Ariel Hitron, CEO at Second Nature, chats more about how AI-powered sales coaching platforms can enable better sales team development and growth in the long-term:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Ariel, tell us more about your journey through sales and what about sales is most inspiring for you?
My journey through sales started from the product side where I led product strategy and product marketing for various software products. I then moved into sales leadership roles where I oversaw global teams with dozens of reps. These are very different perspectives. While product marketing is focused on benefits and features, sales for me focuses on understanding people, uncovering their needs – sometimes needs they themselves have not fully considered. It also involves assessing the business implications of these needs and helping solve them. The moment of magic in sales happens for me in the conversations between buyers and sellers. It’s the conversation that makes the difference – forming a habit of having effective conversations is hard, and it takes much more than a data sheet.
We’d love to hear about the Second Nature platform and how the idea came about? What does the platform do to enable the sales experience for B2B teams?
When I first moved into sales, I was shocked at the disconnect between the sales playbooks built by product marketers and the successful sales conversations that were happening in the field. When I saw this, it gave me the idea to bring these two aspects closer together to have messaging better aligned with sales conversations, and helping sales professionals form habits through practice. I co-founded Second Nature with co-founder Alon Shalita, who brought his expertise in AI, to create Jenny, an AI-powered, real-time coach and practice partner. Her algorithms enable her to ask and answer questions in conversation – even ones that are not pre-scripted. This enables sales reps to develop their weakest areas without any outside judgment, and instead of spending hours doing training, sales managers can focus on motivating their teams.
Second Nature enables enterprises to accelerate new hires’ time-to-productivity, accelerate new product sales, and effectively adapt sales conversations in the field to a rapidly changing environment. It also allows for training to be driven by data based on the progress of sales rep training rather than on an ad hoc basis, which has been the traditional route taken by sales departments.
By using AI- and data driven-based sales training, enterprises experience training that is consistent, effective and efficient with sales reps fully engaged in their professional development.
Why is a better sales coaching process integral in today’s marketplace and what in your view should change about sales coaching models in B2B?
Throughout the pandemic, Second Nature has helped companies train thousands of sales reps working remotely. Even after the pandemic ends, however, companies are going to continue to have remote sales teams so they need to find an effective way to deliver training within this context. By doing this, organizations can tap into a broader talent pool, and have sales reps ready for the field no matter their location. It’s also important to have sales training that is engaging with certification programs that encourage participation. The idea of doing hours and hours of lectures, either in person or over Zoom, is not a prospect that excites anyone. Enterprises should consider certification programs that are highly interactive (for example, setting up training measurements that can foster competition among participants), and role playing that can simulate customer interactions so trainees have greater confidence when speaking to potential customers in the field.
For younger teams and startups who are onboarding sales people to drive overall growth, what are the initial steps they should be taking to make the onboarding and coaching experience more result oriented?
We typically recommend having a measurable plan in place for the first 30, 60 and 90 days. Typical metrics would include time-to-first meeting scheduled, time-to-first demo and of course time-to-first revenue. For people who are new to sales and in a younger demographic, it’s crucial to offer engaging training that they can do anywhere and can ramp up their confidence quickly. Second Nature fits like a glove into this type of strategy.
Can you share a few thoughts on some of the best sales coaching models you’ve come across in leading tech/B2B teams?
Practice and feedback makes for good habits. I think the key to having an effective sales coaching model is one that marries hard and soft skills – learning the nuts and bolts of product features and functionality, the market context, the competitive advantages, etc. and practicing the techniques for having effective conversations. To get sales trainees up to speed and deployed faster, they need to receive one-on-one attention to merge hard and soft skills into a single playbook, practicing conversations until their sales conversations become habitual. The organizations I’ve seen that are the most effective in coaching sales bring these two elements together, and then also have a structured and consistent method that is deeply embedded into existing processes and workflows.
Some last thoughts, takeaways, thoughts on salestech before we wrap up!
We’re living in the age of data – every call is captured and every sequence is analyzed. We should use this data to help us get better as professionals and use our time, our managers’ time, and our prospects’ time more effectively. Technology today can help us make sure we bring value in every call, and that we are hitting the phones (or getting on Zoom calls) when we are truly “conversation ready.”
Second Nature helps teams scale up sales coaching, the platform acts like a “virtual pitch partner” that uses conversational AI to have actual discussions with sales reps, score them, and help them improve on their own, so they can ace every sales call.
Ariel Hitron is the CEO and a co-founder of Second Nature, the AI-powered sales coaching solution that helps people have better conversations. He brings together his passion for both sales and product development, applying AI to help large B2B sales organizations scale up and systemize their sales coaching. He draws on his experience in both the field and behind the scenes, having run global sales teams, built playbooks and training sessions for sales, and developed and brought to market multiple software product lines used by millions of consumers.
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