Increasing Seller Performance to Outperform in 2021

It’s the most wonderful time of the year where the holidays are upon us and sales leaders are planning their revenue attainment strategies and the enablement tools to help sales hit their 2021 goals.

There are literally thousands of sales enablement tools designed to help salespeople be more effective. With the impact of the Pandemic, priorities have shifted on many fronts. Communications and sales team training continues to be a major part of enablement strategies. There are many ways to deliver training; the traditional class room setting where it is hard to get adoption and measure outcomes. Microlearning is quickly becoming the number one choice for company’s because it is deemed the most effective form of training and retention rates are 17% more effective than other training approaches.1 This coupled with real-time communications will help sales teams achieve best-in-class in 2021 and beyond.

The Gig Economy Group has applied AI to translate microlearning that delivers short 5-10-minute practice sessions in bite-sized modules via mobile devices. It includes real-time recommendations for what’s next. It’s designed for quick, just-in-time learning. If a rep needs to learn their company’s best practices for competing against a competitor, microlearning can help develop the skills that top-tier performers use to convert, so they are armed and prepared before a call.

These rapid sales team trainings come with the added benefit of greatly reduced development costs and greatly increased speed of development and deployment. Those companies whose microlearning platforms allow for an easy way to create, update, and deploy microlearning modules without IT are the ones that will win big in microlearning.

If your sales organization is looking to achieve top-tier performance in 2021, the Gig Economy Group is pleased to introduce its AI guided team coaching platform where you can choose from a library of preconfigured microlearning modules called PlayStreams™ or you can create your own sales training modules with our powerful PlayStream™ Configurator App. No longer do you need to spend weeks to develop a “Playbook.” There is no need for IT involvement as the Configurator App is simple and it’s easy to create, update, and deploy targeted, custom PlayStreams™.

It would be our pleasure to demonstrate the capabilities of our microlearning platform so you can see the power of PlayStreams™ and the ease with which you can quickly create targeted, just-in-time performance modules to help your sales teams to not only hit the road running, but to exceed their revenue goals in 2021.

Our experienced team is comprised of leaders who have delivered sales transformation projects that delivers best-in-class performance. The Gig Economy Group’s Digital Engagement Frameworks starts with an assessment with small steps to big impact.

We would love to learn more about your efforts and share some experiences that have delivered adoption of new practices that lifted sales teams to top-tier performance. From the entire Gig Economy Group, we wish you the very best this holiday season.

Best regards,

Dave Toole, CEO
The Gig Economy Group


The Value of PlayStreams™ – Targeted Sales Training Apps

The value of these PlayStreams™ are seen in the substantial lift in sales performance* that sellers gain once they have practiced how to message and engage with buyers.

For those of us in sales leadership roles, we know the minefields where new or inexperienced sellers get caught—or blown out of the water on a deal. For this, we are offering three of our best-performing PlayStreams™ to select sales leaders on a limited basis. They are Cross-sell/Up-sell, Win/Win, and Defining Your Perfect Prospect Profile. Download Now!

Here are use cases for each of the PlayStreams™.

Cross-sell/Up-sell. Sr. management mandates that salespeople cross-sell and up-sell; they want sellers to penetrate new accounts with their latest products. However, reps are comfortable selling existing products to existing customers—the easiest sale.

This PlayStream™ describes how AI-enabled technologies can help sellers become confident and competent at this aspect of selling. It provides real-world examples, such as how AI-opportunity scoring can help sellers focus on the best opportunities in their pipeline; rather than those they want to pursue.

Win/Win. Win/win is the basis of long-term relationships where repeat business and referrals from the buyer can be the norm.

This PlayStream™ shows how to create win/win relationships in today’s sales environment that is heavily buyer focused. It describes the implications of lose/lose, I win/you lose, I lose/you win.

Defining Your Perfect Prospect Profile. Sellers who work deals through the entire sales process only to find they have lost the deal often times have not defined, understood, or used their perfect prospect profile.

This PlayStream™ describes the concepts around defining your perfect prospect, why it’s important, and includes a workshop for the team to define their perfect prospect profile.

2021 is upon us! Now is the time to plan and begin executing to hit our revenue targets next year.

