A recent report by Panopto found that “inefficient knowledge sharing” causes large businesses to lose $47 million per year. U.S. knowledge workers, the research found, waste 5.3 hours each week “waiting for vital information from their colleagues or working to recreate existing institutional knowledge” and that 42 percent of that “institutional knowledge” is specific to individual employees.
In sales, where communication must be fast but well-informed, and knowledge must be easily accessed on any device, capturing and sharing institutional knowledge among employees and between reps and customers is perhaps especially important.
In fact, according to Yuchun Lee, CEO and co-founder of Allego, “corporate learning and development professionals are seeing how modern learning principles are impacting sales and beginning to adopt them more broadly across the corporation.” Those principles include continuous and bite-sized learning and “content that’s easy to create, absorb and access on any device,” among others.
Allego just announced a $7.5 million investment led by General Catalyst to support these modern sales learning principles. While the company isn’t planning on using any of the new capital in the short term, Lee says, it’s hoping its new partner, General Catalyst, will help “evangelize the move towards modern learning.” Using Allego’s platform, employees “can share and access information and best practices from the field in the form of bite-sized videos … As a result, sales teams onboard reps faster, articulate value better, confidently deliver consistent messaging, rapidly adopt best practices, coach and practice more frequently, and collaborate broadly with peers and the home office.”
That collaboration, says Rich Nucci, co-founder and CEO of Guru, empowers sales and customer service reps “to have the best conversations with their customers that they can have, [from] the moment the prospects visit your website all the way through to the ongoing relationship that customer service teams have with their customers.”
Guru uses a browser extension to enable employees to access institutional knowledge at any time, even during conversations with customers in a CRM or customer service platform. New AI-powered features include a content suggestion feature and an analytics tool that enables managers to tie knowledge access with results such as average handle time for customer service reps and time to productivity for new sales reps.
Allego and Guru are just two of the companies that are using AI and other emerging technologies to improve conversations and learning – and, therefore, sales and customer satisfaction. “At the moment,” says Mika Kuikka, president and co-founder of Valamis Inc., “corporate training is evolving from traditional web and mobile channels to a full learning experience with AI support and multiple touch points.”
For example, MFS Investment Management, an Allego client, implemented a consistent messaging initiative using videos to help reps practice, and the percentage of learners who were able to earn a certification increased from 80 percent to 100 percent. And Intercom, a customer messaging platform provider, used Guru to reduce time to first response and the number of redundant questions employees were asking their internal subject matter experts.
The Future of Sales and Customer Support
“We’re in a pretty wild hype cycle with AI right now,” says Nucci, “and I think that it’s legitimate technology, and it’s absolutely transformational, but like everything in a hype cycle, it’s super important, I think, to focus on what’s really possible.” He sees the most promise in using AI to create a consistent, continuous customer journey in which sales and customer service are no longer conceptually compartmentalized.
“What if you knew all of the questions that your customer asked leading up to becoming a customer?” he asks. “What if you knew all of the information that sales had shared with them, so that your customer service team knows what was sold to them, knows what they cared about, knows what’s important to them? I think that’s the type of AI we’re going to see more and more of.”
Similarly, Lee says, Allego is looking at ways to further use machine learning to recommend content to reps “exactly when they need it.” Overall, though, he’s focused on “the spread of modern learning.” As technologies improve and sales and customer support become more strategic and customer-focused, knowledge-sharing and collaborative learning will become not just best practice, but common practice.