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RingCentral pushes AI deeper into sales tech, integrates Teams

Among other new features, RingCentral pushes its RingSense conversational intelligence deeper into the sales market with new integrations, where it meets a crowd of tech competitors.

Unified communications vendor RingCentral has improved its conversational AI platform and expanded its push into sales tech with generative AI coaching tools that analyze conversations for sales reps and their managers.

RingSense, which has three editions -- RingCX for customer experience, RingSense for Sales, and RingEX for employee experience -- added Microsoft Teams integrations to all three in its latest release. It also received integrations with CRM platforms, including Zendesk, Bullhorn and Zoho, joining existing integrations to Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. RingCentral also added Spanish language support.

The RingSense sales, EX and CX tools are sold as add-ons to RingCentral's flagship Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS) product, said Srinivasan Raghavan, RingCentral chief product officer. The new CRM integrations support the company's midmarket customers, of which there are many.

RingSense for Sales coaching tools analyze every conversation a sales rep has with customers. It tracks positive progress toward manager-set goals and scores each rep's performance with an AI dashboard to identify where improvements can be made.

The coaching tools help reps keep on point and deliver better service to their busy customers, said early adopter Matt Pernesky, director of customer experience at Tarrytown Expocare, a B2B long-term care pharmacy with nine locations across the United States.

A longtime RingCentral customer, Tarrytown Expocare added RingCentral for Sales to track pharmacy delivery performance. Along the way, the company also explored the coaching tools and found value.

"Being able to give real-time feedback to our employees not only enhances their experience, but it enhances our customers' experiences as well," Pernesky said.

AI is a foundational part of RingCentral's product roadmap, said Ram Rajagopalan, vice president of product management for AI and automation at RingCentral. The company uses pre-trained commercial large language models but does not use customer data to train its AI system, he said. It fine-tunes LLM output using retrieval-augmented generation.

"We don't need customer data to enhance the model or give feedback to the model to make it better," Rajagopalan said. "That's fundamentally one of our core AI tenets."

RingCentral RingSense AI.
RingCentral's RingSense AI analyzes conversations to surface positive and coachable moments for sales opportunities.

RingCentral's road back

RingCentral's releases come as it emerges from a difficult 2023. Last August, RingCentral acquired events management startup Hopin for $50 million. Around the same time, founder and CEO Vlad Shmunis stepped down, replaced by Tarek Robbiati, who had been chief financial officer for HPE and a RingCentral board member. Shmunis returned as CEO in December.

The company posted a loss of $165 million last year but is on track to break even late in 2025, according to financial analysts. Moving deeper into sales is one way to accomplish that, said Dan Miller, founder of Opus Research, who sees RingCentral having some success with its push.

"[RingCentral's] in a rough spot," Miller said.

The sales tech market is crowded with vendors who offer similar capabilities, including traditional CRM vendors such as Salesforce, AI coaching startups such as Gong, and communication tech companies such as Dialpad, that have retooled their platforms to become direct competitors.

Moreover, there are revenue operations vendors such as Clari, which analyzes conversations and offers coaching, and Invoca, which offers both sales and marketing conversational intelligence.

RingCentral's sales tools should appeal first to its existing customers, which skews heavily toward the insurance vertical, Miller said. The company also has a presence in healthcare and financial services as well.

"For existing [RingCentral] customers, this is a ready-made enhancement," Miller said. "The coaching tools bring them up to parity with some of their competitors, and we're hearing across all vendors in the [contact center as a service]-UCaaS business that it's obligatory."

Don Fluckinger is a senior news writer for TechTarget Editorial. He covers customer experience, digital experience management and end-user computing. Got a tip? Email him.

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