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11 Secrets To A Successful Sales Meeting Unleashed

successful sales meeting

Do you run a productive and successful sales meeting everytime? If your answer is yes, then congratulations! You are one of the few sales professionals who have honed and mastered a skill crucial to selling effectively.

In most organizations, sales meetings waste a salesperson’s time and quite frankly, deliver very little value. While we appreciate that sales teams need to dedicate some of their time to meet their managers, if those meetings aren’t helping the bottom line, they are a waste of time.

A meeting that wastes a salesperson’s time is more likely to demotivate that person. On the other hand, if your sales meetings can deliver value, you will increase your team’s productivity. This is where meeting tools come in. A meeting tool like Aira has built-in analytics, from which you can draw insights into meeting performance. This article, however, is not about meeting tools, but simple behavioral adjustments that once implemented will shape how your salespeople view sales meetings. More on that below.


The secrets of running a successful sales meeting

1.     Limit your meeting to one agenda item

You can cover many issues in a meeting agenda. But time is money for salespeople so instead of addressing multiple issues, focus one crucial agenda item. Discussions centered around one area has several advantages:

  • You can dig deep into that issue or topic, and understand it
  • That item becomes the metric that matters for that week
  • Your team will remain focused on the subject discussed

2.     Send out the meeting agenda way before the meeting date

Do you want your salespeople to be well prepared for your meetings? If yes, make use of your AI meeting assistant to send out the agenda well ahead of time. Make your agenda items actionable.

3.     Keep time

keep time

Do you want your team to respect your meetings? Do you want to create a sense of urgency throughout the workweek? Then lead by example by sticking to your meeting timelines. Keep time, and you give your salespeople a template of how they should handle their customers’ time.

We also mentioned earlier that time is money. Keeping time tells your salespeople that you value their time.

4.     Keep your meetings to under one hour

Another important aspect of time is meeting length. 36% of meeting attendants lose attention when attending any meeting that lasts more than 45 minutes. So, to make the most out of your meeting session,

5.     Make meetings relevant and pertinent

People tend to drift during a meeting if they notice that the meeting items don’t concern them.

Let’s assume you have 4 salespeople, each representing a region. If you want to have productive discussions with them, schedule a meeting with each one. This might seem redundant but look at it this way: whenever someone is giving an update on their region, the other three are likely to check out of the meeting because that region does not affect their performance.

In addition, if there’s an issue that has to do with one person, follow up with that person after the meeting.

6.     Encourage discussion

Your salespeople, not you, are the ones facing customers. They are also the ones who have to deal with challenges in the field. So, they want you to hear them as much as you want them to listen to you.

Turn your meeting into a forum for discussion, where issues are tabled, discussed and action taken immediately.

7.     Updates do not warrant a meeting

We cannot stress this enough: meetings centered around updates have little to no value to a salesperson. Some things can be addressed on email. Learn to identify such matters so that you don’t hold unnecessary meetings.

8.     Recognize and reward performance

recognize and reward

There is nothing more motivating for a salesperson (besides the commissions of course), than recognition. Therefore, whenever you hold a meeting, recognize, congratulate and reward your top performers. The following happens when you reward salespeople regularly:

  • You set the pace for your salespeople every week. Everyone will try to hit their targets so that they can shine during the next meeting
  • The end result is that you are more likely to hit your monthly target by remaining focused week on week
  • Your meetings become something that salespeople look forward to attending

9.     Turn meetings into a performance improvement platform

As you hold more meetings, you will start to notice performance trends. Some of those trends may indicate areas that need improvement.

You don’t need to wait for your next training workshop to address key performance issues. Instead, use your sales meetings to deliver bite-sized training sessions that will help your teams to start changing their results immediately.

10.  Make your sales team feel like a part of the company

Since majority of salespeople spend most of their time in the field, one of the times they get to interact with the company is during meetings. Take it upon yourself to give them a positive experience during these rare moments. They should feel like insiders and know that their contribution is not only appreciated, but also shapes growth. In a word, offer motivation.

There are several ways to do this. For instance, have the company head attend a meeting and reward individuals by name. Or, do something as simple as offering refreshments during meetings.

11.  Agree on next steps

You expect your salespeople to leave their customers with clarity on what the next steps will be, right? The same should go for meetings. After every meeting, each person’s responsibility should be very clear. Send meeting notes and action items Immediately after the meeting. You can do this very easily with AIRA.


