During our livetalk on sales strategy, which brought together the Heads of Sales from HubSpot, Qonto, ContentSquare, and Ringover, sales coaching and artificial intelligence were discussed. This discussion proved what was already suspected: sales managers are starting to incorporate AI coaching.
The arrival of new AI-based tools is disrupting the habits of sales professionals while offering them a new approach to achieve their goals. In this article, we will explain how AI coaching is affecting salespeople's routines.
What is AI coaching?
Definition of AI coaching
AI coaching commonly refers to a coaching method that relies on artificial intelligence to analyze and improve the performance of professionals. When it comes to conversational analysis, it combines natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning technologies to provide personalized feedback and advice to salespeople.
Definition of conversational analysis
Conversational analysis refers to the process of studying and evaluating interactions between a company and its customers across different communication channels. Conversational analysis solutions can be used for phone conversations, emails, customer reviews, chat messages, and social media discussions.
Advantages of using AI in sales coaching
- Identification of strengths and areas for improvement: AI helps sales teams understand what works (or doesn't work) in their approach, allowing them to adjust their strategy more easily through in-depth analysis of customer conversations.
- Feedback: With an AI coaching software, both managers and agents receive detailed feedback on their performance in each conversation.
- Analytical capability: Artificial intelligence can process large volumes of data quickly.
- Time-saving: By automating many time-consuming tasks, you can allocate the saved time to other value-added tasks such as enhancing customer interactions. Dorothée Lecomte, the French Sales Director at Qonto, mentioned this during our livetalk on sales strategy. She explained AI allows salespeople to thrive in their daily work and improve the quality of their advice and support.
Taking advantage of AI coaching
Conversation analysis using AI helps identify the most effective sales practices and techniques. Conversational analysis tools become sales aids. Interactions with customers are a gold mine for sales teams and their managers as they receive feedback on their performance each time.
The tools generally provide accurate feedback on strengths and areas for improvement.
With a solution like Empower, which analyzes phone exchanges, it's possible to obtain information and advice on:
- Speech rate: Is it dynamic enough?
- Speaking time: For example, reducing the duration of monologues to allow the customer to reveal more.
- Interruptions: Adjusting the way of interrupting the interlocutor to encourage them to get to the point or find out more about specific topics.
- Interactions: Are they sufficient? Is the exchange balanced?
The software is also able to perform an analysis of the speakers' mood, made possible by AI through sentiment analysis.
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Another advantage of conversational analysis is that after identifying the most profitable practices with the tool, the manager can share them with everyone and make the decision to standardize them. In this sense, coaching is fully integrated into the team culture.
Such measures can greatly facilitate the onboarding of new recruits, skill development while significantly reducing costs.
Integrating AI coaching into the sales process
One of the biggest challenges faced by salespeople concerns the volume of calls. The more it grows, the more complicated it becomes to analyze these conversations manually to provide feedback quickly.
Sales managers can overcome this challenge by integrating a conversational analysis tool into their sales process through their CRM or their cloud telephony solution.
Calls are automatically recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. The moments that interest you most within each call are automatically identified by AI, based on the data and keywords entered by the user in the solution to guide them to the most relevant moments.
Predictions for the future of AI coaching in sales
Evidently, AI has tremendous potential for the field of sales, including when it comes to coaching.
According to Tiphaine Riche, Head of Sales SMB at HubSpot, the future for sales teams is to have a virtual assistant that accompanies them throughout the sales process.
According to HubSpot, 68% of sales professionals predict that by 2024, most of the software they use will have AI features.
In fact, you’ll find initiatives here and there that show generative AI is not the only option available to you. Artificial intelligence can be much more than a tool to generate prospecting emails templates.
Imagine an AI virtual assistant capable of predicting sales based on buyer behavior, trends, and guiding you through actions to optimize the sales process or increase the average order value.
By harnessing such technologies, companies can make more informed decisions.
Are salespeople ready for AI?
We hear a lot about AI, but are we really ready to be guided by artificial neural networks? And then, it's fair to wonder if we should rely entirely on a series of algorithms to be evaluated. As K.C. Kellogg and C. Noonan Hadley remind us in their article published in the Harvard Business Review, the key element of good coaching is trust between the parties involved– whether it's traditional or more modern coaching methods.
For instance, a study published by Fast Company revealed employees who trust their managers are more likely to accept recommendations made by AI, even if they differ from their initial opinion.
Ultimately, what matters most is humans and, therefore, it's important to create an environment of trust in which the manager clarifies the reasons for the adoption of their tools (AI or not) and remains transparent about how their collaborators' data is used.
AI coaching improves both conversions and conversations between sales representatives and their customers. Through it, sales professionals can easily identify which lever to activate or which obstacle to correct to sell better.
As mentioned above, automation frees up time so salespeople have more latitude and precision in personalizing their relationship with their customers.
It's normal to think the rise of AI tools could harm humans. But in this case, AI allows us to refocus on humans, which is a key criterion in a commercial relationship and in the experience offered to the customer. The same goes for the relationship between a manager and each member of their team.
AI tools for sales team coaching are already available on the market and, like Empower, they continue to evolve to meet the many challenges of companies in this area.
For more information and concrete examples on how to integrate AI into your commercial coaching methods, contact one of our team members today!