Sales coaching has always been an essential part of running a business. It can make a massive difference in your company’s overall performance. Coaching also improves the well-being of your sales representatives. It can inspire them to grow past their limitations to achieve new success levels for the organization and in their personal lives.
However, sales coaching isn’t as straightforward as you’d wish. Although many organizations have mastered the basics, the landscape is constantly changing. The digit-first economy, in particular, has made the market unpredictable.
The following are some of the issues that make this kind of coaching in the traditional setup a significant challenge for organizations;
AI promises to resolve the above and many other challenges associated with sales coaching by addressing three key areas;
By collecting and rapidly analyzing vast quantities of data related to the sales pipeline and sales rep performance, AI makes it possible to determine where reps are struggling. This information can then inform and influence sales coaching.
For instance, after extensive analysis, AI tools may reveal that a particular representative struggle with selling a given product at a particular sales cycle stage. It may also reveal that the rep struggles even more when facing competition from a specific brand.
With this information at hand, the coaching process can focus on the relevant product and competitor. You can help the rep understand more about the product and how to position it when selling. You can also help them know more about the competitor, including their strengths and weaknesses so that the rep is prepared and armed with the right information as they go out there.
Remember that the same AI tools can be used to make a more accurate sales forecast by analyzing all sorts of variables around the product. The result is a significantly increased chance of selling.
In addition to providing the platform and tools to crunch data to extract insight, it also provides a smarter, more impactful channel to deliver the information. You’ll still rely on traditional training approaches, such as targeted training paths. But you’ll also now have a new channel known as cognitive analytics to help you convey the message in a more impactful manner.
Cognitive analytics is a branch of AI that mimics’ processes in the human brain to gain insight into unstructured data. The easiest way to explain how such analytics would help in sales coaching is to imagine a sales coach training rep on presentation skills where part of the session involving recording participants giving a presentation. Cognitive analytics can augment in-class feedback from the facilitator with an extra layer of coaching, without necessitating additional effort.
You can even run the videos through machine analysis to give instant, unbiased, and detailed feedback on eye contact, voice tone, emotion, language complexity, etc. in real-time.
Finally, the face-to-face role-playing is currently the most effective was to prepare salespeople for the task ahead. The sessions usually comprise the sales rep, a second person playing the part of a buyer, and the coach. When done properly, these role-playing sessions help the agent master the art of engaging targeted customers in specific environments.
Unfortunately, as the name suggests, they are only simulations, which often means that neither of the parties (sales rep or acting buyer) would be serious. This presents a few limitations considering that some things are only learned in the real world by making mistakes and learning from them. Yet, it’s also not a very good idea to practice in the workplace as the costs could be too steep for the company.
When used together with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), AI can create real-world coaching scenarios without the traditional costs. These three technologies allow you to recreate a real-world-like setting where reps can interact with avatars designed to behave like actual buyers – asking questions, voicing objections, etc.
If you’re currently thinking about ways to improve your sales coaching, you can see how incorporating AI into your training activities would enhance your sessions. From collecting data and analyzing it to provide key coaching points to guiding the actual coaching process, it makes your sessions much more productive.