Artificial Intelligence in Sales: What It Is and How to Use It

From self-driving cars to manufacturing robots and virtual assistants, the AI revolution is firmly underway.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 84 percent of U.S. business executives believe it will be “necessary” to implement AI at scale within the next three years. What’s more, PwC estimates that the global AI market will grow by an astounding $70 billion in the next year alone.

Businesses large and small can benefit from incorporating AI into their processes and workflows. Yet among all teams and departments, sales perhaps stands to gain the most from adopting AI technologies. In this article, we’ll discuss the various use cases of artificial intelligence in sales, and how you can use AI in sales within your own organization. 

What is AI in sales?

Artificial intelligence in sales is the use of AI and machine learning techniques to improve the performance of your sales teams. 

Sales techniques such as product recommendation engines and predictive lead scoring are already based on AI techniques. However, sales teams may be using these tools haphazardly, without extracting the most benefit or without being a part of a larger AI-enabled strategy.

AI for sales wholeheartedly embraces the concept of using artificial intelligence and machine learning, taking your sales team to the next level. In a 2018 Salesforce survey, sales leaders predicted that sales teams’ use of AI would increase faster than any other technology, with an estimated two-year growth rate of 155 percent.

The survey also found that by 2020, 54 percent of sales leaders expect to be using AI technology. This comes as no surprise when you consider that high-performing sales teams are 4.9 times more likely than underperformers to already be using AI.

4 ways to use artificial intelligence in sales

Nearly everyone is in agreement that using artificial intelligence for sales is a good idea, but what does AI for sales actually look like in practice? Below, we’ll discuss 4 ways to integrate AI into your sales processes.

1. Strike better deals

Your sales professionals may be good at closing deals—but are they good at closing deals that are a winning proposition for your company? AI has the answer.

By sifting through mountains of data about previous transactions and interactions, AI-enabled sales tools can find the deals and accounts that tend to perform well over time. If you’re looking to convert a stubborn prospect, AI can even suggest the best services and discounts to offer to make the deal a success.

2. Get better leads

Lead prospecting is a notoriously challenging part of the sales process. According to a HubSpot survey, a plurality of salespeople—42 percent—say that prospecting is the stage with which they struggle the most.

The good news is that you can use cutting-edge AI systems for lead generation and prospecting. Today’s AI-enabled sales tools can perform a wide variety of tasks, including:

  • Analyzing social media platforms to discover consumer trends and interests.
  • Mining data to discover connections between people and businesses and recommend new leads.
  • Updating contact information by scanning emails and other messages.

3. Personalize campaigns

Everyone likes to feel special, which means that personalization is one of the most important sales and marketing tactics. 58 percent of consumers say that a personalized experience is “very important” when making a purchase, while 52 percent say that they would be “somewhat likely” to switch brands if they weren’t happy with the level of personalization.

AI sales tools can make the task of personalization and “hyper-personalization” significantly easier. Based on the profile of a customer or prospect, AI can deliver the most relevant information about your products and services and the content it believes will most likely result in a conversion. As of 2018, just 9 percent of organizations say they’ve finished developing their hyper-personalization strategy, which means that early adopters stand to benefit a great deal.

4. Automate manual activities

Despite the job title, salespeople don’t actually spend the majority of their time selling. According to a survey by InsideSales.com, 63 percent of sales representatives’ time is spent on non-revenue-generating activities. Much of this time is spent manually entering data into customer relationship management (CRM) software or handling administrative tasks.

The good news is that much of this activity can be automated by AI-enabled sales tools. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company estimates that half of sales reps’ duties are candidates for automation. In so doing, salespeople can free up more time for what really matters: connecting and following up with prospects.

Conclusion

Careful, considerate use of the right AI sales techniques can transform your sales team, making your salespeople dramatically more productive and profitable.

Here at ironFocus, our team of data experts know just how to apply the latest AI and advanced data techniques to improve your sales processes and performance. To learn more about how we can help you identify better opportunities and convert and retain more customers, get in touch with us today for a quick chat.

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