10 ways Sales AI can accelerate Ramp to Productivity

November 18, 2021

10 ways to ensure a faster ramp to productivity

If you are a part of or responsible for a B2B sales organization, chances are that you are worried about your new hires’ ramp to productivity and aiming to reduce the time to ramp.

In larger organizations, this could be a $100M problem. Reducing the ramp by just 3 months resulted in $117M of additional revenue for a large Fortune 500 company that deployed a range of AI solutions to achieve this.

Sales AI solutions not only deliver the intelligence to act with precision but allow personalization and automation to implement initiatives at scale and broaden the impact.

Below is a list of the Top 10 AI strategies that help reduce ramp predictably.

1. Calculate Ramp and Impact

Do you know how long it takes for your reps to ramp to productivity by role and by region?

How do you calculate ramps? What may be the impact of reducing the ramp by 3 months? Is it possible to reduce it by 3 months?

You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Cliche but true.

No alt text provided for this image

So, the first step is to measure the ramp and the impact of reducing the ramp by an achievable time frame. When we generate ramp graphs using our pre-built statistical models most sales leaders are taken aback. The industry talks about a 6–9-month ramp time based on simplified calculations that measures time to field readiness or critical sales mastery, not time consistent quota attainment.

2. Identify the Drivers of Ramp

Do you believe more training = better ramp? If you are or were a salesperson, would you prefer to go through all the training materials available or would you prefer to talk to a couple of sales reps for insights on how to be successful? If available, would you like to learn about what differentiates top sales reps from the others in your role, region, and segment evidenced by quantitative and qualitative?

Machine learning-based diagnostic models can help uncover the drivers of success by analyzing over 300 sales variables.

Sales DNA analysis objectively shows what top reps are doing in their first 30-60-90 days to secure their ramp time. The number of accounts they reach out to, the products they pitch, whom they pitch to, which partners they are working with, the number of products they bundle, how they upsell, etc are the key drivers of success.

3. Generate Personalized Ramp Plan

No alt text provided for this image

Data Simulation models can create a personalized ramp plan for individual sales reps based on their role, region, segment, territory type, and quota assigned.

A foolproof plan that shows how many opportunities, of what sizes do they need to close, and by when?

A personalized plan not only recommends the sales results to be achieved but the sales activities to be completed in the first 30-60-90 days, and the key competencies to be mastered in time

4. Provide Hyper-personalized Content Recommendations

New hires and for that matter sales reps are drowning with content while starving for useful help.

Sales reps are bombarded with industry content, product content, sales process content, and sales skills content every quarter. The adoption is low not because the content is not good but because they are not personalized. Industry content for general retail may not help reps selling into grocery vs car dealerships alike.

No alt text provided for this image

Secondly, reps are not served the most relevant content when they need it most. For example, if a rep is asked to read through negotiation skills training, he is likely to procrastinate. However, if a rep is stuck in the negotiation stage for a long time in a large-sized multiple-product deal and is given the content of large multi-product deal negotiation, he is highly likely to train for it.

AI-based models can auto-tag content and content sections with context tags. Based on the context of the deal, account, or performance scenarios reps can be provided with highly relevant content blocks without overwhelming them with long format content.

5. Conversational Inquiry Support

New hires have a ton of questions, answers to which are hidden deep within documents.

Current solutions like federated search bring up long-format content - product sheets, training, sales playbooks, etc.

Advanced AI solutions can help convert content into conversational recommendations automatically and help new hires find answers to a variety of processes, products, people, and tools questions.

6. Data-Driven Sales Coaching

No alt text provided for this image

AI based pattern analysis enables personalized rep, deal, and account coaching that can be provided to the reps.

Account Coaching provides personalized recommendations on which accounts are likely to buy, what they will buy, which partners to work with, whom to contact, what to say, which collateral to send to the prospects, and many other recommendations to help improve account conversion.

Deal Coaching provides deal-by-deal recommendations on similar deals sold, people and programs to leverage, products to bundle in, next best actions, promotions to offer, price discounts to factor in, etc. to help accelerate and convert deals.

Rep Coaching provides recommendations to sales reps to help plan for quota, close skills gaps to be more effective, and improve key performance measures with a mix of action, people, content, and insightful recommendations.

7. Tacit Knowledge Generation

One of the fastest ways to turn each win into multiple wins is by converting learning from one deal to organizational learning.

Developing a mechanism to quickly capture answers to key questions other reps with similar deals are struggling with.

Data-driven triggers to intimate reps of similar deals won and direct specific questions to the reps who won those deals can create a deep network of people and knowledge.

Recommendation systems can identify reps who need help and recommend best practices captured from years of closing similar deals.

8. Inflow Execution Flows

Reps can be provided with insights, content, and action recommendations but the ultimate goal is to activate the actions. Intelligent conversational workflows can be prompted at the right time in the flow of work, making it easy for reps to be on top of action items and accelerate sales results.

9. Manager Coaching Flows

Managers with good coaching discipline, coaching skills, and assertive follow-up behaviors can measurably improve rep success. However, they are pressed for time chasing their own targets

AI-based solutions can help managers get prompted with insights on whom to coach and on what? Managers can be enabled in the flow of work on how to coach and be provided with coaching notes by KPI and skills based on formal and informal content.

10. Conversation Simulators

No alt text provided for this image

Sales is a series of high-impact conversations. While it is easy to learn about products and value propositions, converting all the knowledge into effective conversations is tough. C-level conversations, objection handling, and conducting discovery workshops in the context of the company products and value proposition are key topics to master.

AI technology can help simulate scenarios and provide critical practice experience.

We use these ten key levers to transform the operations of sales functions. You may start the transformation journey with any one of the levers, however, the real value is unlocked when these are orchestrated together successfully through transformation.