To be successful, sales representatives must be able to engage prospects, build relationships, and close deals. While social media and other digital channels have created an initial touch point for companies, sales representatives must guide prospects from initial interest through to the final signature. Thus, trust and personal connection between the representative and prospect can make or break a deal.

To gain this trust and connection, representatives must communicate clearly and effectively with prospects, which can often be one of the biggest obstacles for sales professionals. As the sales industry is highly regulated, organizations often have to restrict call vocabulary, meaning pitches are less about the actual words spoken and more about how the words are communicated.

Sales representatives often take more than 50 calls a day, interacting with unique personas and situations. Though most sales representatives believe they are cognizant of how well they communicate, on average many misjudge their abilities, undermining their potential for improvement. For representatives to be accurately tuned in to how they communicate requires self-awareness and emotional intelligence. These soft skills are often overlooked and undermanaged, even though they can be the most challenging skills to master and train in employees.

To create an effective workforce, management needs to prioritize soft skill development. Even representatives that have a strong natural ability to connect through phone often see erosion in their performance throughout the day, missing cues they may ordinarily react to with ease. This obstacle is exacerbated by the fact that a representative’s attention is divided among the conversation and various other activities, such as following protocol, navigating various systems and capturing prospect data.

If soft skills are necessary for fostering a team of top performers, how can companies empower sales representatives to hone these skills and succeed? Nowadays, technology can help. Over the past five years the rapid advancements in high-powered computing have changed how sales teams function. With augmentation, AI solutions can enhance representatives’ natural abilities to be empathetic, helping them be better at their jobs and guiding them in the moment.

Top Three Areas for Augmenting Sales Acumen with AI

1) Emotional Capacity:

AI technology can bolster representatives’ emotional intelligence and help them adapt their behavior to be perceived as more empathetic and trustworthy by the prospect. Building a relationship over the phone can be difficult, but AI has the ability to process vocal cues to help representatives adjust and respond with more empathy to develop a personalized rapport.

2) Behavioral Information:

AI can be applied to gain timely insight on a representative’s behavior, helping them to adjust during the call. Additionally, it can be used to discover innovative ways to interact with prospects and win more business. For example, by finding the correlation between speaking behavior and perception, sales leaders can more effectively monitor for sensitive situations and assist representatives in converting a disinterested prospect to a repeat buyer.

3) Predictive Analytics:

Since AI technology can now monitor and analyze human behavior and emotion on a massive scale, it also serves as the fuel for machine learning and predictive models. Gathering and evaluating conversational cues such as tone, tension, pitch, pace, vocal effort, mimicry and turn taking, will allow salesforces to understand the wants of their prospects. Additionally, these AI capabilities can predict the likelihood a sales team will hit quotas, the best products to sell, the optimal customer segments and pricing strategies on which to focus.

Through its capability to enhance natural abilities and provide unprecedented insights to sales teams, AI technology has become a necessity for organizations to remain competitive. By enabling representatives with the tools to demonstrate top-notch soft skills and build emotional connections with prospects, organizations will inevitably exceed their performance goals and surpass quotas. AI has wide reaching applications, but the most compelling is AI’s capacity to empower the frontline to build lasting trusted relationships between representatives and prospects.

Click here to learn more about how Cogito Corp. can help augment your salesforce and create emotional connections with your prospects.


This blogpost originally appeared in Top Sales World.

Steve Kraus
Steve Kraus

Steve brings over twenty years of experience in marketing, selling, and delivering customer engagement solutions to the world’s most customer-centric organizations. Prior to joining Cogito, Steve led product marketing for Pegasystems CRM suite of applications, growing the suite from a niche player into a recognized leader for marketing, sales, and service applications. Steve led go-to-market activities for Verint (formerly KANA Software), serving as the General Manager for Verint’s customer experience management applications, and led product marketing and strategy for Chordiant Software’s CRM applications. Earlier in his career, Steve managed consulting teams within Ernst &Young. He has a B.A. in Economics and Accounting from The College of The Holy Cross.