How to Use AI for Sales Acceleration
This sales acceleration series covers generating revenue, shortening the B2B sales cycle, and account-based marketing best practices.
Currently, artificial intelligence acts as a sales acceleration solution, assisting companies in boosting lead volume, improving the closing rate, and super-charging sales performances overall. Because AI can automate much of the sales process, your sales team is free to focus on what matters the most: your prospective conversions and closing the actual sale.
While AI adoption is growing exponentially, it's not replacing salespeople but enhancing how they do their jobs. According to this Salesforce Report, high-performing teams are almost five times more likely to implement AI than those facing underwhelming quarterly performances.
So, what is AI in sales, and how can you make it work for you?
What is AI For Sales?
Before we jump into the details of what AI can do for sales, you should know that the phrase "artificial intelligence" is an umbrella term. AI covers various technologies, including computer vision, machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing.
At their core, each of these technologies helps machines perform better on a cognitive level. On occasion, they can out-perform humans. A great example of this is a self-driving car, which contains all the cognitive functions necessary to safely operate a vehicle, minus the human being.
Sale marketing teams often utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning (AIML) to write marketing headlines and draft email campaigns. Machine learning begins with human-based training, using samples of the company's existing marketing copy, but from there, the AI tool can draft its own email subject lines and campaign copy.
AI can make everything more intelligent, including analyzing the data of prospective and current customers, predicting which are most likely to close, and recommending which sales actions to take. Your sales AI should be able to optimize pricing and forecast results, among other functions rooted in sales acceleration, meant to drive productivity and sales through the roof.
What AI Can Do For Sales
The potential that artificial intelligence has to drive sales for companies around the globe is undeniable. As businesses worldwide, from major corporations to small, family-owned start-ups, see progress from the implementation of AI, it leaves business owners everywhere asking, "what can AI do for sales in my company?"
Let's take a look.
The AI platform you choose should easily be able to use historical company data to predict future results. Forecasting is of great help to your sales team, as it can prioritize leads and accounts, allowing them to see which prospects they need to pay attention to right now.
Here are a few standard predictions that AI platforms can make for your sales team:
- Highlight the deals that are most likely to close
- Notification of leads to prioritize and target next
- Identify new customers that might be interested in your products or services
The accuracy of AI systems depends on the quality of the data you initially feed it, but with the right inputs, AI is more than capable of showing you those most likely to buy in the future. Think of it as a crystal ball, only accurate.
Predictive forecasting can create internal value for sales teams as well. By utilizing the same type of data analysis, artificial intelligence can help your managers forecast the performance of their sales team far before the end of the quarter, allowing them to take numbers-based proactive steps.
Prioritization and Lead Scoring
We touched on this briefly in our forecasting discussion, but we'll go more in-depth here. AI can look at expansive datasets from various sources to tell you which leads you should prioritize based on AI-given scores. Artificial intelligence approaches lead scoring and the prioritization of those leads scientifically.
Instead of focusing on specific leads based on a gut instinct (which sometimes works) and a slew of incomplete customer information, AI analyzes customer interactions, social media posts, and additional historical data regarding your client lists. This AI gathered information ranks opportunities according to the chances of a successful close, which means a lot less wasted time for your sales team.
In the case of prioritizing and scoring leads, AI can bring a whole new level of logic to the process that humans cannot approximate.
AI Recommended Sales Actions
Artificial intelligence can take your sales team well beyond landing and ranking leads by recommending sales actions that make sense based on your team's insights and goals. These AI-generated recommendations can include everything from which leads to target next to advise on how to price a specific deal.
The result of AI-suggested sales actions is a freed-up sales team that can spend time focused on the customer instead of deliberating what to do next. It's all about gaining the time needed to close deals and eliminating the need for your sales team to make occasionally misguided decisions. The truth lies in the data.
Unprecedented Buying Group Visibility
Artificial intelligence has the capacity to connect you to a customer base that you never knew existed. One of the main goals of sales marketing is to uncover potential buying groups and target them with your products and services.
Your marketing team is doing its best with AB testing and studying in-depth analytics reports. However, allowing AI to step in and feeding it your current data can lead you to a probable customer group that you've never targeted in the past, even though it's well-suited to your product.
AI makes new customers visible by finding those that match the qualities and preferences of your current ones. There aren't enough hours in the day for your sales and marketing teams to correspond to that level of consumer research, and AI opens the door for new opportunities.
You want your sales team to be as productive as possible, but that becomes difficult when they're constantly wrapped up in mundane duties like paperwork, client cold calls, and responding to or sending emails.
AI can automate the work that takes your team away from higher-value tasks. It's not to say that any of your sales process components aren't necessary, as it's often the most essential tasks that require automation.
Artificial intelligence can manage sales calendars and schedule meetings. It can successfully assess your sales teams' pipeline, freeing you up to complete the higher-priority projects on your list that you push to the side to achieve the ones that have to get done.
As the use of AI continues to evolve, it won't be long before the productivity of your sales department is somewhat dependent on it. Implementing AI today will boost performance tomorrow.
Employing artificial intelligence can seem overwhelming at first, but the truth is, you use it every day. From the utilization of Siri or Alexa to the algorithm of your Netflix recommendations, you are always using AI. Here's how to get started.
Know the Basics
You don't have to employ a professional development team or programmer right away, though it's recommended if you run a large company. However, it would help if you had a basic knowledge foundation of popular AI tools and their key terms and technologies.
Build Back Critical Skills
With AI assisting in the background, begin encouraging your team to build back their critical consumer engagement skills. Ask them to listen actively, build relationships, and learn how to make people comfortable in a face-to-face setting once again. While AI handles the leads, your team can relearn the skills they'll need to move their careers forward.
Don't shy away from experimenting with different artificial intelligence tools and programs. Hands-on experience is non-negotiable, and you need it to understand the technology basics.
Many companies offer free trials and demonstrations of their AI software. Start by exploring AI sales vendors, and take the time to read client reviews. Customer support is vital to AI-powered software, especially if you're unfamiliar.
Start Your AI Journey Today
There has never been a better time to jump on the artificial intelligence bandwagon. Whether you're a salesperson, a sales manager, or a marketing specialist that focuses on sales, AI is more than available to help you with revenue acceleration while reducing costs.
Regardless of your comfort level with machine learning and artificial intelligence, it's time to familiarize yourself. If you aren't utilizing AI, it will become more difficult by the day to stay in line with your competitors.
Choosing the right AI technology and successfully building on that platform will give you a competitive edge that you never thought possible. Delaying your implementation of AI puts your company at risk of being left behind, as those around you build highly productive and efficient sales teams.
There are plenty of quality vendors in the artificial intelligence space waiting to work with you today. Take the first step toward the future today. You won't regret it.