Click here to download our PlayStreams™ and start realizing the benefits now!

Contact Dave Toole, CEO of The Gig Economy Group to learn more about our PlayStreams™ and how we can help your sales organization in 2021.


* A Gig Economy Group customer with 70,000 reps improved the 1st dollar sold by new sellers by 250k% using PlayStreams™.

Jump Start 2021 with Actionable, Targeted Sales Training Apps

In the last couple of emails from the Gig Economy Group, we introduced our PlayStreams™ for sales professionals.

PlayStreams™ are apps designed for the iPhone and Android to help sellers learn new sales training concepts, practice these concepts with prospects and customers, and ultimately have these practices ingrained as new selling behaviors. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Managers communicate the new learning – sellers will need to practice the training to become proficient.

Step 2: Managers engage the entire sales team in practicing the new selling behaviors.

Step 3: Practicing will result in new behaviors that will become second nature to sellers.

Step 4: Measuring results are an integral part of the PlayStreams™ app.

Step 5: The PlayStreams™ Recommendation Engine will recommend the very best next steps a seller can take to not only learn the concept but to close more business quickly.

Click here to download our PlayStreams™ to see how these apps can benefit your sales team.

Best regards,

Dave Toole, CEO
The Gig Economy Group


2021 Is Here! Is Your Sales Team Ready?

Now is the time for senior management to plan new strategic initiatives to hit their 2021 revenue goals. The tactics are clear. Provide sellers with the messaging, content, and training needed to hit the company’s revenue targets. However, this is simply not enough. Sellers must attain the competencies and confidence to execute upon these new initiatives.

Upsell Example. Management knows that to hit their targets, sales needs to sell the newer, more expensive widget. It’s not negotiable. Sales must sell it. But sellers aren’t comfortable selling the new widget and they are certain they can hit their quota selling the older, less expensive widget.

So, how do sales leaders go about helping their sales teams to not only be proficient in selling the new widget, but to be so competent selling it that the old widget becomes a product of the past?

Answer: PlayStreams™ from the Gig Economy Group. PlayStreams™ are AI-driven, mobile-enabled apps designed to deliver salient messaging, content, and targeted micro-training to sellers so they can successfully execute their company’s initiatives. Salespeople can practice how to message and engage with buyers so they gain the proficiencies needed to confidently sell the company’s strategic initiatives.

The Gig Economy Group’s Up-sell/Cross-Sell PlayStream™ is the solution to management’s upsell problem. It shows sellers exactly how to engage buyers so they purchase their new, more expensive widget. The app delivers easy-to-use, relevant, mobile messaging and content with micro-training to ensure salespeople are fully equipped to execute on the new strategy and ultimately close deals.

The Gig Economy Group has worked with 1000s of sales teams to improve sales performance. Most notably is where they improved the 1st dollar sold by new sellers by 250k% using its AI-driven, mobile-enabled Adaptive Sales as a Service Platform. The results speak for themselves.


Now is the time.


Not tomorrow.

Click here for an engaging presentation on how the Gig Economy Group can make a significant impact on your company’s bottom line. At the end, download our mobile PlayStreams™ on Cross-sell/Up-sell, Win/Win, and Defining Your Perfect Prospect Profile.


Kim Cameron

Sales Enablement Analyst

The Gig Economy Group


Sales Enablement’s Top Priorities

As stated in our last email, communications and messaging are the most critical aspects of any successful sales transformation initiatives. Our experts at the Gig Economy Group are not the only ones to know the significance of this. We reached out to our research partner, Sales Mastery to see what their latest study of over 500 B2B sales professionals said their top sales enablement priorities were.

The following chart from Sales Mastery shows that the number one priority for sales professionals for the remainder of this year and into next is to optimize their value messaging.


This is not a surprise because communication and messaging are the cornerstones of any prosperous business. It is how employees and management interact with each other to reach strategic organizational goals.

There are many aspects of communications to look at; however, we’ll focus on two major challenges associated with poor or misaligned communications and messaging.

