State of Conversation Intelligence 2020

Top Habits of High Growth Sales Teams

Where do you stand? Review this report to see what high-performance sales teams are doing to close more deals. We analyzed over 5M sales calls from more than 300 companies to show you what works in each stage of the sales cycle.

WHAT’S INSIDE

Chorus’s advanced AI was used to identify patterns across millions of sales conversations and to highlight key metrics and trends that can make (or break) deals. The report includes benchmarks for: Cold Calls, Sales Discovery Calls, Late-Stage Conversations, and Customer Success Onboarding and Support Conversations

5M+

Recorded Sales Calls

300+

Companies Represented

Benchmarks Customized for Your Deal Size

Interact with this report to see sales performance metrics relevant to you and your team.

SMB

Deals that are sold at volume and involve a more transactional sales process

SMB+

Including deals of a slightly higher price-point, though volume selling is still key

Mid-Market

Deals where accounts are sold more strategically

Enterprise

Deals where businesses sell into the largest strategic accounts

Improve Sales Team Performance With Benchmark Data

We’ve combed through the data to give you the most powerful insights into your sales process. For maximum impact, fill out the worksheets available in each section. At the end, we’ll give you a customized report that you can use in your next sales presentation, SKO, or QBR. If you’d rather get the full report, you can always download it.

Know where your team lags behind other sales teams

Identify coaching themes and drive improvements

Deliver a great customer experience

Sales Cycle and Conversion Rates

To understand more about the typical sales cycle and process we tracked the average length and conversion rates acoss sales stages. See how you compare below!

91

Days in the Average Sales Cycle

30%

Time in Cold Calling

10%

Time in Discovery

60%

Time in Late Stages

Sales Cycle Performance

The average deal lasts about 3 months, if you count all the way from the first cold call to closing the deal. 60% of the sales cycle is spent in late stages. It is also the biggest area of opportunity to shorten the sales cycle timeline. To accelerate their later stage deals, the most successful companies spend more time in discovery.

96

Days In The Average Sales Cycle For Closed Won Deals

76

Days In The Average Sales Cycle For Closed Lost Deals

In Closed Lost deals, reps also spent four fewer days in discovery. Do your reps move deals out of discovery too soon? Find out below. Consider a more thorough discovery proess to increase your win rate!

Typical Sales Cycle

Sales Funnel

106 dials

It takes SDRs 106 dials to get one scheduled meeting, and only 27% of those dials connect.

32% OPPS

From there, 31.8% of the discovery meetings SDRs set up move into late-stage deals.

19% closed won

19% will go on to become Closed Won (the average win rate).

SDR Cold Calling

Cold calling is one area of the sales process where every word matters. Sales Development Reps, who are often early on in their sales careers, need in-depth coaching on how to approach the call. Sales leaders can dramatically impact their sales cycle through refining and coaching SDRs on the right tactics and talk tracks to improve their prospecting efforts.

To help drive efficiencies in your cold call process, we uncovered benchmarks from millions of recorded cold calls. With this information you can access insights around:

  • The average length of a connected cold call

  • How many cold calls it takes to schedule a meeting

  • The percentage of time reps should talk versus prospects

  • The ideal number of questions to ask and be prepared to answer

  • How to handle topics like competitors, pricing, or discounts

Use these insights to arm your reps with data-backed best practices that will guide their cold call scripts and refine their processes.

A trick I used a lot earlier in my career, and still do from time to time, is asking the prospect for feedback at that critical juncture (the part where they hang up on you). I’ll hit them with something like, “Hey, I’m really trying to get the hang of this, is there anything I could have changed in my approach that would have gotten you to take a meeting with me?” What this does is jolt them out of their typical “ugh, I hate cold callers mode.” It puts them into a position of authority, makes them critically think for a second, and then they are in teaching mode.

Scott Barker

Head of Partnerships at Sales Hacker and Evangelist, Outreach.io

While writing this report we also found some counterintuitive findings. Here are some of the most interesting:

  • As you’ll see, pricing is mentioned more than expected, even though reps are trained to avoid this conversation. Discounts are also mentioned in 50% discovery meetings! Do you have a clear way to train reps to talk about pricing and discounts?

  • Enterprise buyers (>$100k deal size) are perceived to have big budgets, but are often price sensitive. Our analysis found that they bring up price 2x more often than buyers at smaller companies. This may be due to internal policies around procurement, or may be driven by a lack of awareness. Take an evangelical approach and offer content to help educate the prospect and move them down the funnel.

Guess the Benchmark

Pro Tip

Coach your SDR/ADR teams on getting prospects to open up more.

One of the most effective ways to get prospects to open up on a cold-call is to show them you did your homework on their company then ask for their feedback and advice. You can also get them to engage by explaining that you’re going to share something of value after the call.

Try saying: “I know you’re probably busy, so I’m going to be following up with some ideas in an email since I am confident your company could benefit from us, and I did my homework on you. Would tips on [ADD TOPIC] be interesting to [ADD COMPANY]?” Then, depending on the prospects response, you can ask them to elaborate.

If yes, try saying, “Great. Curious to know how you’re approaching [ADD TOPIC] today at [ADD COMPANY]?” If no, try saying: “Thanks for your candid feedback. Is there anything else I can share with you that would be of value to [ADD COMPANY] so I can improve my approach?”

Coaching Benchmark

50%

Top managers spend 12 hours or more on call reviews. In fact, a 3× increase in call reviews increases meeting quota attainment by 50%.

