Artificial intelligence (AI) is fundamentally changing how companies approach B2B sales. It’s even shaping how salespeople speak with potential clients, helping them close more deals.
Computers can analyze more raw data than a human brain and mimic human functions such as learning and problem-solving. This capacity, known as AI, has led to a proliferation of software designed to help people efficiently buy and sell almost anything.
>See also: ‘Organisations deploying AI are creating jobs and increasing sales’
Companies looking to improve their inbound sales, for example, have used AI to illuminate customer behaviours. That helps them design relevant and personalised user experiences and increase conversion rates. They’ve also used options like chatbots to revolutionise the speed at which consumers can achieve goals like finding and buying products.
Efficiency is the new norm
Forward-thinking outbound sales teams are also using AI to their advantage. Those that do it well are leaping ahead of their competition and becoming hyper-efficient. For example, they use AI to streamline CRM systems, making it possible for their salespeople to spend less time on administration and more time on sales calls. Which is more likely to increase a company’s market share? Clearly more sales calls will move teams ahead faster. Corporate teams that ignore AI will be so inefficient by comparison, they’ll be obsolete.
Check the rankings before you call
Not only can AI help create more time for sales calls, it can even prioritise them by the ones most likely to close successfully.
Though initially focused on data gathering and reporting, AI has moved into deep data mining and predictive analytics. Companies like Infer can analyse potential customers’ behaviours on several platforms, including social media and corporate websites, and rank them according to the likelihood the customer will purchase a given product. Clearly, sales teams should be focused on calling the most likely purchasers first, so checking their rankings makes sense.
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It’s a smart way to channel a team’s energy, and it has resulted in numerous gains for teams that do it well. Even the most conservative sales executives understand the simple fact that good data analytics points sales teams in the right direction, with an impressive degree of accuracy.
Close the gap: Help average reps perform like the top tier
Sales managers can use AI’s analytical abilities to help them close the performance gap between the top 20% of their sales force and the middle-performers (about 60% of the team). That can help shift the sales bell curve a few notches in the right direction.
Analyzing sales conversations one at a time is utterly unscalable without the leverage AI and natural language processing technology provide. AI’s quantitative ability to analyse natural language can help sales leaders understand what works and what doesn’t across their entire sales team.
Imagine the effect this type of information can have on a sales team’s close rates. Front-line salespeople can be armed with a pitch that is demonstrably more effective, instead of the one that might tank a call. They can access data about how long a pitch should be, which topics to discuss and for how long, and when in the call to raise certain points.
>See also: How Tesco is using AI to gain customer insight
Forget about the endless supply of opinions on effective sales methodologies. AI provides transparent data about the effectiveness of tactics used in sales calls. Gong.io has a team of data scientists who have discovered that by digging into the wording, talk-to-listen ratio, inflection, and rate of speech used in thousands of sales calls a company makes each year, sales managers can understand what distinguishes their top-tier performers. That information could help the rest of the team—particularly the middle performers—achieve results similar to those of their top-tier counterparts.
Coach with clarity
This spells the end of guesswork for sales managers. As with other corporate departments touched by AI, sales managers are beginning to rely more heavily on data to set goals and standardise practices across their teams. They are also becoming better equipped to help their teams streamline pitching, positioning, and closing, and are realising more impressive results.
>See also: Artificial intelligence is transforming the enterprise
Join AI’s sales revolution
Every sales team is a deep data repository of internal and external data. What matters is how well teams harness their data to increase close rates, adopt evidence-based best practices, and avoid guesswork.
Not only does this impact overall sales metrics, it empowers companies to better understand their customers and themselves. In sales, AI can increase efficiency and effectiveness.
Sourced by Amit Bendov, CEO and Co-founder, Gong.io
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