Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a field of artificial intelligence that enables computers to analyze and understand human language. It was formulated to build software that generates and comprehends natural languages so that a user can have natural conversations with a computer instead of through programming or artificial languages like Java or C.

Also, did you know that SalesForce.com uses NLP?  Did you know that you are likely using NLP right now?  Say hi to Siri or Alexa.

So now that we know what NLP is, where could it be efficiently be rolled out into the compensation system.

We’re seeing it a little in Chatbots that some of the commission companies are starting to integrate into their solutions. However, lets take this a step further.

Why can’t we start proactively interacting with our sales group in two places where NLP could really help.  Creating the link between crediting from the CRM to the commission system and dispute management, or even workflow in general.

Let’s take the following interactions and how NLP integrated into your commission system or process could be mind-blowing!

1. Your CRM has the sales opportunity, and it is closed. This generates a corresponding event into your accounting system, but they have no true link as they are different platforms.  Your salespeople need to receive credit and currently, they have to use workflow and approvals to get the appropriate credit because the territory or other methods are unreliable.

2. Sales Person has an issue with a commissionable item and has questions, which normally create a dispute. In many cases, these can be cumbersome as it requires FTE’s and irritation by the salesperson to finally get to the bottom of what happened.

3. Plan acceptance and changes to general plan documentation occurs from time to time and this type of communication can create confusion, wouldn’t be great to have a mechanism by which the simple questions could be answered quickly?

So let’s look at these scenarios and understand where and how to plug in NLP.

S1: Linking closed oppty to wbs or accounting system.

This is likely done now by either using a guessing based system of code (best guess) or workflow where the specific opportunity must be found in the commission system using either the customer name or some set of ID’s.  Now lets look at how to make this experience more seamless.

Proactive

When accounting gets the order for the system and enters the sale to create the invoice/wbs, a robot could kick off the process of credit association in the commission system.  NLP can be used to contact, via phone or chat, the potential rep to address who should receive the sale.

There are some simple options, just like a human would do, of asking is this their customer, and do they get credit. In the case you have more than one rep claiming credit, you can punish them by having an endless loop of calls trying to figure it out using NLP and not paying them till someone admits it’s not theirs.

Alternatively, you could have the NLP route the specific questions that both people answer to the manager to determine who should get credit.  Again, all of this can be done using voice automated NLP and fixes the broken link upfront.

Reactive

Salesperson closes oppty in CRM which then triggers chat or robot that automates the connection of the sale to the currently non existent accounting entry.  By taking this approach, you are actually putting proactivity in the sales persons hand, which should allow the linkage they create into the accounting and commission system.  The NLP can collect the information about the sale which will allow the human in the accounting and commission systems to create the link itself.  Currently these workflows are left to the sales person to enact with slow reaction times to completion.

S2:  Dispute management, the smart way.

If we think about how disputes work now, it’s often a workflow or email, or some type of complaint to a manager.  The disappointed sales rep lodges said dispute, it gets reviewed by a person, then it gets resolved all which can take several week sometimes creating a great irritation and opening the company up for legal ramifications.

Why not consider the following?  NLP acts as a contact intermediary when anomalies are found or when the initial issue is reported.  The benefit is you are being proactive in your outreach to the salesperson and showing immediacy of concern.  Remember most people what to be heard, and oftentimes, it is a misunderstanding in their plan or what was sold.

These types of disputes can easily be solved with a chatbot nlp or by a simple call in NLP that has been trained on the commission plan.  Remember it isn’t just about voice recognition, but the logical steps you go through to resolve issues for your sales organization.  Thing about the things they call about the most.  Is it splits, is it plan documentation like we said, does it have to do with bundling?  These are things you could train your NLP to answer giving you valuable time to react to real issues within your organization.

S3: The likely easiest to implement NLP with would be plan documentation, rollout, and changes.

The process of training NLP to answer questions that your salespeople may have around their plans along with the repercussions of not signing can be easily documented and trained into the NLP algo.

This allows for a personalized touch to your sales reps, and can allow for a call, and interaction.  Further, where you have the greatest amount of misunderstanding, the trained chat bot and automated voice can work with the sales people to handle the most widely known issues and progressively identify where their may be other issues.

This is just a few small use cases for NLP and rather than have this technology be only utilized on the sell side, start utilizing it to service your internal organization.  Remember it is not a panacea, but it should allow you to provide a better outreach to the org, and allow you to accomplish tasks with a smaller group and focus on getting the more difficult tasks done that have the highest visibility.