First are the extraordinary costs. In our last email, we stated the cumulative cost per employee per worker was $26,041 as a direct result of communications barriers. To further illustrate the high cost of communication misalignment, when looking across enterprise B2B companies with approximately 100,000 employees we were astonished to find that $62.4M is lost to the bottom line. 1 This equals $624.00 per employee. A mid-size company with approximately 100 employees will lose about $500K to the bottom line. This equal $5000.00 per employee. All of these numbers are incredibly astonishing!

Second is the missed opportunity when rolling out new strategic sales transformation initiatives. Management has spent an inordinate amount of time and resources to determine which sales transformation projects will put them ahead of the competition or keep their current competitive advantage. Communications and messaging are at the forefront of sales transformation initiatives—whether it’s training the sales force, developing new products and services, or investing in new infrastructure—each aspect of a sales transformation initiative needs an effective communication plan in place where each employee understands their unique role and how to execute upon it.

We look forward to sharing more information with you around communications and messaging.

If you are interested in exploring how to bring speed into your transformation and seeing how other companies have successfully implemented strategic sales transformation initiatives, and as a result have increased their bottom line, I invite you to reach out to me to schedule a 30-minute overview.



Content Marketing & Sales Attribution In the Smart Economy

You don’t need AI to better understand the basic information about the state of your business. However, AI tools help extend the ability to analyze that data for hidden patterns and opportunity to improve. Simply knowing how many new contacts were engaged by your sales team, how many calls and messages were shared with customers, and the current interest level among customers for each of your products is available expands management’s ability to exert control over costs and conversions.

That’s why we built these practical data points into the dashboard in the Gig Economy Group platform:

  • Number of contacts added across the network;
  • Number of distributor logins;
  • Number of distributor meetings scheduled;
  • Number of shopping carts shared;
  • Media assets viewed;
  • and more.

Sales attribution is the foundation of a well-run funnel and business. Counting up the cost and results of a sales campaign, its supporting marketing collateral and social distribution costs, to arrive at an understanding of how each dollar spent, as well as every action taken by the sales team, is the basis of a well-run business. In the world of machine learning and smart platforms, this data is the raw material used to optimize messaging and conversion, but direct-sales managers can view this numeric data themselves to see into and tune their funnel for improved results without AI assistance.

The GEG Dashboard delivers valuable human-readable metrics that sales managers and marketers can act on daily. (Sample data based on GEG app testing.)

Sales data is the meat and potatoes, machine learning is the gravy. You’ll want more gravy. We serve more meat and potatoes, too, frim the first day the system is launched.

Imagine starting the week knowing that new contacts are down by 5 percent or 10 percent or that scheduled meetings are up by 6 percent provides managers a starting point for actions to improve closing rates. Management can take action and immediately see if key activities change in the dashboard.

Real numbers

Using real-time sales activity data, a company can adjust production and inventory to lower costs in response to projected demand. This practical application of the data generated by well-defined sales processes developed at the outset of an AI project can be applied to a variety of ordinary human business tasks from Day One.

AI will improve recommendations — our initial customer data suggests overall conversion rates can be increased by 5 percent to 10 percent within weeks.

How much did a single content asset, such as a product video, was viewed by prospects? The question can be answered without AI assistance. Managers can see the results for a single asset, and how it contributed to conversion rates to the next step in the sales process, deciding whether the asset has performed to expectations. These data views support constant improvement in content development.

Where does the AI fit in? It uses the same data, examining correlations between messages, media, and engagement frequency, along with customer feedback (are they more or less interested in a product after viewing a video, for example) to propagate the messages and media that work best. Human managers will need to track the sales context in which each media asset is shared to ensure both human sales reps and the AI remain focused on the customer’s needs and personalize for the individual. Tools will help sustain a meaningful context as distributors and customers’ expectations change.

AI coaches your distributors’ creativity with personalized guidance that helps them adjust each presentation for the person sitting across the table. AI is an additional tool that coaches the distributor while management receives insights that allow better content investments.

Smart coaching

Ultimately, it is the manager’s responsibility to improve sales performance. The process begins by articulating every step of the sales process to understand which resources contribute most to closing a sale.

The data displayed in the GEG dashboard delivers more insight into the direct-selling process that can be used for daily decision-making. If, for instance, the field or an individual distributor are not making enough calls, sales managers can drill into the dashboard to understand how to coach the field for improved results. The AI features of the GEG platform help the field to personalize the messaging and presentation of data, yet it is the distributor who is the soft interface with the customer that captures the most important feedback to customer experience magic.

