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Putting AI to work in sales coaching

In large organizations with teams spread across time zones, coaching is a problem of scale. The inability of managers to find time to address the learning needs of individual sales reps reduces coaching to being reactionary when good or bad outcomes happen. An integrated sales enablement and coaching platform with AI capabilities is perhaps just what the doctor ordered to overcome this problem. So, how can AI help in coaching? Here are six ways how it can. 

Track performance

Modern integrated sales enablement platforms with AI capabilities can analyze more than 50 distinct actions of a typical sales rep, proactively alert managers to underperformers, and generate real-time coaching tips to help reps initiate, progress, and close more deals. Intuitive dashboards let you view your entire sales team's performance and track progress against coaching plans. The dashboard can suggest specific coaching tasks for underperformers to focus on. Based on the individual performance of reps, managers can modify their coaching inputs to them.  

Support voice analysis

Client conversations are an integral component of selling. Today's AI-enabled platforms can record and analyze calls to provide insights into what top performers do in sales conversations. Reps can record, practice, and perfect demos and pitches for a quick AI evaluation that can provide managerial insights into who is ready to sell and who requires more practice. Field-call analysis also helps managers to understand and validate ground reality. New hires can be ramped up faster with custom training programs using “best rep” highlight reels.

For the individual, AI can provide qualitative insights into topic coverage, speed of delivery, confidence and emotional tone, and conversational dynamics. So, the coach needs to focus only on the specific problem areas of a rep, saving a great deal of time. Machine-assisted reviews can also be used as a self-access learning option for reps, giving them instant feedback in a low-pressure practice environment.

Leverage the power of video

Using cognitive analytics, AI can mimic the processes of the human brain to gain insights from unstructured data, such as video and natural language. Practical applications of this are many. For instance, AI can be used to perform sentiment and other types of analyses to score and analyze sales-pitch practice videos created by sales reps. AI can also be used to augment in-class feedback provided by a facilitator with an extra layer of coaching based on video presentations of the participants. Reps can be given unbiased feedback on eye contact, voice tone and inflection, emotions, speaking rate, language complexity, and more.1 With such automation, salespersons can get faster feedback on their performance so they can improve upon their sales approach.

To coach sales reps on objection handling, you can set up realistic customer interaction simulations on the enablement platform using AI. You can build objection workflows into a video assignment, using either standardized objections based on real customer responses, or more dynamic and personalized challenges based on each rep’s skill level.

Provide guided coaching

Effective coaching is a constant and continual process. AI can perpetuate this sense of continuity through bulletin boards, informing reps on the latest and most useful sales tips, plays, industry news, and best practices. This can help reps stay connected and improve their sales skills in a constantly changing business environment. At the same time, AI-guided coaching can guide managers on what to observe and evaluate in their coaching programs. It can ensure that managers are consistent in their coaching and can suggest prescriptive, best-practice approaches to boost coaching effectiveness.

Enable AR/ VR

Augmented reality (AR) - composed of superimposed images and sound over a real environment - and virtual reality (VR) - a completely virtual world detached from reality - are increasingly being used to improve sales-readiness. In conjunction with AI, they can change the landscape of sales training. Take role-play, for instance. Using AR and VR, trainees can be put through simulated environments that approximate real-life sales situations wherein ‘virtual’ buyers, representing different personality types of actual customers, can be made to confront them with their objections. Based on the rep’s response to these objections, variations can be made in the simulations.

Drive customization

AI algorithms can ensure that the entire coaching program—from identifying topics to making recommendations—is customized to individual learner needs. We can classify learners’ styles as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, and tailor how reps receive training and coaching information based on this. For example, auditory learners can be fed training materials audibly and can be tested aurally. Improvement tactics could be provided through voice commands by computer or phone, and AI can be applied to recognize which recommendations prove to be more effective so that this type of approach can be repeated in the future. This kind of customization can significantly improve performance as learning materials can be personalized for each rep in the learning style that they are most comfortable with.

Conclusion

An integrated sales enablement and coaching platform with AI capabilities can provide customized coaching at scale based on the learning styles of individual sales reps. While AI-enriched coaching may seem to reduce the human factor, the opposite is true. AI extends and facilitates the personal attention and support offered by in-person coaching, thereby vastly reducing many of the coaching burdens of today’s sales managers.

To know how Nytro.ai can help you with sales onboarding, schedule a demo today. 

Reference:

  1. https://trainingindustry.com/articles/sales/3-ways-ai-will-shape-sales-training/

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