Let me get the legal stuff out of the way first.  If you do record your calls, or plan to record, make sure that you are in compliance with all local, state and federal laws and guidelines as they pertain to recorded calls.  Okay – now I can ask the lawyers to leave the room and get to the discussion at hand.

As a former manager of inside salespeople, I would say without question one of the greatest training assets I had at my disposal was recorded phone conversations.  Sure, I could stand behind the rep and listen to his or her words, plug in, sit next to him or her and catch either side.  I could even silent-monitor from another room.  But, without question, the power of having a recorded conversation that I could review and score without distractions proved to be priceless.  As managers and trainers, we do our best to remain “real time.”  We like to hear, correct, teach and reinforce the organization’s best practices as they relate to the words our reps speak.  Having recorded conversations not only allows us to hear both sides of the conversation, but, if utilized properly, it can create a learning environment or classroom where teaching, learning, and team building take center stage.  And yes, even the reps love it, have fun with it and most importantly, learn from it.

Back in the day we recorded our reps calls using call recording software.  Intelligent call recording actually marries the recorded call to the contact record and is searchable by result code, rep, time, call duration and so forth. What makes it nice is that as a manager you can pull up a rep by “yes” results or “no” results and only listen to those.  You can segment out “yes” results by call duration and try to figure out how Jimmy keeps getting positive results on calls that are only lasting one minute.  If you do record, or have plans to record, you should invest in a system that has call recording software and marries the recorded call to the record.  This allows for total flexibility to slice and dice the recordings.  You will be amazed at what you learn and what you catch.  For the purposes of training, having command of the calls for playback is essential.

Playing the recorded calls for the reps and creating a fun-filled learning environment

Yep – we were actually able to accomplish that task.  I must admit, when we first shared with reps that they would be recorded, and that their recorded calls would be shared in a group environment, and that it would be fun…. we had skeptics.  Let’s face it, people don’t want to hear their own recorded voice, much less do it in a room with fellow reps.  Nor do they want some of their worst calling efforts on display and heard by all.  We overcame these concerns by creating an intimate laid back training environment.  We would keep the training group small, usually eight reps or less.  All of the calls that we planned to review had been pre-screened (no surprises) and comprised of a selection of “yes” results, “no” results, “maybe” and “send me something.”

We would break the ice by having our manager or the trainer tell his or her own horror stories of calls gone wrong.  This is to let the reps know that all sales people, both good and bad, have a mixed bag of calls and a mixed bag of results.  The first call we would review would always be a winner, the perfect call.  Ideally, the next call reviewed would be by the same rep; let’s say it was somewhat less perfect.  The idea here is to share that any sales person can go from good to bad very quickly.

As the training session progressed, we would go into a round robin of playing calls from each rep, some good, some not so good, some funny.  Each call would have a teaching point.  (This took a little time on the front end for our training manager to select the right batch of calls, determine the order and sketch out the strategy of the session, but it was worth it.)  We did not leave anything to chance.  We went into the training with specific goals and teachings we wanted to communicate.

10 tips for training with recorded sales calls

1)      The training should be fun, informative and have teachable moments.

2)      Do it in small intimate groups of six to eight reps.

3)      Have your calls selected by rep, each with a teaching point.

4)      Tell your own war stories and stories about past nameless reps (these can be especially funny).

5)      Play the calls and let the reps weigh in on what they heard and what they would improve on.

6)      Have a selection of “yes,” “no” and “maybe” calls for each rep — this will strengthen the final takeaway.

7)      Know exactly what you want your reps to walk away with and ensure that they receive the intended lesson.

8)      Monitor and record the following day’s calls to ensure any desired corrections by your reps have been implemented.

9)      Repeat the training again in one week with a new batch of calls to effectively measure improvement, strengthen the desired changes and monitor the results.

10)   Measure and score the sessions, changes in your reps and their resulting successes.

Number 10 is a bit vague; I will leave it to the coaches and trainers to weigh in on scoring calls and measuring their effectiveness.  It is different for each organization and it is a strategy that has to be determined and implemented internally.  The take away I hope you get from this post is that recording calls, listening to the recorded calls, and playing them in the right framework can be a powerful training tool and a bundle of learning fun.  I miss the days of doing it with my own group.

Don’t forget that there are several ways and platforms available to record calls. Call Recording Software that marry the recorded call to the contact record and gives you the ability to slice and dice in a variety of ways will provide the biggest bang for the buck.  Today, some Inside Sales Software and telemarketing software have it baked in, which makes it that much sweeter.

Record, Playback and Learn.