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Coaching Tool Review: Refract

I’m often asked to recommend a tool managers can use to coach inside sales reps based on actual calls and demos. One such tool is Refract. After receiving a thorough demo, I recommend Refract be included on your list for exploring potential fit. In addition to the basics, here are the strong points that jumped out for me:

Transcribe Voice to Text / Jump from Text to Voice

I start here because Refract offers an impressive set of features in this area. I won’t list all of them because each user is likely to find different features valuable. That said, there are less well-known reasons why these features can be valuable and I’ve covered these near the end of the review.

Conducive for Longer Sales Calls and Demos

Though a manager can certainly listen through entire calls or demos, a number of Refract’s features allow us to essentially scan the call or demo for key words or phrases. The manager can then jump to that portion of the call to dig in a bit more.

Customizable Words and Phrases

Managers can customize the words and phrases the program will tag (mark). This can be used to spot things you do not want reps to say, as well as things you do.

One of the many ways this can be used is to see how reps apply recent training. Let’s say you engaged Savage and Greene to train your reps in handling objections. We’d teach them to uncover hidden issues by saying, “Tell me more” (among other things). You could look for that phrase to see how often it’s used after training.

Use for Role Play and Challenge Scenarios

Role play is an effective training/coaching tool. Refract lets you take that up several notches by recording the interaction. This recording helps facilitate discussion (a.k.a. “debrief”), and you can record that discussion, as well. These features benefit reps who could not attend.

The person who provided the demo showed me a real example of using Refract to challenge his team. He sent an email describing an issue. Each rep recorded how they’d handle it, and he took it from there. Using this on a regular basis is an excellent way to develop your reps’ skills.

The same approach can be used to work on internal challenges; e.g., “Your new account is hung up as the legal department reviews the contract. How can you move things along?”

Create a Best (and not so best) Practices Resource

This platform allows you to park things in a Library, including entire demos or just specific moments of demos (e.g. 30 seconds in which the rep handled an objection). This allows you to capture things you want reps to emulate, as well as things to avoid.

This library/resource may be particularly useful for reps who must handle things within compliance because their conversations often need to be more nuanced. Having a number of do and do-not examples can be helpful.

Why Voice to Text is Terrific

I started this review by noting Refract has a solid set of features in this area. Here are the lesser-known reasons why these features have value for coaching:

One of the reasons some managers do not listen to enough calls is because audio requires too much concentration — the task gets bumped in favor of easier tasks. These managers are not “audio” learners. Being able to start with the transcription can be just what they need to coach consistently.

A high number of sales reps will not be “audio,” either. They’ll get much more from coaching if they can read and work with the transcription.

By the way: Since demos and recorded Skype-calls involve a lot of visuals, it’s natural to believe these will help non-audio learners. This is not usually the case because these are still primarily audio.

When training a group of people, it’s tremendously helpful to have written and audio samples and examples. The same applies for coaching a sales team.

Those are just a few reasons why Refract’s features for going between audio and transcription are quite useful. Before I leave this point, I want to spotlight how easy it is for managers to go from black and white (transcription) to the recorded call. This provides vital context: What was said is sometimes less important than how it was said.

A You-Focused Demo

Part of how I judge any vendor is how they handle the demo. Refract’s demo was just the right mix of showing me what I wanted to see, and introducing features and functions I hadn’t thought to ask about.

I also appreciated how the rep handled my test question about restrictions on recording calls without permission. They passed with flying colors.

Some U.S. states, as well as some countries, require two-party consent to record. Two-party consent is feasible for sales calls and demos, but not for telemarketing calls. Though Refract did a great job on this point, do not rely on vendors to tell you how you may use the tools. Research regulations before talking to vendors.

Arrange Your Own Demo

This review barely scratches the surface of what Refract offers. Contact them to arrange your own demo and explore its fit for your coaching and related goals.

By the way, I do not receive referral fees (I do not make such arrangements with any vendors).

 

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