Optimizing Conversation Intelligence With Call Dispositions

By Steve Richard | May 31, 2023

As buyers increasingly interact digitally they’re leaving behind treasure troves of data that can help revenue leaders enable their teams to be more effective than they’ve ever been able to be. Today, B2B buyers are up to 70% through their buying research before contacting sales. Yet, in many organizations data is siloed, with inconsistent reporting across teams leading to a lack of trust in conversation intelligence data, preventing teams from making informed decisions.

One of the most valuable pieces of data a sales leader can have is call dispositions. They provide a quick view of a call’s outcome and what the next step should be for the rep. They give everyone visibility inside the composition of the call to diagnose areas of improvement.

Call dispositions are a set of normalized values that your team members use to categorize the call once it’s completed.

The workflow looks like this:

  1. Receive an inbound call or make an outbound call
  2. Have conversation
  3. Once call is over, hang up
  4. Select the correct disposition and hit save
  5. Optionally, if you have conversation intelligence software, request coaching on the call

To further illustrate what call dispositions might look like, here are three examples from organizations with different sales motions:

Outbound Prospecting (Cold Calling)

Inbound Lead Follow-Up

Full Sales Cycle

These call dispositions can be a critical piece of the conversation intelligence puzzle to understand a rep’s performance. When you marry the disposition with call recording insights, you can answer things like:

Call dispositions absolutely MUST be customized to your organization. There is no generic list that fits every type of sale and every product/offering. The key to great call dispositions is to create the fewest options possible while making sure the choices are intuitive and capture 98% of the scenarios your team will encounter. It’s okay to leave out dispositions for extreme edge cases that almost never happen.

Why Call Dispositions Should Be in Your Conversation Intelligence

One of the biggest challenges revenue executives face is understanding what’s really happening on the sales floor. Conversation intelligence metrics like the number of dials, leads converted, and opportunities created only tells a sliver of the story.

Dispositions provide an additional layer of depth into sales performance without burdening sellers with additional administrative tasks. For example, let’s compare the activities of a few reps:

Rep X made 163 dials yesterday.

Rep Y made 83 dials.

Rep Z made 526 dials.

It appears that Rep Y is slacking off, right? Let’s dive deeper:

Rep X Rep Y Rep Z
163 dials 83 dials 526 dials
125 No answer; No VM 67 No answer; No VM 415 No answer; No VM
15 LVM 4 LVM 22 LVM
5 Convo: Not a no, not a yes 6 Convo: Not a no, not a yes 8 Convo: Not a no, not a yes
3 Convo: Referral 4 Convo: Referral
10 Gatekeeper 8 Gatekeeper
2 Convo: Meeting scheduled 4 Convo: Meeting scheduled 5 Convo: Meeting scheduled
3 Convo: No 2 Convo: No 7 Convo: No
42 Connect: No convo
6 Meeting confirmation
9 Convo: Company poor fit


Rep Y has 83 dials, 67 of which were no answer, no voicemail; 4 left voicemail; 6 convo – not a no, not a yes; 4 convo – meeting scheduled; 2 convo – no.

Rep Z had 526 dials, 415 of which were no answer, no voicemail; 22 left voicemail; 8 convo – not a no, not a yes; 4 convo – referral; 8 gatekeeper; 5 convo – meeting scheduled; 7 convo – no; 24 connect – no conversation; 6 meeting confirmation; 9 convo – company poor fit.

The dispositions show Rep Y actually has the second-highest number of meetings scheduled, despite having the lowest number of dials. Rep Y is really good on the phone converting a much higher number of prospects into positive next steps. Even though Rep Z has one more meeting scheduled, it took that rep 650% more dials to achieve that result. Rep Y is working smarter, not harder.

This is called rep efficiency.

If the company runs an expensive and high-value marketing campaign, which rep would you want to receive the leads? Rep Y of course.

Using call disposition in your reports will help reduce the number of questions regarding high activity with low productivity and highlight rep efficiency. It also helps managers and leaders hone in on things like lead assignment, workflow optimization, and which reps are having the most effective conversations.

To learn more about how conversation intelligence can help take your revenue organization to the next level, check out our 101 Ways To Get More From Your Conversation Intelligence!

Steve Richard is the founder of ExecVision & Vorsight (sold in 2021).  Steve’s mission and life’s work is to help as many sales teams as possible become wildly successful.  He has been featured in numerous publications including The Harvard Business ReviewThe Washington Business Journal, and The Washington Post.  Outside of work, Steve enjoys scuba diving, skiing, running, and watching lots of football.  He lives in Arlington, VA with his wife Ellen and their four kids ages 6, 8, 10, and 12.

Follow Steve’s one minute sales tips of the day on LinkedIn.

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