Sales teams struggle in a sea of information. How can AI help them save time and become more productive?
AI is gaining popularity because it can transform and process vast amounts of various kinds of data. It can learn from its own performance and deliver better results over time. But what can it do specifically for the sales team? How much of a change can it have in productivity and efficiency?
Why AI is so Important to Sales
Sales teams can benefit hugely from the adoption of AI. First, consider the data angle. There is most likely an enormous amount of data in your business’ CRM; plus, more data is available from other internal and external sources. AI can process that data, all of it, and uncover hidden behaviors, triggers and patterns that people could never find in that mass of information.
Next, consider the time angle. Did you know that the average sales rep spends less than 30% of their time actively selling? The bulk of their working hours go to searching for or creating relevant content (31%), followed by updating the CRM and doing other administrative tasks (20%). [Source: HubSpot] Taking over this rote non-sales work is another way that AI can benefit sales teams.
Breaking Down AI’s Impact on Sales
Right now, some companies are already using AI to help their reps become more productive. The three main areas where this is being seen is process automation, sales guidance and conversation guidance.
- Process Automation. This refers to the automatic and intelligent data capture from emails and other sources, including meeting notes. (In fact, some AI tools will automatically generate call or meeting notes.) This data is automatically fed into the CRM, which saves reps time. Process automation can also schedule calls or meetings and remind the rep to follow up.
- Sales Guidance. This starts with the identification and prioritization of new opportunities. (Consider it lead scoring, kicked up a notch). But it doesn’t stop there. AI can compare these contacts to hundreds of other data points, which allows it to suggest a customized “most effective path to closure” for each contact.
- Conversation Guidance. AI can automatically record and transcribe rep-contact conversations and analyze them. This generates some interesting feedback on what words and phrases are most effective. Even the relative amount of time the rep speaks can influence how a contact turns out. In this case, AI can train reps to fine-tune their own performance, helping them tailor pitches to each opportunity.
With much of the routine work being handled by AI, sales reps can focus on the critical part of their job: nurturing relationships and closing sales. And by using the training tips they are given, they can become even more effective.
Now Is the Time to Invest in AI
Sales teams don’t have to wait to utilize AI. Some options are already available that will give them a head start on this trend. A point solution (like TalkIQ, Nudge, Gong, PeopleAI, etc.) that responds to emails, schedules meetings, or sources relevant news is one way to get accustomed to working with AI. A single-platform solution (like NAVIK SalesAI) that handles all routine sales tasks is another effective starting point.
The time to adopt AI and improve sales skills is now, before the competition does. Historically, companies that are early adopters of technology tend to win big. Companies that don’t act quickly struggle. We expect to see this dynamic play out for sales organizations, too: the sooner a sales team adapts to AI, the better their performance.
To learn more about what AI is doing for sales and how it will impact the future, check out the video of Absolutdata’s webinar How AI Can Give Your Sales Team an Unfair Advantage.