284 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 7

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 7

 

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

 

In the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000, was an artificially intelligent supercomputer that was depicted as a glowing, red camera lens with a yellow dot in the center—a rather primitive representation. 

 

What if SAM not only spoke with a familiar dialect like a human but even looked like a human? And what if SAM exhibited features like those of the human customers? And was able to project emotions, facial expressions, and gestures? After all, if SAM could smile, wouldn’t that be a great first step to developing rapport with the customer? 

 

SAM is coming, and when it does it will have realistic human features and capabilities that will help it feel familiar and comfortable—something a customer needs in order to have confidence in their interactions. 

 

Advanced video games and virtual training modules often feature virtual “avatars” who move, sound, and act like humans. The avatar can be male or female and is dressed like its human counterparts. This avatar creates a calming situation that can help put the nervous viewer at ease, smiling, blinking, and guiding the novice through each step in the game or module. 

 

SAM will help guide potential customers through the initial first steps of the sales process and help prepare them to enter the high-stakes arena of a full-blown sales relationship with greater ease. 

 

Helping “pre-qualify” customers in early stages makes SAM a very attractive Artificial Intelligence option for sales organizations and will help streamline the sales process so that human sales professionals will have the valuable time they need to complete the more complex steps of the sales cycle. 

 

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

 

283 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 6

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 6

 

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

 

The Second Role: Automatic SAM—Becoming the Sales Professional 

SAM will eventually be deployed to handle many of the sales process steps currently performed by human sales reps. As the knowledge base becomes more robust, SAM could potentially even handle transactions for medium- to large-ticket items.

 

Here are 6 areas where SAM can serve in the role of the sales professional:

 

1) Customer Conversations – SAM will personify the actions of a human sales professional to guide the steps of the sales process by directly communicating with the customer. As SAM manages the conversation with the customer, it will also know when a human sales professional needs to be engaged in the sales cycle. 

 

2) Customer Surveys – SAM will correspond with the customer to gain an understanding of business needs, requirements, and issues. The customer provides preliminary information that can accelerate SAM’s discovery of the customer’s needs. 

 

3) Solution Selection – SAM will evaluate the results of the customer surveys, then select the type of solutions that could work best for the customer. SAM will also favorably position the selected solution by communicating unique differentiators and business value points.

 

4) Solution Recommendation – Using all available data from the surveys, the CRM, and purchase history based on the needs of other customers, SAM will make specific recommendations for the solution(s) to be proposed. 

 

5) Pricing Proposal – SAM will prepare and deliver customer proposals that document the pricing, terms and conditions; any relevant case studies or testimonials; and a business value proposition that is tied to the unique benefits of the proposed solution.

 

6) Customer Service Assistant – SAM will answer solution-related questions, select specific solution options, and resolve simple to moderately complex service issues.

 

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

 

282 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 5

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 5

 

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

 

How SAM Can Serve the Sales Team

As SAM gains in effectiveness over time, SAM will serve the sales team in two distinct roles: 

 

The First Role: Ask SAM—Assisting the Sales Professional

While the human sales professional is still fully in charge of executing each task in the sales cycle, SAM’s advisory capabilities can augment the work of the human salesperson. SAM will be initially deployed to serve as an intelligent assistant to help complete time-consuming tasks previously handled manually by the sales professional. 

 

Here are seven areas where SAM can provide valuable help to the sales professional:

 

1) Customer Research – to assist the sales professional in creating a strategy for pursuit that will increase the potential of building a mutually beneficial relationship by accessing customer data from all sources. 

 

2) Opportunity Identification – to analyze all available data on prospective and current customers and identify the best candidates to pursue. 

 

3) Targeted Marketing – to identify the best targets for marketing campaigns. Then, evaluate the effectiveness of each campaign by analyzing the conversion rates from prospects that previously turned into customers. 

 

4) Request for Proposal (RFP) Preparation – to handle requests for information either through a survey or interactive chat and assist in building RFP responses. 

 

5) Pricing and Proposal Preparation – to handle product pricing and quotes, then compile the major elements of a customer proposal and ensure adherence to company policies. 

 

6) Customer Communication—Schedule reminders for follow-up communications with customers and identify the best content and method for interaction. 

 

7) Demos—Build the structure and recommended content of a customer demo (and proofs) and refer to a repository of interactive or scripted demos that can be selected based on customer requirements. 

 

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

 

281 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 4

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 4

 

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. 

 

280 The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 3

The Virtual Sales Advisor Machine Part 3

 

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 virtual agent that will make automated selling 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 gets smarter with each customer interaction. 

 

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

 

Accessing 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.