power of AI in sales coachingIn this episode, Pooja Kumar spoke with Dheeraj Prasad from Nytro.ai about the power of AI in Sales coaching.  Give a listen.

Here are some highlights:

  • AI does not replace the Human Side of the coaching rather it helps augment the coaching with intelligence to get better results
  • Some benefits for using AI in sales coaching:
    • The biggest ROI for AI in Sales coaching is the amount of time it saves from sales managers
    • It builds confidence in a rep by allowing them to practice in a safe environment, taking away any unconscious bias the coach may have.
    • Data shows it accelerates time to first meeting, revenue and a BIG one, it increases the psychological safety score in teams which leads to higher performing teams

Remain curious and keep listening.

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Audio Transcript

Pooja Kumar
gration and enablement for ASEAN and India. My name is Pooja and I am here to my mission is to create a place where sales enablement and business leaders could learn from each other new ways of accelerating their sales performance. And today I have a very special friend with me, his name is de Raj who and he’s worked for over 20 years in the Silicon Valley or with companies in the Silicon Valley is a he leads his lead global Customer Success operations at Microsoft Symantec, and metric stream. And now as the AVP AVP, at notch nytro ai. And in conversations with him recently, I understand that nytro ai enables the Salesforce through AI assistant sales coaching, and you know that my big passion is sales coaching, and getting results from there. So I had a chapter peerage, about how AI works within sales coaching and how that drives business performance. And I really thought that maybe you should all be listening to him as well because I learned a lot from that. So he wrote it over to you, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and the business that you work for?

Dheeraj Prasad
Absolutely, thanks a lot, Pooja and good morning, good afternoon. And good morning to the viewers. I know people have joining from different parts of the world. But thanks Pooja for doing that kind introduction, just to give a little bit of perspective of who I am, I am sure we are we are all in the learning space. And we would have done some bit of the Myers Briggs system to say what type I belong to. So I am an end j, by type by has Greg so you can get a feel of, of, you know, some of the personality traits that I I demonstrate. And more recently, I did a neuroscience based brain mapping on myself as I do some of my, my learning in the area of neurosciences and, and leadership. And what it really told me was about the fact that I have a coaching mindset. So that really made me to think that look, the time is absolutely right. For us, for me to make that contribution. And, and lytro.ai is doing some stellar work right now to truly disrupt the space of AI, code and, and coaching. So which I’ll be very happy to talk to as much as I can during this talk session. And then you know, love to connect with each one of you individually. If there are any follow through questions.

Pooja Kumar
Okay, fantastic. So tell us a little bit more about the weapon what, why what interested you in nytro ai? And and what what’s, yeah, tell us about how it’s helping businesses?

Dheeraj Prasad
Absolutely. So nightroad ai is, is one of the very innovative companies, which is built up an AI based platform for powering what we call this as pitch intelligence for sales, readiness and onboarding. So this is more time which is so opportune right now, given that we have all been living through pandemic and the way that digital transformation has impacted everybody’s lives. This is the time for us to really look at how technology like AI can truly help sales reps, all through their development journey. And they can contribute through what we call this as accelerating time to revenue, which is primarily our outcome that we all drive through our technology.

Pooja Kumar
I found that really interesting. I found when I spoke to you briefly previously about how you use it in onboarding and coaching. But you also talked about use cases in recruiting, which I thought was a good idea, because that will save a lot of time and money as well. But tell me more about some of the use cases specifically, how would it be used for sales and onboarding for onboarding and sales coaching and how companies using the platform?