The combination of human insight and long-term machine-learning analysis of trends creates conversion lift. Alibaba, the Chinese online retail shopping behemoth, has found that personalization of its offers on its Singles’ Day — the equivalent of’s Prime Day — led to a 20 percent higher conversion rate compared to generic offers. In direct sales, management coaching can be blended with AI guidance to give the distributor better insight into the what will move the customer.

AI is ubiquitous and the most effective forms are delivering behind-the-scenes improvements that improve the customer experience. Using raw data and AI suggestions, sales and marketing teams have unprecedented access into the conversion impact of every asset and every rep. It’s a new era for sales accountability, one that starts every morning with a quick view of the state of conversion events in your sales network.

GEG surfaces important data is easy to understand and use in real-time, even before the AI gets to work. Do you have that information at your fingertips today? If not, we’d like to show you what GEG can do.



Do Not Fear Change: Customers Will Lead You To The Promised Land

Fear of change. Discomfort over breaking old habits. Reluctance to question what your company takes for granted. These barriers to change will kill a generation of companies as artificial intelligence enables salespeople who use mobile tools to deliver a personalized customer experience that connects brands to people in long-term trusted relationships.

We’ve all heard that no company can monopolize talent, so where can your organization turn for answers about sales and marketing strategy in a time of rapid and revolutionary change? Ask your customers. They know what they want. At a minimum, they know what they like and will explain how your company can satisfy their needs.

Tap into customer interest and intention with a smart content platform that reshapes sales messaging based on individual feedback. Based on early experience with our tools, analyzing and targeting content using customer feedback can make a sales rep as much as 44 percent more productive over their career with an organization.

Clayton Christensen, the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, points out that 94 percent of corporate executives polled in 2016 were dissatisfied with their companies’ innovation performance because their marketing teams focus on identifying correlations in data instead of deepening their understanding of individual customers. By listening to customers’ feedback about their progress toward personal or professional goals, Christensen argues, the customer journey will be transformed from a trendline in data into specific related actions toward the customer’s success. The process requires interaction with customer’s needs and must reach into the circumstances in which they are making a purchase decision.

Detailed personal feedback can be applied throughout an organization to tune more than the sales pipeline, it can be used to recast the supply-chain, fulfillment processes, product designs, and the brand’s market interface, where discovery and selling take place.

The Sears gap

But fear gets in the way. Executives fall back on what has worked in the past. They resist training others to try new processes because they don’t want to change their daily management tasks. Too often, they wait until their company is mortally wounded before breaking out of established practices.

Sears, the Amazon of the horse-drawn era, stumbled along without successfully engaging its customers for decades before it went bankrupt this week. If Sears had been listening, its customers would have told the company how they wanted to interact with the “everything store” and what products they would buy. Fear, in the end, prevented Sears from turning around, even when a billionaire-savior CEO took over.

“While we have made progress,” Sears CEO Eddie Lampert told CNN,” the plan has yet to deliver the results we have desired.” What’s missing from that statement? The customer’s desire. If Sears had had a structured listening program in place that bridged its online, retail, and service centers, it may have learned what customers would buy and why. However, Sears focussed on its needs instead of its customers’ desires. That is what killed the company that connected mainstream consumers to mass-produced goods.

Ironically, Sears knew better 110 years ago. “We solicit honest criticism more than orders,” the 1908 Sears Catalog proclaimed. Why did it fail to keep listening? It did not move with its customers into new product segments while continuing largely impersonal, but inexpensive, retail practices.

Breaking out of your comfort zone

Listening is more than recording customer feedback. It requires intimate social and data science skills across many teams.  A personalized experience is lean, it is built by carving away non-relevant messages to get to exactly what the customer wants, why they want it, and what they are willing to spend. Personal feedback from customers must be applied to every interaction to eliminate unneeded information from brand messaging.

