Consistent and continuous sales training plays a vital role in equipping sales teams with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s competitive market. However, sales training managers often face resource and time challenges in developing effective training programs, from learning content creation to developing the right assessments to recommending the right training to each individual salesperson. In our internal proof of concepts and assessment, Generative AI and Large Language Models (LLMs) offer significant opportunities to overcome these challenges. They offer a unique opportunity for sales teams to get ahead of competition quickly. In this blog, we will explore the potential of AI in sales training and discuss specific use cases that can revolutionize the way sales teams are trained. We recommend that sales enablement teams pay keen attention to developments in this space and to start doing proof of concepts for their own internal use cases.
Current sales training and enablement challenges
- Unable to scale personalized learning: Traditional training methods often fail to address individual learning needs, resulting in suboptimal outcomes.
- High cost and turnaround time for impactful learning content generation: Developing comprehensive learning objectives, plans, and modules and upkeep requires significant time and effort.
- Time and expertise needed to create the right assessments: Designing effective assessments that accurately measure the ability of the salesperson to use their knowledge in customer facing sales or service situations retention can be a complex and resource-intensive task.
- Effective Coaching: Lack of resources and variance in managers who can coach and help develop salespeople at an individual level focusing on their respective strengths and weaknesses and how they align with the sales strategies
Understanding Large Language Models (LLMs)
Definition and capabilities: LLMs, such as Google’s PALM2, Meta’s LLAMA-2, and OpenAI’s GPT-4 are powerful AI models trained on vast amounts of text data. They can understand and generate human-like text, making them ideal for language-related tasks.
Natural language processing: LLMs excel in certain natural language processing tasks, including text analysis, text summarization, topic extraction, and language translation.
Customization and adaptation: LLMs can be fine-tuned and customized for specific domains, allowing them to provide tailored solutions.
If you are interested, here’s a great article explaining how large language models work. https://www.understandingai.org/p/large-language-models-explained-with
Applying AI in sales training and sales enablement
Building specific learning plans from documents
Our clients often aim to enhance sales readiness across their entire product range. However, the transition from product specifications to content that facilitates quick learning for sales situations can be complex, time-consuming, and therefore costly. As a result, many clients simply provide datasheets to their sales teams, hoping they will absorb the information. This approach is not always effective, and since the content isn’t designed for active learning and assessment, there’s no feedback for the sales enablement team.
Sales managers often task sales enablement teams with improving the sales team’s proficiency in selling a specific product. The sales training or enablement manager then has to decipher what this means and plan accordingly. We suggest using generative models for this planning process.
For instance, when a client needed to train their partner sales representatives to sell an existing product to a new customer category. We collaborated with them to create a learning plan based on their marketing content. This plan included identifying sales topics in the documents, extracting crucial information and structure for micro-learning modules, determining learning objectives for each module with key takeaways, and suggesting activities for each module to reinforce learning.
To implement this effectively, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the skills and knowledge required for each role and product, information about your sales process, customer personas at each sales stage, and more. This information should be structured and formalized, something a modern sales enablement application can provide. In the example above, we used information about the customer segment, buyer personas, and specific sales cycle needs to guide the Language Model in creating the learning plan.
Creating bite-sized learning modules
Most sales training courses, esp. product training, are long form, running for multiple days. LLMs have the unique capability to extract and summarize content into bite-sized form. They also transform the content to align with instructional design principles for faster comprehension and recall.
Creating effective knowledge checks (assessments) and evaluations
AI-powered assessment creation with LLMs can revolutionize the assessment process by:
- Auto generate assessments: Automatically generating a set of assessment questions by analyzing various documents (PDFs, PowerPoint presentations) related to a specific topic, saving time for sales training managers while ensuring comprehensive coverage. Various taxonomies can be applied.
- Adaptive assessments: LLMs can adapt assessments based on learners’ responses, providing targeted feedback, and identifying knowledge gaps for further improvement. Check out our automated knowledge checks page
Role-play agent for learning simulations at scale
Role-playing is an effective method for practicing sales or customer interaction scenarios. Integrating GenAI powered role-play agents for scalable and consistent learning simulations, offered to every salesperson contextually on mobile, can enhance their real-world preparedness.
LLMs, when combined with a robust gamification approach, can enable salespeople to engage in immersive role-play scenarios with simulated buyer personas, such as a CFO in a B2B setting or an end consumer in a B2B2C situation. By simulating real-world customer sales situations like price negotiation or objections, AI allows personalized and scalable practice across various scenarios. Salespeople can practice their skills, receive feedback, and refine their approaches in a safe and controlled environment.
Industry, customer, and competitor news updates for salespeople
Salespeople need to stay abreast of industry trends and competitor activities to position their offerings effectively. Generative AI combined with additional NLP and ML approaches can digest vast amounts of news and information. It can determine relevance and provide concise summaries and highly personalized sales recommendations.
Benefits and Impact
Enhanced efficiency and scaled operations: AI-powered content analysis and assessment creation significantly reduce the time and effort required for training development. We expect a 10X ROI by implementing Generative AI solutions for sales enablement and training.
Personalization and engagement: LLMs enable personalized learning experiences tailored to individual sales professionals, increasing engagement and knowledge acquisition. There is a direct correlation from increased engagement and knowledge to improved customer experience.
Continuous improvement: LLMs’ adaptive capabilities allow for ongoing assessment and targeted intervention. This drives continuous improvement in sales performance. Businesses can see improved customer experience, better win rates and enabling cross selling and upselling.
Scalability and cost-effectiveness: AI-based solutions can scale effortlessly, accommodating large sales teams without incurring substantial additional costs.
The integration of AI in sales training holds immense potential to address the challenges faced by sales training managers. By leveraging AI-powered content analysis and assessment creation, as well as virtual sales assistants, sales professionals can access personalized, efficient, and engaging learning experiences. The future of sales training lies in harnessing AI to unlock new possibilities and drive enhanced sales performance.
“How Generative AI Will Change Sales” – Harvard Business Review (Link: https://hbr.org/2023/03/how-generative-ai-will-change-sales)
“AI in Sales” – HubSpot Sales Blog (Link: https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/ai-in-sales)