Conclusion

Yes, improving your sales meetings is as simple as implementing all or some of these 11 points. As you implement these tips,

  • Ask your team for feedback. A simple question like this will suffice, “Hey, how do you think today’s meeting went and what can we do to improve the next meeting?”
  • Use AIRA analytics to track meeting performance trends

That’s it! Happy meeting!

The Top 7 Online Meetings Etiquette and Best Practices to Follow

online meetings etiquette

Online meetings have become more commonplace as more people work from home. Offices are making a transition to the virtual world making video conferencing an integral part of the business environment. The rise of virtual meetings has been a slow but steady journey. They were at first vital to disparate team meetings as employees in multiple geographic locations began to share teams.

This movement has culminated in a global movement towards video conferencing as the global pandemic bites necessitating social distancing between workmates. Consequently, video conferencing platforms like Zoom are now home to over 200 million daily meetings. In late 2019, the platform had a low 10 million meetings.

New meeting tools that enhance productivity are also more readily available online. As an illustration, meeting tools like Aira can dial into an online meeting, take meeting notes, and transcribe all dialogue. Aira is an artificial intelligence-powered bot that frees meeting members from the arduous task of writing minute notes. She ensures that every member stays focused and productive.


The growth of online meetings

Over time, video conferencing might replace conference calls as businesses embrace the cost-effective benefit of virtual meetings. 78% of businesses today are using video conferencing for team meetings, while 58% of them hold these meetings daily. The need for video collaboration software is so high that 83% of large corporations are planning to purchase online meeting software for use.

Meetings can be very valuable when productive and effective. Nevertheless, for all their benefits, the productive virtual meeting is very elusive. It is of critical importance therefore that all stakeholders embrace the connections, technology, and the mix of video and audio to ensure consistency in productivity, as business transit to the online environment.

Below are some online meetings etiquette and best practices for employees and meeting leaders that want to make their online meetings as productive as possible.


1. A meeting leader should prepare for the meeting

meeting preparation

An advantage of working from home is that you are free to wear your softest jammies all day. You can attend your Zoom meeting without having to dress up for success, which makes social isolation more bearable. Your meeting will however not meet its objectives if you do not keep its organization as professional as possible.

A meeting that lacks purpose will fall on its face very fast. The meeting leader should, therefore, send a meeting invite beforehand to all participants and attach the agenda. Describe all expectations and have your meeting tools ready. If possible, talk to a technology expert to ensure that all meeting tools are primed and ready for the meeting.


2. Make a meeting schedule and stick to it.

There are a few things as annoying as sitting in an empty virtual room waiting for participants to show. It is not surprising that despite the fact, the online meetings are extremely mobile the tardiest of employees will often have a reason to jump into the meeting room late.

The meeting organizer needs to ensure that every virtual meeting starts promptly. Do not give room to distractions, repetition of discussed items after excuses of “my dog ate my modem”. Such distractions will only inconvenience and annoy the participants that show up on time. Follow the agenda instead and catch all the latecomers up after the call.


3. Minimize distractions

Online meeting participants are easy to distract because they lack the physical and visual stimuli that keep the traditional meeting members engaged. It is crucial therefore that all distractions are kept out of the virtual meeting room. Silence all phones, mute all the mics of inactive members and close all apps that are not in use. Make sure that no member interrupts the meeting flow or the speaker.


4. Begin with introductions

Let the host announce every meeting member to ensure that all participants feel at home with each other. Introductions increase the awareness of each other’s responsibilities and roles and are key to a smooth meeting.


5. Be professional

be professional

Since virtual meetings, environments are more relaxed than traditional meetings, some members may be too casual and forward in their words or tone of voice. All participants should maintain their professional appearance and posture to prevent distractions and embarrassment.


6. Keep the meeting engaging

All employees should learn interpersonal dynamics that stimulate collaboration in the absence of face-to-face meetings. Remember that over 55% of human communication is expressed as non-verbal cues. Encourage the participants, therefore, to use file transfer or chat tools for side questions and conversations.


7. Observe privacy for security

Ensure that your online meetings only have the participant that need to attend it. Make your meeting private to avoid unwelcome visitors and other security risks.


