By Snehashish Bhattacharjee
There is no denying that speech or voice-based data is one of the most important assets when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) development or taking predictive analytics to the next level. It can be termed as a trend that has the potential to revolutionize the industry and the current rate of adoption across industries substantiates this. Sales enablement industry in particular is vying to jump the queue in more than one aspect in leveraging speech recognition, especially, localization. The sales-enablement industry will be able to take major leaps in bridging the gap between strategy and execution when speech recognition truly becomes language and accent agnostic.
Relevance for the Sales Enablement Industry
Owing to the huge demographic dividend, India, as a country, can easily be termed as a gold mine of workforce. 22 major languages, 13 different scripts and 720 dialects definitely makes our country rich in diversity, however, at times, it even acts as a handicap when we look for a synchronized workforce, which is an essential requirement when it comes to sales. All these different dialects, which belong to newer and emerging markets, cannot be ignored just because of language and literacy level becoming an information transfer barrier. This is precisely where localized speech recognition will be able to add value to the entire process of sales enablement.
Reporting is one of the most critical ingredients of sales functions as it not only enables accurate and timely flow of feedback which in turn helps organizations and brands to strategize future roadmap based on market feedback analysis. Speech recognition technology localization takes away the need to type, and with its apt implementation across requisite set of workforce, the literacy roadblock can be surpassed. While India has a composite literacy rate of approx. 74% (as per 2011 census), the percentage varies when we go deeper into the rural regions. Talking about rural India, while everyone can speak but not everyone is proficient in written skills and therefore when speech recognition becomes language, accent and dialect agnostic, it will enable native-language speaking work force to capture market information effectively through speech. With this advancement taking away the need to type, which in turn means a substantial amount of time-saving, even training of the workforce will become an easier task.
Direct Benefits to the Sales Enablement Sector
- Bridging the gap between rural and urban workforce from internet penetration PoV
As per a recent report from IAMAI, total internet users in India touched 462 million mark in June 2016 while the number of mobile internet users was around 436 million by end of June 2016. And although 71% (approx.) of this mobile internet user population belongs to urban India, rural India is quick to follow the trend with its user base getting almost doubled in the last two years. These figures hold extreme importance for the sales enablement industry as a major chunk of the sectoral workforce (field persons) is spread across rural geography. And streamlining the sales process implementation across diverse geographies, with multiple local language resources is what this new-age technology will seamlessly enable.
- Enabling faster decision making with real time access to information
Though the connectivity and internet penetration is progressing exponentially in our country, the reception, storage and transmission of speech-to-text data is not as contingent on the strength of connectivity signals. Therefore, usage of this technology will be preventing any loss of information or real time market feedback data on account of connectivity strength. Faster transfer of information will in-turn provision the ability to act and react faster and thus, will aid in fast decision-making. This is particularly a decisive point for perishable goods industry where quick transfer of accurate data is all-the-more crucial.
Considering the apt implementation of localized speech recognition across required set of workforce in near future, the divide between English speaking and non-English speaking workforce will diminish and organizations will be equipped with real-time, complete and authentic information from the baseline workforce.This will eventually enable building up of effective sales strategies and formalizing growth based roadmaps based on the market sentiments. More so, this advantage will be two-pronged since the organization will be getting access to newer and unpenetrated markets while the ground-level sales person will also be able to expand his/her reach without wasting time in reporting the progress rate to the next level or even taking a journey cycle plan brief from them.
Specifically, from the purview of sales enablement industry, effective implementation of localized speech recognition will ensure better output without compromising on the quantity or quality of inputs. Effective leverage of this technology as it evolves will help in automating transactional quality check in a telesales environment thereby increasing throughput and effectiveness of a QA team. If leveraged well, speech recognition technology has the power to enable sales with optimised returns.
(The author, Snehashish Bhattacharjee is Global CEO & Co-Founder of Denave, a global sales-enablement company)