Second Nature raises $12.5M to coach salespeople with AI-powered avatars

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As remote and hybrid work becomes commonplace, companies are exploring ways to train vendors on virtually one-of-a-kind video chat platforms like Zoom. Even before the epidemic, 59% of learning and development professionals spent more of their budget on online training than individuals, according to LinkedIn. But not every department spends the same amount of time coaching, surveys show – and this can hurt sales.

A recent RingDNA report found that 45% of sellers who went to remote work during an epidemic received less coaching than usual or no coaching at all. It is estimated that 75% of sales organizations waste resources due to random and informal coaching, in addition, the cost of opportunity is significant. According to McKinsey, low-performing companies offer individual training for their sales representatives and firms that provide a suboptimal amount of coaching to realize an average 16.7% lower annual revenue growth.

The global market for sales training – valued at more than $ 4 billion – includes products from vendors such as Mindticle, Ambition and Lessonly (which Sesmic acquired in August). Companies like Chrous.ai also fall into this category, with platforms that take advantage of AI to analyze sales calls. But a new player in the segment, Second Nature, is choosing a different approach to coaching with AI-powered avatars that take sellers through lessons via the web.

Virtual training

Tel Aviv, Israel-based Second Nature was founded in 2018 by Elon Shalita and Ariel Hitron. Shalita was previously a software engineer at VMWare, where she led a machine learning team focused on passive network topology exploration. Hitro spent many years in Kaltura, an online video and broadcast software provider, where he was promoted to VP of new markets.

The second nature

Above: Second Nature uses AI-powered avatars to coach sellers.

Image Credit: Another Nature

Like other sales coaching software, Second Nature reminds delegates of issues they did not cover during the simulated presentation and challenges them with questions, giving managers visibility into members’ performance. But unlike most, Second Nature hosts a simulator with avatars that interact with delegates based on talk tracks and sales playbooks, measuring how deeply the delegates cover key topics.

“Second Nature has collected what it believes is the world’s largest dataset of human-to-AI interactions in the sales environment,” VentureBeat said, based on thousands of hours of sales simulations. “The human-to-AI conversation is designed around AI navigating people through the tree of options. When a salesperson has a call with AI, however, it becomes an open conversation with the sales representative leading the call and the AI ​​interacts, answering questions. The second nature is in the early stages of using this unique dataset. As it evaluates this simulation, it can run data experiments on anything from voice user interface design to the pace of learning and adopting new habits.

Second Nature is not the only startup developing AI-powered avatars for sales training. It competes with Trenario, the embodiment of corporate guidance in all sales, call center and customer support usage cases. But the incarnation of Second Nature can be customized into products with an editing tool that allows sales teams to upload messages and talk points.

“Second Nature competes in a red-hot sales-capable space that includes unicorn gong and chorus. These companies use AI to analyze conversations with sales reps when they are on a sales call or after they have been completed, “said Hitron.” Enables you to study and develop product knowledge.If you think about tennis similarities, companies like Gong and Corus offer post-game video analysis of pre-match swing analysis with a sophisticated tennis ball machine that shoots the ball with different spins. “

Second Nature offers four types of training sessions in addition to video calls: slide presentation simulation, pitch recording and product demo. The slide presentation consists of an avatar that listens to the presentation and asks questions about it, while the pitch recording manages the sales rap on a pre-recorded sales pitch submitted to the managers. During product demo training, Avatar provides feedback as sales teams run through screen share.

Second Nature can integrate with existing learning management systems to schedule training sessions automatically. Alternatively, managers can set up courses with video and other sales-capable content and assign tasks to delegates. Second Nature provides leaderboard functionality for managers who want to gain platform scores and compare delegates on performance. The software can also provide testimonials based on how well the avatars responded during the simulation.

“Second-nature technology means that enterprises can spend less on training their HR and financial resources sales representatives when they receive messages about new products or updated features more quickly,” Hitron added. “It also allows the distribution of data-driven training not on an ad hoc basis but based on the progress of sales representative training, a traditional approach taken by sales departments. By using AI- and data-driven sales training, enterprises experience consistent and more effective and efficient training with sales representatives fully engaged in their professional development. “

Digital growth

The benefits of training are obvious. Sales representatives with 30 minutes or less of coaching per week achieve an estimated 43% win rate. But it is less clear whether digital tools like Second Nature offer the same benefits as personal coaching. Studies show that online instruction performs lower than physical instruction; And that 84% of sales training material is lost after 90 days. With avatars, it can be difficult to get instant answers to specific questions, and digital settings can offer more opportunities to be distracted.

Considering that only an estimated 40% of vendors work in a well-established coaching culture in their organization, a digital coaching platform may be better than an alternative. It assumes, of course, that Gartner’s advice is that sales leaders “properly diagnose their organization’s coaching challenges and validate those hypotheses with internal stakeholders” before evaluating these techniques for sales training and coaching.

The second nature

Despite concerns about their effectiveness, investors aren’t shying away from sales coaching platforms like Second Nature – Second Nature counts thousands of users as customers throughout Zoom, SAP, Checkpoint Software and Lookout. By 2026, the corporate online learning industry is expected to grow by 250% from 2017 to about 50 billion.

“Nature’s business is thriving in the face of epidemics, because enterprises have worked with … [us] To train hundreds and thousands of sales representatives to work remotely. As long as sellers have a laptop and internet connection, they can take advantage of training with it. [Second Nature] Whenever it works for them, “he added. “We are now in the kickoff season of sales for many ventures, most of which are being held remotely due to the epidemic.”

Twenty-six-employee Second Nature announced today that it has raised $ 12.5 million in Category A investments from Signals Venture Capital, Stage One Ventures, Cardumen Capital and Zoom’s Zoom Apps Fund. That brings the company’s total capital to 15.5 million.

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