Part 1: Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Selling

Artificial Intelligence

What does Artificial Intelligence have to do with Sales Coaching?………….

 

I’ve heard it said of many a successful person that they were just “…at the right place at the right time…” and by others that they followed their intuition……

 

Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired. Different writers give the word “intuition” a great variety of different meanings, ranging from direct access to unconscious knowledge, unconscious cognition, inner sensing, inner insight to unconscious pattern-recognition and the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.

Predict-Coach-Grow with Salesforce.com presentation

Intuition is a great asset but how does a business capture and manage intuition? Wouldn’t it be amazing if computers could offer us predicitable intuition and then coach us how to use that knowledge to be in the right place at the right time, and then still tell us how to take advantage of the situation? Well they can, the application of what is know as Artifical Intelligence or Machine Learning aims to do exactly that…….and it’s happening faster than you think!

 

Predict Coach Grow with Salesforce.com

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. In computer science, the field of AI research defines itself as the study of “intelligent agents“: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal. Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving” (known as machine learning).

Google, Facebook and Tesla are all companies making a huge bets on AI. Google and Facebook analyse your behaviour on the web and make suggestions relevant to what may interest you. In the case of Tesla (the electric automobile manufacturer), their cars are learning about the environment they operate in and using that data to provide a safer driver experience for commuters.

 

Watch David Hasselhoff in a AI scripted short film

 

It all sounds like science fiction but AI is fixing some of the age-old sales problems businesses face such as building pipeline, enhancing cross & upsell, improving win rates and decreasing the number of days spent in a sales cycle.  The Sales Management Association, in their research brief titled “Sales Management’s Coaching Impact” open by saying that Management views sales coaching as the most impactful sales effectiveness investment, when considered alongside alternative initiatives like training, best practice sharing, and incentive redesign. Furthermore, coaching is chiefly valued for its direct impact on business performance – not simply as a people development initiative. Management intent upon moving the performance needle sees sales coaching as the single most impactful strategy to do so.Obstacles to Coaching

 

Furthermore The Sales Management Association went on to point out what some of the major obstacles to implementing coaching are (see Fig.10). Today, AI is helping to removing these obstacles through platforms that automate sales effectiveness by:

 

  1. 1) Gathering data……lots of it.
  2. 2) Making meaningful assimilations of the data and arriving at the same conclusions over and over again about what the data represents.
  3. 3) Applying the conclusions to the context we are working in.
  4. 4) Implementing repeatable Playbooks for key business processes that are based on proven methodologies for success.
  5. 5) Equipping an organisation with a platform to allow users to consume the intelligence that is inherent in the data whenever and wherever they need to.

 

In Part 2: Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Selling, we’ll take a look at how these platforms practically deliver sales effectiveness enhancements.

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