Conclusion

Considering the online meetings etiquette, the meeting leader should wrap up the meeting effectively and use meeting tools like Aira to send out meeting notes and arrangements or the next meeting,

The Top 5 Traits Of Applied Conversational AI

applied conversational ai

Conversational artificial intelligence technology is still in its fledgling stage, but its business applications are mind-blowing. More than any other form of robotics, chatbots, a form of conversational AI have crossed the Uncanny Valley becoming more human-like than ever.

The Uncanny Valley is a mysterious region that nestles between the synthetic and natural in robotics design. Here, machines, which seem poised to supplant humans, become unappealing and unacceptable as per their level of humanness.

The phenomena coined by Masahiro Mori in 1970, hypothesizes that people develop an emotional sense of discomfort and unease when they encounter robots with an extreme mechanical composition. People prefer human likeness in robots. Watch out though; get too close to perfectly human, and the emotional uncanny valley phenomena steps in. Humans perceive such robots as eerie and discomfiting.


Applied Conversational AIs are comfortably human

The debate about Masahiro Mori’s hypothesis is still raging on, and pundits believe that the bridge across this sentimental rift is made of bots with features that are indistinguishable from humans. Conversational AIs from hobbyists and legacy businesses are building this bridge perfectly.

As an illustration, a few years ago, employees had to put down their names on a schedule on a conference room wall when reserving their places for a meeting. The internet era came by and made scheduling much easier with the digital calendar, allowing meeting members to automatically reserve their seats from the comfort of their desks. Collaboration also became easier across all meeting participants.

Today, with conversational AIs like Aira, you do not need to open any application to pre-engage yourself in a meeting. Virtual meeting assistants like Aira will give you a quick wake up and inquire about your availability for a meeting on a particular Thursday afternoon. The AI will search your company’s database for meeting procedures and processes and share them with employees that require the data.

This technology saves meeting preparation time and energy increasing productivity, collaboration, and smoothens the workflow. The meeting companion Aira for instance can intelligently join your online conferencing meetings, write meeting notes, and transcribe the meeting dialogue for future use.

She will highlight all your key points and share these notes with your meeting members. She integrates with customer relationship management platforms via Zapier and can supply the analytics of your meetings for optimization. The best applied conversational AI have traits such as;


1. Truly conversational

Truly Conversational

Source

Intelligent dialogue is a vital component for any AI and machine-learning platform purposing to stay clear of the Uncanny Valley. Research in dialogue and its patterns is central to the new generation of AI agents. The day’s conversational AI can carry conversations with its users across a wide range of topics.

They can chat with users just as well as people talk to each other and are therefore easy to use an enjoyable as well. Consequently, you can use them for more than song requests or scheduling appointments. They have engaging and coherent responses, can reason, and understand some nuances in conversations.

For this reason, conversational AIs have become crucial to customer experience improvement. Data shows that over 64% of businesses use them to offer personalized customer experience. Close to 70% of chatbot users report positive experiences and half of all millennials that have not encountered conversational AIs, are yearning to use them.

Genuinely conversational AIs are a big hit with this generation of customers because unlike emails, SMS texts, or calls, chatbots can provide instant gratification, a feature that most millennials crave for in customer service. They would rather ask Google or Alexa to read them a manual than asking service personnel for guidance over the phone.

Millennials love chatbots also because they can engage with them in the casual chat tones that they prefer. Consequently, over 83% of consumers say that chatbots are ‘very helpful’ and would make them their primary channels of contacting support.

It is therefore clear that in the future, the customer will seek the services of conversational AIs more than any other customer service process. Some of the notable weaknesses of open domain conversational AIs are their low aptitudes of consistency, empathy, specificity, understanding, and knowledgeability.

Consequently, there is a wide chasm between an intelligent conversation with a bot and a chatbot question answering service. The best AIs are humanlike in conversation understanding user intent and answering questions without ambiguity.

They can use machine-learning technology to learn more about the user and store the information learned for future personalization or context purposes. The best conversational AIs for multinationals are not only deeply conversational but also multi-lingual.


2. Hybrid models

Hybrid models

Source

Have you ever wondered how chatbots work? Well, here is a compressed low-down on the history of the conversational AI and why the hybrid AI is the ideal conversational AI. The history of chatbot technology is decades old, with the 1950 Turing Test laying the first block laid towards the development of conversational AIs.

