How a Chatbot Can Make Your Sales Team Perform Better in 2018

For a high performing sales team to close as many deals as possible, they need the right information, on the right platform and at the right time. After all, every moment spent searching for that sales deck, competitive insight or case study is time away from what they are best at– selling.

This is where sales enablement can add value. As a sales enablement specialist, my role is to improve sales reps’ performance, and I do this by leveraging training, content, technology and deal support to help them beat their quota.

As I’m sure you can imagine, I’m asked a lot of questions by sales reps. But not all questions are created equal – nor do they need to be answered by a human. To free up my time and provide immediate answers to sales rep queries, I created a ChatBot.

But before we get into that, let me explain what I do.

What Is Sales Enablement?

The role exists to positively influence the performance of a company’s sales organization by helping reps close more deals, more quickly.

Today, more and more companies are wising up to how sales enablement can dramatically increase sales productivity and the function is no longer regarded as an optional extra, but an important investment in sales rep success.

Sales enablement is here to stay, and there’s lots of research which points to a promising future:

  • 2% of companies now have a dedicated sales enablement function (up from 32.7%), while 8.5% of companies have plans to create one in the coming year (CSO Insights).
  • Sales enablement technology is currently a $780M market, and it is expected to be worth $5B by 2021 (Aragon Research).
  • Companies with a sales enablement team are 52% more likely to have a sales process that’s tightly aligned with the buyer’s journey (Highspot).

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Sales Enablement Tools

In the early days of sales enablement, when practitioners like myself would be “building the plane while flying it”, we would often stitch together a stack of disparate tools to get the job done. While this worked up to point, it was suboptimal.

However, times are changing and today, armed with the right CRM software and sales tools, we can make a big impact on sales reps’ productivity, proficiency and performance, boosting overall revenue.

One of my favorite productivity tools right now is the ChatBot I built for HubSpot’s sales team.

Why I Created the ChatBot

Each week, I can spend a large portion of my time answering sales reps’ questions. As I mentioned earlier, not all questions are created equal, and for the most part they can be split into one of two categories:

  1. Consultant questions – low volume, high value queries that require a bespoke response. For example, when a sales rep wants advice, guidance or coaching. This is a great use of a sales enablement specialist’s time.
  2. Agent questions – high volume, low value queries that require a templated response. For example, sourcing case studies, sharing competitive intelligence, sales decks or links to various resources.

Thanks to bots technology, the way to avoid spending too much time answering agent-type questions was clear. To lighten the load, we created a ChatBot as part of our internal Slack channel to help answer the most common agent-style questions from our sales reps.

Here’s How It Works

The bot was built to answer questions frequently asked by sales reps. It works by quickly pointing sales reps to the right answer and relevant information wherever they are in the sales process.

For example, here are just a few of the things that any sales rep can ask our ChatBot:

  • Who are <competitor name>?
  • How did we beat <competitor name>?
  • Market research / statistics
  • <Product> case studies
  • ROI of HubSpot
  • GDPR information
  • Sales aids / sales decks / playbooks
  • Brand guidelines / standardized spelling

Our Sales ChatBot Is Here To Stay

It’s only been 3 months since the launch of our sales Slack ChatBot, but it has already increased productivity.

For the sales team, the ChatBot provides the perfect channel, cadence and format for many of the standard, agent questions sales reps might ask:

  1. It Streamlines Sales Processes: ChatBot messages are short and easy to read, making information easy to assimilate. They empower sales reps by providing succinct answers in seconds.
  2. It’s scalable: An internal ChatBot channel solution is viable for sales organizations of any size. We update it with new information each week.
  3. It’s available 24/7 The ChatBot is there to use at any hour, in any time zone, across any device and whether or not your reps are in the office, on the go or working from home.

For a sales enablement specialist, this means a reduction in low value questions, freeing up my time to focus on more strategic work. It also means we’re providing sales enablement in a more scalable way and have analytics into the types of questions sales reps have, which informs our approach.

In the past three months since I launched the ChatBot, here’s what I noticed:

  1. I saved time: Approximately 20 hours per month. That’s because the ChatBot helped me by answering over 500 questions per month.
  2. I moved the needle on bigger deals: All that time saved meant that I can focus on the more valuable consultant-style questions that require a bespoke response.

This Is Just The Beginning

To conclude, sourcing (or building) your own sales business ChatBot should be a key sales automation goal in 2018 – whether or not your organization has a dedicated sales enablement function. If you have a smaller sales team, sales managers and their reps could just as easily benefit from this on-demand technology.

If you’d like to learn more about my sales enablement work at HubSpot, you can follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my blog. Happy to connect with you and answer any question you might have on the topic.

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