While many organizations know the value of training—with companies spending over $70 billion in sales training alone—the focus on coaching is much less clear. Some organizations don’t have coaching at all due to limited trainer availability or discomfort in giving feedback. Others opt for in-person or manual feedback, which can be time intensive, arbitrary, or unhelpful. In fact, only 53% of sales managers use any form of coaching tool.
If you want more sales coaching in your training programs, that leaves only two paths forward: continue to push for more coaching and feedback along conventional channels (where there is already reluctance and pushback) or adopt a radically new approach like an AI-powered sales coach.
As AI continues to dominate the conversation regarding company technologies and workflows, this can be a great opportunity for your sales leadership team to take stock. Find out which new AI technologies are just a flash in the pan and which ones offer substantial merit. To do so, it’s important to consider all the varied use cases for AI in sales enablement and training.
Consider having personalized AI-powered sales coaches that can offer real-time, objective feedback and support human-led L&D projects. Evaluate the differences AI coaches can provide compared to in-person coaches (both from the perspective of the individual reps and the leadership team). Finally, start exploring the benefits this one change can make in your training programs.
An AI-Powered Sales Coach vs. Traditional Coaching: 4 Key Advantages
To evaluate the true value of switching from conventional coaching to an AI-powered sales coach option, organizations should compare the relative advantages of each method. Consider the unique opportunities for encouraging better performance that your current in-house program provides, and make a list of the most valuable advantages. Then consider the following four advantages of AI coaches.
1. Coaching Doesn’t Have to Wait for Availability
More often than not, sales trainers and coaches don’t have time to mentor salespeople in a one-on-one environment. Consistent practice and immediate feedback are crucial for all types of learning, from standard educational programs to specialty sales skills. But when your sales trainers are stretched thin, they can only provide intermittent support. Also, they may not have time to provide immediate coaching in the form of feedback, repeating a training scenario to incorporate new feedback, or coaching reps through a sales interaction.
Related: How a Global Tech Company Improved Sales Rep Capabilities 24% with AI Role Play and Coaching
Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, always has that time available. AI-powered sales coaches are available 24/7, whether an onboarding rep wants to complete basic training or an experienced sales rep wants to master new tactics for an internal promotion.
Every salesperson effectively has their own sales coach who is always available, already knows their performance metrics, and can immediately provide feedback or offer real-time prompts. Sales reps don’t have to wait for scheduled intervals or miss out on helpful training.
2. Sales Reps Are Less Uncomfortable or Nervous
While salespeople may have a lot of confidence (or have a well-tailored persona as they sell), in-person training through role-play scenarios or on-the-spot assessments can be unnerving for anyone. New sales reps, especially, may be hesitant about training because they don’t want to make mistakes in front of their peers or a senior employee and they’re still getting their feet wet with dozens of other onboarding concerns. Traditional in-person role-playing can lead to:
- Limited participation
- Unwilling and uncommitted participation
- Poor performance
An AI-powered sales coach takes off the pressure. Instead of performing for a human audience, your sales reps simply talk to a program. This allows them to focus on the concepts in the lesson and their overall presentation. In turn, the AI coach can give them substantive feedback based on real performance threads. Because there are fewer unpleasant barriers and the feedback is more valuable, employees are then more likely to commit to more training activities.
3. The Assessments Are More Objective and Detailed
Even the most experienced sales trainer can give unhelpful feedback or coaching. Their suggestions can be skewed by:
- Their own experiences, especially when markets are transforming faster than ever to demand new sales approaches
- Personal biases, no matter how professionally they attempt to remain objective
- Stress due to a packed schedule and lots of work
- Simply an off day
These problems apply to both day-to-day assessments and overall performance management strategies. AI eliminates these issues and provides much more robust support. The tools can instantly provide tailored suggestions during the course of a simulation without interrupting the trainee. AIs can also measure hundreds of different performance metrics, from word repetition to speed to active listening signals, and provide both quantitative evaluations and helpful interpretations of the data. Based on what you’re looking for in sales reps’ performance, an AI coach can give objective, data-backed, and comprehensive coaching every time.
4. An AI-Powered Sales Coach Can Deliver More Tailored and Effective Advice
As a result of (i) more frequent coaching, (ii) coaching with fewer barriers to authentic practice, and (iii) more assessment data—all advantages that sales coaching AI provides—your reps receive tailored, helpful advice. Consider these differences:
- “You sound stiff” vs “You repeat [x word] too frequently and speak in sentences that are 15 words or longer. Reduce your use of [x word] and speak in more varied sentence lengths.”
- “Try more active listening” vs “Repeat the customer’s pain point and ask questions before offering a solution.”
AI coaches can provide immediately actionable advice that gives sales reps something to practice. It can incorporate both the latest performance and each individual’s historical performance.
Benefits of Using an AI-Powered Sales Coach to Transform Your Training Programs
Based on the AI coach-specific advantages, you may already see some important benefits they can offer your training programs overall. Once you transition to using AI coaches for individualized learning programs, both your sales reps and your L&D teams stand to gain significant wins.
Training Managers Can Focus on Holistic Tasks and Improvements
Coaching and assessments are not the only tasks that training managers need to complete. Instead, they may be busy organizing training programs across the company, assessing the needs of new teams, evaluating onboarding processes, and documenting PIPs.
By removing one-on-one training activities from their schedules, they have far more time available for holistic projects and big-picture strategies. Instead of barely keeping pace with status quo requirements, your L&D employees can build and implement training resources that make your company stronger.
There’s More Buy-In From All Participants
AI coaches make training more approachable. There’s less performance anxiety, and reps are less likely to get distracted by being in front of an audience. Combined with the easy convenience of being able to complete a training module and exercise at any time, reps are much more likely to be engaged with the program. They’ll be able to see measurable improvements in their performance, practice at their convenience, and have less anxiety for every phase of their learning modules.
Gather Data and Measure the Impact of New Training
Organizations can transform their training programs simply by having more data to guide individual learning paths and company-wide decisions. With AI-enabled training systems, your teams can gather:
- Individual profiles for each rep, including their strengths, weaknesses, and willingness to learn
- Engagement and completion metrics
- Tens of thousands of data points for adjusting your learning initiatives, content, and future plans for training platforms
More data makes your program stronger. Individual salespeople can also see detailed profiles of their growth, sales style, and areas for improvement so they can manage their own career and learning goals.
Streamline Sales Rep Growth With Consistent Access to Personalized Learning Tracks
AI learning platforms and coaches can personalize training far beyond what conventional processes allow. Instead of having all of your reps complete the same coursework (no personalization) or letting them test out of or opt into some modules (partial personalization), you can create wholly individualized courses and exercises. The AI, with detailed insight into what a trainee needs, can queue up or even generate modules and practice exercises uniquely tailored to the individual.
Start Transforming Your Training Programs With AI-Powered Sales Coaches
An AI sales coach offers potential that even the most experienced and diligent sales coaches cannot. With AI-powered training resources, your team can complete role-play exercises on their own terms, practice at their own pace, and benefit from detailed feedback. At the same time, your sales managers and training team can focus on other tasks and initiatives. As a result, your learning and development programs become stronger. Leaders can strategically develop the resources while AI takes on day-to-day training, teaching, and information gathering. At Quantified, we empower sales organizations with AI-powered sales enablement tools, AI coaches, and realistic role-playing simulations so your sales reps can practice every skill in real-world scenarios. Schedule a demo to see these advantages for yourself.