August 2 by Gene Eun
Innovative sales leaders are reinventing the selling experience for their teams by applying artificial intelligence (AI) to their sales processes. By harnessing the power of AI and applying it to front and middle-office revenue processes, sales leaders can streamline their revenue practices, increase sales effectiveness, and improve margins and revenue. They’re also gaining improvements in new leads, cross-sells/up-sells, and sales cycle times by a factor of five or more.
Here are 5 key benefits sales leaders can capitalize on by adopting AI technology.
1. Create a Sales Dream Team
For most enterprises, commercial success is largely dependent up on the success of their sales teams. It’s critical that sales leaders hire effective sellers and give them the guidance and tools necessary to succeed. However, building a sales “dream team” consisting entirely of A-players is both difficult and rare. Getting every member of the sales team to produce like A-players is a lofty goal for any sales leader, but one that AI technology can help to achieve. For example, artificial intelligence can learn the behaviors consistently exhibited by the best sellers during successful sales pursuits. In turn, these behaviors are modeled and proactively delivered to all sellers as prescriptive actions that can lead to positive business outcomes. Winning behaviors that driver faster deal conversion such as conducting customer needs assessments, scheduling follow-up calls, and making cross-sell/up-sell recommendations are examples of best practices that AI can help drive across the entire sales team.
2. Win Bigger Deals, More Consistently
In today’s competitive business environment, customers are in the driver’s seat. Your sellers’ quotes must provide customer-friendly offers and competitive pricing without impacting margins. AI can learn from your historical sales data and guide sellers to the optimized offers and pricing that maximizes win probability. AI can also learn customer buying patterns and recommend other products or services that maximize value for customers and your organization, while increasing deal size. Providing intelligent guidance based on current trends and historical sales data puts your sellers in the best possible position to win bigger deals that drive more revenue, retire more quota, and fuel business growth.
3. Uncover More Sales Opportunities
For most sales organizations, uncovering new opportunities is a never-ending pursuit as it the main driver of revenue growth. AI can proactively surface and create new sales and white space opportunities using machine learning analysis that identifies customer buying tendencies and behaviors and alerts sellers to potential cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Similarly, artificial intelligence can learn the key characteristics customers that have the greatest propensity to buy and guide sellers to focus on their best leads. For example, based on past selling success, AI can recommend specific offers to prospects based on attributes such as industry, number of employees, annual revenue, existing assets, and more. The result is an overall increase in deal flow and more at-bats for sellers.
4. Increase Sales Productivity
Sales productivity is a major factor in the overall success of a business. The less time sellers spend on manual processes, searching for information, and administrative tasks, the more time they can spend selling and nurturing relationships with customers and prospects. According to a study recently published in Forbes, sellers spend less than 36% of their time actually selling. AI that includes chatbot technology can boost sales productivity by providing conversational user experiences, through text and voice. This form of AI allows sellers save time and work more efficiently by interacting with CRM and Middle Office applications such as Configure Price Quote (CPQ) and Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) through established channels like Skype, Slack, SMS, and email. For example, sellers can update their opportunities, schedule meetings, and lookup customer information by text message. They can modify quotes, send proposals, and approve contracts by voice command on their mobile device or within the applications themselves. Enhancing sales tools with AI not only helps with user adoption, studies have shown using AI can result in up to 90% faster task completion focus, enabling sellers to focus more time on generating revenue.
5. Ramp Up New Sellers Faster
For newly hired sellers, there is often a ramp up period before they become fully productive and revenue-generating. Getting up to speed on prospects and existing customers, on products and services to sell, and on sales tools and processes to use requires sales training and time to get acclimated. Businesses are discovering that leveraging artificial intelligence can drastically reduce the amount of time and effort it takes for sellers to get ramped up. For example, AI technology that provides conversational user interfaces allows users to interact with sales applications via text or voice, reducing the need for sales training to complete common sales tasks such as looking up account information, drafting NDAs, and scheduling customer meetings. In fact, a recent customer survey conducted by Apttus found that AI can shorten new seller ramp up time by up to 60%.