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SALES ENABLEMENT


The Two Voices of Sales Voice of the Customer and Voice of the Seller:


The Critical Mix in Sales Enablement to Drive Seller Readiness JEFF SANTELICES


Conversation intelligence is having a moment in the sales technology market. Its appeal is well documented in market data, which indicates a spike in demand over the next few years. In fact, according to a MarketsandMarkets report, the global conversational AI market is expected to grow from $4.8 billion in 2020 to $13.9 billion by 2025.


Conversational intelligence is, indeed, quickly becoming a must-have tool for every enablement program. Broadly speaking, conversation intelligence records and transcribes conversations. But don’t confuse it with revenue intelligence, which uses recorded con- versations for the benefit of accurately forecasting revenue. Rather, the value of conversation intelligence goes be- yond simple call recording to include AI-based analysis of rep interactions with customers. Now, sales organi- zations are using it to inform sales training and coaching – and to make sellers more productive and effective. And, with the pandemic and its fallout driving more remote selling now and into the future, it looks like conversa- tion intelligence has a permanent home in the sales tech stack.


INSIGHT INTO REP PERFORMANCE Since the beginning, sales organiza- tions have leaned on enablement to “get ready” by onboarding and train- ing reps so they’re customer-ready for in-person interactions in the field. Managers hope this training will help their reps know how to confidently and crisply deliver the corporate pitch, how to navigate objections, and


how to negotiate deals – all in the service of closing more deals. The op- erative word here is “hope,” as there is no way to truly have insight into what transpires in a meeting unless the manager is present. Of course, it’s untenable for a frontline manager with multiple reports to attend every in-person sales meeting, so that leaves behind missed opportunities to observe and evaluate the behavior and skills their reps demonstrate in the heat of the moment. With COVID-19 over the past year, in-person meetings shriveled up, and sales teams transitioned to remote selling. They – and customers – have become increasingly comfortable doing business virtually; and, while frontline managers still can’t attend all virtual customer meetings, AI bots can, providing a reliable window into rep performance. With that, conversa- tion intelligence has become integral to every enablement program, as it is a validation opportunity to determine whether or not an organization’s train- ing is actually sticking with reps when it matters most. More precisely, conversation intelli- gence tools have provided indispens- able insight to help managers figure


30 | JULY/AUGUST 2021 SELLING POWER © 2021 SELLING POWER. CALL 1-800-752-7355 FOR REPRINT PERMISSION.


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Silence is a source of great strength. LAO TZU


out why deals shrink and are lost to competitors, why their salespeople aren’t making quota, and why churn is increasing. For example, AI can analyze key customer interactions to gauge the progress of deals, uncover buyer sentiment, and determine ap- propriate next steps to build or main- tain momentum in the sales cycle. AI-powered conversation intelligence can also provide conversation snip- pets to highlight demonstrated skills as well as areas for improvement so subsequent coaching and training are better customized to individual reps.


COMPLETING THE SALES ENABLEMENT ECOSYSTEM Of course, conversation intelligence is made all the more valuable when it’s integrated into a sales enablement program. In this way, it informs all the other elements – coaching, ongoing training, measurement – so organiza- tions can create an ecosystem of learn- ing designed to make salespeople truly field-ready and more effective. The past year has certainly forced


the sales and enablement world to rethink many of its existing processes and tools so businesses can survive even in uncertain and adverse cir- cumstances. In some cases, this “next normal” environment has emphasized how some tools – like AI-powered conversation intelligence – can be an important link to greater seller effectiveness. By making conversation intelligence a key part of the overall sales enablement ecosystem, organi- zations can create a continuous state of excellence that underpins a thriving business in today’s rapidly changing environment. 


Jeff Santelices is CRO at Mindtickle.


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