Context for Sales Conversations
For sales managers with Salesforce, lead status can only tell you so much about about the state of the prospect interaction. When you need real insights into a relationship with a contact, the progress of a discussion, or where things left off, you have to read the call notes. The call notes from your reps hold valuable information. They show conversation summaries — key requirements, potential issues, competitors in evaluation, and more. Since these factors are essential to quality sales conversations, call notes can actually influence the outcome of calls. Inadequate notes can cause confusion and even lost deals, but great notes lead to great conversations.
But how do you ensure that your reps consistently produce great call notes? There are two key factors. First, you must standardize notes so the right information is recorded in a consistent, complete, and predictable manner. Second, you need to reduce the amount of effort and time involved in creating call notes. How do you get more complete notes while simultaneously decreasing the work involved? Enter: Call notes templates.
What is a Call Note Template?
Call notes templates are basically pre-formatted notes. The templates can be formatted in a variety of ways, including numbered lists, bullet points, and topics to cover. You even create Call Notes Templates for different types of sales calls depending on the lead source of campaign. Some may even create templates based on existing call scripts as a way to help reps stay on track during the conversation.
When a rep is on a call, they can choose the relevant note template within their dialer (like our Intelligent Dialer), and the template populates within the call notes area. As the call progresses, reps have the template to reference as an outline of information they need to collect from the prospect.
Complete Call Notes Benefit Everyone
The job of a sales rep is to find and understand their prospect’s problems and provide solutions. If they do not have complete notes, they can’t provide the proper solution because they lack total insight. Call notes are also essential during handoffs. An account executive can’t take a lead from an SDR without knowing what they talked about. Furthermore, if every rep employs their own unique note-taking style, other reps, executives, support reps, may fail to properly understand them.
Call Notes Templates Create Consistency
Call notes templates provide a standard for the questions asked and information recorded during calls. In fact, when call notes are within the dialer, your reps will always have access to them. They will never have to struggle to remember that super important qualification question, or miss out on the requirement that will make or break the sale.
The templates ensure all of the right questions are asked and answered so that vital piece of information is never forgotten. They also create consistency across the organization. Anyone and everyone who reads the notes will be familiar with the layout and can easily find and understand the information within them. Now you can easily see who was on the last conference call or see what was discussed during the initial cold call because every rep takes notes in the same manner.
Ideally either during or after every call, your reps should record the following notes in a clear and concise manner:
- Date/time of conversation
- Who they dialed, as well as anyone else that joined the call (name and job titles)
- Key bits of personal info to make you more relatable
- Answers to qualification questions
- Problems they have/solutions they need
- Questions they had
- Possible issues/blockers
- Competitor mentions
Call Notes Create After-Call Work
Obviously, It’s important to get call notes right, but it can be difficult to strike a balance. Call notes are often a large component of ACW (After-Call Work). ACW includes all of the tasks a rep must complete after they hang up the phone. Reps must type/input notes, complete checklists, forward/flag the conversation, change status, update records, and so on. The time spent on after call work is measured as call wrap-up time.
Since they dominate so much of the after-call work, incomplete or inconsistent call notes are largely caused by an attempt at time savings. However, your reps usually pay for lackadaisical notes the next time they decide to call that particular contact.
If a rep spends just ten minutes gathering notes after each call and has five conversations in a single day, that’s nearly an hour of after-call work. That extra hour could easily be another two conversations, 30 dials, or even six emails.
I’ve seen some organizations in which reps took their call notes with a pen and paper. Unfortunately reps failed to type them up for days on end. They then would be forced to input notes for hours and match them with all the contacts they had called. Sometimes they wouldn’t remember where they had left their notes or forgot what they had written. This would result in lost or incomplete notes. Contacts would then have to be called without any visibility into past conversations.
Call Notes Templates Reduce After-Call Work
When using a dialer application that directly integrates with Salesforce, Call notes templates significantly reduce call wrap-up time. Reps no longer have to worry about the proper format of their notes or remember to upload them.
During or after a call, reps simply record their notes in the pre-formatted template, and everything is automatically saved to the proper Salesforce field.They don’t even have to go search for the correct contact, since everything in the dialer is associated with the lead. This time savings results in more time spent on sales, more conversations, and more revenue.
The Future of Call Notes
When combined with call recordings and even speech analytics, call note taking moves to the next level. One of the many benefits of call recording is that any conversation can be transcribed. Combine this with a solution that integrates with Salesforce, it allows reps to listen to their past conversations, search for keywords, and understand exactly what occurred on the call. This significantly reduces the amount of notes a rep has to take and further accelerates their sales process.
Taking notes during a call is hard. Reps have to ensure they get the right information, write everything down, and actually have a good conversation with the person on the other end. When a call is recorded, it completely removes the stress of actively writing notes while on a call because they can be pulled later. This allows them to focus on having better conversations.