The Role of AI in Sales Automation

Artificial intelligence creates headlines when it is in the form of apparently alert robots, computers that play chess, and self-driving vehicles. AI is at times deemed as “computers taking over” and technology seizing a seat at the top of the food chain with humans.

However, while the more sensational versions of artificial intelligence regularly make their rounds on the internet, AI inaudibly functions in the background of much of our everyday lives. It assists in simplifying or accelerating common tasks and regularly helps people live at ease. Most people consume and interact with AI daily, whether it’s through a phone menu that identifies speech, recommended photo tags on social media, suggested products on eCommerce sites, or a map app warning users of an accident on their route.

Artificial intelligence permeates much of a user’s online activities. Most of its advantages are not going to make the news, but users appreciate them, especially when it comes to their business communications.

In developed economies, 76% of adults have a smartphone, 90% use the internet, and 67% use social media. 

With this sort of connectivity, artificial intelligence enables customers to make the right choices for their needs. It has become imperative for businesses to keep up with demand. AI-enabled solutions can help businesses meet the changing customer expectations and enjoy customer loyalty.

How does AI work?

Artificial intelligence is a blanket term that has several fields under it. But the three most commonly understood are: machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing. 

The whole idea of AI is “an area of computer science that stresses the formation of intelligent machines that work and behave like humans.” The idea is primarily to create a program that can learn to identify patterns or data and make decisions based on what it has learned. 

Amazon, for instance, does not know what brand-new users must see in their suggested products until those users make purchases. Only then can Amazon’s algorithm, just like a salesperson, gets an idea of what the user wants and suggests more products.

How does artificial intelligence function to benefit a business?

Several artificial intelligence fields overlap, but they all share a mutual purpose: to make a program that can facilitate humans by creating the machine smarter. This demands an enormous amount of data. Big Data. Unfortunately, businesses are better at accumulating data — about their customers, products, competitors — than evaluating that data and designing a strategy revolving around it.

This is where artificial intelligence, in every form, comes into the picture. Business technology combined with AI built-in leverages data and transforms it into insights and predictions that can give employees an acquittal from monotonous tasks. It pushes businesses to the foreground of their industries and provides businesses the information they require to create genuinely personalized relationships with their customers.

Concisely, AI solutions impart businesses the boost they require to reach their customers in a more meaningful, personalized, and mutually advantageous manner.

Businesses Leverage AI Solutions to Enrich Customer Relationships

Big data and artificial intelligence provide businesses the insights they require to get along with their customers. A CRM with AI offers a business a comprehensive view of every customer because AI collects and analyzes enormous amounts of customer data across all channels, processes that data, predicts outcomes, and suggests or performs the next step. 

AI can streamline business by working in every department to make employees more efficient. Moreover, while AI helps evaluate what had happened in the past and streamlines processes occurring in the present, it can also work proactively to alert employees to potential events in the future.

AI Solutions can Optimize the Sales Funnel

Artificial intelligence (AI) facilitates businesses to amplify lead volume, close rate, and overall sales performance. This is because this technology can automate and augment most of the sales process. Consequently, businesses are free to focus on what matters: revenue.

Sales leaders forecast their teams’ adoption of AI for sales to grow 155% by 2020. 

The principal artificial intelligence use cases for sales, customer service, and marketing leaders are classified as:

  1. Sales and marketing lead scoring
  2. Sales forecasting
  3. Customer service case classification and routing
  4. Sales opportunity scoring
  5. Email marketing

With AI integration in business technology, AI can influence a business inside and out are varied and several. 

How does Artificial Intelligence Function in Sales? 

High-performing sales teams are 4.9X more likely to use AI than others.

  • Lead Scoring and Prioritization

Artificial Intelligence generates insights and reports that enable businesses to better understand leads, customers, sales funnels, pipelines – anything that powers the team with data. With this information, sales teams can efficiently qualify leads, direct their time and effort as they work sales qualified leads (SQL), and Leverage AI for automated campaigns that power the personalized customer journey. 

The sales reps are often stretched thin because there is a lot of wasted energy going into ineffective activities, unqualified follow-ups, and other such time wasters. The whopping questions that reps might want to answer are ‘who shall I call first’ and ‘why will they care.’ The answers to these questions are more complex than they used to be. 

AI reduces resource wastage at the top of the funnel by evaluating and connecting data from various sources. Customer trends, account history, competitor involvement, emails, CRMs, calendar, and website activity. Rather than manually researching these insights and recognizing the best opportunities, AI automatically scores leads and prioritizes their sales reps follow up notes leading to enhanced lead generation. 

  • Building Sales Pipeline

Very often, sales reps are busy following up with leads that will certainly not close, and they end up ignoring the good ones. While highly qualified prospects make it to the middle-of-the-funnel, they often get left out in the cold because of no action. Before businesses even know it, they are signing a deal with their biggest competitor.

Besides feeding businesses data points and analysis of top-of-the-funnel prospects to concentrate energy on winning subjects, AI coaches salespeople to better close deals once they are in the pipeline. AI caters to deal coaching for sophisticated sales opportunities with predictive lead scoring, consumer insights, and triggers how and when to follow up. This level of timely buyer/seller communication decides the probability of closing a deal. Unlike a human, AI is always monitoring and delivering feedback on the deals that require attention. 

  • Predictive Analytics and Forecasting 

Intuitive dashboards and reports enriched with data that has been processed by artificial intelligence can reveal to the managers where their sales teams are struggling. With predictive analytics, AI can notify managers of trends that show specific outcomes long before they come to fruition. This enables teams to act before any real issues take place.

The types of predictions comprise of:

  • Which deals or prospects are most likely to close?
  • Which deals or prospects you must target next?
  • New customers who might be interested in what you’re selling

Data-driven forecasting must be a standard for sales teams, yet only 34% of sales leaders can apply intelligent forecasting.  90% think it would help them do their job more efficiently. Salespeople are dealing with manually entered spreadsheets, outdated data sets, and enormous lost efficiency. This is keeping sales management misinformed and pleading for real-time insights.

AI can help generate real-time and accurate forecasting that keeps management informed if and when they need to be.

Uniting AI with Traditional Sales methods

Even with AI and automated sales technology evolution, humans still want to meet and interact with humans. AI isn’t an archrival; it’s your associate in productivity, and it is equipped to eliminate mundane administrative tasks and provide you actionable insights when you require them. It’s an alternative to focus on the high influence activities that shift the needle. These activities, in most cases, are still very much identical. It is getting on the phone, setting up a meeting, or sending a personalized proposal.

The best salespeople are identifying ways to conjoin traditional sales methods with the efficiency of new technology and automation. Improve your human-specific strengths, such as creativity, empathy, and emotional connection. Allow the algorithms and machines to categorize data to facilitate better conversations, not replace them. AI could take a sales job if one lets it by being a transactor of commodities. But those willing to produce new levels of value and employ their skills to a world of sales that looks a little special will win.

It is time for salespeople to befriend technology. Adopt it. Feed off it. Leverage it to become a superhuman salesperson.

Once we genuinely eliminate the constraints, AI will explode, and so will your efficiency as a salesperson. An opportunity waits for salespeople to be prepared for customer meetings with significant relationship summaries, stakeholder information, opportunity ideas, problem insights, recommendations, and implementation with precise forecasts, and hyper-intelligent next steps… all provided by your “robot” assistant.

AI is the future of sales. It is time you got on board.

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