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Gong for BDRs: How Aircall boosted qualified pipeline by 35% in EMEA

Headquarters

New York, NY

Founded

2014

Company Size

201-500

Industry

Telecommunications

35%

increase in qualified pipeline

The challenge

Aircall’s EMEA team was working in the dark. The team was operating off of reps’ and managers’ hypotheticals and role-play calls, not reality. They needed a way to cut through the opinions and get to the data.

The outcome

By implementing Gong into their UK&I office, Aircall was able to have immediate access to what was really happening in their calls and pipeline. With this new data backed knowledge, the EMEA team was able to improve their onboarding and coaching while positively impacting the rest of their org.

“A phone can (and should) do more than make calls.”

That’s from Jack Obertelli of Aircall, a global, cloud-based call centre and phone system solution that integrates with almost any business tool. It interacts with CRM, help desk, and even productivity tools like Slack. As Aircall puts it, the phone can live in — and between — everything you do. By design, Aircall empowers every professional to have richer conversations, thanks to its integrations and ease of use.

Jack credits Gong with helping him move from being a Business Development Rep (BDR) to his current role of BDR Manager UK&I.

His first job out of university was in a BDR role. “It was very phone-intensive,” he said. “The training was very hands-on. There was no such thing as call transcripts. Call recordings? Not a chance. Lots of learning on the job.”

When Jack joined Aircall, Gong was only used by the company’s US-based team, so Jack was still living in a sales world that was dominated by reps’ and managers’ hypotheticals and role-play calls, not reality.

Pre-Gong, nothing seemed clear. No analysis we did compared to actually being on the phone trying to get better. With Gong, everything is a real-world example and a more complete way of learning and improving.

Jack Obertelli BDR Manager UK&I

Everything changed for the team once Gong came to the UK&I office. “We knew about Gong and were excited to start using it to help our team. As soon as our office got its hands on Gong, we dove right in.”

Led by their boss, Sean Hayes (Director of Business Development, EMEA) and supported by Jack’s colleague, Nura Al-Kital (Team Lead BDR, Northern Europe), the Aircall EMEA BDR team was all in.

And the results speak for themselves: Since implementing Gong, Aircall has realised a 35% increase in qualified pipeline in EMEA.

Aircall also uses Gong for coaching and onboarding, and to help guide its strategic initiatives.

How Gong improves Aircall’s coaching and onboarding

You know them as the two tenets of any thriving sales organisation. And when they’re executed effectively and efficiently (and backed by data), coaching and onboarding can take a sales team from good to off-the-charts. They save time, lower costs, and ultimately help close more deals faster.

Gong for coaching

Gong is the ultimate sales coaching platform, empowering teams to “clone their A-players” and transform the entire team into superstars.

It’s sales coaching with rocket fuel.

Sean Hayes, Aircall’s Director of Business Development, EMEA, loves that Gong just works. It’s now been built into Aircall’s workflow and process.

Sean uses Gong in every one of his weekly 1:1 meetings. He’s found a ton of value in the patience metrics in particular. They put a focus on ”talk less and listen/pause/breathe more.”

“Generally speaking,” says Sean, “sales reps overestimate their ability to be patient on the phone with buyers. And most BDRs would say they’re good at this skill.”

Without Gong, Sean listens to calls and gives them a general rating like “good” or “room for improvement” on the BDRs’ patience skills. But that’s only a feeling. It’s not backed by data.

If you have no means of measurement, you have no control. And “no control” isn’t exactly a stellar motto for an effective sales team!

Gong gives BDRs and their managers the ability to track and report on call effectiveness, with features like patience scores.

Sean had an early win with Gong, when he used it to show a BDR who was “not too keen on patience” that his impatience score (0.2) was tied to his close rates. With Gong’s data insights, this BDR moved his patience score up to 1.4 — a huge improvement.

“​​Every time I go into Gong and see that he’s maintained his patience score,” shares Sean, “I smile. This would not have been possible without Gong.”

Jack recalls his “Gong is amazing” moment while working as a BDR at Aircall. It came when he began reviewing recorded demos from top performers. Suddenly, he was able to learn from the best-of-the-best BDRs.

“I began to truly understand what top reps were saying and how they were saying it. I gleaned best practices and learned which talk tracks moved deals through the pipeline.”

Put another way, Jack began to take ownership of his own skills improvement in sales (self-coaching). He proactively sought out Gong recordings and listened to them like they were game tape, to learn from the top sales professionals. (Did it help propel him into a management role? No doubt.)

