Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a buzzword in all areas. For sales, typically we rely on every-day-more-powerful CRMs because AI lives on data. These and other tools are really useful to instrument our sellers, delivering valuable insights. With data, you can see patterns and make decisions. However, if you don’t have a deep understanding of the proper cause and effect relationship, then things could get very different from what you expect. It’s for this reason that artificial intelligence, today, relies on humans. Additionally, the sales role is fundamentally grounded in human skills. To say a few, think about the importance of inspiring trust, be creative to solve complex problems for customers, or have high emotional intelligence.
These are some of the reasons is why the day when a computer would be able to outperform a human without a human’s help generally is still far away.
Today, salespeople and technology should work together, waiving together the best of each of them. In this way, we can have people with advanced selling skills leveraging technology to help them work more effectively and efficiently. Ultimately success will be amplified for salespeople who have the best skills and understand how to use technology to enhance those skills. Today, the winning salesperson is not the one who makes the most meetings but the one who can figure out how to uncover customer needs and offer value to the customer.
If you’re a sales leader, you should think about how you can help your sales team to improve their work. Maybe that might include a better knowledge about your products or services, a more focused marketing message, solutions to problems the customer can’t figure out, or better recommendations for upgrades.
The point is, you need to make sure your sales team is trained and permanently skilled in areas that make them more like genuine consultants than mere order takers. To build a great sales team, you’ll need people who can inspire trust, solve complicated problems, and develop strong relationships with customers. One of the best ways to keep new and experienced talent sharp is by training them on a recurring basis.
Many people have a mental model that training teams requires significant upfront investment to develop the materials and take people out of their work so that they can go to the training program and learn. The hope is that there might be a performance improvement down the road, but that comes after the initial investment. That’s why we at Zapiens prefer the scalable learning focus. It creates environments where new knowledge can be created and evolve as people confront new situations.
Scalable learning shifts the focus to learning as new performance challenges arise. In this context, addressing the performance challenge effectively can deliver sales people performance improvement on the spot through new approaches. One of the biggest advantages of using solutions as Zapiens’ is that your salespeople can educate themselves wherever they are, so, if there are questions that arise and need immediate answers, everything is readily available. So, the model flips — performance improvement leads to learning, rather than vice versa. Regardless of how you do it, keep training sessions short: There’s no doubt that attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. For this reason, it is best to keep your training sessions short and concise. Try to get everyone in the habit of taking 5 minutes or so training every day. In this way, that is engaging and easy to consume.
On top of it, creating a buddy system is never a bad idea. This will help create an environment where your staff can openly ask questions and share valuable information while making the entire experience seamless. Almost for sure, someone has already asked the same questions before and can answer them quickly with real-life experience.
Last, of course, sales work should always be reflected in the performance. Show the team how to look back on data to get insights about what went well and what can be improved upon. Data is a potent ally 😉
At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself if you’re ensuring that your sales team take decisions with adequate knowledge and an anchor to reality.