What is missing in conversational intelligence?

What could you do with a far richer understanding of your buyer's state of mind using their outward behaviors? CI, meet Behavior AI.

What is conversational intelligence missing?
What is conversational intelligence missing?

Your sales team takes calls.

Lots of them. Every day.

With prospects, customers, partners, managers - you name it.

Each such conversation is an opportunity to understand the other person better - their business objectives, personal triggers and barriers, their biases and needs, and so much more.

Where does this understanding live?

Calls only allow a salesperson to capture a partial understanding of the participants. They have to take notes, focus on their presentation or demo, focus on the reactions and questions of their prospects, and communicate with their teammates.

There is no mental space for salespeople to truly track the behaviors of their prospects that provide a window into their mental state. Thus, their understanding remains incomplete.

What could salespeople do with a far richer understanding of their prospect's state of mind using their outward behaviors?

Craft deals that suit them better. Shorten sales cycles. Close the harder opportunities. Possibly even smash their quota.

But how does one even track nuanced human behavior, including words, tonality, expressions, movements, and gaze?  How does one interpret this behavior to drive insights?

Wait, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let's first understand what is currently out there (conversational intelligence).

Then, we'll examine what the future holds to truly transform sales conversations.  

What is conversational intelligence?

Conversational intelligence tools allow salespeople to record and transcribe their calls and surface insights from the transcribed text.

There has been decades' worth of evolution in the space of conversational intelligence in just a few short years.

To begin with, calls and recordings went from audio-first to video-first.

Then came transcriptions that helped salespeople read through what happened in a call and search for specific words or phrases that were mentioned.

Next came transcription analysis. It enables salespeople to surface keywords and topics discussed with their prospects. It also attempts to automatically capture the next steps and questions reasonably accurately.

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, call reviews and transcription analyses are becoming more and more common for salespeople. They help them do peer reviews, self-coach, and note action items from each conversation.

This sort of analysis allows sales leaders to compare their reps on some basic parameters that indicate their interaction quality, like talk ratios, monologue lengths, and the number of filler words used. Gong, Chorus, Avoma, and other such tools fall in this category.

What is conversational intelligence missing?

This analysis though is still at the surface level and says nothing about the prospects at all. What a prospect felt and how she expressed herself is a core part of understanding what's going on in a deal and a core part of sales coaching. It is completely absent.

Conversational intelligence allows a sales manager to understand how many conversations are happening and whether the salespeople are following some basic rules of thumb for good interactions.

It doesn't go deeper. It doesn't get into the prospect's mental states. It doesn't get into the salesperson's behaviors, their communication quality, and how it's coming across.

Behavior AI: A window into the state of the mind of the prospect

Behaviors are the outward manifestation of a person's state of mind. If he understands something, he nods; if he is happy, he smiles; if he's confused, he purses his lips or asks a question.

Behavior AI is a new category of technology that looks at these behaviors. It tracks the sequence of these behaviors over time and learns about the prospect's baselines and typical reactions to certain phrases or pieces of content.  

Based on this learning, it draws inferences about their mental states, leading to probabilistic predictions on their buying propensity and likelihood to take the next call.

None of this is possible with words alone. This requires rethinking the model of human behavior and expression from the ground up and using the data to guide it.

Intelligence based on verbal and non-verbal cues - that makes in-person meetings so powerful - continues to be absent in most conversational intelligence software available in the market today. And that is the exact problem we are solving with Sybill using our Behavior AI systems.

Unlike the dime-a-dozen conversational intelligence tools out there, Sybill puts behaviors at the core of conversations. It is designed to capture your call participants’ intent and response to your pitch based on their body language, gaze, expressions, and tone of voice, along with the conversational responses themselves.

From capturing every time your prospect smiled or nodded in agreement to highlighting parts of your demo that had your prospect disengaged or doubtful, Sybill’s call reports are genuinely holistic and actionable.

What would you ideally want from an AI tool that could understand and interpret behaviors?