Artificial intelligence in sales involves using the latest technologies and analytical algorithms to automate and improve the sales process. By automating routine procedures and in-depth analysis of information about buyers, AI increases the efficiency of the sales department and the number of closed deals. Experts successfully utilize machine learning methods to predict sales volume and customer behavior and get other important information.
According to research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, enterprises that prefer artificial intelligence in sales may grow their potential customer base by about 50%, cut call duration by 60%, and reduce costs by 50-60%.
Key types of AI in commerce
There are different types of tools for various groups of data. We have collected several kinds of AI that are most often used by sales departments in various fields today. Maybe your firm is already dealing with software based on one of the following artificial intelligence techniques:
- Natural Language Processing (NLP) helps to comprehend and answer correctly to human speech in spoken and written form so that it is human-like. Using computational linguistics, modern NLP understands the spoken text and determines feelings and intentions. We must interact with NLP when working with digital assistants or speech dictation software.
- Diagnostic analytics: it allows you to determine the connections between variables in a database. It is crucial for problem-solving and clustering the selling information to enable personalization, classification, etc.
- Predictive analytics is a technique to assess what might happen soon. The system determines the factors influencing the result and how they do it. It is different from the diagnostic method, which seeks to realize the causes of events. Predictive models help plan your sales funnel.
- Optimization analytics relies on automation tools to select the most suitable strategies when balancing business goals and constraints. Such a function helps sellers to find upsell opportunities in customer profiles.
- Smart Process Automation (SPA) consists of robotic automation and machine learning. SPA recognizes the moment when a person needs to intervene in an automated procedure. The system adds live agents to the discussion and analyzes their decisions to improve future interactions.
The sale is a cycle in which clients go from marketing to sales. Everything between these points is a gray zone; each company can choose its strategy. The fundamental goal of using all AI tools is to reduce the person-hours required to complete work without compromising the quality of interaction with buyers. It is a difficult task, but advanced artificial intelligence copes with it effectively.
Use cases of artificial intelligence in commerce
If you work in sales, you probably have heard the opinion that artificial intelligence will soon replace people. You may even have envisioned a future where you don’t have to look for sales reps, as inexpensive but reliable AI-based solutions will do all the job instead of them. We have to disappoint you because artificial intelligence cannot have complex dialogues and create long-term relationships at the present stage of development. But new technologies allow:
- automate simple tasks,
- correctly prioritize,
- demonstrate detailed communication analytics with customers to the staff.
According to McKinsey, using artificial intelligence creates up to $2.6 trillion in sales value. We have identified examples of utilizing artificial intelligence to allow your company to save money.
Forecasting future sales
With the help of AI, firms process vast volumes of data in a few seconds, including the latest knowledge about past selling information. After combining the entire information base, the system will issue a forecast about the company’s prospects in the future.
Studying past performance and the factors that led to such results allows the enterprise to make informed decisions rather than relying on intuition.
Finding the correct price to satisfy every customer is demanding, but AI makes it easy. It views information about past transactions, determines the optimal cost of each offer, and performs its own proposals to the seller. Dynamic pricing platforms utilize machine learning to get information about competitors. Then they provide their recommendations based on this data and the personal preferences of buyers.
Automation of routine activities
Using static roles, AI systems help automate the entire sales process or its stages. In other words, the platform gets the job done with little or no human intervention. Main types of automation:
- Sales information entry: artificial intelligence quickly and easily syncs information from numerous sources into CRM.
- Suggestions for ready-made answers to sales representatives: AI will prompt live agents with information during telephone or email conversations.
- Event Automation: this allows the platform to schedule appointments and link conversations to your digital calendar so you don’t miss out on critical events.
Since salespeople spend 64% of their time doing activities other than the selling process, many automation options save them time and increase income. A successful example of automation is converting leads to the next step in CRM after the system notices specific triggers.