Managers tend to review the calls related to strategic deals. They are generally longer meetings and have higher ACVs. 71% of their time was spent on coaching the deal and only 29% was spent on coaching skills like storytelling, objection handling and discovery. Investing more time in developing your team will yield long-term benefits because those skills can be applied across every deal going forward.

Sales Discovery

Discovery is a critical part of the sales process, especially for Mid-Market and Enterprise deals. It’s where Account Executives work to understand what business problems the prospect needs to solve in order to ensure that there is a match in the their needs and your capabilities. This prepares your seller to align value to the buyers objectives when you move into a demo or presentation.

To help you refine your discovery process we surfaced insights and benchmarks like:

  • The ideal length of a discovery call

  • The percentage of time reps should talk versus prospects

  • How many questions reps should ask and how many they should be prepared to answer

  • How to handle specific scenarios like pricing, discounts, and competitor mentions

  • The role of video sharing and screen sharing in discovery calls

  • Typical conversion rates for discovery calls

You can use the insights to refine your discovery call scripts and overall sales process.

Educated prospects are really great to have on a call, but be careful about jumping over more thorough discovery. It’s our job in sales to ask questions that facilitate “their” discovery.

For example imagine if the prospect asks, “So what we’re saying Mr. ABC sales rep is that if we were to change how we do X, we could see as much as a Y change here? And we could accomplish this by using your product? How does that work?”

Boom, you tell a story right there and it becomes mutual discovery!

Todd Nilsen

Senior Sales Coach, PROCORE

While writing this report we also found some counterintuitive findings. Here are some of the most interesting:

  • Competitors are mentioned more in discovery meetings in closed won deals (5-6 times) than lost deals (3 times). This is because the prospects who bring up competitors more are also more educated and purchase-ready (they’ve done their homework!)

  • Most discovery meetings were 1-on-1. But in closed won deals reps usually had another colleague attending as well (manager/sales engineer).

Guess the Benchmark

Pro Tip

Lengthen the discovery process, and teach reps to dig into pain points.

Spend more time getting to know your prospect’s pain-points, opportunities, and how you’ll drive ROI together upfront. Understand how educated they are, including their knowledge of competitors. The more work you do in the upfront sales process, the more likely you are to close more deals! That’s because if topics like competitor mentions and discounts are addressed later on you are more likely to lose the deal.

Two topics to explore in-depth on discovery calls include challenges and value. Try asking the prospect what current challenges are top of mind. Or, clarify the benefits that are most important to the prospect. You can say, “Of the offerings we discussed, is there one that resonates best with you?”

Coaching Benchmark

8%

Only 8% of discovery calls are reviewed by the average manager. review more discovery calls to get a competitive edge on coaching and increase your win rate.

Reps win more when managers listen to more calls. Sales managers coach late-stage deals 60% more often than early-stage deals. However, when coaching begins in early stages, we see a 30% higher win-rate. Model your coaching after top managers which coach 63% of deals in early stages to secure higher win rates and smoother late-stage conversations.

Late Stage Calls

While sales teams are often armed with scripts for cold calls and discovery calls, late-stage calls are the most unscripted and undefined portion of the sales cycle. However, late-stage calls should be approached with the same level of rigor and coaching to help reps push deals over the line. Use these insights gathered from millions of recorded late stage calls to develop resources for these important touchpoints. To help out, we developed data-backed best practices around areas like:

  • The ideal length of a late-stage call

  • The typical talk time for reps versus prospects

  • The right number of questions to ask prospects

  • How video and screen-sharing play a role in late-stage calls

  • How to approach topics like competitors, discounts, and pricing in late stages

Guess the Benchmark

Pro Tip

Turn on video, especially once you are past the early stages!

Across every stage in the sales process, it benefits you to turn on video. Get comfortable using video and asking prospects or customers if they’ll join you. Video helps build rapport and provides insights into how your pitch is landing. This becomes even more important as deals advance through the pipeline.

Coaching Benchmark

13%

The average manager reviews 13% of late-stage calls and listens to those late stage calls within 13 days to provide feedback to their reps.

Reps win more when managers listen to more calls. Consider listening for last-minute objections and questions that should have been addressed earlier on. Listen for topics like competitors and pricing. Late stage calls should be focused on finalizing the contract or preparing for kick-off and implementation.

Customer Success Post-Sale Meetings

Finally, we looked at insights from millions of recorded post-sale calls (account kick-off, user training, onboarding, QBRs, etc.) to uncover insights that will help you refine your Customer Success process.

The quality of support and advice that customers receive from CS teams determines the ease of renewal, your customer churn rate, and also impacts any potential upsell or cross-sell opportunities within the account. “So, what can we learn from post-sale calls?”

Guess the Benchmark

Pro Tip

Invest in detailed training for roles like SDRs and CSMs — not just AEs!

Today’s prospects and customers want to get straight to the meat of the conversation. They’re not hesitant to bring up discounts on cold calls or competitors in conversations with Customer Success. Get the entire revenue-facing organization aligned on answers to your FAQs and competitive talk track — not just your AEs!

Coaching Benchmark

8%

The average sales manager reviews 8% of post-sale calls, but managers from the top revenue-producing teams review a whopping 19%.

Managers spend more time reviewing calls from the biggest accounts to protect them from churn. Call reviews happen, on average, 18 days after the call, but managers from the top revenue-producing teams were much more responsive listening to calls just 6 days after they happened.

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