As the world is realising the power of AI spread, we cannot imagine Sales is completely untouched. There are many instances where sales is done with, yet in progress but effective AI sales reps. But the truth is, that we are not there yet as AI isn’t mature enough to interpret human conversations as effectively as humans do, especially when it comes to sales related conversations like identifying triggers or mastering the art of negotiations.
However, AI is playing an important role as sales assistants to humans, augmenting the efficiency of sales processes by the use of revolutionary algorithms and analytical and automation tools. There are several examples where companies are able to increase their lead volume, have provided better customer experience and thus closing more, and have boosted their overall sales performance.
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Explaining the rise of AI in sales
- Availability of structured data via CRMs is good for sales AI
With the advent of sales CRMs, there is plenty of data available for machine learning, basically training and analysis – critical to the development of AI algorithms and learning.
The digitally available repository of this structured data is one of the main reasons AI is witnessing a meteoric rise in the sales sector.
- Shift towards remote meetings has fueled AI inclusion
The shift towards remote meetings has further fueled the growth of digital sales data. This data has enabled the development of several AI-based features for better sales conversions.
- Improvements in AI technology
The advancements in AI technology including vision and speech recognition, NLP, etc. over the past five years, have furthered the use of AI in sales.
Evolution of the sales role with AI
- With the increasing access to the internet and a gradual increase in the education level around the world, customers are well-informed about the features of a product. Now, the role of a sales representative is not teaching about the product but convincing the customers about how the product could benefit them by delivering the perfect product demo.
- Additionally, with the advent of AI tech, sales representatives have to update themselves with the latest features in selling practices to keep up with the pace of the world of selling.
- Furthermore, simply closing the sale is not anymore the only task of the sales representative. They need to use the insights from one sales call to other sales calls and create a set of best practices that will, in turn, help their peers.
Examples and Use Cases of AI in Sales
The use cases of AI-assisted sales can be split into four broad categories:
1. AI Polished Sales Efficiency
- AI-assisted note-taking
With AI, the sales representatives don’t have to worry about note-taking. They can focus on the conversation with the customer while AI does the note-taking for them.
These notes are not just a transcription of the meeting but are selectively annotated for easy reference. Check the example in the image below,
2. AI Improved Sales Performance
- AI-identified best sales practices
AI identifies the selling practices followed in the closed deals and creates a set of recommendations for best practices for effective deal closure. These practices are made available to the sales managers and sales representatives for effective coaching.
- AI-recommended training programs
AI identifies the strengths and weaknesses of a sales representative basis their conversation with the customer. Based on these insights AI can recommend training programs specific to the sales representative.
Also check, 5 best sales coaching tools.
- AI-based customer attentiveness
AI enables the sales representative to figure out if the customer is attentive even if the video is off. Basis this, the sales representative can tune his pitch to attract the attention of the customer.
3. AI Helps In Sales Forecasting
- AI can identify lead behavior to forecast conversion
Based on deals closed in the past and the lead behavior, AI can recommend whether a lead will get converted. This information will be beneficial in estimating the effort to be put into converting the deal.
- Ai can forecast which deals need to be prioritized
Basis the lead behavior, conversational intelligence, probability of realization of the deal and revenue to be realized, AI can forecast which deals need to be prioritized over others. For example,
A deal of £1 Million with a 60% deal closure probability will be prioritized over a deal of £2 Million with a 25% deal closure probability by AI.
- AI can forecast product/market fit
Basis customer behavior, AI will be able to predict whether the product has a market fit on the grounds of pricing and geography. AI can, thus, help in taking strategic decisions w.r.t product pipeline.
You might also want to check, the ultimate guide for sales pipeline management.
4. Sales Personalization With AI
- AI sales nudges
Today’s sales tools have the capability to nudge a sales representative during an ongoing meeting about the part of the sales pitch in which the customer is more interested.
For example, if the customer is more interested in the price of the product than its features, AI will discreetly prod the sales representative to talk about the same.
Read more about sales objection and working frameworks.
- Custom Script Selection
Based on the lead behavior, AI can prompt the sales representative to choose one from the many sales scripts stored, to adapt to a particular type of customer.
- AI-assisted personalized offers
Depending on the sales conversation, the probability of deal closure, the estimated revenue that can be generated from the deal and many other factors, AI can assist in creating personalized offers/quotations that can enhance the deal closure probability.
Get ready for the AI revolution in sales
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, companies using AI for sales were able to increase their leads by more than 50%, reduce call time by 60-70%, and realize cost reductions of 40-60%. The adoption of AI in at least one of the B2B sales processes will be seen in 30% of all companies, as per an estimate by Gartner. This proves that the industry is betting big on the AI use case in sales.
There are many tools in the market that provide the aforementioned AI capabilities for sales. Gong, Chorus, SalesLoft and GoodMeetings are few tools that offer exceptional AI capabilities. There are two factors to embracing AI for sales – What kind of AI capabilities do you need and when should you adopt AI?
What kind of AI capabilities do you need?
Are you sitting on a vast amount of digital data with integrated CRM?
Are your customers and/or sales teams spread across geographies?
You might need innovative AI capabilities with advanced video/audio analytics, AI-based real-time insights and location-agnostic AI-based coaching capabilities. If you have a relatively small sales team sitting at one location, maybe, you could start with simpler sales tools with post-meeting analytics.
When should you adopt AI for sales?
If your sales team is technologically-oriented and is quick to learn, your competitors are already planning to adopt AI or have begun adopting.
It is the right time for you to embrace AI. You could benefit from being the first to provide the power of sales AI capabilities to your employees and customers.