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The Future of Sales Enablement – Immersive Learning and AI

July 4, 2023 | By EI

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The Future of Sales Enablement – Immersive Learning and AI

Sales enablement has always been challenging, more so today than in previous decades. But AI-based sales training is changing that! In this post, we’ll highlight some AI training tools and technologies to help enable and empower your sales teams.

Evolving Sales Enablement Landscape

Since 2020, the sales and marketing landscape has changed considerably. Consumer behavior has changed, with many consumers now relying on online resources and social network recommendations. Technology such as Sales Analytics software, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, and sales collaboration and workflow tools are more entrenched across the sales cycle.

Simultaneously, product and service offerings have evolved too. Sellers are now striving to deliver a more diversified range of options to clients. These changes, along with the need to provide more personalized sales experiences and measure sales performance more effectively, have made sales enablement a top priority for company management.

How Sales Enablement Training has evolved?

The learning and development (L&D) landscape, especially with relevance to sales and marketing training, has changed dramatically since 2020. Now there’s a greater emphasis on virtual training, with a focus on digital marketing and sales. The sales team is now adapting to be more customer-focused, as opposed to being product or service oriented. Sales enablement training now includes the effective use of sales enablement platforms. And training solution providers saw the value in offering more adaptive learning technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Sales-oriented organizations quickly pivoted their sales training strategies to address those changes. Besides, as organizations evolved to adopt remote sales training, they searched for ways to deliver more personalized, data-driven, immersive learning experiences for their sales teams.

More recently, AI-driven sales enablement platforms are gaining traction. These platforms provide remote and on-site sales teams with convenient, on-demand access to centrally hosted immersive sales tools and resources, such as video-based learning, simulated case studies, and customer success stories. Powered by AI, the future of sales training lies in highly immersive, personalized, and relevant learning that meets each learner’s unique needs.

New Vision with Old Priorities for the Sales Organization

AI is set to redefine sales enablement training in ways that many in the L&D industry might not have envisioned just a year or so ago. While learning priorities for sales teams might remain the same, injecting AI into the sales L&D process will infuse fresh impetus to those priorities, including:

Personalized Learning:

The use of AI-powered adaptive learning tools and techniques will more rapidly and readily assess knowledge and skills gaps within a sales team. The tools will use intelligent, data-driven skills evaluation metrics to do so, and will then provide personalized recommendations and tailored learning content to bridge those shortcomings.

Enhanced Customer Experiences:

AI-driven intelligent customer insights will take sales enablement to a new level by facilitating sales teams to implement highly effective marketing and selling strategies based on the analysis of vast amounts of customer data. AI engines can assess data on demographics, geographic norms, past purchase patterns, online behavior, and advertising preferences, to compile invaluable customer profiles. Chatbots and Virtual Assistants will compile further insights into customer preferences, patterns, and topics of interest. Sales teams will then use those insights to deliver enhanced customer experiences.

Better Sales Team Communication, Collaboration, and Performance:

AI-enabled sales platforms will use Sales Performance Analytics to analyze team performance and offer strategic insights into win/lose behavior. Intelligent sales automation and workflow management processes will seamlessly disseminate those insights across the organization to help refine and optimize the sales process. AI-infused Sales Assistants will take over routine tasks, such as managing schedules, making follow-up calls, and compiling reports, thereby leaving teams more time to focus on sales enablement strategies and personalized client engagement.

Immersive Learning Strategies for Sales Training

Leveraging AI to enhance the performance of your marketing and sales teams requires the use of the most appropriate training tools and techniques. Sales enablement training can help to better empower the team through a range of immersive learning strategies, including:

Gamification:

Learning how to sell effectively can be drab if done through traditional PowerPoint and text-based content. Gamification makes sales training more immersive, fun-filled, and engaging. It does so by using game-like features within training modules, such as leaderboards, points, and badges, to incentivize competition among sales teams, and motivates them to “play and learn.”

Simulations:

Immersive AI-based learning uses adaptive algorithms to customize simulation exercises tailored to each salesperson’s needs. Whether it’s negotiation skills, handling objections, or enhancing product/service familiarity, simulated Sales enablement training allows teams to practice and enhance their selling and marketing skills in a safe, controlled environment.

