Sales enablement platform deploys AI to help organizations close sales

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While trying to close a deal, salespeople need to do a lot of different things. Sometimes it’s the things they don’t do, or don’t do right, that make the difference between making a sale and not making their quota.

Using technologies and services powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to help salespeople gain advantage is nothing new. Customer relationship management (CRM) giant Salesforce uses AI to provide optimization. Sales automation platforms like Revenue Grid and Salesloft use AI to help automate workflow. Startups like Regie use it to help with sales and marketing content.

Well-funded sales enablement platform Gong has been building out its technology using a variety of techniques, including natural language processing (NLP), to help organizations make sense of sales conversations. In June, the company announced its economic pulse feature, which helps salespeople better understand the state of deals. While those capabilities are valuable, it’s also valuable to be able to take actions that will actually influence the outcome of a sales process.

Today, Gong is moving its AI-powered platform to the next level with the release of its new Gong Assist feature. Gong Assist will help direct organizations toward the best possible steps to take to close a deal.

“Assist actually looks at your deals and sees what the customer said, or what they didn’t say, comes up with recommendations, and actually automates those actions for you,” Amit Bendov, CEO of Gong, told VentureBeat.

The difference between CRM and revenue enablement is AI

For decades, the CRM platform was the storehouse and primary tool for sales professionals, helping to keep a record of contacts and prospects.

In Bendov’s view, the challenge with traditional CRM systems is that to be valuable they rely on users actually inputting the right information. That includes not just a prospect’s contact information, but the details of a sales call or an email exchange.

“If you think about it, in an average conversation you will be exchanging 6,000 words and what ends up in your CRM from that conversation is about 30, and that’s one problem,” Bendov said. “The second problem is that what is in the CRM is highly subjective, and is based on what the sales reps are thinking that they’ve heard, or their opinions, and that’s subjective and inaccurate.”

Deploying NLP to understand what is said in voice calls, video conference briefings and emails, Gong is using AI to provide more information to the sales process than a human likely ever could. Bendov explained that Gong’s data science team has done machine learning (ML) training on sales interactions to build AI models that can accurately summarize content, and now also infer and suggest next steps.

Changing the future for sales

To date, Gong’s system has offered capabilities to help an organization understand a deal’s trajectory and the likelihood that it might close. With Assist, Gong is giving its users new tools to influence the future.

“What’s more interesting than predicting the future is actually changing the future,” Bendov said. 

Based on the ML training that Gong has done across its customer base, its AI model can infer the best practices to enable a deal to close. For example, the Gong Assist system can recommend that a user send a follow-up email to a prospect at a certain time of day. Going a step further, Gong’s AI can also draft the content of the follow-up email. 

The ML training is based on aggregate anonymized data across the Gong user base, as well as ML training on data within a specific Gong customer’s account. Bendov said that much of the Gong system uses a self-supervised ML model that doesn’t require users to do their own training or data labeling.

Bendov said that the new Gong Assist feature is all about helping organizations manage deals with existing customers, reducing churn and increasing the win rate. Looking forward he said that in 2023 Gong will be extending Assist to help organizations with prospecting to find new customers.

“We’re coming up with a system that can look with greater precision and craft specific messages to specific people at the right time, based on [an] understanding of what message will actually resonate,” Bendov said.

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