Introducing artificial intelligence (AI) to sales training and coaching can provide a more individualized learning experience that can scale across the organization, according to Gartner, Inc. Creating a high-performing sales organization is difficult with traditional training and coaching technology as coaching content and recommendations are generally delivered by role to the sales organization and do not account for individuals’ learning styles.
“In order to have a more performant sales organization, training and coaching content must be delivered based on individual learning style,” said Melissa Hilbert, senior research director at Gartner, during her session at the Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference 2019 in Las Vegas. “Learning styles such as visual, auditory and kinesthetic affect how sales reps receive training and coaching information, creating an imbalance in performance if not accounted for at scale.”
The use of complex machine learning algorithms and AI can guide reps and sales managers with recommendations for training and coaching based on their learning style. These technologies utilize branching, a method to guide an individual’s learning through a module based on responses, as well as adaptive learning, where the system directs the learner to appropriate training or coaching based on their interaction with the system.
“AI is already embedded in many of the personal lives of sellers and sales leaders and it is beginning to emerge in the workplace through training and coaching tools,” said Ms. Hilbert. “By 2020, Gartner predicts that 30% of all B2B companies will employ some kind of AI to augment at least one of their primary sales processes.”
In a Gartner survey of organizations that are piloting or deploying AI technologies, 61% of respondents reported the resulting value delivered to the organization as significant. When asked how AI will improve their sales organization, respondents cited increased efficiency, cost reduction and improved revenue streams.
“This is what sales training and coaching technology is targeted to do,” said Ms. Hilbert. “If you can decrease the time it takes to get a new seller productive, you have become more efficient, reduced your training costs and now have the possibility for more sales outcomes.”
All of these outcomes are supported by AI, which has the potential to identify the learning style of sellers, provide prescriptive recommendations based on that style, and recognize which types of material are most effective for that seller and provide those types in the future.
Additional details on the use of AI in sales training and coaching is available to Gartner for Sales Leaders clients in the reports “Prepare for the Future of Sales Training and Coaching — Individualized and at Scale” and “Add AI to Improve B2B Seller Efficiency and Effectiveness.”
About Gartner for Sales Leaders
Gartner for Sales Leaders provides heads of sales and their teams with the insights, advice and tools they need to address mission-critical priorities amid mounting pressures to drive growth through new and existing customers. With extensive qualitative and quantitative research, Gartner for Sales Leaders helps sales teams combat commoditization and price-based purchasing, develop critical manager and seller skills, elevate the value of sales interactions, unlock existing growth potential, and optimize sales force enablement.
About the Gartner CSO & Sales Leaders Conference
Sales leaders face unprecedented changes in customer expectations, technology and the talent needed to drive results. At the Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference, taking place September 17-19, 2019 in Las Vegas, sales leaders will learn from the latest research and Gartner experts covering sales talent, customer buying behavior, account-based marketing strategies and leveraging digital channels. Follow news and updates from the event on Twitter at #GartnerSales.