More than a decade later, ELIZA by MIT’s Joseph Weizenbaum came by, utilizing natural language processing features for speech capabilities. All that ELIZA had to do was substitute people’s words into scripts, and then feed the scripts back to people to hold a conversation.

One of the most outstanding chatbots of the past is Elbot, whose cheekiness, wit, and sarcasm in 2000 came to the fore via the use of artificial intelligence and natural language processing. Since then, conversational AIs like Mitsiku and IBM Watson has been born. Nonetheless, few of these chatbots have had more popularity than the hybrid Siri, Google Now, Alexa, Cortana, and Facebook Chatbots, that all came into the market in the last decade.

Conversational AIs in the past were either machine learning models or purely linguistic. Purely linguistic bots like ELIZA need human conversations to create speech, responses, and rules. Understanding human language is a complex task for machines because conversations have nuances and subtleties that are difficult to recreate artificially.

This is the reason why hybrid AIs utilizes artificial intelligence and machine as well to mimic human abilities. AI and machine learning conversational bots harness massive amounts of training data curated for their learning. A hybrid AI and linguistic bots use natural language processing, understanding, and generation to deliver not only personalized experiences but also apt pre-scripted responses.

These hybrid chatbots can utilize your back-end systems, data repositories, and third party databases to create responses. These AIs are therefore optimizable and will deliver the perfect personality and response as per your business’s objectives.


3. Cross-platform capability

Cross-platform capabilityCross-platform capability

The best conversational AIs should prioritize your business’s opportunities, goals, strategy, and vision. The AI should demonstrate value and minimize risk by working within your ecosystem. Data shows that by 2024, the conversational AI will redefine the user experience, becoming the new customer touchpoint in the place of the website.

The technology will operate over 50% of the customer touches augmenting it with speech, computer vision, augmented and virtual reality, and computer vision. These bots will infiltrate every aspect of day-to-day and business life. Consequently, these tools have to easily integrate with your existing business framework and any other future devices and technology.

By utilizing AIs that can integrate with your business systems, you will save your business the costs of adopting new systems for AI use. The technology in use should support all its users across devices seamlessly to increase user engagement and satisfaction. Intelligent meeting assistants like Aira for instance, integrate with customer relationship management platforms via Zapier.


4. Analytics and data ownership features

Analytics and data ownership features

Do you know that by 2020, over 70% of all white collars employees will be in constant contact with a conversational AI? In two years, between 75% to 90% of all customer queries will be in the hands of customer service chatbots.  Consequently, different business sectors like banking are utilizing chatbots like Widiba for customer service improvement.

Automotive businesses like Škoda, utilize Laura the AI to enhance the customer journey. The amount of data that these service bots can collect over time is unfathomable. The information that they collect is also invaluable for business.

The data collected by these bots can be analyzed for actionable business insights. Your conversational AI of choice should, therefore, offer data protection, ownership, and analytics as part of the package.


5. Enterprise-level AIs

Enterprise-level AIs

Too often business purchase technology devoid of enterprise features. Most open-source conversational AIs rarely have the needs of business enterprises in mind. As an illustration, you will not find any user role management features or version control in non-enterprise chatbots.

There are no collaboration options or development and integration tools. Like Aira that has a robust system of service upgrades for productivity enhancement, choose AI tools that offer control and other robust business options, plus a proven success model.


Conclusion

Some other very useful traits of the best AI tools include personalization for recommendations and accuracy and control to prevent misuse or abuse of tools. Use conversational AIs also that offer brand differentiation features, to enhance visual brand personality and identity. The best AI tools utilize proven technology and have real-life applications.

Top 7 Conventional A.I. Predictions for 2020

Conventional ai

Most enterprises use Conventional AI to build a reliable, engaging, and valuable customer relationship.

The edge cutting evolutional technology is actively gaining massive recognition in every industry since it presents most businesses with a vast potential for innovation and growth. The question is, how close is this invention to reality?
In this article, we shared some top trends of quality you and your team can watch out for in the year 2020 and beyond, with a reliable prediction, the technology has been one of the top rate inventions for a decade.

1. The gradual Advancement of Chatbots to most Conversational A.I. bots

The year 2020 is accompanied by remarkable transformations in the world of chatbots to the Conversant A.I. platforms. The usual engagement obtainable from chatbots is no longer fishable by most customers. Most Artificial intelligent conversation bot, when compared to most chatbots, is seen as a practical cognitive bot that can comprehend human sentiments and decode complex tasks.

