12Apr 2021

How AI Can Help You Sell Better (AI in Sales)

Look out to the sales and marketing horizons, what do you see? Probably great content.

For the most part, we can thank Artificial Intelligence solutions for inundating the market today with fresh content. This transformative quality has gone a long way in easing business operations. 

Importantly, AI is a godsend thanks to the fact that it can recognize and monitor nuances that would not be immediately apparent to the naked human eye. 

Sure, a case can be argued that nothing quite beats the human touch in sales. Then again, aren’t your odds of success that much improved once you’re able to identify your audiences’ persona long before you initiate a sales pitch? 

This thought is perhaps best covered by Yann LeCun, a professor at New York University who posited that “Our intelligence is what makes us human, and AI is an extension of that quality”.

Finding the right talking points to assuage customers’ fears and onboard them onto your system is what AI is all about. 

In today’s reveal, we’ll be looking to share more insights into how you can leverage the power of AI to close more deals and meet your sales quota. 

What is Artificial Intelligence?

artificial-intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is a broad spectrum encompassing technologies like Natural Language Processing, Computer Vision, Deep Learning, and Machine Learning. 

Given the fact that these technologies can handle particular tasks at a better cognitive state than humans, there’s a good reason why you should push towards exploring their limits. 

So far, entrepreneurs have made great strides at this in different fields. Today computer vision powers self-driving cars to identify obstacles on the road, voice assistants like Apple and Siri can interpret words and respond in kind, and platforms like Netflix and Amazon have a solid backing from binge-watching aficionados thanks to how their algorithms predict user preferences.  

Complex as the tech is, Artificial Intelligence has all the bells and whistles to enhance your sales figures without you having to break your back. By having smart technologies in place, you can take advantage of the perks that come with intelligent automation. 

Here, it’s not all about crunching the numbers. There’s more to it. You can extract insights from data sets and make bold predictions, reach business verdicts, and recommend products and services to your audience. 

Remarkably, like fine wine, the technology thrives over time. There are now advanced AI systems that are capable of learning on the job, enhancing their performance, and perfecting their efficiency scores. 

With such valuable data and insights, sales reps under your leadership can perform a better job. This is not just talk, some of the highest performing sales teams are believed to be 2.3 times as likely to make use of AI-guided selling. And this is very evident from the fact that many eCommerce giants have already started leveraging AI in eCommerce marketing to its true potential.

How Artificial Intelligence Plays a Role in Sales

how-artificial-intelligence-plays-a-role-in-sales

In the sales field, you’re always looking to optimize performance and achieve certain results and this is where AI and ML comes to play.

By deploying Machine Learning, you can have the system perform defined jobs and realize specific goals. With time, you can feed the same system new data and have it re-generate and achieve the same results again and again. 

As alluded earlier, with each iteration, the system can learn more about what works and what doesn’t. 

Effectively, this means that AI can analyze prospects’ data, predict which of them proceed to the final stages of the sales pipeline, and recommend the best course of action for each step. 

AI’s ability to augment and enhance sales numbers has led analysts to believe that technology has the potential to create 1.4 to 2.6 trillion of value in the marketing and sales world. 

Indeed, AI technology is no child’s play. With rave reviews all around, the projects show that Artificial Intelligence could have the same transformative effect in the same manner that electricity did some 100 years ago. 

As per McKinsey’s report, we can expect $13 trillion of GDP growth by 2030. Interestingly, a good fraction of this growth is expected in non-internet sectors like manufacturing, education, agriculture, logistics, and energy. 

As a sales manager, these figures should serve as the perfect incentive to formulate your own AI strategy. To begin, you may choose to consider a couple of small pilot AI projects from which you can expand and adjust according to your needs. 

What Customers Want

what-customers-want

Consumer trends have changed over the years. Thanks to the rise and rise of tech, about 64% of consumers now expect brands to engage with them in real-time. This particular attribute is why chatbots have become so useful in the modern scene. 

While tech like chatbots is admittedly useful, there are still lingering fears that AI will usher in an apocalypse of sorts at the workplace. 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

For the foreseeable future, rather than completely replace sales reps and entire departments, AI is going to complement their actions and help them achieve their set objectives. 

This shift in dynamics is increasingly going to influence how brands perform. Expectedly, the competition will be rife, those who fail to adapt in good time may just find themselves lagging and missing out on all the action. 

How AI can help in Sales?

1. Lead Generation and Scoring

The art of selling can be a tad bit hit and miss at times. Sales reps may spend eons trying to sell to leads who couldn’t care less about your products and/or services. When this happens, it’s not always because the salespersons lack the talent to sell. 

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As the data shows in the B2B scene, about 61% of marketing teams tend to direct leads to salespeople. Of this figure, only 27% of the leads are usually qualified.

From this, it’s evident that about seventy-five percent of the leads is a waste of time. The lack of sufficient relevant data on leads usually leaves sales reps clutching at straws.

Without a solid market and customer intelligence, it’s not easy for organizations to impact the market. With data though, the dynamics can change. In this respect, your efforts should not end with sourcing prospects’ and customers’ personal information.

