AI and Sales Enablement

All you see these days is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and marketing, what about AI and sales enablement? Sales enablement tooling has exploded over the past few years. In the process, it has generated lots of insight into successful patterns of use. It also generated a lot of data that can be crunched. Data and patterns are the core components of making Artificial Intelligence work. There are plenty of areas where AI and Sales Enablement Tooling could add value.

What is the impact of AI on businesses?

I was going through a SalesForce Trailhead on their Einstein product, and noticed they had some nice stats. I am quoting them here.

  • Organizations with AI expect to see a 39% increase on average in their revenues by 2020, alongside a 37% reduction in costs. (Economic Times)
  • There was more than $300 million in venture capital invested in AI start-ups in 2014, a 300% increase over the year before. (Bloomberg)
  • AI drives a $14–$33 trillion economic impact. (The Motley Fool)
  • In a recent survey of 1,600 executives, 85% plan to train employees about the benefits and use of AI. (Forbes)

AI is going to change a lot of things in business, and sales enablement is no exception.

Use Cases of AI

Before we look at ways to use AI within sales enablement tooling, it’s useful to look at ways that AI can be used overall. As a result, you then can apply those uses to sales enablement tooling. I found a few articles that help shape my viewpoint. You might want to check them out – Business News Daily. Forbes Article. Medium Primer on AI.

  • Identifying patterns in mountains of data – As we generate more and more data in everything we do, it gets increasingly difficult for humans to look at the data and see something compelling. It’s easy to see patterns that don’t exist or miss obvious patterns due to sheer volumes. Alternatively, machines can go through this data without getting bored and find patterns.
  • Recommendations – So you have patterns in mountains of data, that pattern can then be used to make a recommendation for something – whether it’s another product or a bit of information.
  • Make decisions – You can take the recommendation one step further, and actually make a decision. People sorta suck at making decisions, they tend to deal with all sorts of fallacies and biases. Often times they will find information to justify their decisions. As opposed to the right way – using data to guide your decisions. AI doesn’t have this problem, it can quickly make decisions without those fallacies and biases.

AI and Sales Enablement Use Cases

So this brings us to some use cases for AI and Sales Enablement Tooling. Here are four areas where we could see AI take a much bigger role.

Predictive Content

You already see a variety of vendors offer predictive content for a buyer. Highspot and Knowledge Tree offer this type of functionality, and likely other vendors do too. If you know of one, please comment or tweet me. And other types of tools offer predictive content, marketing tools like Marketo also offer predictive content.

The basics behind this is that you have a huge amount of content coming at a prospect. With better tracking of usage, it’s easy to figure out what content works, and recommend more of the same. This one is easy to predict because it’s already happening! But expect it to get a lot better, not just picking the content but also the timing or possibly even the way the content is presented to the target.

Predictive Sales Training

This is where it starts to get really  interesting! The standard way sales training is offered is to tell reps that have to take X, Y and Z training, and then be tested on it. This approach has limitations, namely you don’t know what works. Instead you force reps to the take time away from selling and training.

You have a variety of vendors out that provide sales training on the go. Whether its Sales Hood, QStream, Brainshark, Allego, or the myriad of other vendors, you generate massive amounts of data associated with training.

The trick comes to map this to CRM data, both pipeline and booked revenue. If you know what sales reps are successful and what training they took, you can start to look for patterns. These patterns could be between taking a bit of training or mastering a skill that results in revenue or pipeline. What you are doing is using AI to determine what things, in this case sales training, successful reps do and then propagate it to the rest of the organization.

You might find a pattern among specific training, timing of training, or even relation of training to content that enables you to make suggestions on what sales training to prioritize.

AI Sales Coach

With SalesForce, or other SFA combined with a sales enablement tooling, you can get a complete picture of an “A” rep vs “B” rep vs “C” rep. You know what their revenue looks like, what their productive mix looks like, their pipeline, activities along with what content they use and when. As a result, patterns could be recognized in this mound of data and paired with what a sales rep is already doing to provide coaching.

What would that coaching look like?

  • Maybe to send a particular piece of content at a particular time
  • Sequence communications with prospects
  • Guide talk tracks in conversations, or suggest focusing on a particular topic of interest
  • Give immediate feedback on a sales call. After all with a good sales enablement tool, you are tracking real time what a rep does.

This could enable you to elevate those “B” or “C” reps to “A” reps, or even make your “A” reps more effective.

Automated Sales Reach Outs

This could take coaching to the next level. Much like SalesForce’s  Einstein will recommend that a rep follow up with an account, a good AI system could automate that further. Instead of telling the rep to follow up, it could actually take that decision out of the reps hands. Your sales enablement tooling could actually reach out to the prospect sending the appropriate email, piece of content, or maybe even scheduling a sales call. Wouldn’t that be pretty cool to see?

Have anything you would like to add? Contact me via comments, twitter, or our contact page.

Vendors Mentioned Here

It’s only fair to provide details on those vendors where we discussed AI and Sales Enablement.

Highspot

“Highspot is the industry’s most advanced sales enablement platform, helping organizations close the loop across marketing, sales, and the customer.

Using Highspot, sales teams are connected to the most relevant content for each situation, have flexible ways to present content to customers, and gain real-time visibility into whether customers find the content engaging. Advanced analytics lets marketing and sales understand how content is performing across the sales cycle and provides actionable insights so pitches and content can be optimized. By closing the loop across marketing, sales, and customers, Highspot uniquely delivers insights that help companies engage more effectively with customers, driving increased revenue and customer satisfaction.”

Knowledge Tree

“KnowledgeTree pushes winning content to sales teams where they work.

We identify which content wins for any sales situation. We push winning content to reps in Salesforce.com and email. And we help sales enablement professionals build more content that prospects want.”

 

Allego

“How do you make a lasting impression on a prospect or customer? How do you ensure that pitch is consistent across all reps in your organization?

With over 40,000 global users, the Allego team has developed a sales enablement and learning platform that addresses a critical market need – just-in-time learning – where traditional sales training and tools fall far short. Allego transforms the way organizations capture the most relevant knowledge from the field, enable sales to absorb and master pitch consistency, and accelerate overall performance.   By enhancing the way sales reps tell their story to their customers and prospects, Allego impacts business results.

Harnessing the power of mobile devices and the ability of video to increase knowledge absorption, we deliver an intuitive just-in-time learning platform coupled with a proven methodology that ensures customer success and adoption.”

 

Qstream

“Manage sales team effectiveness at the speed of change

Companies spend millions building their sales funnel. The only thing missing is results. That’s because turning prospects into customers requires salespeople who can add value beyond just presentations and product facts. They must be able to have conversations about challenges that buyers actually have – in markets that are constantly changing.

Qstream offers a new, data-driven approach to helping sellers at every level of your organization have conversations that keep pace. With a solution so effective and easy to use, everyone’s happy with the results, even IT.”

Brainshark

“Brainshark sales readiness software equips businesses with the training, coaching and content authoring capabilities to achieve sales mastery.

Get your ‘A’ Game On

Every sales team, no matter how effective, has the potential to be even better. To be more knowledgeable, more productive, and more motivated, to be smarter, 100% prepared, and completely up-to-speed. To be ready to act quickly, seize the moment, and close the deal.

That’s where Brainshark can help.

For organizations seeking to boost their sales effectiveness, Brainshark sales readiness solutions empower your teams to achieve their fullest potential – with the training, coaching, and content they need to seal deal after deal.

Four Stunning Ways to use AI in Sales Enablement

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