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how to use ai for sales
November 1, 2022

3 Ways Artificial Intelligence Helps Sales Teams

how to use ai for sales

For some, the thought of AI conjures up images of computers taking over systems like the WOPR supercomputer in the film War Games. (“Shall we play a game?”)

I assure you, though, that when we talk about artificial intelligence (AI) in learning, training, and coaching, the technology will not initiate a thermonuclear war. Nor will it eliminate all human interaction between coaches and sellers. Sales trainers will not be replaced by a machine.

Instead, AI will help managers coach more reps and provide customized coaching. And it frees them up to focus on strategy, said Rich Smith, VP of Sales at Allego, during a recent webinar, Demystifying AI in Learning Technology.

I had the pleasure of talking with Rich and David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group, during the webinar, and we all agree that AI helps sales coaches be more effective, helps reps retain what they learn, and improves sales enablement.

“Rather than looking at this as the robots are coming to take over, look at it as how AI helps scale operations,” Smith said. “It can free up time for us so we can focus on things that machines and computers can’t do. And it ultimately accelerates what we’re trying to achieve, which is the development and improvement of the people we work with.”

3 Ways AI Helps Sales Teams

AI has become more accessible and practical for businesses to adopt, plus they get immediate value without needing a lot of complicated programming or training. Here are three ways companies can use it to help their sales teams.

1. AI for Learning

According to a recent BHG report, 60% of those surveyed said AI is very important to learning technology. That’s because by leveraging AI, they can better provide reinforcement activities and they make it easier for reps to practice and apply what they learn, Wentworth said.

Smith agreed, saying AI helps sales reps perfect their conversations and presentations before they have real conversations with buyers. The AI can automatically identify such things as pace of speech, filler words, topics to avoid, topics to cover, and sections that need a coach’s input.

Practice and reinforcement are critical to ensuring high performance levels individually and across the entire team. In fact, organizations in which learning has a strong positive impact on outcomes, such as individual performance, time to productivity, and employee engagement, are more likely to provide both methods to reinforce learning concepts, as well as opportunities to practice and apply knowledge, according to Brandon Hall Group research.

In addition, AI-driven technology helps create and deliver learning experiences at scale, which is next to impossible via traditional means. Organizations can also use it to provide reps with qualitative self-assessments and machine-guided manager feedback.

“The key here is AI makes training more scalable and more repeatable,” Smith said.

2. AI for Sales Coaching

No organization has enough time for sales coaching. And while technology can’t give you more time, it can help you use that time more efficiently.

AI tools such as conversation intelligence can evaluate actual sales calls and provide virtual sales coaching, Smith said. This helps you scale coaching by allowing AI to:

  • Flag calls in need of review,
  • Provide auto-generated insights that reps and coaches can see
  • Certify rep proficiency with custom scorecards and in-line video feedback
  • Deliver insights and recommend actionable just-in-time learning in the flow of work

You can also use AI-generated analysis to understand trends across the entire team. For example, you can identify what your top performers talk about in their customer conversations compared with the reps who are less successful.

And tools such as Allego’s Showreels use AI to gather clips from multiple conversation recordings. You can search for a topic, a competitor, common challenge, or objection—anything you think is important—and it will give you a highlight reel of your team talking about that topic.

“You want to analyze this data on a massive scale, allowing people to get insight and data faster so they can then use that information to make important decisions,” Smith said.

Keep in mind this technology isn’t a replacement for humans, Wentworth added.

“It’s about identifying areas where face-to-face coaching is going to be as meaningful and impactful as possible. So, when you are coaching a person, you aren’t talking about how many times they say ‘um’ or ‘like.’ You are focused on bigger more strategic issues,” he said.

3. AI for Sales Content Management

Sales reps often spend more time looking for content than using the content. It almost becomes a detractor to learning. AI can help with this. The technology can auto tag and recommend content much like YouTube intelligently identifies and recommends videos for its users.

It allows you to provide personalized content at the rep’s moment of need. For example, in a sales setting, AI can identify when a sales rep is working on a deal, the industry, and the stage of the sale cycle and then offer relevant content to help the rep with the deal.

“That personalization is key because reps are more likely to read and use that content when it’s personalized, it’s recommended, and it’s specific to what they need in that moment of time,” Smith said.

AI Makes Sales Enablement Easier

No one’s workload is getting lighter. In fact, most people these days must do even more and with the same level of staffing. AI can help. With the right tools, you can improve learning, greatly reduce the burden on coaches and sellers, and expand the scale and speed of training.

Learn More:

Download Demystifying Artificial Intelligence in Learning Technology to learn how you can use AI to improve your sales team’s performance.

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