Virtual Reality (VR) Training:

Sales enablement is never a “once and done” process – it happens through iteration. L&D teams can use VR-based training, augmented through AI, to help salespeople enter a virtual selling environment and repeatedly practice a set of skills until they perfect their abilities. For instance, AI can simulate variations of a difficult call, in a virtual salesperson-prospect encounter, to help the salesperson iteratively improve their customer engagement skills. Best of all, this occurs without real-world consequences for the salesperson or the organization!

Mixed Realities (MR):

By merging real-world environments with computer-generated ones, training teams can help deliver more effective Sales enablement training to their learners – MR includes a range of technologies, including Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Hybrid Reality (HR). Salespeople can interact with physical (real-world) and virtual (online) objects which co-exist in MR environments. AI-infused sales training, which uses learning and performance analytics data, can then deliver realistic product visualizations, real-world-based simulations, use cases, and scenarios to help sales teams excel in their roles.

AI Tools and Technology

By integrating AI-based training with Machine Learning (ML) technologies, sales-focused organizations can quickly analyze large amounts of sales-oriented datasets, identify patterns of activities, understand knowledge and performance gaps, and develop personalized profiles for training their sales teams. Customized Sales enablement coaching and training recommendations can potentially assist with lead qualification, product demonstrations, and customer engagement. Incorporating AI-generated salespeople not only enables companies to optimize time and resources but also enhances customer service and engagement to a greater degree.

Some AI training tools, technologies, and techniques used in Sales enablement training include:

AI and Role Playing:

AI-powered Virtual coaching, VR, and AR may be used to create highly immersive, real-world-based simulations to help bridge knowledge and performance gaps. Whether it’s learning about new product features, understanding client needs, delivering a sales pitch, managing interpersonal conflict, mastering the art of negotiations, handling difficult prospects, or troubleshooting and problem-solving – AI-enabled role-playing helps sales teams refine and enhance their capabilities.

AI-driven Virtual Coaching and Mentoring:

AI tools have changed how mentoring and coaching take place. Armed with AI-generated salesperson capability profiles, sales leaders (Managers, Supervisors) now use virtual tools for personalized one-on-one coaching sessions. AI-based collaboration and feedback features help mentor sales teams without the typical human-infused unconscious biases that might usually exist in such sessions. These techniques are more effective in delivering sales enablement, reducing coaching/mentoring time, and allowing managers and leaders to focus on more value-added aspects of their roles.

Effective Measurement with AI Analytics:

The marketing and sales process is data intensive, but manually analyzing such massive data doesn’t offer actionable insights. By integrating AI and Machine Learning (ML) into sales training, sales teams analyze performance patterns, identify knowledge gaps, and generate personalized coaching and training recommendations. Such training may also include customized scenarios and simulated exercises to help sales teams refine specific performance-enabling skills.

On-Demand Training and Job Support:

Trainers can’t be available on demand to train or coach sales teams in the moment or at the place of need. L&D teams can use AI as a great Sales enablement training tool that can serve salespeople with a plethora of interactive, immersive training resources, including checklists, PDF manuals, and short videos, anytime, anywhere, and for any specific learning need. Salespeople just have to define the “need” (For example: “How to do …;” or “What’s the best way to…;” or “What to add to a proposal for…”) and the AI tools will search the sales enablement platform to provide the most appropriate training and support resources.

Parting Thoughts

Over the past couple of years, the sales and marketing domain has seen a marked increase in the use of AI-driven Sales Training solutions. Unlike traditional “one size fits all” sales training, AI uses a data-driven, needs-based approach to personalize learning for each salesperson on the team.  The use of such sales enablement learning technologies will allow salespeople to refine their skills in an immersive, virtual environment, leading to improved sales performance and organizational growth.

Need inspiration for your next eLearning program?

Check out our eLearning case study collection.  Through these case studies, we will show you how to design outstanding learning solutions that drive employee performance and create a positive impact on business KPIs.

EI
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