Artificial intelligence (AI for short) has been around for several decades now. It continues to be a powerful driver for companies in the manufacturing, transportation, as well as healthcare industries, to name just a few. Of course, AI has also left its mark on the world of sales. In fact, many business organizations are using artificial intelligence to enhance their sales enablement strategy, streamline their processes, as well as grow their bottom line.
Let’s talk about what AI really means in terms of sales. Find out the benefits it can offer sales reps and how it can optimize your process.
Artificial Intelligence in Sales: What are We Really Talking About?
Right off the bat, it’s important to clear up a common misconception around the term artificial intelligence. It does not include all technological features of a certain software program, system, or platform. For example, basic content search functionalities are not considered to be AI. (Put in a more specific context, Google’s search engine uses AI but is not considered to be AI itself.)
So when we talk about AI, what are we really referring to? According to AI specialist and Product Manager Miquel Segarra:
“When someone believes they are interacting with ‘artificial intelligence,’ in reality, what they are doing is interacting with a set of machine learning algorithms trained to be precise at a single task. These algorithms, correctly combined, offer the feeling of interaction with a seemingly self-intelligible system.”
Put another way, artificial intelligence is a technology that can be “trained” to perform certain intricate tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence to handle.
What are the Benefits of AI in Terms of Sales?
Platforms that make good use of artificial intelligence can become invaluable resources for sales reps. Here are just a few powerful advantages that AI can offer in this context:
- AI can help sales reps quickly access relevant, valuable pieces of content from within their CRM’s library to move a prospect further down the sales funnel. In fact, AI-powered platforms can even recommend that reps use specific articles with the prospect in question.
- In conjunction with the above point, artificial intelligence can power an embedded content scoring system. This will predict which pieces of content will make the biggest impact on winning the deal.
- AI can also enable reps to locate content via advanced search capabilities. For example, reps may need to search for a video by the snippets of dialogue that they remember, instead of the video’s title.
When it comes to a company’s bottom line, AI can also provide several key benefits, such as:
- A higher ROI for content
When sales reps are able to efficiently locate high-performing content, and then use that content to close deals, then your content ROI will go through the roof.
- Faster conversion cycles
With the help of advanced AI, sales reps can pinpoint where each prospect is currently located within their buyer’s journey. Then access the content and tools they need for that particular stage. As a result, the sales cycle will proceed more quickly and effectively.
- Increased revenue
The ultimate benefit of using an AI-powered solution is greater profitability. When marketers and sales reps leverage the advantages that AI provides, they can optimize their content strategy, identify high-value prospects, deliver stage-appropriate content to those prospects, and close at a higher rate.
Use Cases for Artificial Intelligence in Sales Enablement
AI can support and optimize a wide range of sales enablement activities and processes. In fact, we’ve only scratched the surface of what AI can do in our discussion up to this point! To illustrate the point, let’s talk about two specific use cases for artificial intelligence in the sales enablement process:
Use Case #1: Improved Attribution
It’s no secret that lead tracking can be a complicated endeavor. For example, your marketing team may think that it’s generated a new lead. Only to find out that a sales rep reached out to that same prospect several months ago.
Where does the problem lie? In many cases, the root cause is simple: the company’s sales and marketing systems don’t communicate with each other. As a result, both your marketing and sales teams are left wondering: “Who exactly gets the credit for this win?”
In this scenario, AI may be able to come to the rescue. The right AI-driven solution can improve analysis of all customer touchpoints, identify leads and assign them a score (or “weight”), and consolidate data from web pages, email campaigns, and phone calls to accurately track the prospect’s progress through the sales funnel — and then, finally, attribute the win to the right person or people.
Use Case #2: Enhanced Preparation
AI-powered conversation intelligence platforms (think Siri or Alexa) have seemingly infinite use cases. But they may be especially valuable in the realm of sales preparation.
For example, imagine that you are a field rep who needs to prepare for an upcoming sales visit. However, you’ve been preoccupied with other customers. You can’t remember what was discussed in your previous interaction with the prospect and you need to start driving in order to arrive on time. What can you do?
While driving, you can ask your “personal sales assistant” to pull up all the relevant info on the prospect without even touching your mobile device. The sales assistant can read you the notes from previous visits, review any recently recorded incidents, and update you on the prospect’s order status (if they’re an existing customer). In the end, you’re able to prepare for the visit while driving, and without losing any precious time.