sales enablement

What the Rise of Bots Means for Your Sales Enablement Team

Alex Yamamoto
May 12, 2016
Read Time: 7 mins

2016 has clearly been the year of the bot. The buzz has continued with Facebook’s recent announcement to open up its messenger platform for developers to build bots. It’s all everybody is talking about these days. But while most of the conversation is focused on its implications for consumer apps or the tech landscape as a whole, bots open up a world of opportunities for your enterprise SaaS teams as well. Salesforce and Zendesk immediately announced their plans to release new products that leverage messenger bot technology. So with this rise of bots in mind, how will it change the way your sales enablement team operates? And how can your team most effectively arm your client facing teams with the knowledge they need to do their jobs?

Siloed apps and experiences are dead

As the SaaS landscape continues to mature, clear leaders in product categories like CRM, marketing automation, ticketing tools, etc have emerged. Your client-facing teams spend a majority of their time in these destination apps. Your sales reps primarily live in Salesforce, your customer success team lives in Intercom, your support team lives in Zendesk. So, if you’re buying technologies that only provide value as a stand alone experience, don’t be surprised when adoption for these tools is low.

Why is that? It’s because more than ever, we expect apps to be native to our workflow. Your client-facing teams are workflow machines. They rely on their finely tuned workflows to maximize productivity. So if you’re buying a sales tool that forces them to leave your CRM, messaging client, and email client in order to use it, you are doing your reps a disservice. At the end of the day, your reps need products that help them solve for the jobs they have to do everyday. That means installing apps like Recurly directly into Salesforce to see the revenue spend of the customer directly in your CRM. Or programming a “/company” slash command in Slack that allows your sales team to prospect faster by instantly providing enriched data about a new signup or customer.

Kpop bot

These small wins quickly add up and increase the productivity of your team. The rise of open API’s, browser extensions, and chatbots all contribute to the realization that the success of many future SaaS products will depend on whether they can augment a user’s experience of these destination apps.

Messaging is the next destination platform in the enterprise

But, what has really facilitated the rise of bots in 2016 is the ubiquity of messaging, in particular Slack. On average, Slack users spend 2 hours and 20 minutes per weekday in Slack and the service now boasts over 2.7M daily active users. When you look at numbers like this one thing that is clear: Slack has now become a destination in the enterprise and will only continue to grow in influence. But it’s not without its problems that effect the productivity of your sales and support teams. Chief of which are the noisiness of Slack and the “instant response” culture it tends to create.

Think about your slack channels, or even your own personal messenger threads with friends. They are filled with noise. A thread started at 9 AM can quickly become out of sight, out of mind by lunch. How do you reduce the noise for your reps and enable them to easily find the information they need? How can your team capture the knowledge that gets created everyday in these organic conversations for reuse for the entire team's benefit?

In terms of the instant response problem, it isn’t just something your team experiences, but your customers are experiencing too. Live chat has become the leading contact source within the online channel, with 42% of customers indicating use of a live online chat feature vs. email (23%). The speed (and accuracy) of your responses are critical to ensuring your prospects and customers have valuable conversations with your team. But your reps still spend more than a third of their workweek just searching for information! How do you arm your reps and agents with the knowledge they need to respond to prospects and customers as quickly and effectively as possible?

Finding a Sales Enablement Solution That Lives Wherever Your Reps Work is the Answer

In the announcement of Zendesk’s Facebook Messenger bot, here’s what GM of messaging Royston Tay had to say about why they built it: “Today’s businesses must meet customers wherever they are and combine the personal touch of human interactions with the convenience of automated activities through bots.” We could not agree more.

The implications of this are that a modern sales enablement solution cannot survive as one static knowledge base portal. Your knowledge repository needs to live wherever your customers are coming in from: social media, your website, or in Facebook messenger so that your client-facing teams have one-click access to the information they need. Whether it's through integrations, browser extensions, mobile apps, chatbots, or a combination of all of these, your sales enablement solution must be flexible enough to adapt to the changing ways your customers communicate with your organization.

Here are some of the benefits you should see after implementing a modern sales enablement solution that lives wherever your reps work:

Faster sales cycles and response times

Our customer RJMetrics saw it take 37% less emails to get a prospect on the phone using Guru’s browser extension. Malwarebytes saw their time to first response improve by 34% since implementing Guru.

Decrease in onboarding ramp time

RJMetrics saw a 60% decrease in onboarding ramp time for new sales reps, while Fundera experienced a 67% reduction for new customer success reps.

Less shoulder taps for your subject matter experts, ensuring they are able to scale as your company grows

Shoulder taps graph

As the graphic above shows, for each new client-facing team member that joins your team, shoulder taps and one-off chat messages for your subject matter experts goes up in a linear fashion. Even worse, the same questions are getting asked of them over and over again as your Slack channels become noisier. And distracting experts is costing your company real money; a recent study shows that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover from an interruption! Our new Slack bot helps reduce these pesky shoulder taps by allowing subject matter experts to easily capture knowledge that gets created in these one-off Slack conversations. What results is knowledge that is now captured for the entire team to reuse.

All of your client facing teams staying consistent and on-message

Everyday, the lines between your sales, support, and customer success teams is blurring. In today’s SaaS environment, it’s becoming common for your customer success and support teams to engage prospects before they even interact with a sales rep! Thus, having one enablement solution across all your client-facing teams keeps all three teams aligned and will provide a consistent experience for your customers. Additionally, when each department has their own knowledge repository, your subject matter experts are forced to learn three separate workflows for each of those products and duplicate content in three separate destinations. Worse yet, some of that knowledge is probably applicable to all three departments, which means they also have to keep that content up-to-date in three different places. As your team continues to grow that won’t scale, which makes it increasingly important to find a single destination for knowledge that works across all of your client-facing teams.

New technologies and communication mediums are changing the way your sales and support teams interact with customers, making the job of sales enablement teams harder than ever. However, implementing a sales enablement solution that can surface knowledge to your client facing teams wherever they work will make your team's job that much easier.