by Ryan Moore, Director of Client Management, Peak Sales Recruiting
Artificial intelligence (AI) already plays a significant role in plenty of industries, from medicine to transportation to agriculture. We use AI to successfully manage traffic patterns, track critical patient diagnostics, make financial predictions, and even increase farming productivity. Sales isn’t exempt from this recent growth, either. AI tools are currently transforming the world of B2B sales, and some of the unique ways AI can streamline your sales process might surprise you.
AI is a catch-all term for computer systems designed with the capability to perform human tasks—functions like speech recognition, decision-making, and complex analysis. AI technologies include computer vision (think self-driving cars), natural language processing, evolutionary computation, and machine learning.
At Peak Sales Recruiting, we have identified the top 5 ways AI is making the sales process easier, smarter, and more efficient for businesses.
1. Digging up leads.
AI systems take the grunt work out of manually mining for leads. Using internet data and social media content, artificial intelligence can leverage existing connections between companies, products, and people. AI can also integrate with existing marketing automation software to find details from your inbox or CRM that are time-consuming to keep up with, such as pulling contact information from an email signature or seeking out a replacement contact after a role change.
Discover new leads with Node.
2. Automating up-selling and cross-selling.
By adding predictability to the sales process, AI can help take the guesswork out of up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. Advanced analytics aid sales teams in seeking out customers who are most likely to convert, which means time and energy isn’t wasted by making offers at the wrong time or to the wrong person.
Advance up-selling and cross-selling with Qymatix.
3. Shortening the sales cycle.
Beyond pinpointing the ideal time to up-sell, smart learning AI algorithms utilize the power of data and identify the perfect timeline for other parts of the sales cycle as well. Predictive analytics ensure sales teams spend less time prospecting and more time on what they should be doing: selling. By using KPIs, historical success patterns, and other data, algorithms score leads, shorten the sales cycle, and help sales teams customize their entire sales process.
Shrink the sales cycle with Absolutdata.
4. Developing deeper insights.
Sales teams aren’t usually swimming in extra time to spend on data analytics. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make this piece of the sales puzzle any less important. AI creates an advantage for businesses by mining websites and databases for industry trends, analyzing traffic volume around particular pieces of content, and gauging interest or viability in certain services or products you offer. AI tools have the capability to then review this complex data and deliver it in a streamlined format, empowering your team with accessible, actionable insights.
Dive into deeper insights with Oracle.
5. Providing a new kind of virtual assistant.
AI virtual sales assistants are useful for taking over the most monotonous, time-consuming tasks for salespeople. These tools automate organizational tasks like pipeline management, meeting scheduling, and data entry, and they can also analyze data to assist with lead qualification, forecasting, and follow up. This frees up salespeople to spend more time on relationship-enriching activities that foster trust and boost sales.
Increase efficiency with Tact.
Some AI detractors argue that an increase in automation leads to widespread job loss, but don’t expect a robot takeover anytime soon. While it’s true that we’ll continue to see the reduction of particular repetitive roles across industries thanks to AI, the reality is that AI technologies are a boon for productivity.
A more likely scenario is that AI will continue to get more intelligent, faster, and more powerful as a means of taking over repetitive tasks and handling time-consuming analytics, creating more availability for people to focus on higher-level tasks that require a human touch. Think of AI as a superpower that augments the capabilities of a team’s best salespeople, allowing them to work smarter, sell better, and utilize their time—a finite resource in high demand—more efficiently.
In fact, reports show that a majority of companies using AI for sales have actually been increasing their staff. 76% of companies currently using AI and 67% of companies planning to use AI within two years have increased their number of sales reps over the last three years. This makes sense, given that high-preforming sales teams are nearly five times as likely to be using some form of AI capabilities.
No matter how well the sales process is enhanced by AI, sales ultimately still needs a human touch. The most gifted salespeople on your team aren’t the best because they’re good at gathering data, organizing spreadsheets, or unburying leads. They’re good because they elicit trust, communicate well, put people at ease, and know how to make a sale. That’s something AI can never replace — at least for now.
Ryan Moore has two decades of experience in sales and executive talent acquisition. Currently, he serves as the Director of Client Management at Peak Sales Recruiting, North America’s leading sales recruitment firm. He plays a key role in the organization’s success and has helped world-class companies like Gartner, P&G, Pioneer, and SevOne build their sales teams.