You can take things up a notch by instructing your sales team to also monitor prospects’ and customers’ online actions. This way, you can have a better frame of reference about which audience to sell to when you compare it to things like demographics and location. 

By utilizing AI software, data processing enables sales reps to reach verdicts thanks to the lead scoring function of the technology. 

This data-driven approach has a net effect of boosting effectiveness and allowing sales teams to have the conventional “willing-buyer willing-seller” engagement.

Since the AI algorithms are automatically updated when new clients make purchases, it gains insights on compatibility levels in the long run. Having the system always-on allows you to get more accurate results and your sales team loses less sleep worrying about whether the strategies they employ are working.

If need be, you can set up the AI system to automatically engage leads in real-time before directing them to sales reps to further guide them along the sales funnel.

2. Personalization

AI makes selling much easier than traditional methods because it combines good customer experience with accurate targeting. 

This makes for a pretty robust pitch once you’re able to personalize the content and the experience to suit consumers in your database. 

As the numbers show, more than 50% of consumers are willing to share their data provided they’re able to see content that aligns with their interests. 

reason-to-use-artificial-intelligence

At present, Amazon is one of the most successful companies in the world. While their business model is quite impeccable, research also shows that about 35% of what customers buy on Amazon is as a result of product recommendations. This means that consumers proceeded to buy different products while browsing the website without having anything in particular in mind. 

Given the fact that AI algorithms can analyze data like preferences, browsing history, interests, and demographics, this particular stat is not that surprising. 

As you think about introducing AI to your setup, it’s important to visualize just how it’s going to transform how you sell products. Doing so will let you think about which items to place on offer, and what other information you can feed the algorithm so that it does a more than impressive job of netting the right prospects. 

3. Communication with Prospects

Identifying promising leads is only part of the homework. If you’re looking to stamp your name in the game, then, you need to learn the art of reaching out to prospects at just the right moment. 

Since chatbots come powered with the AI fuel of natural language processing, it’s best to give them the job of engaging with consumers in real-time. You’ll realize that some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can get resolved speedily if you assign such kinds of tasks to chatbots. 

Of course, human interaction is going to be necessary at some point, so you will want to factor that in as you do your projections. The trick here is to ensure that by the time a sales rep gets to engage a prospect, they are well-informed about their needs. 

Importantly, AI-aided communication is so much more than just chatbots. Using AI algorithms, you can identify the best times to reach out to prospects. To get started, you can set up a trigger-based mechanism that identifies when a website’s visitor starts reviewing a particular line of products. Once the interest is identified, a conversation can be initiated and your sales reps can swiftly swoop in. 

With the right kind of data, sales reps can be better prepared in their method of approach, the tone, and language when interacting with prospects. 

4. Boosting Sales Reps Efficiency

Instead of counting on the ability of sales reps to “just wing it”, you can set up an AI system that streamlines your production line and automates workflow. 

This way, things like task delegation and prioritization are going to be automated based on different specifications. 

AI does a good job of boosting the efficiency of your sales reps because it identifies the most promising leads and allocates the best sales rep capable of reaching out with immediacy. 

In addition to this, AI can delegate one-on-one meetup by figuring out the geographical location of leads and sales reps. This reduces your burden as the manager to plan these kinds of live engagements. 

The analytical aspect of AI systems is crucially important here because it can figure out which strategies work and which ones need to be binned. As part of the decision-making hierarchy, you’ll realize that you’re able to source reliable reports on the best course of action and decide which ones need to be implemented across the board. 

Examples of AI in Sales

1. Shorter Sales Process

With AI, you can shorten the sales process considerably. Notably, the e-commerce platform has been a great boon to shops that were traditionally brick-and-mortar establishments. Today, people have the option of loading their shopping carts with items they fancy and having the goods delivered once they’re all set. 

While the business has been booming, research indicates that about 23 percent of customers do not finish paying up the items on their shopping carts. As the study indicated, the key issue behind this hesitation and abandonment has a lot to do with the creation of new user accounts.

In most instances, user accounts take ages to create. Visitors to landing pages don’t just have to fill out lengthy forms with their credentials, they also need to verify their email addresses. 

Understandably, this lengthy process exists to weed out spammy bots. That said, it also serves as a deterrent to clients who don’t want to do anything else but buy a product. For these kinds of users, the effort is not worth it. Especially when you consider the current climate where people want instant gratification for their needs.

If a competitor can offer the same services as you do but without the lengthy check out process, then, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself losing out your market share to that. As such, you want to make your platform user friendly and straightforward.

ebay-shopping-sample
Image Credit: shopbot.ebay.com

In the current business scene, we’ve seen eBay‘s ShopBot deliver the goods, both literally and figuratively. Their shopping assistant works great because it gives clients the ability to trace the items they desire at fantastic prizes on their site. The platform today ranks highly because the checkout process is streamlined for maximum interactivity without giving clients headaches as they go about their business.

2. Excellent Customer Service

Long before AI came into the picture, the word around town was that “Customer is king”. 

While technology has enhanced trade operations, the quip still rings true. 

If you’re looking to make major strides in your business, then, it’s important to always have the customer as your top priority. 

