Needless to say, artificial intelligence is currently leading the conversation in the tech industry.
From changing functionalities of a basic Google search to boosting adoption rates of a corporate intranet, AI technologies have been transforming every aspect of both our professional and personal lives.
And most predictions are positive too.
Here are a few:
- AI will be a top five investment priority for more than 30 percent of CIOs – Gartner
- The AI market is expected to be worth USD 16.06 Billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 62.9% from 2016 to 2022 – Markets and Markets
- 62% of enterprises will use AI technologies by 2018 – Narrative Science
With the latest breakthroughs in the areas of Natural Learning Processing, Machine Learning etc. companies have realized the need to use AI technologies to gain a competitive edge.
AI is bound to benefit various teams across an organization but we predict that AI led transformation will be particularly key for the sales department.
More than any other department, the efficiency of sales is highly dependent on automating labor-intensive tasks and obtaining the right data at the right time. And AI might just be the perfect answer for these problems.
Here are four ways AI is transforming the sales department:
Increased CRM Adoption
Most CRM systems today are often filled with tons of high-volume data making it difficult for sales reps to get the required information quickly.
AI technologies like chatbots ingest data from not just CRMs but also other LOB systems like ERP or Data warehouses to generate and analyze key information.
The conversational interface of AI chatbots enables users to obtain information in the shortest time and right format – both text and rich media (More on this as we proceed further).
By integrating a chatbot into your CRM systems, Sales reps can just ask a natural language question like What are the deals that require my immediate attentionwhat is the lead status of XX and the bot will present the needed info within seconds. Even the BOT starts a conversation with the salesperson if he has missed any action item in the midst of high volume.
This enhanced usability of CRM systems encourages sales reps to use it more often and thereby boost its overall adoption rate. Actually making the CRM work for you rather than other way around.
Sales Forecasting With Predictive Analytics
Whether its to identify new product/market segments, achieve higher OTIF delivery rate or drive better MSL(Must Stock List) compliance or estimate demand, sales forecasting is a must.
However sales forecasting has become a rather tedious task for organizations and there is also an uncertainty in the accuracy of estimations.
In fact 54% of deals forecasted by sales reps never close.
Another significant branch of AI is Predictive Analytics. Powered with the combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistical modelling and data mining,this technology increases the accuracy of important estimations in sales forecasting.
It is already reported that high performing sales teams are 4 times more likely to use predictive analytics.
Also, the ROI of business analytics solutions that incorporate predictive analytics is about 250%!
Some notable use cases include:
- Convenient and faster lead qualification process – On average, sales reps spend 80% of their time qualifying leads. Predictive analytics can look at the historical database and suggest if the lead is qualified. This results in a shorter lead qualification process.
- Easy personalization of calls/emails – The technology can also recommend the high-performing subject lines, wordings and even the tone for each prospect.
- Prediction of customer attrition, OTIF losses, loss of MSL non-compliance etc.
For industries where there is a constant struggle for sales teams to run the right promotions – say FMCG, predictive analytics can even recommend the correct promotions which yield the maximum ROI.
Gone are the days when executives take hunch-based sales decisions.
Hassle-free Data Management
The efficiency of a sales team is highly dependent on one aspect – right information at the right time.
In a typical work day, a sales rep has to go through tons of reports, spreadsheets and data before making a decision.
In addition, this data may not always be structured in the way he/she wants. Also, sales reps usually have to switch different applications and dig deep inside each one to get the exact data.
Again, AI chatbots save all the hassle here.
If integrated with organizational messaging platforms like Skype For Business, Slack, Skype, Yammer etc., the bot can act as a virtual assistant and sales representatives dont have to keep switching applications for accessing data.
As mentioned earlier, chatbots can even present the data in multiple formats – simple text, rich media or mixed. The push feature of chatbots allow them to send personalized alerts about low stock updates, KPIs etc. Here is a small visual example for a better understanding.
You don’t have to check the never-ending spreadsheets again!
Sales Intelligence With Prescriptive Insights
Prescriptive Analytics is relatively a new field of predictive analytics. With prescriptive analytics sales teams can not only get insights on what is going to happen in the future but also on why it’s going to happen.
Prescriptive analytics technologies are charged with a combination of advanced tools like machine learning, computational modelling, business algorithms among many others.
With prescriptive analytics, sales reps can easily spot the key factors which are affecting sales performances and can also get powerful insights on why these factors are crucial.
Traditionally the sales job was a tiresome one. With artificial intelligence, a sales rep can automate mundane and time-consuming tasks and focus only on the ones which require human involvement. Considering current predictions, market trends and uses cases of AI, it is evident that the faster a sales department adopts AI, the greater its competitive edge will be.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with one of our AI and digital workplace consultants for a personalized consultation.