Dheeraj Prasad
Yeah, sure. So let me start off by just saying that AI does not necessarily replace the human side of the coach. So the relevance and the importance of the humanistic approach to coaching absolutely remains. Ai in solving problems, which typically, humans may not necessarily look to invest time, because it does not add as much value, where automation really helps to solve those problems, and I’ll call it out as prompt, you know, primarily three areas of problems that night.ai. And you know, some of the work which is happening in the AI space, specifically in the realm in the realm of sales coaching. One is the fact that we now have a lot of data available, which was as not as much there earlier on. And you know, this is something which we all know, like, exactly how you and I are talking, right? Most conversation, almost, I would say, predominantly, all conversations are now digital, which means that we have access to a lot of data. Yeah. And that’s where we can actually get the oil, what we call this as intelligence, help our sales reps to understand some of the things which would help them to be more successful in science of selling. So that’s the first problem that really looked to really solve, which is, how do we get this whole volume? There’s data, which is now getting aggregated? And how do we draw intelligence of that? Second one, which we see is the problem that we see right now is the time that managers are spending on on coaching and, you know, we’ve seen traditionally a lot of dollars going on, in terms of investments, as far as training activities are concerned and, and we’ve all been privy to the fact that trading does not really leads to a higher level of retention because of the forgetting curve. And you know, it is not deeply rooted in the context. So, you know, time that managers are spending, specifically, you know, for coaching is much lesser, and a lot of these role plays that companies are doing consumes a lot of managerial time. So that’s one area that we sort of working on. And lastly, it is it is really about the fact that too much of content gets us to be completely lost in the wild. So we’ve been in the element of personalization, most AI companies in the sales coaching space are doing that work to bring in content, which is deeply rooted in the context. So personalization is the is the is the is the challenge that we see right now. Which technologies like AI can truly help in in the area of sales coaching.

Pooja Kumar
Yeah, how do you personalize on mass? Right? So yeah, yeah.

Dheeraj Prasad
Like to sort of add to this picture that, you know, I, I see this as three layers of intelligence, that AI can really build in one, what we are working on is called conversational or pitch intelligence. The second one is contextual intelligence. And this is really about, you know, the personas that we are selling to the industry that we are selling in as well. And there are a lot of data points, which will help to feed in those, that contextual intelligence for reps. And the third one, which is extremely powerful, which, you know, companies are working on that as well, is about behavioral intelligence. So we know that the top 20% of the reps contribute to 80% of the of the of the performance, how do we get the behaviors of those top 20 reps, and have that built in into the whole coaching framework for the rest of the talent? workforce? Right. So that’s the behavioral intelligence that we really look to work on.

Pooja Kumar
Which is interesting. And I know that you said it doesn’t take away the human factor, but it really accelerates what the human can then spend time on coaching, to if you’re able to build some of that, you know, if you’ve got conversational context, and then behavioral intelligence built into the modules, and you’re coaching around that, or you’re assessing around that, I can see how it would be really value valuable to the to the managers or leadership. So I have spent a lot of time in sales coaching, and and actually the three points that you mentioned earlier, which is data, so so the data already exists, but what do you make out of the data time management, and then personalization of coaching, those are the three big areas actually have gap, especially when onboarding new, new new people. So can you tell me how that then kind of wraps up and works into this

Dheeraj Prasad
Yeah, so there’s a few things here. So one is just looking at the, the lifecycle of any sales rep here, right? So we starting off with a person who has just recently joined a company. And the way that you know, we, we look at new reps who are coming on board, we look at a way by which they can truly look to build the confidence on the technology, which they’re working on, on different scenarios. So it accelerates the whole onboarding process, right? You know, for for reps and also for, for lateral hires, it makes a lot of difference. And I’ll give you a very simple, you know, analogy, you know, it’s an interesting one, I recently read it, and I thought it would be really helpful to share it with the group here is where a coach was working on. You know, this is a sporting analogy here. So if the coach was working with, with a professional player on how to work on the grip, which they have on The Club, which they use for playing golf, right, and I’m sure you know, we’ve tried our hands on the golf club before, but the way that we grip the club decides on how the ball is going to go the farthest distance or you know, where we want this to do really bad. So, right, it is important that the coach helps specifically a conversational coach or a person who helps on conversational coaching to look at what are the key words, which will drive the right level of engagement in the whole sales buying process. Right. So you know, and what we have seen this is in the in the in the sales analogy here is using technologies like Microdot AI, by going through some of the parameters, what we look at evaluating, which are like messaging effectiveness, and it really becomes important because in the whole buying process, if a rep is talking about the product at stage one, that’s not gonna fly. Yeah, they have to articulate the pitch in such a way that they are able to get the potential buyer or the seller or the decision maker with whom they are interacting, and make them on the next meeting. And that is where some of those conversations or keywords become extremely important, and coaching them on that helps them to truly own the next meeting. And then drive that to the next logical step in the whole buying process. And that’s where we have seen acceleration in time to revenue happening when there has been enough focus, you know, made in the whole onboarding process, and also in an all the, you know, ever boarding and ongoing training, when practice really helps them to develop those conversational skills. And also the second aspect is on communication effectiveness, and, you know, technologies like AI and microdata, I specifically looks at measuring tonality, you know, how curious was the was the rep, you know, how excited was the rep, how was the rep side or anxious. So some of those specific emotional behaviors are also demonstrated and could be captured as signals coming in from from those practice conversations.

