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Exploring Artificial Intelligence in Sales

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Aaron Parsons

The fastest growing trend to impact the sales industry is the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools.

In a broad sense, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is described as a computer or program with the ability to carry out human activities or tasks by learning from collected data. Machine learning is a branch of AI in which the scope of the program is to learn from historical data. This data is used to make predictions and recommendations for your company.

By now, it’s no secret that leveraging technology to expedite daily operations is critical for the success of a growing business. Using AI is no different. More than 75% of organizations are implementing an AI strategy to improve the effectiveness of their operations.

These strategies create long-term value for their company by automating tedious tasks, and creating a better-personalized experience for their consumers. So, how is AI changing the sales industry specifically?

Automate Busy Work

AI is making sales more efficient and productive by automating tedious tasks. This allows sales representatives to spend more time actually selling. A recent study by MIT advises “a shift is needed in the debate about the effects of AI: away from the common focus on full automation of entire jobs and pervasive occupational replacement toward the redesign of jobs and reengineering of business practices,”

This advanced technology has the capacity of learning from your historical data to perform and automate repetitive tasks. Updating consumer information in your CRM, prioritizing urgent emails needing a reply, and generating new prospects, instead, becomes freed up time.

Better Sales Prospecting

Sales reps need to spend their time wisely. This is crucial to make weekly or monthly quotas. Under these circumstances, little time is allocated for data analysis especially with large volumes of consumer information. A common error this intelligence helps prohibit is representatives focusing on unqualified leads with little chance of conversion.

There are numerous reasons prospects turn cold in the conversion process. These range from lack of timing, the service or product is not the right solution for them, or consumers getting distracted from their own personal priorities.

AI solutions help automate the process to keep leads from quickly turning cold. Moreover, sales reps can sift out unqualified leads based on their first interaction with the consumer.  However, most of the time they are using their own intuition in prospecting new leads.

By eliminating the guessing game with AI, this new technology can help identify consumer behavior patterns that correspond with signals of when a purchase has been made or not. Remember it pays to be quick with the first initial interaction with your prospects and that’s just the beginning of what can become an automated step in the selling process with AI.  However, it is critical that the initial  interaction be personal so you can build rapport and launch the sales process with momentum. 

Predicting Accurate Sales Forecasting

Sales directors need visibility into their teams’ analytics to convey a clear picture of the current quarter performance. They also need a clear expectation of what their sales teams are actually generating. Machine learning tools offer generated sales predictions and recommendations from previous historical data to identify new business trends and opportunities. This can help by making sure resources are allocated efficiently which can improve your sales team’s daily operations. Also, there is a sense of assurance and improved quality in having a second pair of eyes seeking missed or new opportunities.

Connecting and Aligning Sales and Marketing Together

The sales and marketing departments operate differently, but similar to each other with a common goal to acquire more leads for the organization. The sales team collects information on consumer interactions, such as emails and phone conversations. The marketing team collects information through web analytics from campaigns with different marketing channels.

Machine-learning tools can generate risk projections, new sales opportunities, and categorize consumers into behavioral-based groups. This alignment and understanding of sales and marketing, combined with strong analytical advantages, can help generate a better consumer experience.

Will AI Replace Salespeople?

A common misconception is that automation technology is going to replace human interactions in the sales process. According to a Salesforce report the exact opposite will occur. As explained above, AI technology is transforming the industry by automating and streamlining the sales process. Seventy-six percent of sales teams implementing an AI strategy, within their organization, have increased the number of staff members in the past three years. 

The goal, when introducing and implementing AI to your organization, is AI Augmentation. In general, consumers still like human interactions throughout the buying stages. Leveraging AI allows sales reps to be more productive and efficient which can help them be more successful and effective when reaching out personally.

Do What Works For Your Organization

AI and machine learning tools will continue to offer tools to elevate your business operations in the coming future. However, do what works for your company. It’s important to understand what your needs and goals as an organization before implementing any technology.

AI and machine learning tools offer benefits that can optimize your productivity level and help you be more profitable overall. They are the next key in the competitive advantages of sales and business. Understanding which of these tools are the right solutions for your business is crucial in determining your success.

We recently published an in-depth white paper on techniques to speed up lead response.  You can get it here:

The Importance of Rapid Lead Response in 2021

 


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