Recommendations on what to do next
Artificial intelligence systems improve sales agents’ activity and advise potential customers on the following levels. It allows you to raise the percentage of completed transactions. These intelligent tools have several uses, including creating the next cadences or providing interaction tips.
Working with leads
Most sales reps say finding leads is the most challenging part of their job. It can be difficult to understand when a client is ready to purchase and which deals need to be completed as quickly as possible if there are a lot of leads in the queue.
AI-based platforms make such procedures much more accessible by selecting hot profiles based on experience and generating lists of leads in order of priority. With these tools, sales reps can focus on leads most likely to convert and not waste time chasing cold accounts.
Trading activity analytics
Most platforms explore the sales funnel and control the actions of company employees to optimize all procedures. Such tools give managers insight into what areas sales reps lack knowledge in and what behaviors are most likely to increase customer conversion.
Chatbots are special programs that can reproduce human conversations. Many potential clients expect to get an answer to their questions within 5-10 minutes after filling out the contact form; however, sales staff work on schedule and are often unavailable on weekends.
Chatbots prevent deal failure and capture the attention of new leads. They respond quickly to incoming messages, collect lead data, and can prequalify.
How to get started with AI for Sales
If your firm hasn’t embraced AI, it’s time to rethink the technology. In addition to automation, which will free up sales staff from tedious routine procedures, AI also improves customer interaction. When customers are happy, they start spending more, positively affecting the organization’s bottom line. There are a few essential things to know before starting your interactions with AI:
- Don’t expect much. It is vital to set clear and achievable goals. Don’t expect phenomenal results in the short term. Give employees time to embrace AI technology fully. Make sure they are not afraid to ask questions.
- Customize AI for your business. We don’t recommend implementing the first artificial intelligence technology you see just because you like the name. Nowadays, there are many platforms on the market; it is worth studying their functionality to choose the right solution. AI tools should be aligned with the company’s business goals, such as decreasing waiting times.
- Try to get a positive result. If you want to evaluate the impact of artificial intelligence on business, choose a project lasting from 6 to 12 months. It will demonstrate the value of artificial intelligence for the company’s management and become an additional motivator for the rest of the employees.
- It is necessary to choose functional tools from well-known developers to achieve maximum artificial intelligence efficiency. The best option is when a sales platform contains various communication tools, integration with CRM, and sentiment analysis.
It is essential to understand how to make new technologies work, as well as what the business benefits are. In most situations, it makes sense to seek the help of AI professionals who will help you find a suitable solution and launch it.
Popular AI-based tools for sales
Today, many computer programs simplify sellers’ interaction with customers and make them more efficient. AI-based tools study the selling algorithm and customer desires and advise leads on goods and services. Let’s talk about the most common sales software.
- Drift invites organizations to resolve any issues in the buying process through chat or email conversations, video, and various automation products. These machine learning-based solutions work around the clock to qualify leads, relieving sales specialists of such responsibility.
- Conversica is a virtual sales helper that attracts potential customers in conversations, qualifying them to interact with live agents. Thus, company representatives are involved in concluding deals with clients who are interested in this and do not waste time on people who do not have the appropriate qualifications. All leads receive answers to their questions since the virtual helper can be easily scaled.
- Exceed.ai interacts with all customers that enter the company’s sales funnel. The AI-based solution uses human-like two-way conversations via email and chat.
- Crayon is an effective developer of spying software. Such a virtual tool analyzes millions of online pages and finds hundreds of types of data to determine the actions of competitors on the Internet. Such information helps create sales battlecards.
- The Salesforce Einstein platform prioritizes the target audience for sales managers. It also lets you assess the chances of successful completion of the transaction.
In recent decades, many employees have worried that one-day artificial intelligence will completely replace their work in sales. But it is already apparent AI technologies do not replace but only complement live agents. Computer programs can perform routine tasks, speed up the sales process and try to find additional opportunities to sell goods and services. It allows the sales staff to focus on other, more critical tasks designed to increase the efficiency of the sales process.