Chances are, you’re using sales AI right now, in one form or another.
Most CRMs have artificial intelligence baked into their systems, helping sales teams identify trends among a massive amount of customer data, and automate reminders and notifications. Then there’s sales intelligence, sales acceleration, gamification, analytics, document tracking, knowledge management… the list of AI-enabled tools goes on.
It’s so pervasive, and developing so quickly, that 40% of a sales rep’s activities can be automated by tech that exists today, found the McKinsey Global Institute.
It’s not a replacement, but an augmentation. AI helps remove the burden of tedious tasks, leaving more time and energy for humans to do the work that matters – like closing deals. It sifts through mountains of data to surface important insights, so we can make better decisions.
What kinds of tasks, then, can AI help us with? Here are five stand-out uses.
1. Finding good leads
Poor leads are the leading time-waster for sales reps, according to the first results from our Sales Productivity Survey. A full 60% of reps told us that it’s the biggest barrier to productivity. Every hour they spend chasing a lead that isn’t a good fit or doesn’t buy is an hour they could have been pursuing one that would.
The AI solution: Sales intelligence and prospecting technology helps reps learn everything they can about a prospect before they make that first call. Depending on the specific product, it can scan websites, social media, roles and responsibilities, companies, and industries, compare them to successful customers in your database, and predict who’s most likely to convert.
Bad leads do more than waste time in a rep’s day. They can also skew the data in your sales funnel, leaving you with inaccurate forecasts. That’s bad news, considering high-quality forecasts lead to better year-over-year revenue growth and teams that hit their quota more consistently, says HubSpot.
The AI solution: AI-driven data analysis removes the bias you may inadvertently add to your forecasting reports, giving you an honest outlook on how sales are going. And it does it fast, meaning you don’t need to do the grunt work – just make the decisions. Better data makes for better predictions, so any efforts to clean up your sales funnel will only improve your forecasting.
3. Customer outreach
When’s the best time to reach out to a prospect? How many follow-ups should you send? How long should you wait between each message? What kind of content is most effective at which stages? How do you balance personalization with productivity? Make no mistake – optimizing communication is no easy task. And it’s nearly impossible to track without a little help.
The AI solution: CRMs help track outreach and send reminders, and the data they collect can help you pinpoint the best patterns of communication that lead to a sale. Marketing automation also helps figure out which content is most effective at which stage, and can automate that send. Bonus: you can amp up the personalization without sending messages that sound too generic, without wasting too much time, too!
4. Training and coaching
Let’s face it: sales managers, directors, and coaches are busy people, too. Reps need to find time for their training in a busy day, but leadership needs to find time to deliver it. So it works in everyone’s best interest when there’s a more effective way to deliver coaching and training, and measure the results.
The AI solution: Platforms that provide real-time insight into how your reps are doing – think call analysis, for example – automate the collection of performance data and give you a great set of data to work with when coaching your team. Plus, it allows your reps to learn from each other, so everyone can benefit from common mistakes and winning tactics.
5. Finding information
Searching for documents, content, information, and answers is the second-highest time-waster for sales reps, according to just over half of reps surveyed in our Productivity Survey. That includes time spent sifting through those 17-page PDFs, dealing with data that’s out-of-date, inconsistent, or incorrect, switching between multiple databases and repositories, and scanning emails.
The AI solution: It’s one thing to put your knowledge into one place; it’s another to provide an easy way to surface the information reps are looking for. Solutions like Kiite put that capability straight into one of the top pieces of technology reps use on the daily – their chat – so they can pull information and answer questions exactly when they need to.