As companies build larger content libraries, they must not be tempted to flood the customer with information.  Internet-based e-commerce allowed marketers and sales teams became more focused on having plenty of collateral materials, which often stands in for personal interaction because it is comprehensive. If you can answer every customer question with a document or short video, why talk with and record the motives of a customer? With the rise of mobile technology and machine learning platforms that can process individual interaction data to help salespeople refine their message, the content library will continue to play an important part, but it will be broken down into smaller pieces and recombined to answer questions with a personal touch.

Artificial intelligence, which has been adopted by 47 percent of advertisers to target advertising content; 42 percent of respondents to the same eConsultancy survey reported using AI to generate dynamic creative content — combining different assets to make more personalized messages for customers.

A GEG action card delivers personalized media recommendations during sales calls.

Get out in front of demand

Unlike Sears, successful sales leaders tap into an almost infinite source of feedback from customers. A smart content platform uses feedback to coach a salesperson to ask more questions of customers during calls to refine the next engagement, too. Marketers are able to test content with test audiences on the fly before presenting it to all customers. A smart platform can alert sales management to changes in the expected response to each message, allowing for rapid identification of market changes. All these interactions are funneled through mobile apps, but only a salesperson can ask the spontaneous question that catalyzes buying intentions. By programming an initial set of sales steps, companies can monitor, target, and recast smaller content investments to serve more personalized interaction.

For instance, the Gig Econ0my Group (GEG) platform can track a series of messages between a sales rep and her customers, suggesting new content to share in response to a prospect’s expressed interests. GEG’s action card interface, which presents the “What’s Next” step to the salesperson after each interaction, can suggest a video or other asset to share with a customer based on: 1.) A change in interest level; 2.) An answer to a scripted question, such as “What are your goals with my product?”; 3.) Changes in messaging content and tone, which can spawn a response to an objection that includes a personalized video. These are only a few of the simple triggers an AI platform should be able to generate from an existing sales process.

Sears failed to invest in its future so many times that no business book will successfully capture its failure. (We recommend Audible CEO Don Katz’s The Big Store for a look at how, once, Sears managed to roar back.) Don’t let the fear of change prevent your company from investigating how to change for greater profitability. There’s a reason some companies survive through all ups and downs: A solid customer relationship that allows forward-looking brands to evolve with their customer’s needs.

If artificial intelligence sounds intimidating, don’t wait to find out what falling behind an AI-supported competitor feels like. A solid AI platform will take your existing sales process and optimize it. As it learns, you will learn more about how to leverage the insights generated by customer feedback. If you are afraid of the implications of AI, give us a call. We’ll do more than listen.


How Well-Documented Sales Processes Spur Sales Creativity

The best trapeze acts work without a net, and the results can ocassionally be disastrous when plans go wrong. Brands cannot assume their sales teams can work without a net, on pure intuition instead of using a well-documented sales process, without inviting the inevitable disastrous outcomes that result from poor planning. As the economy shifts to on-demand work arrangements, it is more important than ever to give staff a sales roadmap so that they can apply their experience within the brand experience to create even better outcomes.

New distributors need a sales roadmap, even if they plan to find their own shortcuts to success. In the fast-changing, high-churn economy in which sales organizations exist today, every step in the customer’s sales experience should be scripted in order to free salespeople to innovate smartly to deliver personalized experience. That does not mean that every action a sales rep takes should follow the script, rather the script is the grounding that gives smart salespeople the ability to improvise. Direct-selling compounds the consequences of poor planning because distributors often mix multiple jobs to earn a higher income.

“We don’t want to tell our sales reps what to do” are the most dangerous words in sales management. It’s a declaration of surrender to failure. A company without well-documented processes has abandoned its ability to learn and respond to the market. Now that content management systems can be linked to machine intelligence to track sales activity, even in individual customer interactions, a well documented sales process can improve rapidly based on customer feedback. As each distributor tries variations in language and order in which content is presented, the machine learner assesses the results and encourages or discourages that behavior based on sales results.

Change — a constant evolution of marketing messaging, sales process, and customer engagement is essential to achieving personalized experience — is the only constant in business today. Without a documented starting point, companies cannot learn how to improve from the responses customers provide to their collateral, their key sales propositions, and their marketing messages to create more personalized customer experience. The benefits of personalization are clear. It produces higher customer retention, increases conversion rates by more than 400 percent, and drives customer recommendation sharing.

