The scenario of robots taking over the world is nothing new, but has anyone really thought about how they are taking over sales?
Not in the way you are probably thinking; no laser guns or robots sitting at desks, but instead, it is silent – yet driving an evolution in business optimization we’ve never seen.
More and more companies are using AI to help drive their revenue and automate tasks. To learn more about artificial intelligence (AI) and whether it’s taking over sales, read through this article and let us know how tempted you are to use it too.
How artificial intelligence is used in sales
Let’s have a closer look at how artificial intelligence as a whole is used in sales.
If it weren’t for AI, the huge amounts of data (big data) that businesses collect every day would just be too overwhelming and convoluted to look through and really understand. It would take even the sharpest mind much longer than an AI’s if you did give it a go.
Machine learning is able to keep on top of a lot of the tasks that go into sales without human intervention. This includes compiling information on your customers, tracking competitor’s price fluctuations in real-time, and answering questions 24/7.
Using these AI tools in sales has proven so successful that high-performing teams are 4.9 times more likely to use them than underperforming teams.
Let’s have a closer look at how artificial intelligence is used in sales.
Customer relationship management (CRM)
All of the information you could possibly need pertaining to your customers is stored within these CRMs and are used to personalize the sales and marketing strategies. With all of this data in the same place, your sales team will be more efficient at managing tasks.
Nowadays, most CRMs utilize AI and machine learning to take care of these repetitive tasks for you, including sending emails and updating calendars. Best of all, this technology gives you insights into potential marketing campaigns.
Because AI loves sales data and knows how to squeeze as much as possible out of it to benefit your business, it does wonders in sales forecasting.
it uses predictive analytics to look at previous patterns and trends in sales and uses them to forecast the coming sales. With this valuable information, businesses can make informed decisions about their pricing, marketing, and overall brand.
What if you could put all your customers into neat, orderly groups depending on their age, location, interests, and customer behavior? You can! And easily with the help of AI algorithms that can analyze your customer data.
Having your customers in segments is more efficient when personalizing marketing campaigns. Each segment will have a unique approach, with different needs and preferences just waiting for you to tap into them.
Those long days filled with repetitive, time-consuming tasks are behind you now that AI is more than happy to take over.
AI has a place in almost every part of your sales pipeline – especially the boring parts. Marketing automation can involve anything from sending emails, tracking competitors’ prices, data entry, outreach, and lead scoring.
With all this new free time, your sales professionals can start prioritizing the things that need a human touch, such as unique creativity and innovation.
On almost any eCommerce website, you will see a small pop-up in the corner asking if you need help. This is an example of a sales chatbot. When you engage with them, automated messages will appear with common solutions.
This helps you keep your customer interactions practical, helpful, and proactive.
As well as keeping your current customers happy, sales robots can look for new ones too. This is called lead generation and involves prospective clients’ information being collected and then analyzed to discover their shopping preferences.
So, when a sales robot thinks that the customer will like the services and products that the company provides, it will let a human sales representative know. Then, the customer can be targeted.
Events and special offers can be promoted through sales robots via email marketing, SMS, or other methods of text communication. It only takes a few seconds, and before you know it, hundreds of current and potential customers are signing up to attend your event or buy your products.
After they have taken part, bots can follow up on their experience to get a full picture of what worked and what can be done better.
Upselling and cross-selling
By using the information collected from the customers, sales robots can make relevant suggestions on more products and services.
This is a benefit for sales as AI is great at closing deals. Therefore your revenue will increase, and customers will continue to come back in the long term to fulfill their other needs.
Implementing AI into your business
Have we convinced you that it’s time for you to use AI too? To give your sales a lot more oomph, here is what you should know on how to get properly acquainted.
After reading about all the incredible benefits that AI can provide for your sales teams, you’re probably eager to use it. But, before you start integrating new software, apps, or technology into your business, you must put some things in place first to ensure it is successful.
There are some risks that need to be taken into consideration. First is not seeing a return on investment (ROI) which can be devastating for small companies with small budgets. You must also be aware of technical issues that could cause problems elsewhere in the company and grind everything to a halt.
Finally, you must ensure that any information that the new AI bots collect from your customers is 100% ethically and responsibly stored. Any breach of data privacy can cause huge damage to reputation, customer loyalty, and funds.
To avoid these scary parts, here is what you should do.
Know your goals
What do you want sales robots to achieve within your sales cycle? Without clear objectives, it’s easy to veer off course and end up not using AI to its full potential. Fancy new technology is great, but if you dont really know why you have it – it’s wasted potential.
Goals could be that you want your social media posts to be better optimized to segmented customers or for sales operations to be more productive. Whatever it is, have it established with the overall company, especially the sales leaders and sales managers.
You are reading this article right now, which counts as research in our book, so well done! But this is only an introduction to AI sales operations, and there is an awful lot more to learn about.
A great way to research is to look at use cases and testimonials from similar companies. Knowing exactly how they will benefit individual sales roles is incredibly helpful and will provide insight into what to expect.
Dedicate budget and resources
Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as clicking a download button, and waiting for artificial intelligence to magically optimize your sales department. It takes time, know-how, and money to get it right and give AI tools the best chance of seamlessly slipping into your company.
Once you have done your research, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, you will know what software you want and how much it will cost. They vary in price, so it’s tricky to say the price you can expect to pay, but here is a useful website that will give you an idea.
Monitor their performance
The excitement of bringing in new AI technology to enhance your sales process will quickly die if you notice that nothing has really changed. This is why it is very important to closely monitor how the sales robots are performing – especially in the first few months.
Even though they use incredible technology, such as deep learning to continuously improve over time, if they are not given enough input on how you want them to operate, it could potentially worsen your sales processes.
To accurately monitor their performance, you need to look at a few things; metrics, data, and benchmarks. AKA, know what realistic numbers you want the sales robots to hit, look at the numbers they are currently hitting, then compare the difference.
If the difference is stark, you can start testing the bots and see where things go wrong. Customer feedback is incredibly valuable as they are the ones who interact with your bots the most. Send out surveys and see if the problem is on their end.
What does this mean for sales jobs?
So what does this mean for human salespeople? Yes, sales robots are incredibly smart and will continue to get smarter, but they were not created to replace humans.
Every company is different and will have integrated AI in sales to varying extents, but it is very hard to run sales organizations without humans to lead the way.
Sure, AI is capable of informed decision-making backed by huge amounts of data and real-time data analysis from marketing campaigns, but it’s human guidance that makes them so effective.
We are not here to say that AI will have absolutely no impact on jobs because that is just not true. For example, if your role in a company is to analyze data produced by social media campaigns, you could be at risk of AI taking over that particular task.
Understandably, many sales representatives are on edge about the growing introduction of artificial intelligence in their workplace, but if we work with them instead of against them – we can be stronger together.
How do you feel about artificial intelligence taking over sales through sales robots? If you are curious about this incredible technology, explore more at Top Apps.