The value of role-playing and hands-on training for improving sales rep performance is recognized across industries. More than simply another tactic, this kind of active training is essential, with proven results. That said, sales role-play scripts are the make-or-break point for the effectiveness of role-play training. Training managers have seen traditional scripts fall flat time and time again: they might be too contrived, too basic, or too irrelevant for what today’s reps are encountering in customer interactions.
Even when the scripts are good, the role-play exercise can have limited value. Sales reps may simply memorize the script and ‘pass’ that specific scenario, but they won’t have the flexible skills they need for the endless conversation variations they’ll encounter in the field or on the phone. They may be embarrassed, try to get to out of the exercise, and consider it a waste of time. Ultimately, these reactions and attitudes to role-playing do make it less effective than intended. When you know that role-play exercises really do work, this disconnect can be incredibly frustrating.
Switching from conventional sales role-play scripts and exercises to AI-powered role-playing can make all the difference. Realistic, well-trained artificial intelligence tools and avatars can generate an endless number of high-quality, custom scripts around core scenarios or learning principles. They can also be a sounding board for your reps as they practice the scripts, finetune their delivery of your organization’s messaging, and develop the skills they need for live customer interactions.
If you want to overhaul your training processes to incorporate modern AI tools, begin by defining the essential role of scripts in your exercises. Then explore four key ways the right platform can help your team by creating more effective sales role-play scripts and creating interactive exercises for personalized practice, feedback, and learning tracks.
What Are Sales Role-Play Scripts?
Sales role-play scripts are written scenarios that depict real-world selling scenarios. In these staged, interactive exercises, the trainer uses a script to take on the role of a prospect or customer, and the sales rep trainee is tasked with responding to the trainer as if it was a real-life interaction. In this way, sales reps can practice their sales skills and gain confidence before they enter into a real-life sales call when there are no retakes.
Some role-play scripts are open-ended and loose, meaning there’s a lot of improvisation. Other sales role-play scripts will have specific questions or objections that the “customer” will bring up so trainees can quickly construct a response and strategize their next move based on the customers’ behaviors.
When the scripts are tightly written to reflect common real-world scenarios and to focus on specific skills, such as conversing with a confused or adversarial prospect, trainees can focus their learning and get more value from the exercise.
3 Challenges of Conventional Role-Play Exercises
Once you have generated or devised high-quality scripts that maintain a tight focus on specific skills and which mirror real-world scenarios, there are other barriers to consider. Some of the biggest obstacles to successful role-play exercises include:
- Unwillingness: Many salespeople are uncomfortable and resistant to the idea of roleplaying. They might not want to perform in front of a group or a manager. They may be uncomfortable with the idea of being judged by a trainer. They may simply not want to take time out of their day, especially if they’re paid on commission.
- Lack of Time: Both sales reps and sales managers have increasingly busy schedules. Role-play exercises, however valuable they may be, take time to complete, and sales managers often do not have enough time to regularly conduct exercises with their entire team.
- Lack of Objective Feedback and Followup: Trainers may provide a bit of feedback following conventional role-play exercises, but there’s rarely time to put that feedback into practice in another training exercise. Instead, feedback is intermittent and general, and follow-up practice sessions may be few and far between.
Before you move forward with new AI scripts, make sure you also have the ideal practice and learning infrastructure that addresses these problems.
3 Benefits of AI-Generated Sales Role Play Scripts
Traditional scripts can only provide so much value. After all, they weren’t crafted for your organization, a particular rep or the customers your sales reps are interacting with right now. That’s where AI generation comes in with some specific benefits:
- AI scripts can focus on precise skills and objectives rather than generalized skills. Training programs work best when the practice exercises align with the learning objectives. A training platform using generative AI can zero in on specific learning objectives per rep while tailoring the exercise to your identified customer AI and markets. While manually written scripts can also do this, they are much more likely to be generic or unrealistic.
- Scripts can mirror recurring scenarios in your unique organization. First, you can improve the far-reaching effects of role-play training by generating realistic scenarios that are reflected within your specific industry. People will have different questions about cars than they will about life insurance. More than that, the right platform can assess your customer service data and sales call histories to build scenarios that incorporate what your teams will encounter most often.
- Scripts can become progressively harder or focus on advanced skills. Progressive learning tracks based on individual user skills and performance give both novice and experienced salespeople more value. They can streamline learning, develop new-to-them skills, and allow sales reps to demonstrate mastery. When you have general or miscellaneous scripts, it’s hard to build a tightly focused learning program. But higher-quality, custom scripts can be organized into a more effective sequence. AI-powered training platforms can instantly create and adjust scripts to a specific rep’s learning goals and keep consistent standards without losing sight of all the other requirements of the exercise.
