The Use Of AI in Inside Sales

When was the last time you did grocery shopping? Or some new clothes shopping? During those times, have you considered on rather ordering your groceries or purchase some new clothes online?

Today is what we call as Technology’s era, where anything you want is now available to you — in just one click away. Though, many still prefer on going to the store and picking up your groceries by yourself instead of sitting comfortably in your couch while browsing through your mobile or desktop; Online sales growth is undeniable. In the US alone, reports says the online sales grew around 15,1% in 2016, while another recent studies says Global online sales are growing and is estimated to reach 8,8% of total retail spending in 2018 as compared to sales in 2016 and nearly one in four online shopper shop online at least once a week, where the statistics say 30% are men and 18% are female.

With these numbers we know one thing for sure that is, the online sales are not going anywhere any time soon, quite contrary the numbers are increasing significantly. That brings us to the real question, how can we help the retail industry to increase their sales? That’s where the use of inside sales comes in.

Inside sales are the sale of products or services by sales personnel who reach customers by phone or online, rather than traveling to meet them face-to-face. Inside relies on the phone, emails and the internet to reach customers and is common in the retail industry. Unlike outside sales, the sales personnel aren’t necessarily required to travel, in most case it may not be needed at all. With this fact alone, inside sales can help the company to safe the money required for their staffs to travel and meet their potential and investing the money to technologies that can increasing the inside sales, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).

When we said AI, most people would think of the “Turing Test” or Robots. Though, they are not entirely wrong. To put in simple terms, the way modern AI works, for the most part, is by taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by very fast computers, which don’t get bored or forget facts. Now, using AI in Inside Sales is more than just having an automated robots reaching to customers replacing the sales personnel.

AI in inside sales can be used into tracking the customer behaviors. Their recent purchases, their wish list items, what they are interested in, or what they dislike. With all this information in hand, when a sales personnel reach out to the customer and the system is updated with the data of customers we are reducing the chance falsely marketing an item that the customer may not need or dislike.

This AI is not only useful for the retail or telemarketing industry to use, but also is an advantage for the customer. When a customer wants to order something online, they will be researching for the similar products both online and offline then comparing the result before finally purchasing. Now, with the AI the time spent by the customer in searching and comparing the result will be far less than it was. Customers will be empowered even more than they are today.

With AI not only there’s a simplicity on the process, but an increase in the sales and decrease in time management are guaranteed. However, the efficiency that AI brings into Inside Sales can not cover the fact that there is a negative impact lurking around the corner, Could it be, that we may not need sales personnel anymore and be replaced via AI voice?

When AI becomes fully integrated with websites, we will see customers being able to go much further through the buying process before they have to interact with a human. 90% of the interactions will be done at a higher level of customer satisfaction than humans are currently providing. Just as the laptop and smartphone have increased the productivity of salespeople, AI will continue the trend. Just as the telephone a century ago changed business, and the personal computer and the internet have done so more recently, we don’t need to think AI is the end all.

Another simple illustration will be the use of Google Translate, one of most efficient tool that helps people to communicate in different language. With Google Translate, everyone, especially tourists are getting the benefit of easiness in communicating; though it doesn’t entire wipe off the role of translator.

Before anyone panics and thinks their job is at risk, a better approach is to ask themselves if AI can help them do their job better. The salesperson will now be able to conduct sales planning sessions using AI rather than having to engage their sales manager. In the end, AI will allow the top performing salesperson to become even more of a top performer.

Written By : Sareswari Selva


Sares is founder and writer at Next Generation Digital Magazine, a social action & education platform that wants to solve the world’s biggest challenges.On our platform you can learn about issues, take action on what matters most and join a community committed to social change. To learn about our work, subscribe now

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on May 28, 2017.