A smart content platform, which blends content management and delivery with machine learning that tracks sales representatives’ experiments with different messages, can automatically test the changes that create improvements. Moreover, AI can spot messaging that fails to engage and cull content to coach salespeople to use new content that performs effectively. But none of these benefits are available without the baseline of a sales plan, against which new results must be compared.

Distributor retention grows on solid selling process

Documenting the sales process is first and foremost an investment in onboarding success. It provides talented teams the confidence to improve every step of the customer engagement. New employees consistently identify the need for clear guidance during onboarding and in daily sales activities. Without that guidance, new distributors are more likely to struggle when closing their first sales and to leave the organization before contributing to the company’s profitability.

Steven W. Martin of the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, describes top sales professionals as firmly anchored in their company’s customer interaction strategy. It allows them to “tailor … sales pitch[es] to the customer’s needs” and creating emotional connections with the customer. Marin also points out that the structure of a customer experience allows top-performing salespeople to challenge the customer’s assumptions confidently. These intimate moments happen only in the context of a strong sales engagement, but they can be pivotal to getting a deal closed because the basis for honest feedback flows both ways.

A salesperson working within a known structure knows when to step outside the script. That is the human skill for which you are paying salespeople. When augmented by machine intelligence, a rep can quickly reshape a presentation or make a new offer based on customer feedback — data analysis delivers coaching the distributor in real-time and, as they innovate on the plan, captures the changing customer response to understand whether the improvisation by the seller is effective.

Brands that fail to inculcate their basic values and messaging strategy with distributors during the early steps in their career with the company squander shareholder resources.

If your sales leadership insists that the salesforce doesn’t need a plan, challenge them to provide data that supports their argument. You may surprise those managers by asking, and you will likely not receive a quantitative answer to the question. Intuition is untestable without a documented process against which progress can be measured.

Do not let your brand grope blindly for success without plan-based metrics that allow your team to adjust quickly to changing customer sentiment. Ensure that your marketing department has the data to act on by selecting key conversion events in the sales process, and hold everyone to the facts. Is your sales process documented to support rapid analysis of changing market and customer conditions?


Building Brand Trust In Gigged Markets

Trust is the currency of economic activity. Trust is the magic that humans bring to relationships. Trust is essential to the success of direct sellers and brands alike in the era of e-commerce and on-demand work. Are you building your company around the human interactions that complete the digital connection with customers who discover your business online? Is your sales team equipped with the information that will make each pitch unique to the individual customer?

Rapid changes in work and marketing have placed trust back at the center of the brand success equation after three decades of declining trust among customers. It shows that increasingly virtual businesses must support one-to-one human interaction when it is critical to the sale, retaining an existing customer, or supporting referral and social marketing activities. Human representatives are the most important interface for trusted relationships, but they must be prepared with the right information at the right time to make a compelling case for consumers’ confidence.

A history of trust in English publications

For decades, from the 1840s until the dawn of mass communication in the 1960s, “trust” was a dull topic, mentioned with declining frequency in English-language publications for decades. Using Google’s Ngram Viewer, which analyzes the incidence of words in published books, it’s simple to conclude that as the world grew closer together through physical networks, trust was of little concern as a topic of discussion. In the chart to the right, the lowest level of discussion of trust represents the highest degree of trust achieved in society since 1800.

Authors talked about “trust” less because, we surmise, it was easier than any time in history to reach out and touch someone personally. For the first time, almost every customer in the developed world was within an easy drive or a plane trip of the salesperson who closed the deal. In the 1960s, relationships were physical and deals still involved a handshake. How the times have changed in 50 years.

Trust began to collapse in the early 1970s as we became more connected to the world through virtual information, starting when microwave transmission, which enabled news networks to “go live” with breaking news, and cable television appeared.

The introduction of industrial production, cinema, and radio, along with growing networks of physical retail and company presence in communities did not shake personal trust. But when television enabled by intercontinental microwave and cable connections that allowed real-time knowledge of far-off events, people tended to find more cause to question information and to distrust reflexively.

Why trust now?

