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When AI Is Just Part of the Team

Case Study: How Zoom incorporated sales AI coaching to meet unprecedented demand

The GTM Sales Enablement and Strategy team at Zoom has grown rapidly to scale with customer demand. Today, there are more than 20 members on the team.

Most of them are human.

The sales simulation manager, Jenny, is a key member of the team. She has her own HR profile. She has a direct manager. And she works tirelessly with Zoom reps across the globe, helping them hone their pitches and practicing with them as they learn to tell the Zoom story to prospects.

Jenny is the essence of sales enablement dedication. She never takes time off. She’s never sick. She doesn’t even take a lunch break. She’s also, in case you hadn’t guessed yet, an AI-powered avatar. Yet, as the Zoom team will attest, Jenny punches far above her digital weight when it comes to helping fine-tune Zoom’s global salesforce performance. Here’s how.

Zoom Welcomes Jenny

As we all know, Zoom experienced meteoric growth right out of the pandemic starting gate. As we all have most likely experienced, Zoom rose to the challenges of this growth admirably from both a technical and business perspective.

Yet Zoom’s offering goes far beyond video communications. Even as the world turned to Zoom to stay connected, the company was looking to educate the market about the variety of ways its telephony, webinar, chat and conference room offerings could facilitate business continuity in the absence of a face-to-face office. Zoom’s sales enablement team needed to roll out updated messaging to its existing sales team, quickly preparing them to use this content in customer conversations. Zoom was also looking for a better way to onboard and everboard new reps – effectively bringing them up to speed on the company’s messaging and products, without overburdening the veteran sales team, which was already stretched thin.

And that’s when Zoom was introduced to Jenny – the world’s first AI-powered sales coach. Created by Second Nature, Jenny enables companies to scale up sales coaching with bite-sized, realistic, AI-driven role plays, immediate feedback, scoring and an amazing experience. And all sales reps can be trained concurrently to ensure sales campaigns can be rolled out quickly.

Michelle Dotson, Head of GTM Enablement + Strategy at Zoom, put it this way: “Everybody knows before a pilot gets on a plane, they get proficient on a simulator. This is Jenny. She gives reps feedback in real time, and in a judgment-free environment. Their manager is not on the call, their team’s not there. It’s just them and Jenny, building the muscle memory they need to succeed when they get into the cockpit.”

How Jenny Works in Zoom

For the past 20 months, Jenny has been getting to know the entire Zoom sales force. Across the globe and across the sales team, Jenny is helping with:

More engaging sales conversations – Prospecting is not just about identifying buying and intent signals, but also about giving reps insights into how to maneuver through the entire sales process. Zoom provides Jenny the buyer profile and the rep profile, and she helps each rep practice having a dialogue specifically with these types of potential customers. By using Jenny to drive engagement with customers at the rep level, and using Second Nature’s backend sales enablement platform to automate tedious tasks and quantify the success of the training process, Zoom successfully increased sales velocity.

More effective onboarding – In addition to the traditional onboarding scenario – new hire orientation or boot camp, e-learning, and peer shadowing – Zoom uses Jenny to tailor onboarding learning paths to each individual hire based on skill sets and industry knowledge. Jenny creates a safe place for newcomers – simulating actual selling conversations without the pressure of human-to-human interactions and building confidence in the process.

Gamified certification – Reps traditionally dread and despise certifications, so Michelle and her team used Jenny to run a “team-based competition” for product certification, that included sales managers. Each rep could pitch to Jenny as many times as he or she liked, and only the highest score would be counted in the competition. The team with the highest average score would be the winners. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Unlike with regular certification programs, the entire sales department was energized and engaged, as they cheered on team members and watched real-time statistics to measure themselves against other teams.

The Results Speak for Themselves

At the end of 2021, hundreds of Zoom sales reps met with Jenny, with 100% rep and manager participation. Each seller practiced on average 40 minutes with Jenny and the overall satisfaction with the sessions was 4.5 on a scale of 5. Today, 95% of Zoom users prefer Jenny over traditional methods like webcam recordings that they send to their managers for review. Jenny offers immediate, personalized and highly-insightful feedback on the spot – all without burdening experienced sales staff.

Zoom is Not Alone

Industry analysts have predicted that AI-powered sales tools will soon grab an increasing share of the traditional sales process solutions by beefing up their sales playbooks with AI-powered solutions. The reason? Sales organizations have accrued petabytes of data from digital sales systems – and are looking for ways to effectively leverage this treasure trove. Sales leaders realize that intuition-based selling is no longer sufficient, and that sellers need to adopt more data-driven approaches to the sales process. This includes teaching sales skills and critical thinking skills that empower reps to determine on-the-fly what content is resonating with buyers, and offering the right tools to match this.

The Bottom Line

Zoom realized that adopting an AI-powered sales enablement solution like Jenny would be a game-changer in the new playing field created by the pandemic. Zoom was so impressed with the results, it decided to invest in Second Nature’s latest funding round through its Zoom Apps Fund and has also expanded their relationship to provide Jenny to Zoom resellers. By embracing AI early in the creation of her team’s programs, the Zoom Sales team leaned into the future of prospecting, onboarding, training and certification. And the results, as Jenny can attest, were not long in coming.

Author

  • Ariel Hitron is co-founder and CEO of Second Nature, a company that enables simulated conversations with its AI-driven sales coaching technology to help onboard salespeople more quickly and blast through their KPIs.

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Ariel Hitron
Ariel Hitronhttps://secondnature.ai/
Ariel Hitron is co-founder and CEO of Second Nature, a company that enables simulated conversations with its AI-driven sales coaching technology to help onboard salespeople more quickly and blast through their KPIs.

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