By: Ray Makela on May 10th, 2023
Sales Coaching and AI for Better Performance
Sales coaching is a critical aspect of improving the performance of sales teams. It involves various activities, from providing feedback and training to helping sales reps develop their skills and close more deals, making it a time-consuming process. But by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and chatbots, sales managers can access a powerful tool to improve their coaching capabilities.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Expert Insights on Coaching and AI
- How ChatGPT Will Impact Sales Coaching
- Integrating AI With Sales Coaching
- How ChatGPT Can Support Sales Managers
- Analyzing Sales Performance with AI
- Best Practices for Implementing AI-Powered Sales Coaching
Let’s dive in.
Expert Insights on Coaching and AI
Cory Bray is the co-founder of CoachCRM, a SaaS platform created to help sales managers become better coaches and executives get more out of their sales organizations. After years of training sales managers on coaching, Cory co-founded CoachCRM to provide a way to improve and manage the sales coaching process.
We recently had an opportunity to interview Cory and explore the use of ChatGPT and AI in sales coaching. One of the key promises of ChatGPT in sales coaching is to help managers get immediate answers to their questions and enable a more streamlined and effective coaching process. More insights from this discussion are provided below.
How ChatGPT Will Impact Sales Coaching
ChatGPT can provide sales coaches with better access to detailed, specific sales performance information, making it easier and faster to identify areas for improvement. It’s particularly useful to streamline manual information access methods, such as reading and manual data analysis, which can be time-consuming and ineffective.
ChatGPT can also be trained to perform root cause analysis, which can help coaches quickly identify the underlying causes of performance issues. It saves time and energy, allowing coaches to focus on the most critical areas of improvement, and is especially useful for first-time or second-time managers.
Integrating AI With Sales Coaching
The integration of artificial intelligence into sales coaching comes with a set of challenges. For example, you need to train AI systems by feeding them relevant information, such as providing details about your sales collateral, sales process, stages, activities, and exit criteria.
Data security is also a crucial consideration when integrating AI into sales coaching. The data you feed your AI system is your information, and you must ensure it’s kept secure. It means creating strong firewalls between different access points and implementing multi-tenant environments that provide authentication and security.
It’s worth remembering that (for now) AI systems can only perform tasks they’ve been trained to do. They may only provide some of the required information if limited data was included during training. To ensure that your AI system performs optimally, it’s essential to identify the questions that sales managers are likely to ask, where the source data will come from, and ensure that the AI system is trained to answer these questions and has access to the information it needs.
How ChatGPT Can Support Sales Managers
AI gives sales managers more leverage, allowing them to spend more time on things that matter. With the integration of ChatGPT, sales managers can access better and more credible information faster. It enables them to diagnose and prioritize the right challenges to address during coaching, leading to sustainable behavior change in their sales teams.
Often, sales managers face challenges in determining the root cause of a sales team member’s poor performance. With ChatGPT, they can receive a list of ideas and options based on the organization’s sales enablement resources, sales methodology, and knowledge of past performance. This information allows managers to diagnose and prioritize the right challenges to focus on during coaching.
ChatGPT also helps sales managers save time, which is crucial in their busy schedules. Sales coaching is often overlooked as managers focus on working on deals, attending meetings, and producing reports. With faster access to better information, managers can make the most of their time and focus on effectively coaching and developing their team members.
However, it’s important to note that AI should not replace human coaching. Sales managers still need to provide personalized coaching and support to their teams. AI can complement this process by providing managers with data-driven insights and recommendations, making coaching more efficient and effective.
Analyzing Sales Performance with AI
Analyzing sales performance can be complex for sales managers, especially when dealing with different deal sizes and conversion rates. However, recent advances in artificial intelligence have made it possible to analyze data and identify risk factors that could be coached to improve sales performance.
For example, a deal from $10,000 to $30,000 might have one conversion rate and cycle time, while a deal from $30,000 to $80,000 might have a slightly lower conversion rate and a longer cycle. However, the type of client, complexity of the deal, industry, and more, may all affect these metrics. AI can help analyze and correlate these variables to provide key insights into different deal types.
To analyze these variables, sales managers need to examine large amounts of data, which can overwhelm the human brain. This is where computers come in. AI can help managers identify the risk factors for specific deals and the likely outcomes and make specific recommendations, which can be used to improve sales performance.
While AI is not a crystal ball, it can help managers identify and understand risk factors that affect sales performance. It can also help managers determine which risk factors are most important and what actions they need to take to improve sales performance.
5 Best Practices for Implementing AI-Powered Sales Coaching
Integrating artificial intelligence and chatbots into sales coaching can significantly improve sales team performance. However, implementing AI solutions can be challenging. Here are some best practices for successful AI-powered sales coaching:
- Start small and prioritize critical areas for improvement: Start with a small pilot program, identifying the most significant challenges facing your sales team. Select areas where AI can have the most significant impact and focus on improving the critical areas first.
- Collaborate with your team: Engage your sales team in the AI implementation process to ensure they understand how AI will help them and are willing to adopt it. Encourage feedback and collaboration to make the implementation process smoother.
- Train your AI system thoroughly: Feed it with enough relevant data and train it to perform the tasks you need. Identify the questions that sales managers are likely to ask and ensure that the AI system is trained to answer them.
- Ensure data security: Protect your data by implementing strong firewalls between access points and multi-tenant environments that provide authentication and security.
- Use AI to complement human coaching: AI can provide data-driven insights and recommendations, making coaching more efficient and effective. However, sales managers should not rely solely on AI. Personalized coaching and support are still crucial to improving sales team performance.
Sales coaching is crucial in improving sales team performance, but it’s often hampered by managers’ busy schedules, competing priorities, and limited access to real-time data and insights to inform coaching conversations.
Integrating sales coaching and AI can help address these challenges. ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize sales coaching by providing coaches with better access to detailed, specific information to identify areas for improvement and can help provide recommendations that the manager can review and act on.
However, integrating AI into sales coaching comes with challenges, such as training the AI system with relevant information about the business and ensuring internal data is kept secure. On top of that, while AI provides sales managers with a powerful tool to improve their coaching capabilities, it should complement rather than replace human coaching.
As AI and sales technology continue to evolve, sales managers can leverage this technology to become better coaches. The promise of AI, when implemented effectively, is that it can help to unlock team members’ potential, leading to sustainable behavior change and improved sales performance.
About Ray Makela
Ray Makela is CEO and Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He oversees all client engagements as well as serves as a senior facilitator on sales management, coaching, negotiation and sales training workshops. Ray has over 20 years of management, consulting, and sales experience and writes frequently on best practices for coaching and developing sales teams.