In the 1990s, when the commercial internet was rolled out, followed quickly by wireless mobile data connectivity and, ultimately, the iPhone, “trust” became an important issue that rose to the highest levels of discussion volume since the 1840s. Not since the onset of modern production has trust been more discussed in literature and non-fiction. Understanding how to build trust through digital channels using personalization and, at critical moments in the customer journey, through one-to-one human interaction, is the content marketer’s primary challenge. Each trust relationship is flavored by the brand’s message and the dynamics of the salesperson-customer interaction.

During the 1990s, a lack of broadband network capacity prevented rich media from flowing to most internet users. It was described as the “last-mile” problem. It was widely assumed that broadband would introduce an extraordinary era of one-to-one communication, that when data was flowing at broadband speeds over the last mile of cable between publisher and audience, the world would be transformed. In fact, the world was transformed, but we know now that solving the last-mile data challenge broke interpersonal trust.

Today, trust in almost all institutions is faltering. Banks, business leaders, elected officeholders, and the media all fall well below 50 percent levels, according to the Pew Research Center. Pew argued in 2017 that over the next decade, the “fate of online trust” will be decided. Brands must put themselves at the forefront of rebuilding trust because “the internet was not designed with security protections or trust problems in mind.”

Vint Cerf, a co-creator of the internet, told Pew: “We didn’t focus on how you could wreck this system intentionally.”

The keystone of renewed trust will come from the combination of people and information presented skillfully when technology cannot be humane enough to convince a customer or a citizen that the facts and promises they receive are valid. As powerful as the combination of networks and data are, the person-to-person connection, including the confidence expressed through eye-to-eye conversation and the reassurance of a handshake, must be recreated for the gig era.

As workers transition from permanent employment in lifelong careers to rapid, often daily, switching between work on behalf of multiple brands, artificial intelligence and What’s Next coaching will enable sales and service to bring deep background information to every customer conversation. They will know everything necessary to capture the objections and unstated requirements that customers share with them, and their soft skills will determine whether the facts translate into a completed transaction.

Trusted processes can be engineered into systems that act without human intervention, but actually being trusted is the ultimate human ingredient in successful sales and marketing organizations.

The tools of trust

As we’ve explored in other postings, confidence in the information provided to salespeople during their onboarding process is essential to retaining new recruits. The same principle applies to consumers, whose expectations have changed dramatically in the wake of broadband connectivity.

Today, a would-be customer may conduct hours of research before contacting a brand or filling out a form on a website. People demand information early in their product/service consideration process, and the most successful online marketers now concentrate on effective pre-sales communication to lift conversion rates.

Direct selling companies are uniquely placed to combine the reach of digital networks with the intimacy of local personal interaction. By planning a content marketing and sales process that anticipates when enhanced interaction — a meeting or a phone call, as well as video conferencing — will turn the abstract information offered in content assets into concrete promises made by one person to another. Companies’ existing content libraries are the raw material of the responsive intimate sales process described here, but it must be combined with mobile tools that help sales representatives collect additional qualitative and quantitative information through conversation with the customer.

Based on the sales process and the unique characteristics of the customer-salesperson relationship, content can be reshaped on the fly to address customer concerns, as well as coach the sales rep to ask for the business at the right time. Using this roadmap, even negative results can be integrated into the sales process to refine the message and improve conversion rates. Artificial intelligence, such as Gig Economy Group’s machine learning techniques, can spot effective or ineffective messages long before human managers would discover trends in quarterly or annual sales reports.

Trust-building interactions are the engine of improved efficiency for business. Bringing the entire company’s resources in the form of data and contextually relevant content to each customer interaction provides feedback to improve products, reposition resources, and evolve messaging. It all begins with trust, but every transaction ultimately leads to a human connection or trust begins to falter. Have you prepared your sales and customer service teams to be magically aware of customer concerns, ready to send the right message at the right moment with a personal touch?

How AI-enabled content is different from traditional content management

We are often asked what is the difference between an AI-enabled content platform and the content management systems used by marketers today.

Briefly, artificial intelligence (AI) adds the ability to learn and adjust content programs based on the success or failure of a change to influence conversion rates. Traditional content management systems (CMS) can be scripted to perform feats of personalization but lack the capability to learn from changes. In the one-to-one sales setting of the home or direct-selling meeting, AI can track any changes in representatives’ sales messages and understand if they help improve revenue.

