Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are being dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and for good reason. AI is poised to significantly change the way humans work, including sales professionals. But while many see AI as still a “way of the future,” innovative sales teams are harnessing the power of AI today.
One way companies are benefiting from AI for sales is by utilizing AI-powered tools to automate tasks like contact and activity capture and mapping to Salesforce. Not only are they freeing up their sales teams from dreaded (and often repetitive) admin tasks, but they are leveraging the plethora of data that often gets lost in spreadsheets and sticky notes and making it visible to sales, marketing, and customer success teams. Sales leaders can benefit from AI for sales as well as it proactively uncovers risk and exposes inefficiencies on their teams.
But before we get into the specifics of how sales teams can use AI to boost their bottom line – and how tools like People.ai can help companies do this – let’s break down the basics of AI in sales first.
AI in sales is the use of advanced algorithms and analytical tools to automate and improve sales operations. By automating repetitive tasks and analyzing customer data, AI can help sales teams work more efficiently and close more deals. Additionally, machine learning tools can be used for sales forecasting, conducting more accurate and efficient QBRs, customer behavior prediction, and uncovering actionable insights.
So, is sales automation really necessary for improving business processes and, ultimately, your bottom line?
Gartner analysts say that,"By 2026, 65% of B2B sales organizations will transition from intuition-based to data- driven decision making, using technology that unites workflow, data and analytics." Research has also shown that sales teams currently spend only about 30% of their time in front of customers. The rest of the time is spent on data entry, meetings, prospecting, scheduling more meetings, and other day-to-day tasks that have little to do with the actual sales cycle.
With a sales automation solution in hand, middling sales assistants can turn into high-performing teams, simply by virtue of freeing up more their time at work. More time means more opportunities for selling.
Consider this quote from 2019: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is already making sales teams more productive and effective. We’ve seen major developments and it’s not just making sales forecasts more accurate, it’s also reducing the administrative burden on sales reps and revenue operations by automatically logging sales activities (e.g. calls, meetings, emails, texts), tracking and analyzing contact relationships, providing sentiment analysis, and providing 'virtual' sales coaching through opportunity scoring and suggesting next best actions.”
“Early AI adopter companies will experience exponentially increasing impact on their sales results because sales leaders and those sales resources who are closest to the buyer will finally have real-time access to the sales intelligence they deserve,” says Dana Therrien of SiriusDecisions (now Forrester).
Now, thanks to recent developments in generative AI technology, nearly all of the things Dana predicted are becoming a reality for sales teams.
With AI sales tools like People.ai, sales teams get accurate activity data on every interaction with customers and prospects. This means that their sales organization can more easily discern patterns in activities that lead to won/closed deals, or identify where sales reps are repeatedly selling to the same buyers instead of going higher up in accounts. They are also able to accurately attribute pipeline – a big win for marketing which has struggled for years to accomplish this.
There are numerous other ways companies are taking the capabilities of People.ai and using them to drive even greater ROI for the entire enterprise. When it comes to sales team efficiency, we’ve seen companies benefit in six key ways:
No, AI is not coming for your sales jobs. Artificial intelligence is not there to replace sales professionals. Instead, it acts as an assistant and can perform or automate certain tedious tasks, speed up sales processes, and help professionals find sales opportunities more easily.
Artificial intelligence is no longer a far-off idea. Your company can harness the power of AI today with People.ai and start improving your sales team’s effectiveness. Take a deeper dive into how new AI technologies like generative AI can improve your sales team’s effectiveness in the list, Generative AI Use Cases for Sales Organizations.
AI in sales can be used to help manage and predict customer behavior, identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities, automate repetitive tasks, and improve forecasting accuracy. Ultimately, the goal of AI in sales is to boost efficiency and effectiveness while reducing costs.
Sales representatives play an important role in the sales process, and it's unlikely that AI and machine learning will completely replace them.
However, AI and machine learning can be used to automate certain tasks that are typically performed by sales representatives. This can help sales representatives focus on more important tasks and ultimately improve the efficiency of the sales process.
At People.ai, we offer the following sales AI tools:
AI can support sales in countless ways, including: