Zoom Video Communications Inc., a leading provider of video communications, saw astonishing growth during 2020 due to the global pandemic, leading it to ramp up its seller numbers very quickly. But the enormous and relatively new global sales force is supported by a small sales enablement team. When the pandemic hit, this team had to make an immediate shift to new ways to engage and train sellers.
Michelle Dotson, Senior Manager of Sales Enablement at Zoom, spoke recently at SaaStr and she emphasized how difficult it is to ramp up so many new sales reps all at once. “Ramping as a new hire is solely dependent on extremely busy people with quotas. It was very difficult to give new sellers the practice time they need to build skills and confidence.“
Dotson and the rest of the sales enablement team were delighted when they learned about Second Nature’s AI-driven sales coaching software, with its AI coach, Jenny. They immediately “hired” Jenny and set up pitching exercises for their sales reps.
“Jenny helps us have conversations, certify competency on product…and she’s providing tailored feedback to the reps as they go through these exercises,” says Dotson. “Jenny is asking questions, she is actually having a conversation, she is listening, knows what the reps should be talking about, the key points.”
Dotson and her colleagues at Zoom tailor Jenny according to different scenarios, for example, to match various regional or national persona or for different job role profiles, so that reps can practice different situations and pitches.
With Jenny’s help, the Zoom sales enablement team analyzes a pitch or product, invites reps to practice with Jenny, then encourages them to execute pitches to customers. It’s a cycle they repeat every time Zoom releases a new pitch or product.
Dotson and her colleagues at Zoom use Jenny to simulate actual sales conversations, creating a private space where reps can receive coaching, practice, and experience the pitch before reaching the customer. It enables reps to gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to sell better.
Jenny coaches and gives insights not just into reps’ product knowledge, but also into how they can improve their presentation skills. She points out when someone speaks too fast, uses filler words, or if they come across as confident.
Zoom’s sales managers benefit from Second Nature, too. The platform includes a dashboard that displays all the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and how they rank compared with others.
“Our managers love the insights they get from Jenny in coaching conversations with their reps, so they can really focus on the things they need to focus on instead of just thinking their reps know how to sell something.” comments Dotson. “You can use AI to test and almost ensure your sellers know exactly what you need them to know.”
Dotson was astonished by the enthusiasm that Zoom’s sales teams showed for Jenny.
“The biggest surprise was how much more excited people are to talk to Jenny than to us. We’re a fun group at Zoom, we like to have a good time, and people were so extremely excited about the program and their results and how it was set up.”
Zoom first used Jenny in an optional program, but Dotson saw 100% participation rates that were “unheard-of” for a non-mandatory program. Employees rated Jenny 4.5 out of 5 stars, and 95% said they’d prefer to use Jenny for future training.
Zoom found that on average, each user spent 39 minutes practicing pitches with Jenny. Since most pitches are only around 5 minutes long, that translates into a lot of practice time. Zoom saw a significant correlation between top sellers and those who spent more time practicing.
As for Zoom’s decision to “hire” Jenny, Dotson remarked: “It was a no-brainer.”
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