In 2016, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings completed construction and moved to Golden 1 Center, a state-of-the-art indoor arena complex in an emerging lifestyle, entertainment, and retail neighborhood in Sacramento, known locally as DOCO, or Downtown Commons. Golden 1 Center is reputed to be the world’s most technologically-advanced and sustainable sports and entertainment arena. With more than a million square feet of free Wi-Fi coverage and 200GB internet bandwidth — enough to handle more than 225,000 Instagram posts per second, Golden 1 Center helps keep fans and guests connected to the action.
It’s hardly surprising then that the Kings sales organization is big on technology tools. Late last year, they added the Chorus.ai platform to their growing tech stack. The adoption was led by Inside Sales Manager, Matthew Johnson, who has been with the Kings organization for nine years. In this post, Matthew shares his reasons for choosing Chorus and explains how our conversation intelligence platform is helping the sales organization achieve its coaching goals and create more consistency across the Sacramento Kings various sales teams:
Our “coaching” process used to include an elaborate two-week onboarding session designed to quickly bring new sales representatives up to speed on how to sell Sacramento Kings’ memberships and other products. Then, we put them out there to do the job.
In such a diverse sales organization, we found that this approach wasn’t as practical in an ever-evolving sports world. There are more than 70 people on our team, dedicated to serving season ticket holders, group accounts, premium accounts that service courtside seating and suites and our corporate partnerships, all ranging from relatively new inside sales reps to seasoned account managers who handle our B2B accounts.
This diversity made ensuring consistent messaging in the sales process critical. We knew we needed an efficient way to coach our sales professionals so that they could deliver a clear-cut message to the market.
Communication is highly encouraged in our organization, and we foster this value amongst our sales staff. We hold weekly and bi-weekly standard one-on-one conversations with reps and frequent small group training on specific topics or products. Even with the meetings, it was difficult for the handful of sales managers to listen to how reps were interacting with customers and thoroughly train our reps on how to have the right conversations.
To combat these difficulties, we added a tool to our tech stack that offered a call recording feature as an ancillary benefit. Unfortunately, this tool wasn’t as user-friendly as we hoped, and it made our coaching feel a bit choppy.
Knowing we needed a more seamless approach, our organization searched for other tech tools that would help, leading us to discover and implement Chorus in December 2019.
The Weekly Briefing
Adding Chorus to our tech stack has helped evolve our coaching process tremendously.
The ability to create coaching “moments”
Adding Chorus to our tech stack has helped evolve our coaching process tremendously. It has allowed us to create “moments” for coaching and extend that coaching throughout our sales organization.
There are three key areas that Chorus has enabled us to expand upon:
1. Transcription accuracy
To help us feel confident that our coaching is working, we need to accurately analyze what our reps and customers are saying. With Chorus, we can easily record all sales calls and have transcripts readily available. This real-time ability to analyze has shown us that measurable improvements can be as simple as a few word changes to help drive the conversation in the right direction.
In the past, tech adoption has been a slow-moving process, and in a fast-paced environment, this doesn’t help us provide immediate and on-going coaching. Chorus is incredibly user-friendly and drastically reduced our adoption time, ensuring results quickly.
The layout of Chorus allows us to find what features we are looking for quickly. From setup to use, the adoption has been simple. We look forward to discovering other features offered by Chorus and additional ways to use the features we have been utilizing.
Work-from-home means more time for coaching
In the first few months of implementation, we felt that Chorus was an excellent fit for our sales force's needs. When the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our normal business operations, we were reminded how valuable Chorus is in helping to improve our team’s performance.
With a shelter-in-place order in California and the NBA season altered to resume with no fans in attendance, our sales reps and managers were able to turn our focus on coaching efforts and exploring Chorus functionalities.
The first thing we implemented was “Coaching Café” – user-created training, where our reps give us feedback on what training they feel they need. We then designate sales managers to develop a curriculum based on that feedback.
We have also implemented a peer-to-peer review program which has been thriving. We had attempted a similar process in the past with other technology, but it served as a “play the call and say what you can do better” situation, which didn’t benefit our reps. Chorus has led to more energized and engaged reps when holding call review sessions.
The aspect my colleagues and I like best from a coaching perspective, is that before playing a call or portions of the call, the team can look at the data for talk-to-listen ratios, monologues, or filler words and develop a feel for how the call might have turned out.
We can utilize those data points and talk time to drive our discussions – asking our reps, “What do you think is going on in this call?” This type of analysis has led to more meaningful reviews and feedback that can help improve their sales game.
Proactive learning and peer coaching by motivated reps
All of the reps in our organization have embraced Chorus as a useful tool to learn from others, especially our newer team members who have experienced a tremendous learning curve
For example, one of our newer account executives (AE) recently asked to listen to calls from one of our senior sales reps to learn how they were handling questions about COVID-19. Using Chorus, the AE was able to access the calls, pinpoint relevant parts of the conversation, pick up on the responses and techniques that she could learn from, and gain the insight and confidence to handle similar questions.
This instance has clearly shown us that Chorus is working and demonstrates how our reps are using the solution organically. When moving to a work-from-home environment, we paired reps and asked them to listen to each other’s calls to continue the momentum of peer-to-peer coaching. With over two months of working-from-home, we have seen our reps submitting calls back and forth regularly and are freely commenting on those calls.
As a manager, it feels encouraging to know Chorus can help those coaching moments we strive for through a peer-to-peer process.
We needed a tool that could quickly and efficiently augment our coaching across our teams — and with Chorus, it’s been a slam-dunk.
Ease in developing specialized playlists
We’ve also been taking advantage of Chorus features like trackers to create dedicated playlists that our reps can use around themes or campaigns. It’s incredibly efficient because we can easily search using the trackers and identify the relevant calls quickly rather than listen to every call and mark it for a campaign. We are currently using Chorus to develop a specialized playlist around COVID-19.
While my colleagues and I are always apprehensive about bringing on a new product during the middle of a season, Chorus’ high rate of adoption, paired with our decision to get reps involved early in the implementation and onboarding processes, has led to great success.
In the six months since we started Chorus, we have seen the benefits that it can deliver to our sales organization from a coaching perspective and are ready to continue learning. We needed a tool that could quickly and efficiently augment our coaching across our teams — and with Chorus, it’s been a slam-dunk.