AI-Driven Sales: AI Role Play in Sales Training and Coaching

BY:  Rebecca Herson
September 18, 2023
Updated on May 13, 2024

Table of Contents

Sales training and coaching is vital for successful sales calls that drive revenue and boost profits, and role plays have long been recognized as the linchpin of every training program. But sales training role plays are frequently time-consuming and occasionally frustrating. 

Sales managers don’t have the time to run one-on-one role plays often enough for sales reps to gain experience and confidence, or to review recorded pitches and return feedback within a reasonable timeframe. And sales reps often feel embarrassed role playing with a manager or colleague, and would prefer to avoid it.  

However, AI role play platforms are changing that. Read on to learn how AI roleplaying can transform sales training.

The Rise of AI in Sales Training and Coaching

Traditionally, sales training and coaching was carried out entirely by sales enablement personnel, professional trainers, and sales managers. Sales reps would receive frontal lectures combined with one-on-one role play practice with sales managers, trainers, or each other. Managers and trainers rarely had time to run sufficient role plays, and doing a role play with a colleague was never as effective as doing it with a knowledgeable professional. 

There was little transparency into the impact of sales training programs, leaving sales enablement teams to make educated guesses about their effectiveness (or otherwise). Over time, organizations shifted from in-person role plays with sales trainers and experienced sellers, to sales reps recording their sales pitches using recording devices, and more recently, webcams, but the burden on managers didn’t ease – if anything it worsened because they had to review all those recordings – and there was no greater transparency. 

But the last few years have seen increasing adoption of sales training AI. More and more organizations are using AI-powered interactive sales training sessions instead of one-directional lectures. AI training platforms also deliver increased visibility into the effects of sales training tactics, allowing sales leaders to track rep progress and tweak training programs for greater impact. 

Second Nature is making it possible to use AI to analyze and evaluate sales training roleplays, and to offer AI-generated sales role play partners who carry out effective role play conversations. As AI evolves, we can expect to see even more use cases for AI in sales training and coaching. 

Transform Your Sales Team

The Benefits of AI Sales Role Play in Sales Training

There are many benefits to integrating AI roleplaying as part of your sales training. These include:

  • Personalized learning. AI can tailor role-playing scenarios to individual sales reps’ strengths and weaknesses, helping them to develop a complete set of selling skills.
  • Realistic simulations. AI-powered sales role play partners can conduct authentic sales conversations which prepare sales reps for live calls, enhancing their confidence and competence. 
  • Timely feedback. AI engines can deliver feedback during and immediately after role-play sessions, when the conversation is still fresh in the user’s mind and before they can develop bad habits.
  • Scalability. There’s a limit to the number of sales reps any sales enablement team or external trainer can support, but AI roleplaying platforms can accommodate an unlimited number simultaneously, without additional resources. 
  • Consistent scoring. Unlike humans, AI scoring engines can objectively apply the same standards to every sales rep and every role play session, increasing trust in the results. 
  • On-demand availability. Sales reps can access role play platforms anytime and anywhere. Allowing sales reps to practice at their convenience increases participation and in turn helps reinforce knowledge retention. 
  • A safe space to practice. AI training partners allow sales reps to make mistakes without worrying about embarrassing themselves, which gives them the freedom to experiment and learn more quickly. 
  • Data-driven insights. AI captures and analyzes data from role-play sessions, helping sales managers track progress and make informed decisions about training strategies.

How to Use AI Role Play for Sales Training

You can apply AI sales role plays to many use cases in sales training. For example, use it to onboard new sales hires more quickly and shorten their time to productivity, and when scaling up your salesforce to keep pace with growth in the company. 

AI-powered role plays are equally valuable for ongoing training for existing sales hires. Sellers appreciate the engaging, interactive experience, which increases participation rates and means you no longer have to nag them to complete certification. 

Training teams can also apply AI role playing when they need to roll out new messaging or add new products or features. The personalized, on-demand learning means that sales reps master new information and messaging more quickly. If sales reps are falling short of their KPIs, role plays can help them gain the necessary practice to hit their targets. 

AI platforms automate progress reports, which provide real-time visibility into sales rep performance, so sales leadership knows exactly how many sellers have mastered new information and who is ready to sell which products. This enables them to plan sales strategies and forecast sales numbers more accurately. 

The Challenges of Adopting AI Role Play for Sales Training

Although AI brings many benefits for sales training role plays, you’ll may still have to overcome some challenges in order to actualize its full potential. These challenges can include:

  • Find AI tools that integrate easily with your existing tech stack and play well with the sales training tools and methods you already rely on. 
  • Gather training data and train the AI model to produce high quality, realistic role play scenarios. 
  • Customize AI-generated role play scenarios to your company’s specific industry, audience, messaging, and markets, and adjust them when necessary. 
  • Overcome resistance to change and convince sales leaders, sales reps, and executive leadership about the benefits of AI roleplaying technology.
  • Ensure that user data is stored safely, and that your AI platform complies with the data privacy and security regulations. 

How AI can help in role-playing

Second Nature’s AI role play platform can turbocharge your sales training role plays. Requiring only minimal setup, Second Nature let’s sales reps can begin practice their pitches or objection handling whenever they have a few minutes to spare, and as often as they want, until they achieve fluency and confidence in the material. 

Second Nature delivers consistent, objective scoring and timely feedback, so they can immediately see how to correct their mistakes, and then dive back in to put the feedback into practice. 

In this way, Second Nature’s AI strengthens selling skills and gives sales reps and customer support agents the confidence to conduct live sales calls with authority and patience. 

AI role play platforms can transform sales training

AI-powered role play platforms like Second Nature can empower sales enablement teams, sales managers, and sales leadership with the tools they need to maximize the impact of sales training. With numerous use cases and many benefits, AI role play partners, AI scoring, and AI reports can strengthen selling skills, shorten onboarding time, and allow greater agility for sales strategies, resulting in more revenue and a higher bottom line. 


What benefits does AI bring to sales training and coaching?

AI role play makes it possible to scale sales training and coaching as fast and far as you like, while speeding up onboarding and empowering all sellers to hit their KPIs. Other benefits include visibility into seller progress, insights into the impact of sales training programs, and increased participation rates in sales certification. 

Can AI-driven coaching replace human sales managers?

No. AI-powered sales coaching can enhance human training, freeing up managers from the more tedious tasks and equipping them to dedicate more time to sellers who need extra support. But there will always be a need for the emotional intelligence and contextual understanding that human managers bring to the table. 

Ideally, AI will support managers by providing scalable, objective insights and taking on the burden of reviewing pitch recordings and evaluating role plays, while managers will focus on personalized mentorship, relationship building, and strategic leadership. 

How does AI optimize sales strategies through role-play?

AI optimizes sales strategies through role-play by analyzing interactions to pinpoint sales reps’ strengths and weaknesses. It offers data-driven insights for targeted coaching, honing techniques and strategies. This iterative process enhances skills, translating to improved sales performance. 

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About the author

Rebecca Herson

Rebecca is head of marketing at Second Nature.

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