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Do you know what makes your best sellers different from the rest? It’s crucial question that sales managers need to answer, if they are to lift up the performance of their team through sales coaching. Language is a powerful predictor of success. Good news is, you no longer need to comb through hundreds or thousands of sales conversations to find the needle in the thread. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can do this instantly for you.

How AI Can Identify What Makes Your Best Sellers Different

Matt Dixon, Chief Product & Research Officer at Tethr, and author of “The Challenger Sale,” has had ample experience working with sales teams looking to improve their performance and effectiveness.

AI can instantly analyze billions of sales call recordings. Using this data, it can establish patterns that show what makes a successful sales conversation – and what breaks it. Matt detailed the process in his speaker session at the AI Growth Summit, a virtual event for artificial intelligence leaders.

AI growth summit - matt dixon - Tethr

Selling in the Era of Customer Empowerment

We live in an era of empowered, yet overwhelmed customers, showed Matt Dixon. Forrester research showed that more than 74% of buyers complete most of their research online before making an offline purchase. While this means they are well informed, it also means that sometimes they might be overwhelmed.

“Customers have done all this [research] before we even show up in their office and it really forces sellers into a tough spot of having to compete on price. Now this is something we’ve seen in the consumer world for a long time. However, this is actually data from business customers, which is even more troubling. This is customers buying complex solutions, technology solutions, consulting services, legal services, supply chain software, you name it. And customers again are dis-intermediating the sales person,” said Matt Dixon, during the summit session.

B2B Selling and Buying – A Game of Herding Cats

At the same time, B2B buyers are in a game of ‘herding cats,’ adds Matt– always trying to gain approvals for system acquisitions. In B2B sales, with complex products, you need to corral a wide array of stakeholders to make a sale happen.

“When those diverse stakeholders get together, what we find is, they tend to default to the lowest common denominator when left to their own devices. So, what they decide on is actually to stay the course. To avoid risk and minimize disruption. To save money, and that could be really tough for a seller today,” said Matt Dixon.

As selling becomes more complex, the spread between high performers and average performers gets wider, added Matt.  “Put differently, when things get hard, your average performers get left farther and farther behind,” said Matt.

This is why, the return on raising the performance of average performers even by five percent is dramatic, he added. “What are the things that our high performers do that we can bottle and export to everyone else?” said Matt.

Successful Companies Are Consistent in Execution

Superstar seller behavior has some obvious patterns, confirmed Steve Trier, Chief Customer Officer at Tethr. The AI analysis of sales conversations shows that organizations that are successful are consistent about executing on their sales strategy.

“We’re getting audio from a conversation, and it’s being transcribed sentence by sentence, speaker by speaker. Who’s on the call and what did they say? The AI is exploring that and looking for interactions that become the insight that used to drive your business. You can use this insight with your CRM or in your data warehouse and you can compare that to other data,” said Steve Trier, also a guest on the AI Growth Summit.

“Oftentimes what we find is, is that agents aren’t even executing the strategy properly. They are not even giving you the opportunity to convert that offer,” said Steve.

The results of the AI analysis on the sales language are searchable. This means that sales managers or reps can instantly gain the answers they need to any question about a sale.

Sales Reps Are Learning From AI How to Handle Objections

The AI analysis on language patterns can also establish what is the most successful strategy for handling objections. This makes it easy for sales manager to train new reps, or coach underperformers to replicate star seller behavior.

“You have a customer objection on it’s too expensive, when they were trying to buy an expensive mattress option. Now, imagine that that was shipped to Salesforce or Dynamics or what other CRM you wanted, directly into the customer record. The next day, your team decides to send a special offer to all the calls that didn’t close. If they objected on price, we can send a discount. If they objected on shopping around, maybe I sending them the customer reviews we have. We have the best customer reviews in the market,” said Steve.

Letting the AI Choose Your Cross-sell and Up-sell Offers

Another example, added Steve, is the consistency with which sales reps mention different cross-sell and up-sell opportunities to buyers. Top performers are always trying to up-sell their customers on a better service.

“In an office supply company (you can order ink and paper and others things that you consume regularly), they should be offering you an auto reorder program. The program would be an up-sell message for convenience: ‘Hey you don’t need to call in. I can make your life easier. Your order can just be sitting on your doorstep when you need it, so that your business can just move very fluidly,’” explained Steve.

Sellers offering this program consistently show the best results, compared to any other offer, added Steve.

“You need to learn from your best performers and start to replicate their behavior. What are they doing it, how are they doing it, and can I replicate that? All this can be rolled up by artificial intelligence. The information will be available to you as a leader to really think through the strategy. How do I  manage my agents and how do I adjust my sales strategies to make sure that we’re actually doing a better job of offering these critical revenue opportunities,“ added Steve.

Listen to Matt and Steve’s Session at the AI Growth Summit

Learn the full story about how AI can help sales in Matt and Steve’s session at the AI Growth Summit. Listen to the full speaker session, to learn:

  • How speech analytics data can help sales managers rethink their sales strategies
  • What kind of factors influence sales outcomes, and how to control them
  • How companies are modernizing the sales script with the help of artificial intelligence

AI growth summit - how sales and marketing use AI to win