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For years, customers have been frustrated with the sales process due to the breakdown in communication that happens when multiple people are involved. But what if that process was streamlined? Imagine a world where a sales representative, regardless of experience with an account, could pick-up where the previous person left off? That’s the world Jim Benton and Chorus.ai are working to create. Jim joined IT Visionaries to discuss the problem, the solution and why technology-empowered reps are the future of the sales industry.
3 Key Takeaways
- Sales should not be technology-enabled, technology needs to enable the representative
- Conversational intelligence is closing the gaps in the sales process to prevent breakdowns in the conversation, while also enabling best practices
- Due to the pandemic, more coaching and teaching is happening than ever before
For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.
Jim Benton’s first day as CEO at Chorus.ai happened to coincide with the same day the state of California implemented shelter in place orders. Nearly three months later, Benton had yet to step foot inside his company offices as CEO. So how do you lead without ever meeting your staff? You innovate. Benton joined IT Visionaries and discussed how starting a CEO role remotely was a challenge, what Chorus.aiis doing to help equip sales members with the tools they need to more quickly and efficiently close sales, and where conversational intelligence is heading.
More and more, the sales process has become about long-term customer relationships rather than big, one-and-done deals. Chorus.ai sticks to that vision, offering A.I.-based coaching and recapping of sales calls by focusing on allowing companies to bring the best of the interactions to the table in order to provide insights and learning to staff.
So how does Benton envision technology and sales evolving? Like any sales-oriented process, it all centers around the value you can bring to the conversation.
“You need to bring value to the end sales professional for them to embrace and adopt new solutions,” he said. “Companies that do that will thrive and really impact the end customer as well.”
From there Benton went on to explain that one of the biggest differences in the sales industry remains the ability to fill in the gaps. Benton argued that companies have always deployed software centered on productivity and capturing activities, but they’ve never placed resources into understanding the conversation process. That’s where Chorus.ai comes in.
“Just capturing the relationship that you’re creating with your end customer is so important and that’s been a challenge today,” Benton said. “We have a lot of technology that’s helping our sales teams and our customer-facing teams be more productive, use their time wisely, have sequences where there’s multiple follow-ups, and emails that have more intelligence. But one of the big challenges that’s so critical to creating these brilliant experiences is you need to have continuity in the relationship. You need to know what the last person said to the customer and how they engage and what questions came up. The whole company really needs to understand the relationship that you’re building with this end customer prospect.”
One of the ways Chorus.ai is helping tackle this problem is through conversation intelligence.
“Conversation intelligence is about being in the conversation,” he said. “We have a native Zoom integration, where we integrate deeply into Zoom and we help to capture [insights]. …capture this conversation, to take notes, to transcribe what has happened in this interaction and to call out specific topics.”
The goal is to help companies better understand what their best reps are doing and then share those insights with the rest of the organization. Benton said it’s a more data-driven approach by focusing on the aspects of the conversation that drive sales to the finish line more quickly, while eliminating the gaps in the conversations when clients are moved around.
“We need to know what normal is,” Benton said. “We need to know what best is, and that’s what we’re doing to help scale this out.”
In that same vein, Benton mentioned the second aspect of conversation intelligence centers around coaching and bringing in leadership to allow other members of the company to listen to calls and digest where their approach can be more effective.
“We’ve actually seen a 60% increase in managers taking coaching actions in calls, which is now higher than what we saw on a pre-COVID-19 level,” he said. “We’re seeing more coaching happening now when you can’t see your team than what was happening when you could walk the halls and feel that energy. I just think that is a significant shift and it’s a shift in the right direction.”
Benton did caution that while artificial intelligence and data insights can help close conversations and deals more quickly, there is no replacement for the human aspect of the conversation and it’s something companies cannot lose sight of.
“If we simply have the reps behind the technology, sending out sequences and thousands of emails and you can’t quite tell if it’s human, I think we’re going to have huge misses,” Benton said. “But if we have the technology behind the rep, enabling them to be more productive, more thoughtful, more specific, more diagnostic, more custom, and more dynamic, that is the one we want. That’s what moves deals quickly. We must build trust to get a transaction done. And the human interaction done thoughtfully is how we build that trust.”
So as technology begins to enable more and more sales departments across the world, what message does Benton have for other technology leaders?
“What I would say to leaders is building an integrated go-to-market motion is critical,” he said. “And it’ll only become even more critical as we’re trying to be more dynamic and custom in each of our conversations.”