Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the fantasy it was a decade ago. From Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and increasingly-sophisticated chatbot software, to Google’s self-driving cars, AI is fundamentally changing how businesses and society operate. It’s also driving the future of B2B sales, according to Jürgen Heyman, CEO of Sales Performance International (SPI).
As the featured guest on a recent AI for B2B Sales and Marketing podcast, Heyman discussed how technology is augmenting, and in many cases, replacing face-to-face role play and other traditional sales training practices, making it possible to analyze sales performance, diagnose inefficiencies in the sales process, and uncover root problems to deliver the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time. That’s important because, as Heyman points out, the average tenure of sales leaders is a mere 60 months. That means the clock is ticking from the day you’re hired.
“You have a very short period of time to do things differently to get results and overcome the challenges the sales organization has—whether it’s growth or expanding into new markets,” Heyman said. “That short time horizon makes it critical to be more predictable about the sales results you’ll achieve and to create a lever within the organization that enables you to measure and track the results of your sales efforts as you move forward.”
This is where technology plays a transformative role. Unlike a content repository through which users are required to search, the combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics drives a higher-level of productivity and performance. The technology not only anticipates the users’ needs and competency gaps, but proactively pushes the content required to fill those gaps, building knowledge based on individual needs.
“This is the feedback loop we’ve been looking for, for the past 30 years.”
AI enables sales organizations to not only spend more time on the things that really make a difference but helps to ensure they benefit from the rich history and data they already have within their own organizations. “Technology allows us to get more granular in identifying what has and has not worked for organizations in the past, where the gaps are, and what competencies are lacking. It also allows us to be more granular in what we can bring to the table to help them develop competencies,” Heyman said. “A few years ago we couldn’t do that because we didn’t have the technology to identify the gaps people should be working on, or the ability to hone-in on the individual areas people need to develop.”
“Our industry is going through a pivotal moment,” Heyman concluded. “We know we can make the sales process much more tailored and much more bespoke than it used to be, thanks to AI technology. You couldn’t do this five or 10 years ago. This is the feedback loop we’ve been looking for, for the past 30 years.”
To learn more about how SPI is using technology and AI to transform sales and empower global sales initiatives, listen to the full AI for B2B Sales and Marketing podcast.
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