Since moving into his new role, Jack listens to his reps’ Gong calls to uncovers critical interactions (the good and the not-so-good) that ultimately turn into best practices and coachable moments.

“With Gong,” says Jack, “it’s just so easy to access and send a link to a sales rep.” Jack loves being able to comment on calls and rate each call using Gong’s Scorecards.

Time-stamped comments that reps leave in the call recordings help Aircall managers cut through the noise and “go straight to what is relevant.” Today, trying to run a coaching session without Gong is, well … not so easy. The team just can’t go back to analysing deals without data.

Comments provide them with a blueprint and set the agenda for every call review. Everyone on the team adds comments (praise and constructive criticism) to a pre-selected call. Ultimately, these comments prompt lessons that lift up the entire team.

The BDRs love using Gong to kick-start manager-led coaching. They now send calls to Nura Al-Kital, their Team Lead, and ask for feedback at specific points in the call. Paired with Nura’s proactive efforts (like searching out best-practice calls to share with reps), the full spectrum of ‘Gong for Coaching’ is covered.

“As our team has grown, I’ve relied heavily on the activity feed to track our reps’ performance — it’s super-easy.”

Gong for onboarding

The Gong for onboarding platform also means there’s no more call shadowing. Instead, Gong gives new hires a Call Library of curated recordings they can use to onboard faster.

Before Aircall implemented Gong, teams relied heavily on a “bank of recorded calls.” While this was more efficient than trying to find time on a rep’s calendar to shadow calls (and hoping for ones they could learn from), it wasn’t as powerful as what Gong offers.

With Gong, new hires have curated call recordings where the most relevant sections are tagged with comments. They provide best practices, teachable moments, and the ability to see how both parties respond during a video conference call. 

This “lens of reality,” as Aircall refers to it, is helpful in understanding what success sounds (and looks) like.

The team loves having the ability to regularly update and refresh the Call Library as their market (and messaging) changes and evolves.

Nura says Gong helps “normalise the experience” of cold calling.

“Cold calling is hard! Everyone makes mistakes. Most calls are rejections — more than 80%! I couldn’t imagine what it would be like training someone without having Gong’s call recordings. I feel like that would be a different world.” 

Nura loves pulling up a specific Gong call for each part of the onboarding training. Have BDRs who need to learn how to address pricing? Pick some calls in the Gong Call Library. How about objection handling? Gong has it covered. Competitors? Gong.

But there’s so much more on offer than coaching and onboarding though.

Gong helps Aircall make strategic business decisions

Gong has also boosted Aircall’s ability to understand pricing and competitive intelligence.

Jack credits Gong with helping Aircall focus more on targeted, strategic calls. “With Gong, we can now quantify the value of every call. It’s no longer ‘spray and pray.’ We can spend more time on each call because we know what works.” 

Aircall also uses Gong to distill the subtle distinctions between markets — especially international ones.

Nura runs a team that is primarily German-speaking. Having calls transcribed in German is incredibly important to the team, and Gong is the only tool her team uses that has this translation capability.

Gong means her team can filter German-speaking calls and tweak messaging according to whichever details are the most relevant. Given that certain Aircall features are more popular in particular parts of the world, Gong’s ability to filter by region helps focus her team on winnable deals.

And as Sean shared, “the numbers speak for themselves.”

After using Gong across northern Europe in the first quarter of 2021, Aircall broke records for the amount of qualified pipeline delivered by the business development function, with a 35% increase!

“Working with Gong has made it a lot easier for me to set quantitative benchmarks for what good looks like. If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it. With Gong, we can now measure everything that matters.”

Gong’s future at Aircall

Gong has made raving fans of the entire Aircall BDR team — both newbies and more experienced reps.

“Gong is fully embedded in our workflow,” shares Sean. “It’s so easy to add Gong calls to the Call Library so new BDRs can review them, but we see adoption at all experience levels. As soon as the more tenured BDRs realised the benefits of Gong, they were sold.”

Sean has noticed that his team now engages in more “healthy competition,” like who has the longest story told by a customer, for example. (It’s a good thing! It means your reps are drawing intel out of their customers.)

And who doesn’t want to manage a team that’s fully engaged and wins more often?

It’s clear that Gong has found a home at Aircall; it’s now built right into the culture. And why not? The numbers continue to defy expectations.

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