The Gross sales Enablement Bot I Constructed at HubSpot

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There are a lot of extra methods the gross sales enablement bot may help, plus some fastidiously hidden “Easter Eggs” for gross sales reps to find. You’ll additionally discover that we named the bot, “Ben Botton”. The title was prompt by a gross sales supervisor (in case you didn’t discover, it’s a play on my title, Ben Cotton), and whereas it’s enjoyable, what’s extra vital is the Ben Botton moniker makes the bot memorable, which in flip will increase adoption by gross sales reps. It’s straightforward to miss, however what you name and the way you model your bot issues. My recommendation is to consider carefully about this from the start, and keep away from making it an afterthought.

Background
Let’s now cowl intimately how, why and once I construct the bot. Right here’s goes. As a person contributor (IC) partnering with over 100 gross sales reps, I’m all the time eager about methods to successfully scale the companies I supply to the gross sales organisation. Scale is vastly vital (though, we shouldn’t chase scale on the expense of influence and income), and there’s two forces, specifically which preserve me focussed on it.

The primary is said to the enterprise and fairly apparent – as HubSpot grows we’re going to recruit an increasing number of gross sales reps – actually at a sooner price than we’ll make gross sales enablement hires. That’s to be anticipated. The much less apparent issue is said to my function, and the place I make investments my time. A considerable amount of my day will be spent answering gross sales rep questions. Now, don’t get me mistaken, I feel an vital a part of my function is partnering with gross sales reps, teaching them and the place wanted, answering questions, however the reply doesn’t essentially want to come back from a human. That’s the place bots, and extra typically, automation is available in.

Like many individuals I’ve been intrigued by the potential utility of bots for a protracted, very long time. Leveraging automation shouldn’t be solely fascinating, however vital – in any case, if a SaaS firm’s headcount progress exceeds income progress, it impacts its potential to put money into product, and if that occurs, issues can begin to go awry. The answer is to realize leverage through automation, and that’s a component bots will play.

Automating gross sales enablement
The way in which I see it, not all gross sales rep questions are created equal (removed from it). Actually, most questions I’m requested every day by gross sales reps will be break up into one among two classes:

  1. Advisor – low quantity, excessive worth questions that require a bespoke response.

  2. Agent – excessive quantity, low worth questions that require a templated response.

The consultant-type questions are when a gross sales rep needs recommendation, steerage or teaching. This can be a good use of my time, and the place potential, is the place I make investments it. Nonetheless, the agent-type questions, corresponding to suggesting case research, sharing aggressive intelligence, gross sales decks or hyperlinks to numerous assets nonetheless should be answered, however I feel a bot can and will assist lighten the load. Frankly, this work is much much less helpful, extra unskilled and extra tactical in nature.

As I’ve mentioned earlier than, there’s a major distinction between knowledge and perception. Bots are superb to show to when searching for to reply a transparent minimize query, however something that entails judgement, empathy or shades of gray is the place a human shall be required. Bots present knowledge and solutions to tell decision-making, however a human is required to distill that knowledge into actionable perception. Bot expertise will assist full easy duties shortly and effectively, however they received’t shut a deal or dream up a advertising and marketing marketing campaign. Knowledge is to data as perception is to knowledge.

Objectives of the bot
I had heard my HubSpot colleague Brian Bagdasarian discuss how bots ought to tackle “fragments of jobs”, quite than exchange them solely, and it actually resonated. I see the gross sales enablement bot as a manner for gross sales reps and gross sales enablement to grow to be extra productive in two vital methods:

  1. Assist gross sales reps get the reply to agent questions shortly.

  2. Cut back the amount of agent questions I get requested – releasing up time work on marketing consultant questions.

It’s all the time troublesome to set SMART targets for a brand new initiative corresponding to this, nevertheless, we set ourselves the aim of the bot answering 500+ gross sales reps questions monthly, which equates to 5 questions monthly, per gross sales rep.

Outcomes
It’s truthful to say we’ve been delighted with the outcomes. The bot solutions (properly) over 500 questions monthly from HubSpot gross sales reps in EMEA. Importantly, that’s 500+ questions that will have wanted to be answered by a human (both myself or a colleague).

Utilizing some again of a serviette math you’ll be able to start to quantify the influence and good thing about the bot. For instance, if every query a gross sales reps asks would take 5 minutes to answer (analysis means that the true quantity is 20+ minutes, particularly, when you issue within the time to regain focus and move), then you’ll be able to start to see how the efficiencies shortly add up.

Now don’t get me mistaken, I nonetheless do reply gross sales reps questions, however there’s been a major change in the kind of questions that bubble as much as me – gross sales reps now ask for suggestions, teaching and recommendation, quite than hyperlinks, gross sales decks and case research. Candidly, suggestions, teaching and recommendation are a lot increased worth actions and the precise place for me to speculate my time.

Not solely is the bot making me extra productive, however the bot is offering gross sales reps with solutions to their questions instantly. The bot is making me extra environment friendly and releasing up gross sales rep time, to allow them to give attention to doing what they do finest, which is excessive worth duties like talking and assembly with prospects.

What the bot can and might’t do
It’s truthful to say there’s a lot hype round bots in the mean time, however the actuality is people, from the Industrial Revolution onwards have systematically sought out methods to remove handbook duties through automation – and the rise of bots is simply the most recent incarnation of that pattern. In a gross sales and advertising and marketing context we should always think about bots an enabling expertise that may exchange elements of, quite than whole jobs. For the second, bots are a time saver, quite than true worth creator.

The bot that I constructed directs gross sales reps to the precise place. It really works by “signposting” gross sales reps to locations that reply their questions. Nonetheless, there’s heaps the bot doesn’t do. It’s in no way complete and positively doesn’t have each use or edge case coated, nevertheless it does reply nearly all of agent-type questions I’m requested. I’ve continued to iterate on the bot since its launch and plan so as to add extra performance sooner or later.

The long run
Wanting forward, I’d like to see the bot evolve from one thing that’s basically reactive to grow to be proactive and predictive. At present a gross sales reps inputs a query and it outputs a response. That is considerably rudimentary, and whereas it hints on the future energy of bots, it clearly has its limitations.

The following step is to leverage synthetic intelligence and machine studying in order that the bot can proactively make options. The long run bot received’t anticipate a gross sales reps to come back to it with a query or downside – as a substitute, the bot will proactively attain out with a suggestion. At a excessive degree, making the transfer from instruments that are reactive to these that are dynamic, proactive and study is how we’ll create extra worth for the gross sales organisation and enterprise.

I’m really enthusiastic about bots and the promise of this new expertise, however whereas there’s rather a lot to look ahead and concepts to be dreamt up, we have to realise that we’re nonetheless within the first act of bots and what’s potential. That is precisely what makes gross sales enablement thrilling and the rationale I work on this rising area – we get the chance to create a small a part of the longer term and take into consideration simply what is likely to be potential within the gross sales trade.

Ben Cotton

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