Pooja Kumar
That’s actually brilliant, and, and very useful. Having onboarding reps for a long time, I can see how useful it is. But why don’t you tell me given that you’re the expert in the space? What are some of the benefits of using AI and coaching?

Dheeraj Prasad
Yeah, so you know, primarily, I would just say the biggest, you know, benefit that I see is in the area of building that rep confidence, right? And it only happens when they spend time in practicing the art of conversation. And we now have technology like ours and others as well, where they can look at both live conversation intelligence, there are platforms, which you’re all aware of as well. They can bring in a lot of these key signals, which will help the rep to now assimilate all of that into the practice zone. So what we are envisioning is that every rep has their own safe practice zone. So that they truly do not have to experiment with a live customer, they can, they can try things out, they can get better at their conversation in the in the specific scenario in which they are, you know, sort of positioning the solution or the value proposition to the customer, and then build the confidence to actually go into the life format, and precisely articulate things which will really matter to own the next meeting in the whole lifecycle of a deal.

Pooja Kumar
And while that’s important, one of the biggest things that I find is the benefit from from a, I guess, sales coach or a sales lead a leader perspective, is not just that my rep is getting confident, but they’re getting confident without, I think you said it without the unconscious bias and different pieces of information that would come out of a real life situation or real life coaching situation. So I know, as I coach reps around particular very value proposition, I’m not a fan of the webpage for around a particular value propositions. As I’m coaching the rep around how to have that conversation, I have a point of view. And then when they go and present it to their manager, the manager has a point of view. And then when they speak to their directors, the director has a point of view, and so does their buddy. And what that what that results in is two things you could you could have a person who takes in all this feedback, because it’s a lot of different spaces of feedback, and takes a little longer to be able to get confident and get really understanding and articulate what they’re saying to the customer. Or in some cases that just you know, don’t know where to go with that information. Because we’ve all all these four people who’ve evaluated it have given him or her some feedback that has come from our experiences. And that may or may not be valuable. Sometimes it is sometimes not necessarily because it’s an experience with a small subset. And I do when I spoke to you one of the things I liked most apart from the fact that it’s time saver, and accelerate to productivity a lot quicker is the fact that that bias is taken out and and you’ve got consistent feedback that helps the build that confidence of the rep,

Dheeraj Prasad
absolutely spot on Pooja and this is primarily the second benefit, which is coming to an end articulated beautifully Pooja, that really removes the bias or the the aspect of judgment, which is derailer on building trust in teams. This is the trust enablement platform, right. So which you promote. So it is so very important to build that element of trust in the coaching relationship. So salutely, right. And that’s because data really speaks to short. Because these are signals which the manager the coach can actually leverage. And it builds more confidence, just not confidence builds more trust, you know, at the rep level as well.

Pooja Kumar
Right? Yeah, I can imagine. So, how then, in your experience, I mean, obviously there’s a lot of benefit in and AI and sales coaching. But how in your experience, can that be quantified in terms of results for business? If I was to build a business case?

