be done since this phrase is correlated with forecasting accuracy and low win rates
  1. How performers use risk reversal language

Sales people say things to calm the fears or perceived risk of buyers upon the point of purchase like:

  • You can cancel it anytime.
  • You can opt out of contract if you’re not satisfied
  • Money back guarantees
  • No long term contracts

Key takeaway: Ease your buyer’s fears by talking about these. This may increase your cancellation rate but your win rates will increase so much.

“There are only two things in business that make money – innovation and marketing; everything else is cost.” – Peter Drucker

  • Business is about product and marketing; the rest is an expense.
  • Sales is marketing at the front line. Salespeople are the instruments of a marketing strategist and the most valuable ones.
  1. Coaching salespeople with real calls

Salespeople who used Gong.io drastically increased their win rates because they were coaching reps at the conversation level  or call recording level.

“Sales conversations are the most pivotal, high-leverage moment in the sales process.” – Chris Orlob

Key takeaway: Coach your reps or yourself at the call recording level. Review calls. Submit feedback and do some self-reflection.

Chris’ Major Takeaway:

Talk less and listen more and use risk reversal language and your win rates will go up.

Episode Resources:

Learn more about Gong.io at www.gong.io and connect with Chris Orlob on LinkedIn.

Chris Orlob’s article on Sales Hacker: We Analyzed 25,537 B2B Sales Conversations Using AI – Here Are the 5 Things We Discovered

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

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