Would you agree that integrating AI into your business processes will augment rather than replace humans?
Even since the industrial revolution in the 1790s, there has always been a fear that machines will replace humans. But history and the present prove that instead of replacing humans, they are helping us, humans.
Before you get alarmed and panic thinking your job is at risk, wouldn't it be a better approach to ask yourself how AI can help you be more efficient and effective in your sales career?
But before we dig into the heart of the matter, let us go down memory lane of the evolution of sales from person to person to digital started.
Evolution of Sales
The 1960s - The history of e-commerce began with the electronic data interchange.
In the 1970s - Telemarketing was extensively used to describe Bell System communications.
In the 1980s - SPIN selling was introduced. Solution selling was the best strategy for those who sell complex products and services without any background on the customer. It allows a sales rep to ask a sequence of questions to pinpoint if the prospect is a good match before approaching to make the sale. SPIN Solution Selling concepts ushered the world into a new era where maneuvering through complex sales processes had never been.
In 1997- The term, mobile commerce was originally coined by Kevin Duffey at the Global Mobile Commerce Forum launch to mean "the delivery of electronic commerce capabilities directly into the consumer's hand, anywhere, via wireless technology." Mobile commerce is sometimes thought of as "a retail outlet in your customer's pocket."
In 2011 - Aaron Ross introduced Sales Development Rep (SDR)
The next to make significant contributions to the sales industry was the innovator - Aaron Ross. He identified a significant flaw that needed fixing. He noted that account executives and closers spend so much time prospecting for new leads instead of closing new business deals. SDR focused on the three essential components of the sales process: lead generation, closing, and account management.
In 2015 - Automation was introduced, and a seemingly endless flow of automation tools made selling much more effortless. The modern-day salesman has an unlimited amount of tools at his disposal that focus on each aspect of the sales process. New technologies introduced apps for lead generation, contract management, CRM, email automation, etc.
It became easier to scale up a business with a steady stream of new sales leads with new technology. The advent of innovations like email, SMS, and telephone marketing allows any person with a computer or a mobile phone along with a good internet connection to become a sales expert in the comforts of his home.
State of AI in Business
From its factual best practices to understanding the new tools of the trade, people who understand the unique aspects of sales will always have an advantage over their competitors. They will likely achieve success during their career in the sales industry.
So now, are you willing and ready to let AI lead you the way to closing more deals and growing your business? Let this statistics make up your mind:
How can AI Improve Sales?
You may ask, how can AI help your sales team?
PRODUCTIVITY AI allows salespeople to become excellent performers. It can drive significant improvements in sales efficiency and productivity.
1. AI accelerates the process and helps sales agents focus on optimization.
Sales representatives spend the best part of their time on repetitive and time-consuming tasks like lead generation, profiling, and scoring. Time spent this way is wasted when they can build genuine relationships and cut deals.
2. An AI-powered platform can automate this monstrous process and optimize the sales pipeline, generate more leads and, in effect, brings in more revenue. AI aggregates data across organizations and industries to identify valuable insights.
By automating email campaigns and sales follow-ups, sales productivity has increased by 14.5%
3. AI is like an elixir for sales. It provides a more brilliant, personalized, and more
predictive customer experience. In such a setting, sales representatives can have real one-on-one interaction, and they can be confident because what they say and show is proven and tailored for their clients.
4. AI improves productivity and reduces work.
54% of executives say that implementing AI in their workplace has increased productivity.
To unleash this panacea, salespeople should harness big data to gain incredible insights to help lessen churn, identify new prospects, and boost their bottom lines.
Moreover, artificial intelligence will make salespeople more effective by automating repeated and low-level tasks. It will allow them to create automatic alerts for when particular studies are performed, or thresholds are achieved.
With this kind of information, salespeople can avoid any surprises. It allows them to understand why customers think the way they think and why they behave the way they behave.
They will also be vital for renewing customer contracts or cross-selling additional products. Sellers will learn what their customers want based on historical content without making assumptions. Consequently, artificial intelligence will make salespeople more intelligent, efficient, and profitable for their companies.
5. AI will play a game-changer role in the sales process, and that role will be as
crucial after a sale as it is during or before a sale. A post-sale relationship is vital to building strong bonds with customers and ensuring repeat business, loyalty, and referrals.
40% of businesses say that customer experience is their top motivator for using artificial intelligence.
Any sales agent worth his salt knows that an existing customer is exponentially more valuable than a new one. Providing considerable care to those customers post-sale is a fundamental key to business success. Believe it or not, AI is the best tool to help you cultivate and foster a healthy and beneficial after-sale relationship with customers.
Can AI Predict Sales?
A study by Harvard Business Review revealed that companies using AI for sales increased their leads by over 50% and led to cost reductions of almost 40-60%.
I believe AI is completely changing the rules of the game. From chatbots to clustering to selling specifically, AI can give an on-target analysis of a customer's mood. Some people think AI will replace sales roles, but it will enhance them. Here's how:
1. Predictive Personalization is being touted as the next major wave of innovation.
Ushers in a future in which machines can learn from past interactions and data, allowing sellers to help consumers with what they say they want and anticipate their future needs.
75% of buyers expect companies to predict their needs and make relevant suggestions before contact.
A more advanced and AI-driven sales approach is advantageous as AI can connect various disconnected interactions a consumer has with a brand. Consumers are identified at a more granular level, allowing sellers to personalize their selling pitch.
2. It could read micro-expressions and give the salesperson real-time feedback on
the effectiveness of their sales pitch. The most advantageous salesperson is flagged and alerted to multiple tactics to improve their odds of making a sale for that specific customer.
