3 Examples of AI Power in Sales.
Let’s set the stage.
While there are many, there are three primary target areas in sales ops that are core to the overall results being sought:
1. Talent, skills, and training
2. An effectively engineered sales process
3. An efficient and effective system of sales rep support
They each target the prime axiom of sales success. Get the best people to do their best work and enable them to maximize the amount of time doing so.
In the end, using AI in sales is about ‘amplification’ and ‘acceleration’
Sales leaders that are ignoring the capacity of AI/ML/RPA ( I will refer to all of these together as AI) to accelerate these core elements are at great peril. Smart competitors are doing so with great speed. The value of these technologies are clearly being demonstrated in terms of creating more selling time, improved sales result, sales team productivity, and improvements in the overall quality of work.
We are indeed seeing an increase in sales productivity.
Let’s look at an example:
Research approximates that sales reps spend on average only 39% of their time actually selling. Reduce the residual 61% of their time to 22%, which will double the size of your sales force. The lesson being learned is that the use of AI focused on reducing time spent on non-selling activities is just as powerful a contributor as a focus on sales methods and skills.
Here is another example.
Responding to inquiries in 5 minutes increases the probability of a successful sale by 21X. 78% of buyers buy from the first company that contacts them. So here again AI can be deployed to get leads and inquiries distributed to the appropriate sales reps in nearly real-time. This is one example of what I mean by effective sales support systems.
Let’s not overlook the residual impact of being a sales rep satisfactorily working in an AI-powered sales organization. Staff retention is increased and is another huge benefit.
Speaking of talent and staff retention AI is being used by HR departments to both source the best sales talent and also match individuals with the right traits and skills to the right sales roles.
Here is an all too frequent example sales strategy story.
The Scenario: The Board of Directors is demanding more sales. Not uncommon. You know that most of your revenue increase comes from existing customers. So, you want to assign your best sales representatives to an expanded sales team that focuses on increasing revenues from existing customer up-sales. However not only does doing so not generate the targeted revenue increase but new sales decline. Surprised? You shouldn‘t be. Why? Because an age-old sales axiom has applied itself. The sales axiom you should have considered before making this strategic move was to recognize that there are two major sales personality and skill types. Some sales reps are ‘Hunters’ that are great at new business generation and some are ‘Farmers’ that are best at up-selling existing customers.
Even if you understood and recognize this critical distinction how do you identify and assess the specific personality and skill set of the different of your sales rep types so that the correct types are assigned or hired onto the correct teams?
This is another place where advances in AI can now be applied. It is now possible to decode individual human personalities from an analysis derived from a single photograph of the sales rep. That’s right all from a single photograph. AI can do this in two minutes. That’s right two minutes and help you avoid placing sales goals in the hands of misaligned sales reps.
Simply stated AI can assist sales reps and sales managers in doing their jobs more effectively. AI can process large volumes of data and make deductions and recommendations faster than humans. AI can also learn and assess how sales reps are performing at their jobs, it can find patterns and enhance the way sales reps are working, make decisions, and boost their overall effectiveness in active selling, and by doing so increase their success.