August 25, 2020

Using AI in sales to get ahead of the game

Tom Castley, the EMEA VP of Sales at Outreach, looks at the benefits AI can bring to sales organisations and how they should be preparing to implement it in the near future.

Artificial intelligence(AI) is now an integral part of our daily lives, making recommendations when we shop online or giving us alternatives to reach our destination when dealing with traffic.

In the world of business, we often focus on the role of AI for personalized shopping, neglecting the huge impact it is having on the sales process.

Like any destination, a successful sales machine relies on a few stops clearly signposted along the way – and AI has a fundamental role to play in that journey from marketing opening the funnel to sales closing it.

According to Salesforce, adoption of AI for sales is expected to grow 155% by the end of 2020. It has also found that high-performing sales teams are 4.9X more likely to use AI than others. There is no doubt that AI can have a really positive impact on the sales process.

This article will look at the benefits AI can bring to sales organisations and how they should be preparing to implement it in the near future.

Discover to convert a prospect into a customer

Most often, sales revenue is won and lost in the discovery phase. Yet, sales teams often receive poorly qualified leads to turn into prospects, leading to a discovery phase that is both long and arduous – and often fraught with mistakes such as a wrong job title or poorly articulated needs.

This results in cold calls that don’t address the prospect’s actual challenge, setting off the entire sales process on the wrong footing. To avoid this, businesses need a solid structure with prospects but also a discovery call checklist that will increase the chances of sales conversions.

Simultaneously, the kind of content focusing on best practices within the prospect’s industry also helps to deliver something valuable to the lead to develop their interest.

This shows empathy and expertise from the salesperson, and puts them in a better position to engage with the prospect in a meaningful way to secure them long-term.

Used efficiently, AI can enhance the work of the salesperson qualifying the lead by bringing relevant information about the prospect in real-time or share content that addresses their immediate challenge.

This enables salespeople to drive more meaningful conversations and build stronger relationships with prospects and customers while automating, augmenting and supercharging the way sales teams work to improve productivity and reducing time spent on tasks that provide no value-add to the business.

Using AI, businesses can make smart and timely decisions to increase sales and improve the efficiency of their communication with their target market. It can also reduce costs, manage risks and streamline operations – effectively, the potential of AI to drive revenue and profit growth is enormous.

Fostering deeper relationships

Sales is often thought of as a relationship business. Relationships are vital and without them, customers can often feel like nothing more than a number to the salesperson. To foster a real relationship with the prospect, salespeople need to offer a personalized approach.

Using the data collated by the salesperson alongside predictive analysis, AI/ML can propose the personalized journey to improve the sales representative’s one-on-one connections with customers at scale.

AI can even be used as a real-time, personal coach for salespeople on calls with prospects.

An effective AI tool brings together intelligent sales enablement, advanced automation that streamlines tasks, and out-of-the-box capabilities that help sales reps conduct productive meetings and execute the perfect follow up.

This is really like having a VP of Sales on every call.

Taking sales from an art to a science

Any sales process worth its weight nowadays is built upon data. All this data needs to be logged somewhere and properly maintained.

AI can be used to help manage this data by collating it and identifying which content is most applicable for each prospect based upon things like historical data, location, and past behavior.

Ultimately, this enables salespeople to make predictions about their customers and products, and then apply these predictions to real-world scenarios.

Automating account-based marketing support with predictive analytics and account-centered research, forecasting, reporting and recommendation, can also help free up time for sales representatives to focus on other tasks.

Preparing for the future

AI has the potential to reduce the most time-consuming and manual tasks that keep sales teams away from spending more time with customers. It optimizes a salesperson’s time so they can go from one customer meeting to the next, dedicating their time to the most valuable prospects.

By relying on AI to do the heavy lifting, sales representatives can focus on nuances in a tone of voice, sarcasm or empathy – emotions that even the most advanced algorithms can’t catch.

AI is already an integral part of the marketing mix. Yet, it too often lives in a vacuum and only helps increase the volume of leads marketing passes on to sales to qualify.

By adding it to the sales process at every step of the way, companies can harness the power of AI to improve collaboration between sales and marketing and ensure every single interaction counts towards the business’ revenue goals.

Source : Visit Clickz