Talk time in sales: Tracking talk time to improve sales performance

Talk time, or the amount of time spent chatting to prospects during sales, is one of the most common metrics measured by today’s business leaders. Knowing how many calls your employees make each day, and how long they spend on those calls makes it easier to track your efficiency and get the most out of your team.

However, despite common misconceptions, reducing talk time and increasing the number of calls your employees make isn’t always the key to success.

Talk time and the Salesperson daily schedule

In sales, daily schedules feature everything from cold calling to managing meaningful interactions with customers. A lot of sales managers and reps believe that the key to improving sales is in increasing the number of dials and reducing talk time.

However, while it’s true that reducing talk time can make your salespeople more efficient, it’s important to make sure they’re still covering the right things in their conversations with leads. Rushing through an interaction could also mean missing out on valuable opportunities.

Making the most of talk time in sales means figuring out what “real sales talk” looks like. In other words, sales reps need to find the right balance between quantity and quality with their calls. When sales reps focus their energy into more high-quality interactions means they’ll interact with prospects in a more meaningful way. What’s more, because sales professionals follow the right strategies to qualify calls and learn from their interactions, they’re more likely to be more efficient in the future.

How Much Should You Talk On A Sales Call?

Balancing quality and quantity means it’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all answer for how much a rep should speak on a sales call. Generally, the amount of talking a sales rep will depend on what they sell, who they’re selling to, their selling methodologies, and the type of call.

A good rule of thumb for most sales professionals is to listen more than you talk. The majority of sales professionals spend around 35% of their time talking and 65% listening to prospects and gathering information. However, talk time may be lower during the early stages of the sales journey, when you’re still learning about your prospects.

Talk Time Metrics For Sales

Old-fashioned strategies for sales success focused heavily on measuring the number of calls a sales rep made each day and the talk time or amount of time spent on those calls. However, real sales talk metrics dive a little deeper to discover the true value of each interaction. More effective talk time metrics to consider may include:

  • Number of successful contacts: Tracking the number of successful connections you had which resulted in moving the prospect to the following stage in the sales journey is crucial. This will help you to determine which sales strategies, tools, and lead scoring methods are most effective for your team. 
  • Successful contacts per minute of talk time: This metric provides insights into average talk time and the number of contacts your sales specialists need to move prospects to the next stage in the purchasing journey. This metric can also signal strengths and weaknesses of sales specialists which manifest in various stages of the sales process.
  • Closed deals per talk time minute: This metric considers how much time a sales representative needs to close a lead that doesn’t qualify to move into further stages in the sales cycle. An advantage of this metric is that managers can calculate the average length of a sales cycle and even build better sales forecasts.
  • Revenue generated per contact: This talk time metric examines exactly how much return on investment you get from the talk time dedicated to each sale.

Increasing sales with talk time

Achieving real sales talk time success means thinking carefully about how teams approach conversations with customers and which factors are involved in ensuring the success or failure of a discussion. Once you know how to value talk time correctly, you can begin to make changes to the sales cycle so teams use their conversational moments more effectively. For instance, some of the best ways to make the most of talk time include:

  • Asking questions to qualify leads: Open-ended questions get prospects to open up and share valuable information. The more information collected during a conversation, the easier it is to qualify the leads and determine the next stage of the sales cycle.
  • Personalizing interactions: Personalized interactions will almost always drive higher sales and better relationships with customers. Using information gathered from previous talk time sessions can significantly improve the chances of conversion.
  • Understand the customers: Through the right amount of talk time, sales reps can get a deeper insight into the pain points of their customers, so they can customize their pitches and discussions accordingly.

Mastering Talk Time in Sales

There’s more to improving the salesperson’s daily schedule than reducing talk time and increasing the average number of calls. The conversations between salespeople and consumers in your business are crucial to your overall profits. Learning how to use real sales talk correctly, so that talk time is measured based on quality and quality, will improve your sales results and velocity.

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