175 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 3

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 3

 

We continue the discussion on SAM the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine. 

 

SAM has Cognitive Comprehension

SAM is trained on sales policies, process steps, and pricing rules. SAM understands solution features, functions, and preferences as well as an introductory set of customer needs based on the profile and success of similar customers. 

HOW: SAM will reference solution briefs along with complete profiles of prospective and current customers. Data Analytics will be applied to these profiles to: 

– Guide each customer interaction to determine the best targets and realize the best outcome. 

– Forecast the potential fit for the sales team’s solutions with each customer. 

– Calculate the propensity of a customer to buy specific solutions. 

 

SAM has Reasoning Ability

SAM can reason like a human sales professional by determining what information is needed then asking the customer probing questions. SAM also knows the answers to most of the questions customers will ask and articulates those answers in responses to customers. SAM can also determine when it is time to engage with a human sales professional to handle a problematic or more complex issue.  

 

SAM learns from prior experiences and becomes smarter with each customer interaction. 

HOW: SAM will analyze the result of every customer interaction to determine what knowledge can be gained from the interaction and how the lesson can contribute to improving the effectiveness of future interactions. 

 

SAM has Advisory Functionality to make recommendations about the best possible action for every situation. 

HOW: Using Data Analytics, SAM will evaluate every potential action to determine the best possible recommendation. 

In other words, recommending the best possible actions to achieve the best result when taking into consideration all resources, options, and constraints.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine in the next briefing. 

 

174 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 2

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 2

 

While the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine (SAM) is not yet fully available, it represents the culmination of advanced Artificial Intelligence technologies being integrated to produce the ultimate sales professional—a machine with the power to automate and transform the sales cycle in ways never before seen or thought possible. 

 

This Is SAM’s Way: How the Technology Works

SAM is a fully featured agent that will transform automated selling into a reality. In addition to automating significant steps in the sales cycle, SAM will also augment many of the routine tasks previously performed by human sales professionals and serve as their smart advisor. SAM get smarter with each customer interaction. 

 

Here are examples of SAM capabilities and how its underlying high-tech functions can be leveraged.

 

The Ability to Access a Gold Mine of Valuable Data

SAM will become as smart as possible by ingesting all types of enterprise data as a basis for applied knowledge. For SAM to operate at a high level, a “feed the beast” mentality dominates. 

HOW: To be effective, SAM requires a high volume and high variety of data. This data is stored in databases (memory banks) for future recall, and includes data about customers, the selling organization, sales teams, and prior customer interactions. 

 

Smart Communication

SAM interacts directly with the customer by conducting conversations through multiple channels, including voice, text, chat, and video. 

HOW: SAM will utilize Smart Communication methods to interact with customers by: 

– Referencing a combination of approved scripts, rules, and policies. 

– Parsing unstructured text information (documents, messages, chats) and deriving meaning and intent. 

– Applying Data Analytics to each element of the conversation to score the importance, the tone, and the resulting best actions to take.

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine in the next briefing. 

 

173 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine-1

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine 1

 

Before long, it will be possible to unleash the power of AI to automate the selling function for tasks previously performed by human salespeople. 

Imagine a set of interactions between a customer named Pam and a sales professional named Sam. After cordial introductions, Pam asks about the solutions available from Sam’s company. Sam quickly relates a customer success story that is applicable to Pam’s business. Then, Sam redirects the discussion toward discovering the business issues Pam needs to address. Sam and Pam jointly complete a survey that works through a set of questions and statements to document the current state of Pam’s company’s business and articulate the primary business issues to be addressed. 

 

After further discovery discussions, Sam’s team formulates a solution that will address Pam’s business issues with a focus on generating significant business value. 

 

Pam then issues a list of requirements that will be sent to multiple suppliers. Sam works through the requirements list, highlighting the areas where Sam’s solution has extensive competitive differentiators and describes where each capability will deliver unique business value to Pam’s company.

 

Sam then uses the resources and data available in their CRM to build a proposal. The proposal includes a selection of related video customer testimonials that serve as excellent success stories. 

 

After several interactions, Pam’s team selects the solution from Sam’s team, negotiations are completed, contracts are signed, and purchase orders are issued. Sam’s team celebrates with Pam’s team on their mutual success.  

 

This scenario presents typical interactions between a seller and a customer for the steps involved in advancing through a sales cycle. But there is something unique and unexpected about the sales professional in this case:

 

Sam is NOT a human sales professional—SAM is a 

Virtual Sales Advisor Machine. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Virtual Sales Advisor Machine in the next briefing. 

 

172 Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant 2

Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant 2

 

The prior briefing introduced the Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant. This briefing continues that discussion. 

 

Here’s how the Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant can augment inside sales operations.

 

Survey the Customer: Initial interactions can be handled by the Virtual Sales Assistant. This will involve a survey using a virtual conversation to establish customer need, determine how well customer requirements fit your solution offerings, and match the customer profile against other customers who have successfully utilized the solution. 

 

Solution Selector: the Virtual Sales Assistant can determine potential solution options that fit the customer’s stated requirements. These can be presented in a list or set of alternatives (such as good, better, best). 

 

Solution Configuration: the Virtual Sales Assistant can determine the configuration that will work best for the customer. This could involve specific characteristics of the solutions based on customer profile and considering what similar customers have experienced. 

 

Solution Pricing Quote: the Virtual Sales Assistant can calculate pricing for the selected solution and produce a quote. At this point, the Virtual Sales Assistant can communicate the benefits of your solution and provide details on how your solution stacks up favorably against those of your competitors. 

 

AI technology will enable Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistants to make more informed decisions. They will increasingly be able to 

  • score the potential opportunity
  • present preferred options and recommendations
  • communicate to the customer a compelling reason to purchase

These enhanced abilities will handle more of the tasks that are currently completed by human inside sales teams. Of course, there will still be a need for inside sales staff, but inside salespeople will be more highly trained and specialized in their ability to advance the customer through the sales cycle. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on how AI will transform the sales profession, check out my book at my website thetechseller.com. 

 

171 Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant 1

Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant 1

 

New “sales assistant” applications are now available to guide the customer through interactions that can automate or augment the inside sales functions. These applications begin the process by having the customer complete a survey; the customer selects predefined choices and options to indicate an elementary set of preferences. The automated sales assistant can then compare specific product configurations, evaluate alternatives based on the customer’s stated preferences, reduce the choices to a reasonable set of options, provide pricing, and point the customer to more in-depth information such as web links and instructional videos to help the customer better understand solution capabilities. 

 

For simpler solutions, these sales assistant applications can help a customer narrow down their choices and guide them to a relatively small set of options they can compare based on their desired features, functions, and price points. 

 

For complex solutions, these applications will help a customer gain an elementary understanding of solution capability that usually leads to further discussion with a human salesperson.

 

The Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant

Based on the technology of the “sales assistant” application discussed, an Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant will be able to handle chat conversations with customers and make informed decisions about whether an inside sales team should be used or if field sales reps need to get involved. Powered by Artificial Intelligence functions, the Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant will learn from the experience gained in prior interactions and will accumulate more knowledge through every subsequent customer conversation. It will even be able to think and respond with recommended actions faster than a human salesperson. 

 

I’m DJ Sebastian, and we’ll continue the discussion on the Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant in the next briefing.