How to Better Harness the Power of Role-Play Scripts With AI
If you want to maximize the potential of your sales role-play scripts, you need to focus on both aspects we’ve discussed above: using high-quality scripts that target the key objectives you’re focusing on as an organization and per rep, and eliminating the barrier to role-play exercises in general. Incorporate these four steps into your training processes to truly harness the power of role-play scripts for sales improvement:
Use AI to Increase the Variety of Role-Play Scripts—Without Sacrificing Quality
Artificial intelligence takes many forms in today’s business world, and one of the most recent developments has been generative AI, like ChatGPT. This technology is being used in specialized training platforms to vastly improve the effectiveness of sales rep onboarding and continued improvement. Consider these benefits:
1. Scripts Are Tailor-Made
Well-trained AI-powered platforms can generative hundreds or thousands of unique scripts and simulations based on very specific parameters, including:
- Company products, services and value propositions
- Industry and competitive data
- Specific training objective
- Customer personas
- Experience and skill level of the sales trainee
This eliminates hours of manual work in crafting scripts that result in truly valuable exercises, time your training team regains to focus on more complex training tasks. Also, with countless scripts at your disposal, sales reps of any experience level or skill set can actively practice scenarios without simply memorizing basic scenarios.
2. Scripts Are Never Static
Conventional sales role-play scripts don’t change often. Reps can memorize them with little effort, and the contents may quickly become out-of-date. With an AI-powered platform, you can continuously generate fresh AI scripts. Even more powerfully, the scripts will be dynamic: AI avatars can change their responses and behaviors based on what the sales rep does, or create a new script based on the results of the preceding exercise.
As a result, the exercises feel much more like real-world selling scenarios and conversations—while still allowing sales reps to repeat exercises and practice granular objectives that fit their learning profile.
Have Reps Role-Play Against AI Simulators to Minimize Pushback and Resistance
With the right platform and simulation capablities, AI can go even further in your training processes and take an active role in the role-play scenarios by playing the customer or prospect. Two of the biggest barriers to using sales role-play exercises are that salespeople don’t like performing in front of an audience and that training managers don’t have time for one-on-one practice.
A robust training platform with realistic AI avatars can follow the roleplay script and let sales reps practice on their own schedule—without an audience. Even better, AI-powered insights deliver instant, unbiased feedback, coaching, and motivation so trainees go through more exercises with greater focus and success.
Make Role-Play Exercises a More Consistent Aspect of Sales Training
Giving sales reps more accessible opportunities to engage in role play exercises will make them more valuable and more frequently used. You can take this a step further by making role play exercises a more frequently required part of training. Now that the logistical barriers of training manager availability and limited scripts have been removed, you can have trainees complete a minimum number of scenarios during onboarding or during recurring training windows.
This consistency and frequency offer several benefits that intermittent exercises simply can’t match:
- Salespeople can practice scenarios centered on the same objective again and again until they’re satisfied with their performance or meet a preset benchmark. They can immediately use AI-provided feedback and recommendations until the process becomes routine and they’re fully ready to use the new skill in their real sales calls.
- Motivated salespeople can train at their own pace: Ambitious salespeople who want to master more skills and increase their performance no longer have a barrier to doing so. They can speed through learning objectives and learning paths because they can practice at their convenience. Managers can track who is using the platform and how often.
See Where Scripts Have the Most Impact on Different Impacts; Then Drill Down for More Effective Training
Sales managers and training teams can look at analytics generated by digital training platforms to monitor performance and growth. This allows them to focus on in-person training, developing sales resources, and other more complex tasks. It also allows trainers to refine the training and development resources themselves.
Creating high-quality training programs is an iterative process. Over time, your learning tracks and role-play objectives may change to reflect new customer personas, new sales trends, and more efficient training styles. When you have large pools of data about each script, along with sales reps’ performance on each script, you can iterate even faster.
Use the Power of AI to Boost the Power of Sales Role-Play Scripts
Role-playing is an essential method for training great sales reps, but it needs today’s technology to have the most impact. Harness AI to develop better scripts, empower your sales reps to practice the exercises more frequently, and provide valuable support along the way. At Quantified, our training platform uses AI to role-play, assess, and coach sales teams as they develop new skills that increase their selling potential. Reach out today to see our AI training platform in action.