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Chris Duprey

By Chris Duprey

Sep 6, 2023

Topics:

Sales Professionals Sales training Artificial Intelligence
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Sales Professionals  |   Sales training  |   Artificial Intelligence

You Can Use AI For Personalized Sales Training

Chris Duprey

By Chris Duprey

Sep 6, 2023

According to data from Task Drive, nearly 70% of all salespeople say they have not received any formal training in sales. Instead, they describe themselves as “self-taught social sellers.”

That’s a scary thought. 

The fact that seven in 10 salespeople are untrained is indeed alarming. Organizations need to generate cash flow to survive and thrive. Without revenue coming in, you can’t make payroll or pay your overhead. Without sales, your business shrivels up and dies.

And there’s a flipside to this statistic. Of those 30% who have received training, how much of it was 15 years ago? How much of it has been a check-the-box sort of thing? You know, a each sales rep has to do four hours of training this quarter mandate from leadership that has salespeople watching online modules at 2X speed to get it done and move on.

lack-of-sales-training

Add it up and you’re talking about an immense deficiency in sales training. 

This untrained sales force is the perfect challenge for AI, which can help personalize training to bring unique improvement to each salesperson. While it’s not going to solve every sales challenge you have, it’s a quick solution you can put in place today.

Here’s how I’m teaching sales teams to use it.

Why sales teams need training

Sales is hard. And it’s only getting harder. The majority of front-line sales reps report that selling is harder now than it was five years ago. So, perhaps it’s not surprising that only about a quarter of all salespeople actually hit their quotas last year

In addition, sales teams deal with notoriously high turnover, which is exasperated by, in many cases, an unsupportive team culture.

This has all led to low morale and high stress. 

Training is the solution — but training can be expensive, and for every great training program out there, there are mediocre ones that cost just as much and deliver a whole lot less. 

sales-training-cost

Training can be self-directed

It’s important to remember that training doesn’t always have to be a big-budget affair. AI tools can offer personalized feedback and insight that big group training can’t. This means unique insights instead of cookie-cutter advice.

If you can encourage your team to start using AI to improve their performance, it can be the rising tide that lifts all boats

Using AI for sales training: Where to start

During the season, professional football players watch about 15 hours of film every week. And that’s on the low end. According to some accounts, Tom Brady would watch up to 40 hours of film each week, scrutinizing his own performance and the tendencies of his opponents. 

This has been a standard practice in athletics for decades, but we’ve been slow to adopt this into the professional ranks. 

The fact that most sales calls take place over Zoom is a godsend. This gives us access to a treasure trove of data that previous generations couldn’t have dreamed of. 

No professional role benefits from film study as much as sales.

Think about it. Every detail of a sales call matters, from first impressions to presentation to goodbye. We now are able to see everything. Not only what was said and shared, but body language and pauses, too.

Step 1: Use AI to analyze your call recordings

AI tools like Gong and Chorus will automatically record and sort your Zoom calls, and then provide detailed analysis of each recording. 

AI-sales-feedback

You’ll have access to insights that range from the high level (think: how much time did I have my slide deck up during that one-hour meeting?, How many times did I use fillers words like “um” or “you know”?) to the specific (how clearly did I articulate the ‘next steps’ at the end of the call?)

(Source: Chorus.ai)

These tools are very helpful for self-study, but they’re great for managers as well. Sales leaders should be watching the call recordings from their team, and AI can help them know what to look for. 

Then each rep can follow up on what gets uncovered in team meetings or 1-1s. 

If a rep hears from her manager that she starts her meetings with too much small talk, AI data can help her track her improvement over time. 

Evaluating communication with AI

Emerging AI tools can evaluate the non-verbal parts of your communication as well. Virtual Sapiens offers you the ability to track eye contact (or, at least, webcam contact) as well as gestures, facial expressions, posture, and more.

(Source: virtualsapiens)

Tools like this can give feedback in a way that’s objective and easy to receive. And it’s a great way to train yourself out of a habit you don’t even realize you have.  

Using AI to improve all parts of your performance 

But AI shouldn’t just be used retrospectively. I use AI tools to help me prepare for any upcoming sales call or presentation.

Here are some ideas:

  • Role-play with AI. We all know that role-plays work — and we all know that people often don’t like doing them. With a few prompts, you can create a basic role-play with ChatGPT.
  • Ask for feedback on a presentation. If you’ve been staring at the same text for an hour, AI can see your work with fresh eyes. Put the text from your slides into a chat and ask for feedback. Are there holes in your logic? Do you belabor certain points? Let a tool see the slide deck before you show it to a client.
  • Use an AI slide builder to create a rough draft presentation that you can fine-tune. I use Slides AI.
  • Research a company’s website. If you don’t have time to pore over dozens of pages, ask AI to do it. Use a CHatGPT plugin to access the internet and put in a company’s URL. It will come back with takeaways you can research further.
  • Write outreach emails much quicker than before. If you train AI on your voice and style, smart composers like Grammarly or Jasper can crank out emails that you’ll just need to polish.

And that’s just the start. There are AI brainstorming tools, AI storytelling tools, virtual-reality simulations, and more. 

Think creatively about ways you can use all available tools to deepen your skills and improve your performance — all at a steep discount from traditional sales training.

The best AI hack: Treat it like your friendly assistant

For all the bluster about prompt engineering, I find that AI is most useful when I treat it like a person. I see it as a sort of friendly assistant I can talk to. Rather than coming up with an intricately crafted input, I have a conversation with ChatGPT. The back and forth is as useful as the eventual output because it causes reflection along the way.

AI-assistant-sales

For sales teams, it’s the perfect assistant you’ve always wanted. Someone to do the grunt work research, help you write emails, and give you feedback after a call. 

If you’re in the 70% of salespeople who are self-taught, AI can be the personalized sales trainer you’ve never had. 

 

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