Call Coaching and Monitoring: How to Improve Agent Performance with Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge

Will Schmidt

12 min

Inside this article:

The Benefits of Call Monitoring and Call Coaching

Meet Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge

How to Use Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge

How Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge Work Together

4 Quick Sales Coaching Techniques and Tips

Unlock Your Sales and Call Coaching Potential

There’s a reason that Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers (R.I.P. Mamba) were two of the winningest basketball teams in American history. Yes, they both had incredible star power out on the court. 

More importantly though, they each had a leader in head coach Phil Jackson. In practice, while the players worked on their court skills, Jackson would operate at the 30k foot view preparing game plans, devising new plays, and studying their opponents. 

During the games, Jackson would make expert adjustments on the fly, create new offense and defensive schemes, and adapt to the other team’s coach. This was the most important work and it happened live, in real time. 

Sounds kind of like sales, doesn’t it? 

As a sales leader, you’re the Phil Jackson of your sales team. It’s your job to be the coach and activate the star power on your bench and bring home the closed-won deals. 

You need to prepare your team before they start dialing. It’s imperative to review your wins and losses after the sessions end. 

And, like Jackson, your most important work is to provide crucial sales coaching to your reps live. If you wait to adjust your team until after the “game” is over, you’ll lose far more than you win—it has to happen in the moment.

We recognize live sales coaching can be difficult, especially in today’s world of remote work environments. That’s why PhoneBurner's product team created Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge. 

Our newest tool will help you monitor all of your reps’ active calls, and then give you the option to provide feedback while they’re on the call. And the best part is that it happens right inside PhoneBurner—no extra add-ons or apps required. 

We want to make you the best sales coach you can be. So, let’s dive in.

The Benefits of Call Monitoring and Call Coaching

First, it’s important to look at the importance of call monitoring and call coaching, whether it’s reviewing a call recording or happening in real-time during a live call. Typically, sales leaders and managers dedicate time to listen to their reps’ calls because this practice helps:

  • Identify problems and solve them quickly
  • Gauge the quality of service being delivered
  • Provide training opportunities
  • Improve employee professional development
  • Determine potential training needs
  • Understand friction points with prospects

Aside from those high level benefits, call coaching also presents an opportunity for your reps to communicate directly with you when they need your expertise the most. Like any good coach, you can watch them perform in the moment and then help them adjust on the go. 

Not only can this increase their overall success, your call coaching can have a direct, tangible impact on retention. Better Buys ran a survey about access to professional development opportunities—like call coaching. Their results show that:

  • 9 out of 10 respondents said professional development is crucial for them
  • 4 out of 10 respondents want in-house professional development opportunities
  • 75% of respondents with professional development said they would stay at their company for five more years

If call coaching isn’t a part of your sales strategy, it needs to be. But it’s also important you have the right tools for effective call coaching. That’s where our new Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge features comes into play.

Meet Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge

Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge were designed specifically for team admins who manage a team of reps who use PhoneBurner to make calls. We’ll dive into more details below, but here’s a quick look at what you can do with each new tool: 

  • Listen-in: Listen to live conversations your reps have with prospects
  • Whisper: Speak to only your rep while they’re on a call 
  • Barge: Join the conversation to speak with both your rep and their prospect

We recognize that everyone, from new hires to seasoned pros, needs a little nurturing and encouragement here and there. Our goal with this release is to make it easy for you to provide that sales coaching and train your team for success.

How to Use Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge

When you’re logged into PhoneBurner, under the “Team” tab you’ll see “Dial Sessions.” Click that, and it will take you to a list of all your team members. The display will show who is and isn’t actively making calls.

Pro Tip: If you have a large team, you may want to click “Hide Inactive,” which will hide all your inactive users. That makes it easy to focus only on the reps making calls.

As your reps make calls, you’ll notice the status on their call will change from “Waiting” to “Dialing.” Often, when a rep is sitting on “Waiting” it means they’re wrapping up notes and dispositioning the previous call. 

When your reps connect, the status will change to “Live Call.” At this point, you’re able to take advantage of Listen-in, Whisper, or Barge. 

The coolest part about these options is that you can instantaneously swap between all three. You can go from Listen-in, right into Whisper or Barge the split second you need to.

It allows for you to be the best sales coach you can be and quickly hop between reps’ calls and deliver assistance ASAP. Here are a few examples of how you might consider using each one.‍

Listen-in

If you click “Listen,” you’ll be tapped into the call audio. You can make as much noise as you want, and neither your rep nor the prospect will be able to hear anything you say. 

Example Use Case

Listen-in is best used to monitor your reps calls and see how they’re performing on the phones, in real time. Are they comfortable with the cold calling script, do they not let the prospect talk too much, or not know how to handle objections? There are many common sales mistakes you can help keep them aware of, and then debrief with them after their call is over. 

