Einstein Call Coaching

Einstein Call Coaching Dashboard

Salesforce has been teasing voice services since the last Dreamforce when they launched Einstein Voice Assistant which supports routine Salesforce CRM functions such as creating or updating customer records, getting personalized daily briefings, and exploring dashboards.  This year, they announced Einstein Call Coaching, Service Cloud Voice for transcription and AI-powered recommendation services, and Einstein Voice Skills.

Einstein Call Coaching is currently in pilot and should be generally available as a Sales Cloud High Velocity Sales (SEP) service in June.  Call Coaching utilizes natural language processing against call transcripts.  Managers view “insights and trends within conversational data.”  NLP tags keywords, alerts managers about spikes in competitor mentions, and monitors pricing discussions and objection handling.  Managers can then focus their coaching based upon individual rep needs.

“Companies with dynamic sales coaching programs see 28% higher win rates, unbelievable results.  And Einstein call coaching is your coach.  This is an AI feature that can process audio clips to serve up those key moments for this type of coaching,” said Sarah Patterson, SVP of Product Marketing.  

Being able to track keywords, discussion topics, and competitors should prove highly valuable for one-on-one and team coaching sessions and broader analytics.  Sales reps often fail to record competitor and objection details (or they are trapped in notes).  Even when custom fields are set up to capture these details, they are often weakly populated. Being able to track objections and competitor discussions provides improved coaching and product road mapping input.  This is far better than querying sales reps to be told that they lost on price or aren’t sure who won the deal.

Product tracking and objections also assist with gathering early intelligence following a product launch.  Are the sales reps balking at discussing the new offering, unable to handle objections for which they weren’t trained, or tripping on a missing feature that should have been included in the MVP?

“You launch a new product, but you have no idea whether your reps are actually comfortable selling it,” said Patterson.  “Well, now you are getting the insight you need to know if they are.  And if they’re not, you can lean in to guide them, to coach them, to help them.  More than this, you can even customize this to look for things that matter to your business.”

Call Coaching provides “management-level visibility into key moments during a sales call” allowing the coach to listen to those moments and how the rep handled them.  Those moments are then immediately available for one-on-one review or group coaching.

Call Coaching Insights include tabs for objection mentions, product mentions, talk / listen ratios, and custom topics.  For State Farm Insurance (the Dreamforce demo), this includes life events.

Call Coaching conversation trends help identify market shifts, opportunities for bundled offerings, and emerging competitors.

“73% of managers spend less than 5% of their time coaching their reps, and we wanted to make the most of that time. Einstein Call Coaching helps managers more effectively coach individuals, provides the ability to scale those learnings across teams and gain deeper insights into customer needs and experiences.”

Efrat Rapoport, Director of Product Management, Salesforce Sales Cloud

“Just like athletes can sit down with their coaches and look at video clips, now sales reps can sit down and listen to audio clips,” said Patterson.

Call Coaching also supports a library of best-practice call excerpts for new hire training and sales refreshers.


Tomorrow, I will discuss the other voice tools launched at Dreamforce.

What is Sales Engagement?

Over the past year, Sales Engagement has become the third pillar of my coverage (alongside Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS). So it is only fair that I write an overview of the space.

Sales Engagement began about four or five years ago as Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) with a focus on automating the SDR function. Its initial functionality consisted of a cadence tool which automated emails and outbound dialing for appointment setting. Cadences, also called sequences, are a set of scheduled steps that usually begin with an email but also include outbound calls, social steps (many vendors have integrated LinkedIn Sales Navigator via SNAP connectors), and direct mail.

Cadences can be paused if the prospect is out of office or halted if the prospect unsubscribes. Outreach just announced out of office functionality which pauses the call and checks whether an alternate contact is listed.
Functionality is similar to that of LeadGnome. Outreach noted that 18% of email responses are out of office emails. 25% of out of office emails include an alternate contact name with over half the names being manager titles or above.  The Out of Office reply detection extracts the return date and alternate names then pauses sequences until the prospect returns.  The sales rep is notified of automated actions.

Email is supported by targeted templates which can be personalized. Thus, reps can call cadences by function, level, industry, etc. and the associated templates are customized by target audience. Reps can view the emails prior to sending and personalize them. This helps bring authenticity to the email. SalesLoft estimates that the peak personalization level is 20%.

Most sales engagement solutions include a digital dialer for outbound calling. The system suggests the best time of day and adjusts for time zones. Other features include local dialing, call recording, and voice mail drops. Upon completion, the rep enters call disposition and sentiment information which is synched with the CRM.

Once calls are recorded, they are transcribed and indexed, allowing sales reps or managers to quickly review calls and quickly locate pain points, objections, pricing, and next steps. Vendors such as Outreach and SalesLoft are going a step further and analyzing the calls, providing a set of team reports. More broadly, machine learning tools are being applied against the calls to determine best sales practices.

Meeting Management is emerging as a key feature set. Some vendors offer simple Calendly-like scheduling while others provide full meeting transcription and analytics.

Video is becoming increasingly important. Vendors support both video meetings (e.g. Webex, Zoom, BlueJeans, JoinMe) and video attachments (e.g. Vidyard, Videolicious).

The Outreach Partner Directory offers ten categories of partners. Sales Intelligence and Data supports lead generation, intelligence, and management.

Other information and decisioning tools include leaderboards, dashboards, AI recommendations (e.g. who to call or email next), CRM synchronization, and A/B testing. Some of these tools are directly integrated into the service while others are available through app directories. Similar to the Salesforce AppExchange or Marketo LaunchPoint, functionality may be free, freemium, or premium. Likewise, you may need to separately license the partner solution prior to enabling the integration. Outreach and SalesLoft offer a broad set of app partners.

There are a broad set of Sales Intelligence partner services which feed leads or display lead intelligence within Sales Engagement platforms. Vendors include DiscoverOrg, Zoominfo, Datanyze, Owler, Crunchbase, and SalesIntel.io.

Sales Engagement platforms are evolving into a system of engagement that sits alongside CRMs (systems of record). There is already a shift taking place from CRMs to Sales Engagement platforms. While Sales Engagement platforms are not looking to displace CRMs, sales reps are increasingly shifting screen time from CRMs to Sales Engagement platforms with the Sales Engagement platforms syncing with the CRMs. This is one of the reasons that Salesforce.com recently launched its High Velocity Sales service which combines cadences, Salesforce Inbox, the Lightning Dialer, work queues, and Einstein. High Velocity Sales starts at $75 per user per month ($90 with outbound calling).

The Salesforce Lighting Dialer supports click-to-call, power dialing, inbound calling, voicemail drops, and call logging.

At the Salesforce World Tour in Boston this week, a sales rep told me that Salesforce is heavily investing in Sales Engagement and hopes to catch up to the market leaders in the next year (I think this is overly optimistic as the leaders are quickly building out functionality and partnerships). While Salesforce could catch up in a few years, I believe it is more likely that SFDC will acquire one of the leaders in the space followed quickly by Microsoft and Oracle acquisitions in the sector (of course, Microsoft or Oracle could be the first movers). Adobe, which recently acquired Marketo, may also be interested in expanding its presence in B2B sales and marketing applications.

The top vendors in the space are SalesLoft, Outreach, and InsideSales. Other vendors include ConnectLeader, Yesware, Toutapp (Marketo), Mixmax, and VanillaSoft.