The NLP abilities of the conversational A.I. create an enabling environment that supports a one-on-one conversation with your clients.

The NLP is built to understand and model human feelings. Most businesses out there gain satisfaction knowing that their clients are delighted.

The presence of an excellent promoter score makes the A.I. bot more reliable; to this effect, it is considered as a better option when compared to chatbots.


No-code and Low code Platforms

2. No-code and Low code Platforms

With the current conversation increase that has escalated from hundreds, thousands, and now in its millions has caused most establishments to look for suitable platforms to meet up with there ever-evolving conversational artificial intelligent needs.

Coding for this requirement can most times be very tedious.

No code/Low code platform appears to be suitable when addressing this issue. With a possible feature for different used cases, the platform can create their A.I. bots in a couple of seconds.

No-Code and Low Code platforms are created to enhance the effectiveness and agility of most businesses, and this has a strong potential for growth in the year 2020.


3. Digital Supporter for Business Enterprises

The world today has a simple rudiment that governs most employees of the twenty-first century; their strong affirmation for smart and quick outcomes, rather than conventional hard work.

Today, numerous activities limit performance in employees, and as a result, affect their level of productivity. Currently, they have a high demand for private assistants (Alexa) to carry out most of their works.

Mail searches, meeting management, task assignments, are some areas where most white-collar employees give in 30 -35% of their effort. The good news is, all of these listed activities can be performed using a virtual assistant.

Leena, Kora, Capacity, Adenin, AI, are some examples of virtual assistants that are dramatically changing the perspective of work in nearest future.


4. Personalization

Most Conversation Artificial intelligent bots invented in the year 2020 are built with highly personalized designs and with remarkable inbuilt contextual conversations that create human touch.

For instance, the bots are built to comprehend and remember the context of Conversation, user preference, and past dialogs.

Amazingly, they are also built to transfer the context to different Conversations to have a full comprehension of what occurred in the past, and what will happen in the future.

With its humans que; the bot understands a change in mood and provides the right and suitable response.


5. A.R. in Conversational Artificial Intelligence

The augmented reality A.I. is a unique technology that deals with engagement level and height. The technology is relatively new for web and mobile apps.

And most users are not used to its mode of operation. Its operation depends on the performance of the user and the stage they are in your buying cycle.

For instance, you want to buy a table and intend to know how it will fit in a bedroom or living room; the use of this technology will yield a perfect result.

The inbuilt cognitive abilities of the Conversational A.I. platform can serve as an online concierge to help customers when carrying out a purchase.


6. SMS 2.0: the RCS Messaging

SMS Channels is one of the significant platforms for publishing Conversational A.I. bots. Today, the Conventional SMS channel has been replaced with a Rich Communication Service (RCS).

Google messenger is designed with contemporary messaging features like typing indicators, reading receipts, transferring content like PDFs, images, video, and many more.

The future experience of RCS will be pretty similar to that of we-chat, Whatsapp, or iMessage. This time the software will have to work with the network on your cell-phone and not the regular internet.


Solution bots

7. Solution Bots

Most enterprises that contemplate the application of bots need speedy investment returns. The Plug-and-play bots are intelligently designed and properly trained with fast performances.

Most chatbot players now provide prepackaged bot that has an inbuilt store data that is trained and tested with specific domain terms and technical vocabularies.

The bot, if optimized properly, can help customers manage and actualize a faster time experience in a market place.


The App Fatigue, Convergence of different Apps

Normally, a user can have 75 -80 apps on a smartphone. Each app has its own sets of unique functions. This can take the form of a travel app, banking app, utility app, informative apps, and many more.

On the other hand, when these apps are used continuously for pinging and buzzing, the chances are that battery and data will be consumed, which can often lead to disillusionment and fatigue.

In the year 2020, we see the conversational bot incorporating different apps and becoming multipurpose.


Conclusion

2020 is indeed a swap from the usual human abilities to conversational bots. However, there are businesses out there that are yet to make up their minds and embrace this change.

So the question here is, what’s your predictions on the conversational A.I. bot? And how do you intend to implement it in your organization this year and beyond? Feel free to live your comments in the comment box below.