Whisper

Whisper allows you to connect to the active dial session, but also communicate directly with the rep making the call. The prospect will not hear anything you say, only your rep.

Example Use Case

You might want to use Whisper for situations where newer reps make mistakes that need immediate correction. For example, if they quote the price at $69 but it’s really $89, you can pop in and help your rep course correct before the deal goes off the rails and they mistakenly promise something that’s not true. 

Or, consider the ability to help veteran reps close large deals with real-time advice and special incentives. For example, you might whisper “let’s double our guarantee to 60 days to try get this deal sealed.”

Barge

When you use Barge, you’ll be connected to the call and have the ability to speak with both your rep and the prospect. They’ll both be able to hear anything you say, so be careful not to disrupt or distract from the active call. 

Example Use Case

More often than not, you’re not going to want to Barge unless explicitly asked. If the prospect asks a question or has an objection that needs to be addressed by a superior, your rep can ask you to join and help answer it. Similarly, you can Barge if you’re needed to help finalize a few points that will ultimately close a deal.

How Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge Work Together

To show you what Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge look like in action, we put together a short example for you. This is hypothetical, but you can use it to influence your own use of our new feature:

Sally is the sales manager on her team, and she wants to ensure that all her reps are getting the call coaching they deserve. So, she looks at all the active calls happening in PhoneBurner and begins to Listen-in to each rep, one at a time starting with a rep named Angela. 

While listening to Angela’s call, Sally decides to Whisper and let her know that she’s listening and can provide any assistance if needed. Sure enough, the prospect gives Angela a question that she needs help answering. 

Angela says: “Please wait for one second while I get my manager on the line to help with that.”

At that point, Sally knows she can Barge on the line and begin talking with both Angela and the Prospect. When Sally starts to wrap up the conversation, another rep named Jose pings her asking for help. 

Sally says, “Goodbye,” and instantly transfers to Whisper on Jose’s call. She lets him know she’s here and is actively listening. If Jose needs it, she can Barge that conversation and help with whatever he needs. 

When she’s done, Sally can go back and start to Listen-in on all the calls, one by one, until she’s needed again. Switching between calls, as well as Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge, is quick and easy.

4 Quick Sales Coaching Techniques and Tips

Before we sign off, we wanted to leave you with a few rapid-fire sales coaching tips. Use these to help ensure you’re getting the most out of Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge.

1. Distribute Your Attention Evenly

There will always be reps on your team who need more or less sales coaching than others. Don’t get too caught up trying to take your grade-A superstars to A+ that you forget about investing in your C+ reps. 

Similarly, don’t focus so much on your top and bottom performers that you neglect the middle of the pack—Your B- to A- reps—entirely. The best sales coach will ensure everyone gets a requisite amount of support at a time when they need it most.  

2. Deeply Know Your Team

Every rep on your team is motivated differently. It’s easy to fall back on money as the primary driver here, but there are countless ways you can motivate your sales team without money. 

Some want glory, recognition, or maybe they just love the competition of sales. And, yes, some will be motivated by money. As the sales coach, you have to know what makes each rep tick, and then deliver.

3. Be Deliberate with Your Feedback 

The best sales coaches aren’t afraid to let their reps know when and where they need to improve. Conversely, they also don’t always harp on the negatives. Strike a healthy balance between positive and negative, but always be deliberate with what you say. 

For example, if a rep isn’t performing well don’t just tell them they need to improve. Give them specific instances where you’ve noticed them fall short, and then provide a clear-cut action plan for how you two are going to get better, together. 

4. Foster a Culture of Self-Evaluation

As you dish out your strategic sales coaching, one of your goals should be to spark a desire to self-evaluate within your reps. There will be times when you simply won’t be able to immediately connect with every rep.  

In those situations, it can help to have a framework they can fall back on to gauge their efficiency on prospect calls. Encourage them to set aside a few minutes after a big win or loss and write down things like:

  • What went well? 
  • What could be improved?
  • Were objections handled properly? 
  • What’s your biggest takeaway from this call?

Unlock Your Sales and Call Coaching Potential

Aside from being a coaching prodigy, Phil Jackson still relied on outside help to be one of the best coaches in NBA history. We’re only as good as the people and partners who surround us. 

As you refine your sales coaching technique, remember that you’re not in this fight alone. You have the wisdom of peers, VPs, and C-suite executives to help improve your own sales coaching skills. 

You also have a dedicated partner in PhoneBurner, and we’re always happy to be your assistant sales coach with Listen-in, Whisper, and Barge. Aside from that, we have a whole host of features native to our power dialer software that can help you be your best. 

Sign up for a free trial today and learn more.

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