Dheeraj Prasad
Absolutely. That’s a million dollar question, which I’m sure all CFOs ask. And I’ll just say here is that look, I mean, we briefly talked about time to revenue. And that is primarily the key outcome metric, you know, that we look out for, which is more performance specific. But it is important for us to also look at some of the key leading metrics. And the way that we encourage sales leaders and business leaders to measure that as a key result area would be things like trying to first meeting for a new rep is so very important because you’re able to accelerate that, specifically for the newcomer who’s just come on board. It’s a huge win. And if you are able to show that through tools like nytro.ai, which builds the whole element of practice, that’s one of the key metrics. The second one which we see also is the the time to first deal as a key leading metric as well. And you know, these are some of the key results that we look at time to first meeting time to first deal. Time to first sale is very important. I’ll also put one more aspect which I brought He would say that it is the common denominator across all other result areas, which is something which is very close to my heart, which I’m working on as a part of my research is this psychological safety score Pooja?

Pooja Kumar
Oh, tell me more about that. That sounds like something I need to know more about.

Dheeraj Prasad
Absolutely. When we all know we’ve been in the sales, profession, sales is not an easy job. Yeah. And it is tough specifically, during these times, it’s even more tougher. So psychological safety is to explain very briefly is, is an interpersonal attribute in teams, where they have the courage to speak up without the fear of being implicated or being pulled down. And that is an aspect of courage. Because, you know, if teams had the courage and the psychological safety to speak up, we have seen that they have the ability to ask questions, more openly to the team members, but also to customers. And that’s one of the roadblocks that we have seen as a part of my doctoral research, as well, as I’m studying right now is to look at how psychological safety actually drives a higher level of performance in teams teams. And there’s a very strong correlation, by the way, Pooja between the two is

Pooja Kumar
really interesting. Okay, so you’re saying that the, the ability of the individual or the sales rep to speak up within their teams is directly proportional to their ability to question and in your research, to be able to, to ask questions and speak up with their customers? Is that correct?

Dheeraj Prasad
That’s right, I’m seeing some relation here. Because of the fact that they are they are not living in the fear of I’m, if I’m not performing or not asking questions, then? No, because it’s not what customers look out for. Your customers are looking out for a voice of trust, and a voice of an advisor who can help them to solve problems. Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s where innovation comes in. Because we’ve seen a very strong correlation between psychological safety scores in sales teams, and the way that innovation and new solutions are coming up as well. So these are some very strong elements that we have seen. And coaching is, again, is so important, tightly correlated to psychological safety, because when there is trust, when people can speak up, then there is obviously there is a peer learning and, and much, much higher level of confidence that gets built up as well. And by the way, you know, and that’s where I’m truly passionate about what we are [email protected], because it is a non evaluative tool, it is like a tool set in the pocket of every sales rep. Right? where they can, they can open it up on and try test as many number of times as possible, without the fear of being implicated or overly evaluated. It is their tool, which lives in the life of a day of a sales rep. That’s why I think you know, there is these two are very, very closely intertwined. about, about what we are doing some super back,

Pooja Kumar
I can see how that works. Well, you know what, I would love to know more about this. And I really would really like to be able to see a demo and but if someone else, and we’ve got about, we’ve got a few people on the live stream, then no questions at the moment. But to our listeners, if someone’s looking to find you, where should they contact you? What’s the best way to contact you?

Dheeraj Prasad
Yes, so I’m very active on LinkedIn. So I just sent out a quick invite on LinkedIn. dhiraj Prasad, is my handle. I’m also active on Twitter. So direct underscore procida is my Twitter handle. My email is dhiraj dot rusada nytro.ai. So either of these three channels is perfect to me. And I do a lot of shows as a part of the podcast for nytro.ai. So I love talking to sales leaders. So if anybody is interested and want to share the thoughts, you know, I see this as a great learning platform for the company and for myself to share some of those insights as well.

Pooja Kumar
That’s fantastic. Thank you so much. I don’t think that any questions or comments at the moment on the live and I am very grateful to have you here. Do you have any final words for us?

Dheeraj Prasad
No, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and being on the trust enablement platform. I do follow the podcasts and the learning so it was great to be on the show today.

Pooja Kumar
Thank you. It’s it’s great to have you and your insights. I’ve learned a lot and you’re based in Sydney. So enjoy your for the rest of your freedom this weekend.

Dheeraj Prasad
Living the Freedom Day. Thank

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