AI at Your Fingertips: How it’s Transforming B2B Sales
by Nitin Gupta, on Jun 19, 2017 12:38 PM
Around 2.8 million years ago, the very first humans used stone tools to simplify everyday tasks. Then, somewhere around 2300 BC, we became a lot smarter and started making even better tools using metal. However, it was all quite sluggish until the time we entered the era of industrial revolution. Now, it’s an altogether different world in the information age and things are rapidly changing, especially after the most recent technological advancements made in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Some say we have created a super intelligent new species called AI that may one day take over the world. Google’s AlphaGo AI has already defeated the world’s number one Go player Ke Jie from China, so what’s next, one wonders. Well, AI may get better in all aspects of human endeavor in the future, but let’s not waste time speculating over that. We will cross the bridge when we come to it.
Let’s focus on the present where it’s quite clear that AI is doing a great service to humanity in various fields such as economics, weather predictions, space exploration, and medical research. AI is also being utilized by businesses to make better products and to improve customer satisfaction. In recent times, another segment that has benefited immensely from AI is the sales fraternity. AI is quickly transforming the world of B2B sales, enabling businesses to significantly boost their sales productivity.
AI is now at the core of mobile sales productivity apps that are making life a lot easier for sales professionals. How AI is helping sales professionals can be distinctly classified into two broad categories – efficiency and effectiveness. AI is helping improve efficiency by taking over the burden of menial tasks from sales professionals. Most sales teams now use CRM systems, but it’s still quite a drag since it involves manually entering a lot of data related to sales calls, client meetings, and status reports. In a hurry to fill up information, things tend to get lost in translation and there’s always the possibility of entering incorrect information, for example, the wrong client name, call/meeting date, etc.
To help sales reps, AI systems are taking over all such tedious, tiresome jobs that no one really likes to do, but are forced into doing it. AI has enabled automated data capture tools that can quickly record all conversations over phone, email, text messages, and notes and upload it instantly on the CRM. This ensures that sales professionals can spend more of their time and effort on core selling activities such as identifying new customers, communicating with prospects, and refining their sales strategy. Research shows that an average B2B sales rep spends only about one-third of their time actually selling. With AI, this can be significantly improved by at least 60 to 70 percent.
Another area where AI is proving to be a great asset is helping sales reps improve their overall effectiveness. It covers their coaching and training, lead generation activities, sales wins, and sales pipeline. AI is quite good at crunching vast amount of data and coming up with key insights and recommendations, which can be very useful during all the various stages of the sales process such as pitching, positioning and closing. AI is proving useful in carrying out probabilistic analysis, which can indicate which specific deal has a higher chance of success. With this, sales reps can focus more on deals, wherein they are more likely to score a win. AI has also been immensely useful for sales managers and leaders in helping them choose the right coaching and training programs, evaluate team performance, and devise new sales strategies.