Being a sales leader or sales manager nowadays is not easy. You need to grind to reach the targets, especially if you sell in B2B. The sales cycle can be long and requires much effort and patience from a sales team. There needs to be more than a perfect marketing and sales strategy. You need to execute it in a cost and time-effective way. This is where AI can help in Sales.
As artificial intelligence leaps forward, sales teams have the opportunity to leverage AI’s capabilities to support sales and drive efficiency, precision, and dynamism in their approach. In this article, we delve into the ways AI can increase your leads and help you to close more deals.
What is AI in sales?
AI sales tools use artificial intelligence to streamline and simplify the sales process. AI technology enables these tools to perform specific tasks, interact with humans, and predict behavior.
Such tools can use generative AI or predictive AI functionalities depending on the tasks.
Generative AI functionality
Generative AI creates new content or data based on patterns and examples by using machine learning. These models use text input for text generation, image generation, video creation, or music composition.
Predictive AI functionality
A predictive AI tool uses predictive analytics to analyze data and make predictions or forecasts. Such AI solutions can make pretty accurate predictions based on patterns and tons of historical information.
Why can AI transform sales?
You may wonder why sales could be one of the most affected fields by AI. If you imagine a sales rep, you would think they make sales calls every minute, and AI can not sell instead of them.
The truth is only 33% of inside sales-rep time is spent actively selling. The rest of their time is spent on administrative tasks and meetings.
AI has two major benefits if implemented correctly in sales operations.
Improved sales team performance
Using AI in sales can help evaluate how a sales team performs and minimize the number of sales reps participating in the sales meeting. It can significantly improve the overall job performance of sales teams.
Based on McKinsey’s report, early adopters of sales automation have efficiency gains between 10 and 15 percent. So, by hopping on the automation train sooner rather than later, you are setting yourself up for smoother operations, higher productivity, and a leg up in the competition.
Streamlining sales processes
Most of the sales reps spend too much time on administrative tasks during a sales cycle. According to the same McKinsey’s report, a third of all sales reps’ time and tasks can be automated.
One of the biggest advantages of AI tools is they can effectively handle and automate repetitive tasks like data entry. So, sales reps can spend more time closing deals and more human-focused sales tasks.
5 ways you can use AI sales tools
Here are five applications of AI in sales to skyrocket your sales performance.
Analyze calls to improve sales reps’ performance
There are AI meeting manager tools that are capable of analyzing online meetings. Once the online meetings are over, an AI meeting manager provides key insights into speakers, topics, sentiments, and more.
With this comprehensive data, sales leaders can easily compare trends and evaluate the overall quality of their team’s sales calls.
Besides the analysis, AI meeting managers have useful functionalities to completely automate sales reps’ online meetings. AI meeting managers can record and transcribe virtual meetings in many languages and send the participants a summary. This way, a sales call can be fully automated, and the teams can focus on sales opportunities.
Ultimately, an AI meeting assistant app with these functions can greatly improve sales professionals’ performance.
Access to advanced data and analysis
The selling process includes a significant volume of data. Just imagine how many email chains and calls typically rise up during a sales process.
One of the strengths of generative AI is the ability to work effectively with a vast amount of unstructured data. AI solutions can easily characterize, gather, and analyze customer data.
Just to put it into perspective, Gong, for example, can capture customer interaction and analyze it with AI. This AI tool provides accurate insights into customer interactions, whether it is a call or email. It monitors every interaction and gives detailed and on-time recommendations for each customer.
Improved sales forecasting
Sales forecasting refers to the process of estimating the future volume of sales based on historical data, market trends, customer behavior, and other factors. AI in sales can significantly improve forecasting accuracy for businesses.
AI uses machine learning and data science to analyze data and identify patterns based on customer data and previous sales outcomes. Once the patterns and trends are identified, the AI-powered tools can create reliable sales predictions.
Relying on AI in sales forecasting can save sales teams a lot of time and money by automating and streamlining sales forecasts.
While making the forecast is one thing, AI can also provide reports, visualizations, and metrics to sales teams to make it easier to understand and communicate sales performance.
There is no doubt that AI can improve forecasting accuracy. However, sales teams should know some challenges and limitations before implementing AI sales tools. As with every other AI tool, the data quality and availability are key.
Essentially, if your sales team has an incorrect, outdated dataset, the AI sales tools will give you an unreliable forecast. Before integrating AI in sales, ensure you have consistent and correct data to get the best result.
Personalized cold email outreach
One of the biggest challenges for sales reps is email outreach. According to LinkedIn’s research, buyers respond much better to personalized emails, improving click-through rates by 14 percent and conversion rates by 10 percent.
An AI assistant can generally help sales reps for more efficient cold email generation. It can make emails more personalized based on public data land machine learning. Simply using merge tags is not personalization, and AI tools can provide much more.
For instance, Lyne can help sales reps write thousands of introductions per hour by monitoring each potential buyer’s online profile (LinkedIn profile, company website, and more).
Although not every cold email or reply will be a lead, one thing is certain: using AI for scaling your outreach campaign will boost your sales reps’ chances of improving click-through and conversion rates.
The price matters. According to PwC’s research, 60% of shoppers choose a specific retailer because “their price is right.” With AI on board, you do not need to rely on guesswork when determining the optimal discounted price for closing a deal.
AI tools can provide sales reps with valuable market dynamics and customer behavior information and recommend optimal pricing strategies. AI in sales uses data from the past and different product characteristics to alter pricing due to the changes in the environment in a much more dynamic way.
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How can AI help a sales team?
AI can help in many ways to sales teams, such as:
- Analyze calls to improve sales teams’ performance,
- Provide access to advanced data and analysis,
- Forecast sales,
- More effective and personalized cold email outreach,
- Price optimization.
Will AI replace salesmen?
AI supports sales teams and does not replace them. It can be a powerful ally that complements rather than replaces the human factor. Essentially, AI will not replace sales reps, but it will significantly transform their role and make them more effective.
According to Salesforce, 97% of sales leaders say AI gives sales reps more time to sell. Using AI will decrease the time spent on administrative tasks like manual data entry, so sales reps can focus on clients more.
How to use AI for sales forecasting?
AI can improve forecast accuracy by predicting customer behavior and estimating future sales volume based on data from the past, market trends, and other factors. Besides making the estimation, it prepares sales reports and metrics for the sales team to help them understand and communicate the sales performance more easily.
What is the future of AI in sales?
AI is a transformative force in the field of sales. Sales automation has already begun, and sales jobs are changing. The future of AI in sales holds numerous opportunities, from sales forecasts to performance management. It helps to improve the sales processes, which can ultimately increase sales and lead to more deals.
However, sales leaders should have realistic expectations regarding AI and machine learning. AI technology heavily relies on correct and updated data. Therefore, sales teams deploying machine learning should ensure access to relevant, reliable, clean data and comply with security standards.