How to Make Your Sales Team More Efficient With AI for Sales
Sales representatives are the heart of any company that sells products or services. They are responsible for bringing in new customers and keeping existing ones happy. But they can only do so much. There are only so many calls they can make, emails they can send, and meetings they can attend. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) can help.
Artificial intelligence is becoming more prominent among sales teams, helping companies boost conversion rates and sales volume while providing insights and improving efficiency.
And, now that the prevalence of AI for sales is catching on, studies by leading organizations show just how much AI can help sales teams.
For example, a study by Salesforce found that high-performing sales teams are 4.9 times more likely to be using AI than their underperforming counterparts.
Furthermore, in a study by Harvard Business Review, organizations that adopted AI for sales increased leads by over 50 percent, reduced call time by up to 70 percent, and lowered costs by up to 60 percent.
With these impressive statistics in mind, it’s only logical to conclude that AI is here to stay and will become even more prevalent on the sales floor as the technology improves.
However, Ai isn’t going to be replacing salespeople yet. Today, artificial intelligence provides sales reps with the ability to automate repetitive tasks, such as emails and sales voicemails, freeing up representatives’ time to do what they do best, which is sell.
AI can also give salespeople valuable insights they can use to their advantage. For example, understanding when a customer will most likely need your product or service with sentiment analysis or providing customer data and trends the sales rep may not have been able to find on their own.
In this post, I’ll outline some key definitions regarding artificial intelligence for sales and the reasons why sales teams should be adopting AI. Then I’ll discuss three ways you can use AI to improve sales results. Finally, I’ll look at how AI for sales may impact sales teams in the future.
What is Artificial Intelligence for Sales?
AI for sales can be defined as using cognitive computing to streamline and automate the sales process, from prospecting to conversion. AI for sales can use AI technology to do repetitive and mundane tasks so salespeople can focus their time and energy on selling.
Artificial intelligence can encompass many technologies, such as computer vision, natural language processing, deep learning, and machine learning.
Machine learning is the most common type of AI that sales teams use today. Machine learning is a subset of AI that focuses on identifying patterns based on large subsets of data. The machine learning platform can then make predictions based on the data available. Over time, its pattern recognition improves as more and more data becomes available.
This is where AI can shine while traditional labo
ur simply cannot. AI machine learning technology improves over time without any additional human intervention. Sales representatives can then use these predictions to their advantage.
For example, suppose a machine learning algorithm predicts that a particular customer is looking to purchase, based on data points pulled from multiple instances of branded content found on the web. In that case, the sales rep can be notified to reach out to them at just the right time. Also, AI can be used to create email headlines and templates that are proven to convert, saving the tedious research that is often required for personalized outbound emails.
What AI Can Do for Sales
The sales process is notoriously long and drawn out. In fact, the average sale takes 26 days (or longer) to close.
Considering that the entire sales process can take weeks or even months, it’s no surprise that many salespeople would like to improve efficiency and shorten the sales cycle wherever they can.
This is where AI and automation can help. Sales reps can use AI to automate repetitive tasks, such as data entry, emailing, outreach, and social media, freeing up time so they can focus on more critical tasks that help move the deal forward.
According to a study by Forrester, 43 percent of salespeople say that the most time-consuming part of their job is performing administrative tasks. By using AI-powered sales tools, sales representatives can automate these tasks and reduce the time spent on them by up to 50 percent.
This is a huge time saver for salespeople who can then use this extra time to sell or prospect for new customers.
More sophisticated technology, like Gong.ai, can listen in on sales calls and provide real-time coaching to salespeople. This is the power of AI; it can listen, learn, and provide feedback in real-time. This kind of technology can be particularly useful for sales managers of large remote teams.
Another excellent way that AI tools are helping sales reps and sales leaders is with sentiment analysis. AI can track a customer’s engagement with your brand to help sales reps establish which prospects they should focus their attention on.
3 Ways to Use AI and Automation to Improve Sales Results
If you’re looking to improve your sales results with AI, here are three ways of doing it. Implementing these tactics can rapidly improve your team’s performance and efficiency.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
In its simplest form, AI can help automate some more repetitive tasks that sales professionals need to do regularly.
Automating these tasks can significantly save time for sales teams and can be used for sales activities, such as:
Scheduling Meetings: We’ve all experienced the back-and-forth game of cat and mouse where the customer has agreed on the deal but can’t agree on a suitable time to get it signed. The longer it takes to schedule the meeting, the more we feel the deal slipping away.
Fortunately, scheduling tools like Calendly can automate the meeting scheduling process, so precious time isn’t wasted, and you can get the deal signed faster.
Pipeline Management: It’s easy to lose track of all your customers in the sales pipeline. This is where automation can help manage your pipeline to increase sales.
Pipeline management automation can help your sales organization know where your team’s deals sit in the pipeline.
AI-powered pipeline management can analyze past performance, bringing potential risks to your attention and suggest ways to improve sales results.
Note-Taking: By now, I’d imagine we have all been on a Zoom meeting or similar where an AI-powered note-taker is present.
With a good proportion of sales meetings now being held online, there is no reason for a sales representative to write notes with a pen and paper. Instead, they can direct their attention to the customer and leave the note-taking to AI.
Automating the note-taking process can save reps up to 30 minutes per meeting, which can add up to hours over a week or month. It can also give managers further insight into their reps’ performance by having the ability to review meeting minutes from a centralized location quickly and effortlessly.
Create Better Content
AI content writers can now help sales teams produce better content faster. In addition, AI can help with ideation, writing, and content distribution.
If you want to produce more personalized content, AI can help with that too. For example, AI can help you segment your audience and create targeted content for each group, provide personalization suggestions for email copy, and even help you with lead scoring based on their engagement with your content. This technology can also help generate ideas for social media, such as Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.
There is a large variety of AI content writers available in this recently exploding market. You can check out a few of them here.
AI for Lead Generation
Lastly, AI for sales can be used for lead generation to help your business find new leads that are a good match for your products or services.
For example, AI can help bring leads into your sales funnel through virtual chatbots or assistants. Chatbots are intelligent assistants that can engage with leads on your website or social media platforms and help qualify them as potential sales leads.
They can respond to pre-programmed questions and direct the prospect to the right place, whether to a sales rep for sales enquiries or someone on the customer service team for customer relations and troubleshooting.
Over time, these chatbots can become more effective at lead generation as they gain data and insights from their interactions.
Chatbots are programmed to solve problems, and they get better over time. They can even reduce the likelihood of cart abandonment. Big data is critical to these AI-powered lead generation tools as they need large data sets to learn from to be effective.
Additionally, AI can help manage and execute automated email campaigns to your lead list. You can create targeted email campaigns using personalization and automate the complete sales cycle using sales sequences and cadences.
The Future of AI for Sales
The potential for AI in sales is enormous. AI can help sales teams be more efficient, produce better content, generate more leads, and therefore, sell more.
Effective lead generation and high-volume sales can’t possibly be executed by relying on manual labo
ur alone. This is why sales sequences have become critical over the last few years.
In the future, AI will become more and more commonplace in sales as the technology develops and becomes more affordable. As a result, AI will help sales teams close more deals in less time and with less effort.
If you’re not already using AI in your sales process, now is the time to start. The future of sales is AI.
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