The Virtues of a Virtual Sales Assistant

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Today’s featured story is presented by Dan Frumkin, Co-Founder of JustSoldIt!

Five Ways AI and Machine Learning Can Systematically Improve Your Chances of Winning

Today's Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning sales software perform everything from email production, to lead management, to identifying buyer behaviors, and scheduling meetings. That's how AI is changing the sales landscape, improving sales efficiency and effectiveness. And to boot, AI does not get tired. It can work even when you have finished for the day.

Enhanced by AI, efficiency and effectiveness are powerful sales outcomes. But selling is the art of persuasion -- and persuasion is guided by consciousness, cognition, and insight. For all the right reasons we think of "persuasion" as a human characteristic, a complex set of skills that is beyond the reach of today's AI and machine learning. In fact, if a machine could precisely mimic human behavior, it might be said we don't need salespeople. While the media warns of such eventualities, the age of "machine persuasion" replacing salespeople is not upon us. Not yet. But we have crossed the threshold into the age of Virtual Sales Assistants (VSAs).

Persuasion, AI, Machine Learning and VSA's

AI and machine learning are impressive at metabolizing, categorizing, weighting variables and otherwise reducing complex scenarios into something rather manageable. These technologies can elevate one's ability to search within massive databases, rendering surprising outcomes at great speed. For those in sales and sales management, this can be a terrific competitive advantage.

In our research, for example, we have found that sellers most often express that they lack "use cases", the broad understanding of where their products, services, and offerings fit. Can a VSA help with these matters? Most assuredly, yes. Here is how.

#1: Use Cases

When a seller expresses that they "lack use cases" their sentiment is more nuanced than one might imagine. They mean they have reviewed case studies, success stories, company dossiers, and had discussions with management. They have exhausted corporate resources. Regardless, they feel there is a misalignment, a gap. Where is a seller to go for nuanced information to close the gap? Back to the corporate wiki?

Organizations discount and often overlook their own massive amount of living knowledge, the undocumented literacy of each seller. Each and every closed deal is, in fact, a ‘use case'. VSAs can deploy sophisticated algorithms to identify other sellers (or selling teams) within one's own company, that has recently walked in the shoes of those in the process of selling in a similar circumstance. We cannot clone a seller's mind. But we can drive improved sales outcomes by connecting sales team members, those in the process of selling to those who have closed similar deals. VSA technology is the missing link to make this happen. VSA technology can quickly and effortlessly connect sellers for valuable communication and collaboration that is self-directed, unimpeded and on-demand. The information transfer, a result of the collaboration between sellers, causes improved sales outcomes. Supporting literature on the matter of collaboration and improved sales performance is overwhelming. (See https://lnkd.in/dJxp8tg)

Organizations discount and often overlook their own massive amount of living knowledge, the undocumented literacy of each seller.

 

#2: Training, the Art of Persuasion and VSA's

Conducting ride-alongs is a valuable exercise for training new sales representatives. When executed well, ride-alongs provide a robust framework for reps to continuously improve upon. The pairing of an experienced seller with a new hire can only result in valuable knowledge transfer, an enormous accelerant to the onboarding process.  If the goal of onboarding is to compress time-to-sales proficiency, there is no better accelerant than to expose new reps to the practical knowledge of seasoned sellers while they work their craft. 

So how might a VSA improve training? Imagine a training module whereby new hires, in the training process, are given leads associated with their territories. Before reaching out to engage the lead, the new hires are required to engage first with a company seller. In the style of Okay Google or Siri, "Hey VSA, find me a seller who has sold to an opportunity like Campbell Cyber Security, the lead I am working on." This is possible today, right now, because a VSA can 'know' the lead (that is, Campbell's lead characteristics), and the VSA also 'knows' of similar deals closed in the cybersecurity industry within the Company. The VSA also 'knows' both the individual rep who sold the deal, as well as the entire selling team. Call that seller or any of the seller's team members, learn from their experience, enjoy hugely improved sales results.

#3: Ever-boarding and VSA's

New product introductions are expensive, risky and unequivocally necessary. We just completed a review of an IT company with a national name. Surprisingly, nearly a quarter of their 2017 revenues were derived from products introduced in 2016. What that tells us is that disseminating how, where, why and to whom to sell new products and features is a key ingredient to ongoing success. Can a VSA help this process? Yes, by speeding up the pace of information dissemination.

A seller may ask, Hey VSA ... :

"Who sold our new offering in the last 20 days to a Biomedical Company, against competitor [ABC]?"

"Has anyone in the company sold our new services as part of an offering with [XYZ] products sets?"

"Has anyone closed a deal for more than $100,000 inclusive of our new offering in the past 60 days?"

"Has anyone displaced incumbent [XYZ] with our new offering?"

Discovering use cases, discussing details with team members is key to ever-boarding. Trading information and insights with trusted sales sources is the inspiration for approaching both existing clients and new prospects with a business case borne of the latest market entries. Let the knowledge, experience and information flow among salespeople unimpeded for improved sales outcomes. (See https://lnkd.in/dK66G8Z)

#4: Getting Unstuck

The greatest danger to a stuck deal is doing nothing and waiting. To get the deal moving, expand the circle of inquiry and break down the silos. Two reps (two trusted resources), can solve more challenges and can address more sales issues in 80 seconds than with any other method. Use a VSA to find other sellers who have successfully sold a similar deal. Attempt to move the deal forward by re-engaging, delivering new ideas into the process. Reframe the problem, resubmit a more complete business case. Sellers can now solicit new ideas by simply asking their VSA for similar cases. Use discussion and new knowledge to reinvent the approach. Then re-engage knowing you have, in fact, done all that you can, having reached out to the four corners.

#5: Creating a Company Sales Culture

Not many years ago sales teams were just that; a team in close proximity, located in regional offices. Sales conversations were plentiful among team members. Today reps are largely geographically disbursed, unaware of who sold what to whom. A VSA can bring back a team mentality by connecting reps over things they hold in common; selling, the competition, overcoming objections, how to insinuate new products into the sale process and the discovery of new use cases. Through contacts made available by VSA connections, information, sale techniques and know-how from the trenches flow easily, reaching the desired party as never before, national or international.

JustSoldIt 2.0 - Today's Virtual Sales Assistant – an Invaluable Tool for Quota Achievement

We are all familiar with virtual assistant's (Siri, Okay Google, Samsung's Bixby), for taking screenshots, scheduling appointments or finding us movie times by natural voice commands. RadiateBuzz's JustSoldIt 2.0 takes voice command, AI and machine learning to a new level, and straight into the realm of your sales ecosystem. Existing corporate data and CRM information powers JustSoldIt 2.0. There is no data to enter to operate in your selling environment.

"Hey JustSoldIt, who in our company previously sold for EMC?"

JustSoldIt 2.0 will not only connect sellers by the commonality of their mutual deal characteristics, but it also connects users to the teams and resources that enabled complex deals to get done; training material, knowledgebases, corporate dossiers, trainers, and specialists. The uses for JustSoldIt 2.0 are endless and deeply varied. Looking for a reference account? Wondering what might be the best approach to upselling an existing account? Need a bit of advice to sell a new product into biomedical, or another vertical? JustSoldIt 2.0 will find you the answer. And for management, you will not only have an invaluable selling tool but a host of new metrics for better-informed decision making.

Find out how RadiateBuzz's Virtual Sales Assitant, JustSoldIt 2.0, can help your sales team surpass quota.

Contact us today at 800.928.8884 www.RadiateBuzz.com