AI is here to stay and we know that better than anyone. But the patterns of adoption have been unevenly distributed across industries. According to several studies, businesses featuring marketing and sales accounted for more than 50 percent of all AI investments. Several companies have already sunk serious amounts into Artificial Intelligence projects with promising results. Still, there are many marketing and sales teams across the globe who may not feel ready to implement AI.
AI for Sales
For you non-techie folks, artificial intelligence is really an umbrella term which covers several different technologies, like machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, deep learning, and more. At their core, these technologies empower machines to perform specific cognitive tasks. Most of these tasks are focused on where a machine can do a better job than humans. For example, AI-powered computer vision systems used in self-driving cars enable us to identify upcoming obstacles so that the car can react faster than a human ever could.
Voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri have the ability to understand your words much like any other person and respond in kind- all because of AI. So much like a robot can enhance a manufacturing worker’s productivity, AI can impact your sales career and performance in profound ways, too. AI is not only about automating repetitive tasks like early factory robots, it takes the cognitive function a few steps further. With the help of advanced computer science techniques and superior computational firepower, it can extract valuable insights from data to make predictions, recommendations, and decisions. And that’s the key… Gaining an understanding of tasks, not just performing them!
Technology incorporating machine learning can be trained to achieve certain results, then turned loose on completely new data to achieve those results, again and again, learning more and more about what works and what doesn’t each time. McKinsey analysts writing in Harvard Business Review estimate that AI can create $1.4 to $2.6 trillion of value in marketing and sales. Here’s a few aspects of AI that sales pros might want to explore.
1. Predictive Forecasting
As noted before, Artificial Intelligence systems have the potential to predict or forecast outcomes using historical data for better future results. Common predictions include:
- Deals or prospects most likely to close.
- Deals or prospects to target next.
- New customers that may be interested in what you’re selling.
However, how accurate these predictions will be primarily depends on the system being used and the quality and quantity of the data. With right inputs of past and present data AI has the capability of showing you who is most likely to buy in the future. Also, sales managers forecast their team’s performance for the quarter well in advance so that they can take proactive steps based on the numbers.
2. Lead Scoring and Prioritization
Artificial Intelligence excels at examining large datasets, so if you have a large database of prospects it may be able to tell you which leads you should prioritize. Decision-making procedures are often based on gut instinct and inappropriate or incomplete information. With AI, the algorithm can compile historical information about a client, along with social media postings and the salesperson’s customer interaction history such as emails, voicemails, text messages, and so forth. Using this data overlaid on successful sales, predictions can be made.
3. Expert Recommendation
Other than prediction or prioritization, Artificial Intelligence can recommend sales actions, going so far as to tell sales teams which actions the system thinks make the most sense, based on your goals and insights from the data. Pricing, products, prospects, upsells, and cross-sells can all be identified for each lead or customer based on pattern recognition and AI predictions.
4. Touch point and interaction management
AI can also help with cognitive tasks that a salesperson would normally undertake as their non-selling tasks. Tasks such as setting reminders for when to call next, using voice recognition to transcribe call notes, and even acting as a proactive BDR to schedule demos and calls for the sales person, saving the sales team a great deal of note taking, calendaring, and emailing back and forth with prospects.
Best Artificial Intelligence Services Every Salesperson Should Try
- x.ai– Every sales person has gone back and forth with a prospect a million of times to schedule the next meeting. x.ai provides intelligent scheduling assistants that automatically connect to your calendar and email your contact on your behalf to book the meeting, saving valuable time.
Our USP– You can loop their AI into an email thread when it comes time to schedule the meeting and the AI scheduling assistant takes over from there.
- Spiro– The number of deals you can chase at any given time is finite. However, it is not immutable. Spiro connects with your phone email and calendar to know what business you’re going after and automatically reminds you to follow-up with things that you might be missing. It excels in those times that you had a meeting with a prospect a few days ago but haven’t called since. The AI tool reminds you to reach out to them.
- Chrystal- Cold emails are incredibly effective yet time consuming when done right. Chrystal helps you compose an approach to make your emails resonate perfectly with your prospect. It connects with LinkedIn and your emails to build a personality profile of your contacts and advises you on the tone and wording of your emails.Its USP- You no longer have to sacrifice quality for quantity when doing cold outreach.
There are a multitude of tools that can make a salesperson more efficient at their job, which will earn them more money. While there is a long way to go, you can get a head start by becoming an early adopter of these technologies. Time is money, after all!
Vikash Kumar works as a manager in the offshore software development company Tatvasoft. Sometimes he does have free time while managing campaigns, during which he likes to write and explore new trends and topics in technology. Vikash also has published his bylines on major platforms and has been blogging since 2014. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.