That’s a pretty dense and, we believe, concise explanation. Here is what it means to your organization:

  • Traditional CMS systems provide effective scripted customer experience, but they cannot learn and improve without human intervention;
  • AI-enabled content platforms can learn and even test changes to customer experience without human intervention;
  • The in-home and one-to-one selling environment requires rapid testing and dissemination of novel messaging that converts to desired actions at each step in the customer journey;
  • AI-enabled content platforms give distributors active coaching that captures customer input and improves sales messaging by personalizing each interaction, and;
  • AI-enabled content platforms reduce management overhead by automatically testing and reporting results to sales and marketing leadership, who can make better-informed decisions about the brand message based on more customer feedback than a CMS can collect.

Content marketing does an excellent job of delivering programmatic content, but it fails to understand the changing context of the selling relationship. As selling moves from retail to online, as well as into intimate contact with the customer in their home using mobile services, contextual changes in sales content will be the key to satisfying personalized experience.

Fixed versus Evolving Content

Now, let’s dig into the details of the different approaches to optimization of marketing and sales messaging made possible by AI. The advantage with AI is simply this: It can measure everything going on in the funnel rather than just those actions your team chooses to experiment with and track.

Traditional CMS systems have achieved high levels of personalization based on extensive scripting that uses conditions, such as the customer’s most recent action or demographic data, to direct them down a pre-fabricated sales path. The customer experience can often feel rigid since the workflow can be changed only by a content manager. Decisions to try a new word in a campaign or a novel order of message delivery, for example, are driven from the top down and involve A/B Testing and other methods of measuring changes in business outcomes.

Gig Economy Group’s AI-enabled content platform watches all the actions of all the sellers in the field. Our action-card interface suggests messaging text, allowing the seller to change the email text they use to, for example, share a media asset with a customer. Each of these changes is an experiment at the edge of the network based on the seller’s insight into customer responses to earlier steps in the funnel. They would be impossible in the fixed-content structure of scripted content workflows that don’t allow unanticipated deviation at any step in the customer engagement.

From the traditional CMS perspective, changes made in the field to selling materials and order of delivery are unexpected and consequently unmeasurable. A machine learning service may be able to assess responses from customers using natural language processing, however, the CMS will simply report the new condition to a human user, who must decide whether it is significant and worthy of an investment in testing changes to the content delivery scripts.

From Content Marketing to Contextual Selling

Machine learning, the form of AI used by Gig Economy Group, can ingest any changes and, by tracking changes in known conversion events in the sales process, determine whether a reps’ use of a new salutation in their email communications, such “Hey, Friend!” or “I’ve got a secret to share with you,” translated into improved conversion.

AI-enabled content listens and responds to the rep, acting like a coach to help them present the best story that sells possible. If a unique twist on the selling process is successful with one distributor over a dozen interactions, the AI will test the change in other distributors’ suggested messaging, literally inserting the new language or re-ordering the presentation of media to determine whether it will work generally. These small experiments quickly prove or disprove the value of many changes while constantly refining the brand sales experience.

Sales representatives should be able to adjust every element of their communication to address the person they know more intimately than the platform suggesting messages. This provides bottom-up and widely distributed experimentation that can surface not just better next steps, but also the potential for a new market segmentation strategy. For instance, if in selling a business opportunity a distributor finds that her business-interested contacts consistently want to try the product before enrolling, she can start a trial purchase workflow that the AI recognizes and tracks as a new path to a known conversion event. The result is many sales process improvements with less management overhead required.

With well-defined sales processes established during onboarding to an AI-enabled content platform, the tools will surface productive changes in individual representatives’ workflows, as well as signal to management when a rogue distributor is failing to generate sales because they’ve deviated too far from the brand message.

Are you learning everything your market is telling you? If your CMS is not able to understand new sales paths, you will be blind to the improvements that customers and representatives invent. And in a resource-constrained market, those lessons are the hardest to embrace if your content platform isn’t looking for unanticipated improvement.

If you’d like to learn more, sign up for a demo of the GEG platform now!