Forrester’s June 8 report on Conversation Intelligence is a real eye opener! “Conversation intelligence is undergoing an AI-fueled” renaissance

A recent Forrester report on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fueling a renaissance of Conversational Intelligence is one of the most impactful I have read in several years. To put into perspective the magnitude of the pending changes suggested in the report of how we will manage and truly COACH sellers in REAL TIME, let us look at some other recent “earthquake magnitude” changes in business practices over the past two decades:

  1. Software as a Service (SAAS) has effectively replaced Premise Deployed Software in less than 20 years. Salesforce was the first SaaS application built from scratch to achieve record growth. Founded in March 1999, much of Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff’s original marketing was focused on the then radical statement “The Death of Software” – he chose a product that was getting traction (CRM), and then brilliantly redefined the purchase criteria to be the SAAS CRM solution that he pioneered.
  • “When Amazon launched on July 16, 1995 – as a website that only sold books – founder Jeff Bezos had a vision for the company’s explosive growth and ecommerce domination”. Bezos subsequently became “The Richest Man in the World” by recognizing that the Internet was going to redefine how consumers buy products.  He started with a product that was easy to ship, not perishable, etc. – but what is not sold on Amazon today?
  •  Home Depot gave an “isle of similar tools to choose from” to overcome the few choices offered in traditional hardware stores. The rest is history.
  • Costco doesn’t even attempt to have everything you might want – it just selects the “fast movers” they can sell for less because of their volume purchases.  They are so dynamic in their merchandise choices that they don’t even label their aisles – they just give them numbers.

THE BIGGEST CHANGE IN SELLING, WAS ACCELERATED BY THE COVID FORCED WORK FROM HOME ENVIRONMENT, AND WILL IMPACT SALES MANAGEMENT AND SALES COACHING THE WAY THE AUTOMOBILE IMPACTED THE HORSE AND BUGGY INDUSTRY.

The June 8, 2021Report from Forrester gives overwhelming facts that this new day of selling is here!  Let’s look at the facts in this report:

  • The demand for these new AI driven Conversation Intelligence tools is driven by “the ever-increasing importance (and cost) of customer conversations” – when only 5% of the people you call (a realistic average of B2B outbound lead calls in 2021) answer their phones, a live conversation is too precious to waste. 
  • Forrester defines Conversation Intelligence as: “Solutions for extracting actionable insights from spoken conversations with customers (e.g., phone calls, videoconferencing interactions, or other recorded conversations) for business purposes”.

Example: the screen shots below show how SalesTalk creates a Call Map to Recorded Calls, noting the actual time within the recorded call that a key point is discussed for easy listening to just the important parts of recorded calls:

  • “To help you monitor and prompt agents and managers on what to say, what action to take, or what to coach an agent on.”
  • . . . upskill sales teams to give the best proof points at the right time, more eloquently, offer customer context, and help the company and sales staff track repeated interactions.”

SalesTalk’s What2Say™ feature uniquely addresses this issue by providing sellers with a personalized TalkTrak™ designed specifically for each prospect based on their digital persona, beginning with an AI generated Opening Statement. As more is learned about the prospect, the TalkTrak evolves to ensure the conversation remains relevant to them.

Example:  AI Generated Opening Statements Establish Relevancy

Art Sobczak of Smart Calling makes a compelling case for a “personalized, customized, therefore relevant” opening statement in his podcast number 177 – “A Recording of a Cringeworthy Cold Art Received

http://theartofsales.com/177-a-recording-of-a-cringeworthy-cold-call-art-received/

Below is an example of an AI Generated Opening Statement:

  • “Agent optimization and coaching vendors provide real-time agent guidance. Traditionally, vendors helped brands improve quality by analyzing conversations that had already happened. The new breed of agent optimization vendors focuses on real-time analysis of in-process conversations. They then offer agents behavioral cues, dialogue suggestions, and proposed content (knowledge articles, forms, media, etc.) that can help the agent provide a compelling service experience”.

Isn’t guidance during a call a better alternative to selectively listening to recorded calls – and using AI to handle the objection during the call so the rep can “save the deal” – rather than learning how they might do better next time when you “autopsy” the deal you just lost?

Anthony Iannarino humorously makes the point about the need to be Relevant to the prospect’s perceived needs:

Without insights, you cannot create the value necessary to develop and win deals. There is zero value creation for a client by you qualifying them, nor is there any real value created by asking your client to describe their “hot button,” their “pain point,” or “what’s keeping them up at night.” You have never had a client thank you for confirming they are the authority and have a budget. Nor have you heard a client utter the words, “Thank you for asking us the same questions about our problems as the last seven salespeople who sat in that chair.”

The contest is no longer around the company, their capabilities, or their solutions as much as it about who creates the most significant value throughout the sales conversation. The dominance of value creation has always been true at some level and has now the critical factor in creating and winning deals.

No insights, no value creation. No value creation, no deal.” – Anthony Iannarino – June 13, 2021

EASY AND TIGHT INTEGRATION WITH THE CRM:

  • “vendors integrate with your existing systems to add a new layer of conversation intelligence with more advanced, specialized, easier-to-use, and/or cheaper capabilities.”

If something has to be written down, it will not be comprehensive, maybe not even correct. Can you afford for your reps to spend too much time trying to enter what they remember was discussed during the call?  Isn’t it better to have the system automatically create a comprehensive Story-So-Far of everything that was sent to, said to, or said by the prospect – with the actual time each point is discussed?  Isn’t the actual time a subject is discussed the best indicator of what is important to the prospect?