Most sales managers have a considerable number of tools at their disposal designed to help predict customer behavior, automate sales processes, and improve overall conversion rates. However, although nearly 93% of sales leaders believe sales coaching positively impacts performance, only 34.8% have a clear coaching strategy.
Because it’s been proven time and time again that selling is a practiced skill, department managers and team leaders who prioritize coaching often rely on sales role-play exercises to take their sales reps from where they are to where they need to be. Sales role-play exercises are considered one of the most effective ways for sales managers and team leaders to fine-tune sales techniques, identify areas that need improvement, and increase sales performance.
But most managers don’t have the time (or budget) to devote days or weeks to custom-fit role-play exercises to the needs of each representative with traditional methods. With the latest advances in sales enablement technology, though, business owners and corporate decision-makers are reaping the rewards of building sales confidence with AI-driven role-play exercise simulators.
Why Sales Teams May Not Be Making the Best Use of Conventional Sales Role Play Exercises
Recent polls suggest that 70% of sales reps feel they haven’t fully mastered the skills they need for optimal success. Many who feel less than prepared simply need more feedback and guidance. Sales role-play exercises help identify areas requiring further development in a way that helps support best sales practices. But they’re not always viewed favorably or used to their best advantage.
Although most successful sales managers can provide numerous stories detailing how they’ve used role-play exercises to help their teams with prospecting, overcoming objections, negotiating contracts, and building contact lists, many can also tell you why it’s so difficult to use this time-tested practice. Of the many reasons given, the following examples are the most common.
Too Little Time for Consistent Coaching
Role-play exercises help sales managers and team leaders identify the strategies, tactics, and best practices of their top-tier performers and use that knowledge to help improve the overall performance of every associate. But most already have a lot on their plates.
Although training and personal development are an essential part of their job descriptions, there’s often so little time left in the day after recruiting, monitoring progress, delegating tasks, fielding calls and their many other responsibilities that role play often gets pushed to the side.
When managers don’t have access to the tools they need to hold their team members accountable between role-play exercises, there is no way to know if their suggestions are taken on board. As a result, role-play can move even further down the list of priorities.
Sales Rep Resistance
Standing in front of a group of peers and improvising, even with familiar material, can be stressful, so stressful that many sales reps feel the activity is not a good representation of their actual abilities. The entire experience can feel contrived and too far removed from reality. Performing one-on-one for “the boss” can be even more nerve-wracking, especially if a sales rep feels singled out for a mistake or questionable judgment.
Although sales managers would most often prefer evaluating “real world” performance skills, many sales reps feel immense pressure to “stick to the script” in front of their supervisors rather than trust their professional instincts. While most negative associations with role-play exercises resolve with experience, insecurities cause many sales representatives to avoid active participation.
Previous History & Personal Bias
Many sales managers were once high-performing sales reps. If a sales representative promoted to a management position felt role-playing exercises didn’t offer much value when selling, they’re less likely to require their teams to participate unless mandated from “upstairs.” Of course, that’s not universal.
Some sales managers don’t conduct sales role-play exercises often enough to have much impact. When they don’t see a clear benefit from their effort, many feel their time is best utilized elsewhere. For decision-makers who understand the importance of effective role play, getting sales managers to move beyond their personal biases can be a challenge.
How AI Technology Maximizes the Impact of Sales Role Play Exercises
Sales teams are under pressure to generate leads, deliver engaging, competent presentations, and hit their metrics. Managers are under a lot of pressure to make that happen. Building a highly successful team requires teaching and reinforcing critical skills that can’t be absorbed from a sales manual, tutorial, training video, or job shadowing alone. They need to be repeatedly practiced.
Of the numerous companies nationwide tasking managers with orchestrating role-play exercises, most require their sales representatives to participate two to three times per year, a meager number unlikely to have a lasting impact on overall business success. For many, that’s all their sales managers have time for anyway. Investing in an AI-driven sales role-play exercise simulator is a simple, cost-effective alternative that benefits sales reps, management teams, and their company in some notable ways.
#1: Significantly Reduces Sales Rep Onboarding Time
Even the most experienced sales reps need time to learn new products, services, sales processes, and methodologies when signing up with a new company. It typically takes about three months before new hires are ready to interact with buyers, nearly a year to reach full competency, and more than 15 months to become a top performer.
Sales managers and team leaders supported by the many potential benefits of AI-powered role-play exercises and automated coaching have a sustainable way to provide guided learning journeys and shorten onboarding time by as much as 42%.
Sales managers also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their newest team members are ready to sell once their training is complete. With the right platform, the avatars can generate endlessly customized scripts to help sales teams develop the skills they need for live customer interaction.
#2: Identifies Gaps to Replicate Winning Behaviors
During role-play exercises, sales representatives can prepare for and practice nearly every situation that could arise before, during, or after closing a sale. Artificial intelligence makes it remarkably easy for sales managers to gain an overview of individual skill sets, identify areas in which they excel, and recognize star performers—the representatives who set the performance benchmarks others will strive for. The days of managers having 20% of their team closing and 80% of their sales will soon be in the past.
#3: Provides Engaging Sales Role Play Exercises
To get the most out of sales role-play exercises, sales teams need to practice their skills at least once a week, working on one skill at a time. Investing in AI technology for practice sessions makes it easy for every sales rep to refine their skills in a safe, low-stakes environment rather than a stress-inducing “practice session” with their peers or scheduling a one-on-one session with a supervisor.
When a platform’s conversational avatar feels as natural as their last video call, sales simulator users practice their skills with their AI partner more often, six times more, while improving overall sales performance by up to 28% within a year. Their role-play scripts mirror recurring sales scenarios unique to the organization, instantly adjust to specific learning goals, and encourage continuous learning.
#4: Provides Performance Monitoring and System Integrations
With the best AI-powered sales role-play exercise and coaching platforms, sales managers know at a glance how closely their team and its members are tracking their sales goals, close rates, and cycle times. Those numbers help keep everyone focused on the task so they can meet and exceed the numbers assigned to ensure business growth.
Sales managers and team leaders can also capture real-time live video presentations. They can secure recordings, provide feedback, and instantly connect with the third-party applications their teams rely on, including customer relationship management (CRM) tools, sales enablement applications, and video conferencing platforms.
See How Your Sales Team Can Benefit from AI-Powered Sales Role-Play Exercises
Sales role-play exercises are considered one of the most effective ways for managers and team leaders to assess the proficiency of their representatives, identify areas of improvement, and help their associates ultimately close more sales. They build confidence. If your team could benefit from the advantages of using AI-enhanced technology developed to get everyone to the same level quickly, visit Quantified.
At Quantified, we’ve set the standard for measuring workplace communication capabilities. In addition to assessing vocal and visual delivery, our AI platform evaluates your sales representatives on message content in a highly effective, research-driven format. To learn more about the many advantages of realistic simulations for sales role-play exercises, submit a contact form to request a demonstration.