Sales enablement platform implements AI to help organizations close sales

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When trying to close a deal, sellers must do many different things. Sometimes it’s the things they don’t do, or don’t do well, that make the difference between making a sale or missing their quota.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technologies and services to help sellers gain advantages is nothing new. Customer relationship management (CRM) giant Salesforce uses AI to provide optimization. Sales automation platforms like Revenue Grid and Salesloft use AI to help automate workflow. Startups like Regie use it to help with sales and marketing content.

Well-funded sales enablement platform Gong has been developing its technology using a variety of techniques, including natural language processing (NLP), to help organizations make sense of sales conversations. In June, the company announced its Economic Pulse feature, which helps sellers better understand the status of transactions. While those capabilities are valuable, so is being able to take action that will actually influence the outcome of a sales process.

Today, Gong is taking its AI-powered platform to the next level with the launch of its new Gong Assist feature. Gong Assist will help direct organizations towards the best possible steps to close a deal.

“Assist actually looks at your offers and sees what the customer said, or didn’t say, comes up with recommendations and actually automates those actions for you,” Amit Bendov, Gong’s CEO, told VentureBeat.

The difference between CRM and revenue enablement is AI

For decades, the CRM platform was the repository and primary tool for sales professionals, helping to keep track of contacts and leads.

In Bendov’s view, the challenge with traditional CRM systems is that they depend on users actually entering the correct information to be valuable. That includes not just a potential customer’s contact information, but also the details of a sales call or email exchange.

“If you think about it, in an average conversation you’ll exchange 6,000 words and what you end up in your CRM from that conversation is about 30, and that’s a problem,” Bendov said. “The second problem is that what’s in CRM is very subjective and is based on what sales reps think they’ve heard, or their opinions, and that’s subjective and inaccurate.”

By implementing NLP to understand what is being said in voice calls, video conference briefings, and emails, Gong is using AI to provide more information to the sales process than a human probably ever could. Bendov explained that Gong’s data science team has trained machine learning (ML) on sales interactions to create AI models that can accurately summarize content, and now also infer and suggest next steps.

Changing the future of sales

To date, Gong’s system has offered capabilities to help an organization understand the trajectory of a deal and the likelihood of it closing. With Assist, Gong gives its users new tools to influence the future.

“What’s more interesting than predicting the future is actually changing the future,” Bendov said.

Based on the ML training Gong has done on his customer base, his AI model can infer best practices to enable a deal to close. For example, the Gong Assist system may recommend that a user send a follow-up email to a potential customer at a certain time of day. Going a step further, Gong’s AI can also compose the content of the follow-up email.

ML training is based on anonymous data aggregated in Gong’s user base, as well as ML training on data within a specific Gong customer’s account. Bendov said much of the Gong system uses a self-monitoring ML model that doesn’t require users to do their own training or data labeling.

Bendov said the new Gong Assist feature is all about helping organizations manage existing customer deals, reduce churn, and increase win rate. Looking ahead, he said that in 2023 Gong will expand Assist to help organizations with prospecting to find new customers.

“We are coming up with a system that can more precisely search and create specific messages for specific people at the right time, based on [an] understanding of what message will really resonate,” Bendov said.

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