3. AI will create and signal trigger words and design a custom selling speech to
make a customer feel a certain way (anger, empathy, happiness, etc.) and be more willing to buy what you are selling. The AI could tip off the salesperson which items they'd be most likely to purchase.
The computer may train salespeople to approach individual customers and give specific data about their lives and personas. It can already target focused ads depending on your profile. The true skill is delivering without sounding like it is learned.
4. Salespeople will have more accurate information available to have an advantage over competitors and know more about their type of customers, making it easier to sell to them.
5. AI makes people find value in things they need. What AI can trigger will be interesting to see for sure. It will be an effective technique to open opportunities, such as marketing funnels, but it will not close a deal. That is effectively done in-person or, at the least, with a ton of phone interaction. This is why salespeople should not be wary or afraid of using AI in sales. Instead, salespeople should exploit its benefits.
ALSO READ: Future Technology - What to Expect by 2050
Machine vs. Man: Will AI Replace Sales Reps?
Is this the beginning of the end for humans in the sales role? Could a robot truly replace the rep?
A sales representative's specific role is to sell, thus increasing customers and revenue. Sales stereotypes imply that you must sell at all costs.
However, good salespeople understand that key characteristics such as listening, understanding, persuading, and negotiating are essential for becoming a successful seller.
A modern-day salesperson's profile is evolving to the point where they resemble consultants. AI may be capable of automating simple 1+2 transactions, but it cannot build relationships. It can also not comprehend specific pain points.
Sales representatives who understand human complexities can use this to their advantage to outperform the machine. It's time to move on from low-level deals and become an all-around consultant who can solve more significant customer problems.
If a person does not exactly know what they want, AI can't assist them. On the other hand, humans can comprehend complex concepts and solve problems.
Tech can't build relationships, and, more importantly, it can't shape a company's culture, brand voice, or ethos. All of these characteristics are inherently human. As a result, salespeople remain at the top of the sales ecosystem.
Integrating AI in Sales
If technology is here to stay and salespeople continue to provide value, the only possible outcome is a world in which both coexist. One of the most common concerns about artificial intelligence will eventually replace humans, rendering some jobs obsolete.
Look past the headlines, and it's more than likely that AI and automation will help in the same ways that current systems do. Lead management software and SaaS offer salespeople an efficient way to track their sales process, doing away with the days of jotting down leads on paper.
The same should go for technological innovations that allow reps to work more quickly. Consider having a tool that scales social media sites and selects the most suitable leads with the click of a button.
Or the ability to automate accurate pricing, special offers, and processes – elements that can take thousands of hours to complete. As a result, reps can close more deals and maximize their time by eliminating many of the time-consuming tasks they are currently burdened with.
Integrating AI in Marketing
On the marketing front, AI can assist businesses in delivering the right information at the right time.
With vast amounts of data available from a multitude of different sources and information technology, marketing can effectively engage prospects with relevant content promptly and then involve the sales team once the prospect indicates an intent to buy.
By assisting businesses in understanding the purchase decision journey and identifying "moments of truth" (that is, when a lead is open to engaging or buying), AI can play an essential role in B2B marketing.
B2B sales are typically complex due to the limited volume and variety of data to be analyzed. This is where artificial intelligence can be instrumental in revealing hidden patterns, prevalent paths to purchase, and the moment when a low-key prospect becomes engaged.
In a B2B context, AI can also help guide the best sales and pricing strategy. Traditionally, salespeople have relied on intuition, experience, and conversations with prospects to determine the best sales strategy. AI can help provide insights from previous wins and losses and invaluable recommendations to salespeople.
AI as a Sales Assistant
AI provides insights that boost your team's decision-making abilities. Using AI in your sales strategy can help you:
- Identify prospects who are most likely to buy from your industrial business.
- It boosts lead volume and quality.
- It boosts closing rates by identifying patterns and determining the best time to approach a prospect.
Real-time in sales enables a proactive selling environment. It allows you to:
- Establish an accurate ICP or ideal customer profile.
- A Shift from prospecting to buying.
- Monitor events that happen in the prospects' business and alert your team when to connect with them.
- Anticipate your prospects' needs and requirements.
- Provide your salespeople with up-to-date and relevant data about your prospects and clients.
In as much as remote selling is the stage for the sales game today, AI is more crucial than ever.
Why? - Because it seamlessly and effectively removes manual, time-consuming tasks from your sales team's workload. Automation helps you with:
- Data entry
- Marketing automation (emails and social media).
- Automated prospect monitoring is easy.
Expectations vs. Reality: AI in Business
There is a lot of PR and attention about the advantages of AI for businesses. When business owners devour the vast amounts of information containing the promises of AI, expectations go beyond reality.
They tend to forget that AI is not a destination but a journey. This is the root cause of why businesses display the ignorance of adopting AI. Too many businesses jump on the bandwagon but have no blueprint for why they need AI.
Please start with a deep and healthy understanding of how to go about integrating AI into your business. Then and only then can you see what AI can genuinely do for you. Or better yet, let AI-Bees help you.
The Final Note
Instead of worrying about AI taking their jobs, marketing and sales professionals should embrace technology that can help them with the tedious administrative aspects of their jobs.
Doing so frees them to devote their unique human talents and energies to deciphering deal complexities, applying creativity to perplexing buying situations, and cultivating relationships at the heart of business success.
AI can eliminate monotonous drudgery and busy work, allowing people to focus on what they do best. We are living in the era of big data and machine learning. The application of AI in several, and indeed most, industries such as technology, banking, entertainment, and marketing, has already been quite impactful and fruitful.
In short, AI is the future; it is already underway. Do you believe AI can be of great help to ensure your company's success?: Let AI-Bees.io show you how.