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ATD Blog

The Role of AI to Enhance and Scale Sales Effectiveness

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Social media feeds are full of people discussing artificial intelligence (AI). Its emergence is exciting, like the early days of the internet, but better and with greater potential impact. If you ask ChatGPT what it thinks its role is in enhancing and scaling sales training, it will point to three areas in particular. Each are summarized here:

Learning Personalization

  • AI can analyze individual sales reps’ skills, strengths, and weaknesses through data collected from training modules, assessments, and real-world performance.
  • AI algorithms can tailor learning paths to meet each salesperson’s specific needs.
  • Personalized content recommendations, microlearning modules, and practice exercises can be delivered based on the individual’s proficiency level and areas requiring improvement.

This is great because we’ve amassed a lot of course content over the years, and most training practitioners want to personalize development, but until now, it has been time-consuming to do so—AI will help.


Automated Coaching and Feedback

  • AI-powered platforms can provide real-time feedback and coaching to sales reps during practice sessions, simulations, or live customer interactions.
  • Natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis can evaluate the language, tone, and effectiveness of sales pitches and customer interactions.
  • AI can then offer immediate suggestions for improvement, helping sales reps refine their communication skills, objection handling, and product knowledge.

Sales enablement practitioners have discussed how manager coaching and feedback is the most effective form of development ad nauseam. At the same time, we’ve quietly conceded that most managers have no time and wear too many hats, so “coaching becomes telling,” and telling is often directing the salesperson to do something the way the manager has always done it. AI will reduce the feedback load for managers.


Predictive, Data-Prompted Activity

  • AI can analyze historical sales data, including successful deals and lost opportunities, to identify patterns and trends.
  • Machine learning models can predict which strategies, tactics, and product offerings will most likely resonate with specific customer segments.
  • AI platforms can crunch this data and create prospecting scripts and email messaging that is most likely to resonate with buyers.

Connecting the dots between historical data and applying those insights to current and future deals is the ideal state for sales enablement, but once again time is the limiting factor. AI will help with that.

Each function within an organization is experiencing an AI-inspired renaissance of sorts. However, today, AI is best used as a powerful plug-in for speed and scale. Within the sales enablement—in particular, the sales development—context, AI is best wielded as a time saver that creates better learner experiences, automates feedback, and serves up accurate buyer intelligence to increase success rates.

About the Author

Dayna Williams has been supporting sales enablement leaders for the past 20 years, focusing primarily on sales talent selection and development initiatives. She has written sales training programs, led the creation of technology-enabled products to drive field adoption and is now currently working with investor funded companies that need to stand up their sales enablement functions from scratch. Dayna is also the co-creator of SELL and has been instrumental in guiding the focus of its programming to ensure its relevancy to the enablement profession.

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