Interestingly, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs came up with a noteworthy report about how businesses relate with their clientele. As per their findings, it’s about 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer in the current business climate than it is to retain an existing client. 

Since ROI is an important metric in the sales world, you must make the right moves to keep your clients contented and ready to come for more. 

As alluded earlier, quick and efficient service delivery is at the top of many-a- clients today. To ensure that you consistently deliver on customer satisfaction, we suggest embracing AI. 

Given the fact that about 75 percent of customers have expressed delight in working with chatbots thanks to their ease of access, then it’s a safe bet that bringing them onboard wouldn’t hurt your bottom line. 

One company that has successfully managed to enhance the customer experience is 1-800-Flowers.com. They’ve integrated artificial intelligence on their website, introduced extra payment options, and offer mobile app upgrades all in a bid to give their customers the best possible experience while shopping with them. 

Using their Intelligence Virtual Assistant (IVA), they’re also able to give customers the best of both worlds since the technology seamlessly fuses artificial intelligence and human understanding for remarkable service for callers:

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According to predictions by Gartner, artificial intelligence in the sales field is expected to become the norm in the future. As the number shows, about 15% of all customer service interactions are set to be handled solely by the technology by 2021. This is a truly impressive feat when you consider that it represents a 400% increment from 2017.

This adoption of computing power is set to keep growing into 2022 since the projections indicate that by then, about two-thirds of customer experience initiatives will use IT.

What all this goes to show is that clients are ready and willing to splurge the money for excellent customer service. If you haven’t already, then it’s high time that you start thinking about how AI will enhance your sales team’s numbers. 

3. Upsell and Cross-sell

Artificial intelligence systems do more than just boost customer engagement. While chatbots are the perfect customer interaction tool, they can also be used as great analytical tools. This is because they possess the power to track and learn about buyers’ behaviors over time. 

With this kind of data, it’s possible for you as a brand to recommend similar products and services to your clients. 

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Image Credit: drift.com

Organizations that offer Software as a Service (SaaS) are best served by this particular feature since all their transactions happen online. Based on customer history, companies can deploy their algorithms to suggest similar offers that are personalized to their customers’ needs.

This way of doing business is highly favored today by companies like OHRA Direct because it’s more actionable and conversational. Using chatbots heavily powered by AI systems, they were able to realize impressive conversion figures.

The CRM Link

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Today, many businesses are touting their wares by sharing they infuse AI in their sales process. While there may be some truth to claims, in most instances, it’s purely aspirational. 

If you’re looking to embrace AI capabilities, we suggest easing-in using these four phases:

1. Instrument your Sellers

As the classic adage goes, “Garbage In Garbage Out”. What you feed the AI system is going to have a massive impact on the results you get. 

Because AI lives on data, care needs to be taken during this first phase to ensure that you’re able to source better data to feed into CRM. 

To ensure you get quality data, you need to instrument the team accordingly. This may mean:

  • Using email templates to save time
  • Calling prospects using local phone numbers to boost the answer rate
  • Embracing pre-recorded voicemails so that sales reps can proceed to the next call while a voicemail is being left by a previous prospect
  • Scheduling emails to save time

2. Optimizing Buyers

With clean data, CRM becomes central to AI’s efforts. 

You can categorize your data sets into:

  • Descriptive data – what’s the persona of prospects?
  • Activity data – what steps have been taken? Emails? Phone Calls?
  • Contextual data – what are the prevailing conditions? Things like economics and weather may have a great influence on the sale
  • Results data – have your efforts been yielding results?

3. Optimize your Sellers

While your sales team may be composed of competent individuals, it’s important to acknowledge their traits. Because not all sales reps are created equally you want to think about what sets them apart.

Common distinctions may be:

  • Those great at closing a sale
  • Those great at building the sales pipeline

AI can help you monitor your staff and see if there’s a need for introducing up-leveling, coaching, and overhauling sections of the team.

4. Customization

In this phase, you want to introduce tweaks that will enhance the overall look of your approach. As such, it’s important to start with the first three phases before you land here. 

Asking different questions and scanning the organization for more data sourcing will help you discover what customizations you can make to leverage AI for revenue lift fall. 

Conclusion

AI has lots of promise and the growth opportunities seem boundless.

In the sales industry, it’s been heavily adapted because it offers great convenience to both buyers and sellers. As a sales honcho, we’re confident you’ll love the technology because you’ll be able to get brilliant insights about your audience.

Since AI heavily relies on the CRM system you use to collect, organize, and manage your customer information, it’s essential to have any reliable CRM. That way, you can better anticipate success in your sales journey. 

Acodez is a leading digital marketing agency in India. Our services includes SEO, SMM, SMO, PPC, and content marketing services to ensure that your website’s rank among the top results on the search engine. We are also a leading player in the website design company India arena, offering all kinds of web design and web development services at affordable prices. For further information, please contact us today.

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Vipin Nayar

Vipin Nayar

Vipin Nayar is the Digital Marketing Head at Acodez. As a Social Media, SEO & SEM expert with over 8 years' experience in online marketing, he uses his keen insight into customer behaviour to formulate innovative strategies that helps clients enhance their online presence & open up new business avenues.

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