Since the pandemic disrupted in-person sales interactions, sales organizations have had to shift their strategies without much supporting technology. McKinsey found that 80-90% of sales are now done remotely. Video and phone calls and emails don’t immediately lend themselves as well as in-person visits when it comes to building trust and relationships, yet most salespeople have little training as to how to adjust their techniques to accommodate a different interaction. When building a remote sales team, how do you coach reps on the nuances of essential soft skills and other hard-to-measure but critical behaviors?
According to Gartner’s 2020 report titled The Future of Sales in 2025: A Gartner Trend Insight Report, “To stay relevant and drive revenue, sales organizations need to build adaptive systems that are based on hyper-automation of interactions and transactions between sellers and buyers, digital scalability for sellers, and AI.”
Building and managing a remote sales team is more than field sales; it includes sales meetings, remote onboarding and training, performance reviews, and sales coaching. Keeping everyone connected, enabled and successful requires new strategies, planning, technology, and training methods.
Thanks to the rise of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, companies are more adaptive and focused on managing and upskilling their workforce to remain competitive, even when remote. They can leverage advanced, AI-based software when building a remote sales team that’s effective and efficient.
What’s the Role of AI in Sales Training, Learning & Development?
We are living in a world where working in an office is no longer necessary or preferred. Sales teams have traditionally been on the road most of the time, but there was always a central place to touch base. Now, people can work remotely, rarely seeing the rest of their team or managers in person. How do you build an effective remote sales team with so little face time? How do they build relationships with their prospects and clients through a screen?
Many sales training directors and managers fail to see the effects of poor sales performance in their teams until the sales rep continuously falls below quota. Limited interaction makes it similarly hard to assess the weaknesses and strengths of new hires remotely until they’ve been on the job for several months. A sales rep can easily feel disconnected with no support.
Despite the new challenges, remote selling can be seen as a new opportunity with the right tools and strategies in place.
- Artificial intelligence in sales helps businesses optimize remote sales teams by capturing video from actual sales calls and analyzing language, sight and sound. The AI then scores multiple behaviors, such as clarity, credibility, persuasiveness, eye contact and the use of filler language. The system then compares reps based on benchmarks and top performers, providing an accurate and unbiased score for each skill. Finally, the AI presents personalized training recommendations to improve lower-performing skills – automatically and at scale.
- According to studies, salespeople use only about 34% of their time selling. Automating administrative laborious, repetitive tasks every day, such as dealing with CRM spreadsheets and company policies, provides sales professionals with more time to focus on what they should be doing; selling solutions to target markets’ problems and building relationships. AI is taking the weight off sales companies and also improving them with automated routine touches, lead follow-ups, and engagement.
- Today, most companies have a huge amount of prospect, employee, customer, and product data available, thanks to CRMs and integrations. Today’s coaching platforms can integrate with CRMs and other business systems so training becomes a continuous part of the everyday workflow.
- The best AI-powered coaching platforms can quickly gather behavioral data for the sales calls of individual reps and predict audience response to measured behaviors. It’s like having an executive coach in your back pocket to help you hone your sales communication skills each and every day. It creates a customized and highly personalized sales training program, delivered through an AI platform to match the individual needs of each rep while focusing on their knowledge gaps and skills.
- Personalized training allows for a better targeted professional development and upskilling approach. It also helps to predict each individual’s training needs based on their specific roles, helping your remote sales team stay competitive.
- Because sales reps can assess their performance using their AI coach they have ongoing data and can have better control over their performance and continuously improve. Managers can see who is utilizing the opportunity to improve their progress and set up motivational goals and performance benchmarks where sales reps can see how they did against top performers.
Generally, an AI-powered training platform allows managers to assess sales readiness at the team and individual rep level and train and certify new hires easily and faster, no matter where they work. They can also measure sales skill weaknesses and strengths, particularly the critical soft skills that are hard to quantify objectively, give unbiased scores and feedback across various skills and provide personalized training to improve weaker skills. These are the key elements to building a remote sales team.
How to Use AI for Remote Sales Training and Team Building
Creating an effective and high-performance remote sales team is becoming more difficult when using traditional approaches, so it’s no surprise that most companies are changing their sales training and development strategies. Making way for more convenient, targeted, effective and flexible ways to build and upskill dispersed sales teams.
Here are some practical ways to use AI for sales training to build a remote sales team:
1. Sales Coaching
An AI coaching platform doesn’t replace the human element. Instead, it augments the coaching experience with AI technology to produce better results. It gives reps greater confidence by training in a safe practice space without physical coaches’ unconscious bias. AI coaching software automates sales coaching through actual video recordings of the rep in real or simulated sales calls. This functionality also helps sales leaders save time that they might have spent while coaching sales reps 1:1, something nearly impossible to do as sales teams grow and are more dispersed.
2. Sales Role-playing
Sales leaders use sales role-playing as a vital tool to coach and develop teams’ skills by closely replicating and simulating an actual sales call. This is further advanced by AI, where training sessions are based on specific real-life scenarios that pertain to particular skills like objection handling, listening, probing questioning, closing, etc. With one-click AI analytics of virtual sales role-plays, leaders save money, time, and resources by having insight into current sales performances and sessions not limited by time restraints like in an in-person training program.
3. Onboarding for remote new hires
By using AI for sales training, you can revolutionize how the company conducts onboarding for new employees when building a sales team. You can streamline the process into an effective and efficient process that provides new hires with more than sales pitch dos and don’ts but unbiased assessments of their performance strengths and weaknesses plus experiential learning to improve their skills.
For example, conversation intelligence can help you measure a new salesperson’s effectiveness in real-time conversations before they are set loose in the field. The AI sales training program helps fill gaps that managers and leaders lack sufficient resources or time to focus on for every rep and certify their readiness.
4. On-demand training
Today, sales managers and leaders need to offer training anywhere, anytime to fulfill the demands of the growing remote workers. An AI platform is best for dealing with on-demand learning for sales reps by delivering training where and when they want it.
Rather than allotting time and planning for in-person or online sessions, AI provides accessibility and speed for both parties. Remote sales teams can use the platform continually to assess, learn, practice, reassess, practice, etc. until their scored behaviors meet the benchmark.
Building a remote sales team has never been simple, but AI has a lot to offer to the numerous sales training challenges. It may be hard to believe this if you think that only 1:1 human interaction produces productive sales professionals. Today’s AI-powered coaching platforms are proving to be valuable in upskilling remote sales teams and removing much of the heavy lift in sales coaching.
The first step in building a remote sales team is to invest in the tools to help your teams manage challenging virtual conversations. The same tool can enhance teamwork, motivation and engagement in your remote sales team. Quantified AI Technology helps you measure skill levels through training programs and better conversations to increase productivity. Contact us or request a demo if you want to hear more about our result-based solutions.