Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) help with Sales?
Bolster engages with companies, at no charge, to explore whether certain machine learning-based services might help them to manage or engage more prospects and increase sales overall.
AI for Sales has been on an accelerating ramp for the last few years. One recent tracker of Marketing Technology (Martech) tools in general follows 7000 companies and products. More and more of these tools have been attempting to incorporate AI into their software, with much fanfare – and sometimes a little deception. Since AI is talked about so much in the business and popular media (not all good news, but that’s a blog topic sometime) simply adding the terminology of Artificial Intelligence to a product can possibly garner customer interest.
So what is the real story?
AI in sales is real. Some of it IS effective in the sales (and marketing) process. But companies need to be very careful before adding tools willy-nilly.
Quick AI definition: Artificial Intelligence is an area of computer science that makes machines do things that would require intelligence if done by a human. This includes tasks like learning, seeing, talking, socializing, reasoning or problem-solving. But the goalposts often move. Who today would call a spreadsheet that recalculates many numbers “AI”? They probably would in the 1950’s because people could not calculate that quickly by hand. Now, not so much. Google Search and Maps use incredible amounts of Machine Learning and AI, but most people don’t think “Hey I’ll use AI to get an answer or get where I’m going.” So, the term gets applied differently through time.
Enter AI in the sales process. According to McKinsey Global Institute, 40% of time spent on sales-related activities can be automated by adapting current technologies with AI. A Harvard Business Review study found that companies using AI for sales were able to increase leads by 50%.
According to a Saleforce.com survey the Top Benefits of Intelligent Sales Technologies:
83% increase in Customer Retention
80% increase in Prospect Nurturing
80% increase in the Productivity of Sales Reps
74% increase in Sales Velocity
73% increase in Sales Forecast Accuracy
64% increase in Pipeline Generation
One CMO stated “AI tools are the only way I can scale ‘helpfulness’ to a global community of 200,000-plus users with a team of two.”
Categories of AI help in Sales:
The AI Administrative Assistant –
Smart Calendar Scheduling
Capture Customer and other Meeting Notes, Fill in CRM without typing
Lead cleansing – comparing accuracy of your CRM contact info to outside sources
The AI Sales Researcher –
Prospect Targeting – Figure out who to contact, what to say
Help you know about your customer before contact
Software that puts complete Playbooks together that reps just have to follow – based on deep learning data sets that has learned from you own successful history and the history of anonymous other companies.
The AI Sales Manager Assistant –
Sales Script Optimization – Learns specifics from the best salespeople to teach the others
Sales Forecasting – Leveraging CRM data, activities and historical data to PREDICT sales performance
Sales Content Optimization – Automatically match a prospects profile with sales materials most likely to convince him/her
The AI Sales Accelerator –
AI assisted LinkedIn Search and outreach that finds new warm conversations
Automated Web scraping or Filtering potential leads
Tee up customers to talk to on the phone using AI to “get through”
Pop up “person” messaging your website visitors
Find New Ideal Prospects with AI Assisting in the Outreach
Lead Follow-up and Nurturing