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Spread Your Company Message with an AI-Driven Sales Certification Process with Onboarding & Coaching

By: Rebecca Herson
April 13, 2021
4 MIN. READING
sales-certification-process

You think your sales team knows your messaging, but can you prove it? How much would you be willing to bet that a sales representative, chosen at random, can adequately recount your brand messaging and value proposition?

When sales employees fully understand your brand messaging and value proposition, and how it answers real needs in the market, they can connect more meaningfully with customers, and eventually close more deals. Sales conversations that pivot around your entire solution are more productive than those which focus on a few individual features, but it’s more challenging to teach and test sales employees for mastery of your overall value proposition. You also need to ensure that sales representatives have the fundamental selling skills to hold a meaningful sales conversation.

For a long time, many enterprises could manage nothing better than an educated guess about whether or not sales employees had grasped their sales tactics and messaging points, and that’s not a good enough foundation for your sales strategy. Companies need more accurate information about their sales teams’ knowledge and abilities.

In an ideal world, human sales managers would spend time roleplaying sales conversations with every sales representative, spotting who has grasped the brand messaging and who needs more practice. They’d deliver instant feedback, and guide reps to improve wherever their weaknesses were. But as you’ve probably noticed, we live in a world that’s far from ideal. Sales managers have a lot of demands on their time, and their daily responsibilities don’t offer room for one-on-one sales coaching.

Enter digital adoption solutions, which use different approaches to certify employee knowledge in order to raise sales productivity.

Call Recording for Insights, Not Sales Training

Recording phone calls for training purposes is nothing new. For a long time, sales enablement teams and/or sales managers have recorded phone pitches so that experts in the sales and marketing departments can check if sales employees are hitting all the right messaging points, responding successfully to the lead’s questions, and effectively communicating the brand’s overall value proposition.

Today’s digital call recording solutions capture these phone calls, and replace traditional human analysis with AI. AI-powered analytics crunch calls and emails to detect and flag employees who need more training to keep up with sales quotas; in some cases they can distill insights from the field, to provide more visibility up the management chain.

But analyzing live sales conversations comes at a certain risk. If sales representatives haven’t quite mastered your playbook or brand voice, they could fumble a deal that might have been successfully closed if the salesperson had received more training first. Sure, you’ll send them feedback on what could have been improved, and they’ll do better next time round, but the lead who might have converted has gone for good by now.

If you’re onboarding thousands of sales employees or rolling out new messaging across large and diverse sales teams, that could mean losing hundreds of potential deals every week.

Sales certification programs are unappealing to salespeople

Other enterprises push sales certification before “real life” pitches. They set up tests to evaluate sales agents’ knowledge of brand messaging and probe their mastery of the features and value of the solution. They hope that if representatives have a thorough grasp of the solution’s benefits and the target market’s pain points, they’ll translate their knowledge into a successful pitch.

But this isn’t always the case. Many salespeople need to practice sales conversations to gain the fluency and confidence to respond correctly to questions and pushback from prospects. Some just aren’t sure how to turn bullet points into a convincing narrative that presents your solution in the right light, and watching videos of top salespeople and answering quizzes doesn’t always help them know how to do it themselves.

Additionally, sales representatives are highly uninterested in sales certification programs, making them a nightmare for salespeople and sales enablement teams alike. Sales employees view it as a boring waste of time, while sales enablement personnel dislike hounding reps to complete their programs.

That’s why another approach encourages sales representatives to use webcam recordings. Salespeople can record themselves practicing pitches as many times as they like, until they feel confident that they’ve mastered the skills and knowledge required. But unless someone reviews their recordings and sends them feedback, they won’t know what they are doing wrong or how to fix it. Sales managers don’t have the time to review pitch recordings any more than they have time to hold live one-on-one pitch practices. And for the reps themselves, recording a monologue is not the most effective way to practice for the dialogue they expect to have with a real live prospect.

Fortunately, there’s a better way.

AI sales coaching raises the standard for digital sales certification

New AI-powered sales coaching simulations like Second Nature enable sales employees to practice live sales conversations, but without risking a deal if representatives make mistakes. The AI solution serves up realistic scenarios that allow salespeople to practice ways to answer different questions and address various pain points, helping them gain confidence before they jump to actual sales calls.

An AI solution doesn’t run out of time for reviewing recordings. The platform analyzes and sends timely, consistent feedback about every attempt, helping sales employees understand their strengths and weaknesses so that they can improve their performance and drive more sales productivity. It also doesn’t limit the number of times a salesperson can practice – the only limiting factor is how much the rep wants to learn and improve.

And it turns out they DO want to practice, when it’s fun and engaging. One of the biggest advantages of AI simulations is that they are far more engaging than typical sales training and certification programs. The AI platform is interactive, encouraging active learning, and enables users to carry out practice dialogues in a context that can be gamified. Sales representatives enjoy the challenge of improving their feedback score, and sales enablement teams heave a sigh of relief that they don’t have to force employees to complete the course.

Next-generation sales certification brings results

Cutting-edge AI solutions like Second Nature take digital sales coaching to the next level. AI-powered sales certification programs allow sales employees to practice their skills before the stress of a real life pitch, engage their attention so they want to complete them, and provide targeted feedback that guides sales representatives to quickly improve. With AI, digital sales adoption has entered a new era.

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Rebecca Herson

Rebecca leads marketing at Second Nature