by Zeus Kerravala

Talkdesk leverages AI to improve inside sales

News Analysis
Nov 07, 2017
Artificial IntelligenceCRM SystemsEnterprise Applications

Talkdesk for Sales is an excellent example of how AI can be used to augment a workeru2019s skill set and make them more productive.

call center
Credit: Thinkstock

It seems like the use cases for artificial intelligence (AI) has exploded over the past few years.  I’ve seen many consumer examples like an AI writing news stories, playing poker and Go.  However, AI has yet to make a significant dent in the business world. 

Last week, Talkdesk announced it has integrated AI into its platform, but not for what one might think.  Given that Talkdesk is one of the leading cloud contact center vendors, one would expect it was using AI to make contact centers better — and it can do that — but this specific release is focused on inside sales.

“Talkdesk for Sales” uses AI to help inside sales people have more productive conversations with prospects. The product is currently in beta but will be on display at this week’s Salesforce Dreamforce.  Talkdesk for sales is built on the following AI-powered features.

  • Power dialing sets up a call queue that automates the dialing of the next number when a call fails or when the rep ends a call. The company claims this feature can increase talk time by 300 percent by reducing the amount of time spent dialing manually.  While I have no way of verifying this, it seems reasonable as power dialing has seen a similar impact with contact centers, equity analysts and other job functions that require repetitive dialing. 
  • Voicemail drop lets sales reps pick a pre-recorded voicemail to leave in a prospect’s voicemail instead of having to leave unique messages. The benefit of a pre-recorded message is that the company can be sure the messages are clear and all the appropriate information is included. 
  • Local presence is a feature that lets sales reps use local numbers. Prospects are much more likely to answer a call from a local number than an out of state or 800 number.
  • Callbar gives the reps click -to-call capabilities and integration into CRM systems and other applications
  • com integration enables omnichannel capabilities, desktop voice, native reporting and other automated features
  • SalesAssist uses AI and voice analytics to identify relevant points in conversations and provides the agent with the best possible responses in real time. For example, a sales rep for a particular company might be told by the prospect that they are currently using a competitive product.  The rep would then have one or more responses pop up on their screen.  This could include feature differentiation, price advantages or anything else that could help overcome a prospect’s opposition.  SalesAssist also includes the ability to transcribe calls and highlight important points such as a key competitor being mentioned.     
  • Call recording, as the name suggests, allows for calls to be recorded and then played back for monitoring, coaching and training.
  • Voice analytics uses AI to identify aspects of sales calls that lead to successes and failures. A manager of an inside sales team could use the insights generated to point out things that worked in a call and things that did not. The information can be aggregated and shared with the sales team to refine the sales process.
talkdesk Talkdesk

There are three pricing levels for Talkdesk for Sales.  Express is $25 per month per user for up to ten seats and includes basic call functions with email support.  Express can be thought of as an entry level package.  The Professional bundle is $85 per month per user and includes power dialer, voicemail drop, call recording, voice analytics, local presence, Salesforce integration and routing and basic routing.  Enterprise is $135 per month per user and incudes everything in Professional plus SLAs, APIs and other features specifically designed for large enterprises.

I know there is a lot of trepidation from workers regarding an AI taking their jobs.  Talkdesk for Sales is an excellent example of how AI can be used to augment a worker’s skill set and make them more productive.  This application will increase the number of calls and the percentage of conversations that lead to a sale.

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