Of all the professions that require a human touch, sales is right at the top of the list – it’s all about human interaction: Convincing someone they need what you’re selling. The best salespeople have superior communication skills to accomplish this. So how can artificial intelligence help when humans play such a vital role? There are actually countless ways AI in sales can benefit everyone involved.
AI helps sales quite a lot, in fact. To be sure, it doesn’t replace the human seller. Rather, it gives sales reps the tools and insight they need to work smarter and forge better connections with customers, boosting their ability to reach their goals.
With AI, sellers can streamline their workday and have information at their fingertips that helps them become the trusted advisors customers are looking for. Artificial intelligence also helps sales teams with that tricky business of pipeline management and sales forecasting.
An intelligent sales organization can be proactive instead of reactive in order to navigate constantly changing market conditions.
AI in sales: 5 ways artificial intelligence helps sales teams
AI in sales helps sellers focus on the people who make decisions. Automating processes and forecasting, artificial intelligence is humanizing business.
Here are five benefits of AI in sales:
- Saves time to prioritize selling
Salespeople need to focus on selling, but often wind up spending a lot of time on time-consuming, manual tasks like entering meeting and email notes into the CRM. Research has shown that sales reps spend only about a quarter of their time actually selling to customers.
AI relieves sales reps of tedious admin work by automatically tracking communications, appointments, and other core sales activities. Sellers can focus on selling and building relationships with customers instead of manual inputs. They’re not frustrated by admin requirements, which helps morale and reduces sales rep churn.
- Improves customer engagement
Intelligent tools provide sellers with immediate customer insight so they can better understand a customer’s needs in order to build trust and loyalty. Sales reps get a complete view of the customer – points they’ve visited on your website, what solutions they use, and what engagements they’ve had with your organization. This saves time and makes it possible for them to provide the personalized interactions customers value.
What’s more, AI automatically scores and highlights the healthiest accounts, giving sellers the ability to prioritize leads. With insight into opportunities with the highest potential to close, sales reps can focus on the most promising business.
- Optimizes pricing
With AI, salespeople no longer have to guess what price will help them win a deal. Machine-learning technology crunches all the sales data about customers, including location, size, and past successful deals to come up with a recommended price.
Pricing is personalized and time-sensitive based on a particular customer, increasing the chances of winning the deal. AI also ensures that corporate margins are safeguarded by incorporating pre-approved discount guardrails.
Not only does this help speed the sales cycle, but it also shortens the ramp-up time for new sales reps, who can start selling right away without worrying that they’re pricing themselves out of a deal or providing too big of a discount. Optimal pricing improves the customer experience by reducing the back-and-forth negotiations that slow down the process and make it uncomfortable.
AI also can help sellers with upsell and cross-sell recommendations to ensure no money is left on the table and customers get what they need from the start.
- Improves sales forecasting
A sales forecast is critical for business – hiring and payroll depend on it, and a company can lose credibility with a missed forecast. AI increases sales forecast accuracy by providing a real-time view into the health of every deal in the pipeline and helping sales managers know when to advance or park deals.
With AI-driven insights to come up with deal scores, sales teams can fine-tune their forecasting process with historical data to deliver highly accurate forecasts. Of course, keep in mind that AI accuracy depends on quality data sets.
- Better coaching
When sales managers have visibility into pipeline health, they no longer have to spend a chunk of their precious time haranguing sales reps about the status of deals. With accurate, objective information produced via AI, a sales manager is free to provide effective coaching to help sales reps improve and drive better sales outcomes.
Sales managers can provide individualized training that helps a sales rep develop their talent, improve their productivity, and better align sales processes with the customer journey.
The AI imperative for sales
Artificial intelligence has come a long way from a plot device in science fiction. Businesses across all sectors are using AI to improve their processes, inform their decisions, and refine the customer experience. Sales organizations are no exception.
AI is no longer just an optional nice-to-have. For sales teams to have agility and resilience in a fast-changing market, it’s essential.