The AI-Powered Revolution Happening in Successful Sales Teams
It’s a familiar tale for many of our readers in Sales. Sales figures are falling, and fewer deals are being won by reps known to be good performers. Revenue levels are stagnating, and growth figures make for miserable reading. Times are tough in just about every industry, and the CRM reveals far too many entries along the lines of “No Decision” or “No Budget.”
Of course, the present economic slump affects every company and, therefore, every sales department. But not all lost revenue can be attributed to the macro-climate, and the real reasons for a deal not progressing are complicated. Sales reps’ entries in win-loss fields are often incomplete or include a biased opinion, e.g., “The product lacks functionality,” or “Our price was too high.” Can results be attributed to an individual rep’s performance, or have competitive pressures changed? Until now, the answers have been conjecture at best.
The real reason for sudden drops in revenue was what Amit Bendov was looking to unearth back in 2015. Amit was then the CEO of one of the hottest enterprise analytics startups, and he did what any serial entrepreneur does best: he tackled the problem head-on.
By listening to his company’s customers and prospects, he found the answers he needed that explained sales trends: every peak, every trough, success and failure. The voice of the customer helped him see the reality of what was happening in the business.
However, Amit found the way he’d gathered, collated and processed these customer insights wasn’t scalable. This was the germinal impetus behind Gong, a platform that started as a conversation-intelligence tool and one that’s since evolved to become the market’s leading Revenue Intelligence Platform.
Previously, companies that wanted insights into their Sales department’s performance relied on a combination of gut feeling and historical data, a situation that was only ever hit-and-miss at best.
That had been the status quo for a while, but things have changed recently. In our last article we referenced the Gong Revenue Intelligence Platform in the context of the benefits and evolution of Revenue Intelligence methodologies. The Gong platform captures many types of human-to-human communication itself and via integrations with over a hundred other common business & sales software solutions. These include video and phone calls, emails, calendar-ed meetings, text messages, offline meetings, content shares, and much more. That gives a company a complete picture of the customer/prospect relationship.
It then uses industry-leading machine learning and AI to transcribe and analyse those interactions. Gong presents actionable insights from the overwhelming volume of data available based on a deep understanding of what’s really happening, such as:
- What deals are at risk, and what steps does Gong recommend to minimise that risk?
- Which competitors are being talked about in deals, and how frequently?
- Are our sales reps using the latest messaging or sales methodology we’ve implemented?
- What % of revenue is being impacted by the macroclimate, and how does that impact my sales forecast?
These are the types of insights that can create significant upticks in sales metrics and, in the case of Virgin Pulse, a four-fold increase in top-of-funnel conversions. According to John Burke, Senior Leader for Solutions Consulting at Virgin Pulse, “To say Gong crushed it would be an understatement. All the people using Gong were responsible for 30% more revenue, year-over-year.”
Gong helps busy sales managers (and the front-line sales reps, too) pinpoint specific coaching topics to help move mid-performers into top performers. Christina Mahurin, the Sales Training Manager at Iron Mountain, said, “Gong helps surface areas where sales reps can make real improvements […] to increase their chances of closing deals.”
The same source of insight can also be used at the board and managerial level; it’s a case of asking different questions. Decision-makers get real-time feedback on how the market is reacting, for example, to price changes, new product introductions, or what competitors are doing.
More prosaically, managers can see how the Sales team are talking about a new product range, see contextual analysis, read key phrase counts and leverage sentiment analysis. Each of these insights would take a dedicated data science function months (if not years) to create the requisite data models and presentation layers. But the Gong Revenue Intelligence Platform has all this and more out of the box.
The AI’s effect on the Sales function is transformational – from simply transcribing a video call to determining the customer’s intent. Today, less than 40% of a seller’s time is spent actually selling. With technologies like Gong, that metric increases while mundane tasks like taking notes, updating a forecast, or drafting emails are mostly automated.
The Gong Revenue Intelligence Platform maps the customer or prospect’s relationship with the company at every interaction, including calls, text messages, offline meetings and more. Cutting-edge analytics highlight risks based on real-time data, and of course, any pattern emerging can instigate more directed training activities based on where any message would be most effective. It’s something of a cliché, but the Gong platform can turn a problem into an opportunity.
The data revolution has been at the fingertips of every business function for several years now, and some areas of an organisation have been better served by technology than others. Recent years have seen some significant technological strides in HR and marketing technologies, as well as payment platforms that are powering international retail, for example. But Sales teams have survived on traditional tools such as CRMs, that in some cases could be arguably described as little more than a Rolodex (or a basic repository for fact recording).
Sales teams and leaders continue to survive on gut feelings, basic data and industry experience, but that approach cannot last in a data-centric world. With the Gong Revenue Intelligence Platform, it’s the turn of B2B sales teams to leverage new-generation machine learning, AI and automation, to drive greater productivity, increase win rates and forecast more accurately.
Check out our previous article on some of the issues facing Sales teams in an environment where technology is giving forward-thinking users a significant competitive advantage. And head to the Gong.io website to see for yourself how the latest Revenue Intelligence Platform can change your Sales function’s long-term prospects. Sign up for a free demo of the Platform while you’re there!