SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Jody Kohner, Executive Vice President of Global Enablement at Salesforce

Jody Kohner, Executive Vice President of Global Enablement at Salesforce highlights more on how B2B tech marketers and B2B salespeople can benefit from the latest in AI:

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Welcome to this SalesTech Series chat, Jody, tell us about yourself and your role at Salesforce.

I’m the Executive Vice President of Global Enablement at Salesforce where I lead the learning function for our sales organization. In this role, I focus on helping our team members develop the skills they need to be successful. By establishing a culture of continuous learning, our organization can inspire customers to achieve great things with their business.

Today, traditional sales enablement is being redefined with the rise of AI-powered technologies. One of the key things I’m focused on today is helping our sellers, and ultimately our customers, understand how they can harness the power of AI tools in enablement programs to maximize efficiency within the flow of everyday work.

When it comes to the current trends and the state of automation today across industries, what are your top observations that come to mind?

AI is pushing every segment of every business to explore where automation can streamline processes and build efficiencies, and the sales function is no different. AI offers so much potential to overhaul the way that organizations train and educate their sales teams.

Over 60% of sales professionals believe generative AI capabilities can help them better serve their customers. Early adopters love that it can help with things like content creation but even more transformative use cases like automated sales reporting.

A uniform approach to sales enablement does not work for most businesses. You have to meet learners where they are, and what you offer should be tailored to fit the unique needs of each person. AI is making that a reality and reshaping how sales reps perceive enablement. What was once just a box to check can now function as a personalized learning journey to support them on their growth.

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Diving deeper: how are you seeing businesses today use AI-driven automation to impact their processes and goals: a few top takeaways from what you’ve observed in 2023?

An incredible 84% of salespeople using generative AI say the capabilities are helping increase sales at their organization by enhancing and speeding up customer interactions.

Companies are harnessing the power of AI and data to more effectively manage sales enablement programs in real time. By analyzing metrics like win rates, customer satisfaction, pipeline generation and ACV value, AI-powered enablement programs are delivering training sessions customized to help sellers understand the challenges specific to them.

This data-driven approach is a game-changer in the world of enablement, where it has been historically difficult to measure the value of programs in practice and gauge ROI. Organizations today can go beyond simply completing training modules and actively track how team members are applying their new learnings to drive real KPIs.

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When it comes to digital sales and sales enablement, how can businesses today boost impact using AI and automation, a few ways in which you’ve seen leading B2B tech brands do this?

While sales professionals that currently use generative AI are already experiencing the benefits of automation, peers in other departments, like marketing, are reporting even higher rates of AI adoption.

To truly succeed in the rapidly evolving AI-fueled world, organizations must consider integrating AI into their sales enablement processes. AI cannot replicate or replace the human connections that are critical to the sales function, but it certainly can supplement the efforts of sales teams at every level and further drive productivity.

AI can also deliver real-time enablement for perfecting sales pitches and customer follow-ups, while preserving valuable sales rep time and resources by assisting with the more administrative aspects of the sales function. This allows sales teams to dedicate their energy to high-priority items like understanding customer pain points, offering solutions and establishing trust.

When using AI tools today to scale output, what do you feel digital sales and marketing teams need to keep in mind?

It’s important to understand the hesitancies around AI adoption. Organizations are quickly realizing the transformative potential of AI tools, but it can be difficult for individual team members to understand these tools and gain the confidence to use them effectively.

Part of the process of deploying AI-driven technologies involves remedying the skills and trust gaps that are prevalent among sales team members. More than half of sales professionals say they don’t know how to get the most value out of generative AI in the workplace. Nearly 40% worry that they will lose their job if they don’t learn how to use generative AI.

In a survey of both sales and service professionals, two out of three respondents said their employer doesn’t provide them with generative AI training. Some 63% expect to have such learning opportunities offered to them by their employer. This presents an opportunity for companies to alleviate the concerns of their employees by training them on how to take advantage of powerful AI tools that can support their productivity and career development.

If you had to share a few AI trends that will lead the sales tech space in 2024 and beyond, what would you talk about?

Enablement is just one area within the broader sales function where AI technology is supporting team members. For the year ahead, organizations should be looking at how to insert AI into each step of the sales cycle from engagement to partner management to CPQ and billing.

As a sales enablement leader, I think this is a really exciting moment in time and opportunity to rethink not just how we approach learning with our sellers, but supporting them in their adoption of the use of AI. Our sales reps are the trusted AI advisors for our customers so it’s critical that they are confident in the use of AI tools and innovation themselves.

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Salesforce, the global CRM leader, empowers companies of every size and industry to connect with their customers through the power of AI + data + CRM.

Jody is the Executive Vice President of Global Enablement at Salesforce.

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