When I first started out in sales, I felt uncreative, overburdened with numbers and information, disheartened that I wasn’t doing anything innovative. I wasted a lot of time on administrative work and chasing down the wrong deals. Through these experiences, I discovered what worked, what didn’t, and why I needed to do things differently. And that really continues throughout all of our sales careers — we never stop learning.
What I didn’t have then (and what would have made a huge difference) was a real helper to guide me through the challenges, give me good advice, drive agility and help me focus on what’s important — my customers and peers. There’s a changing reality for all sales teams: artificial intelligence (AI). With the tsunami of information and its ever-increasing pace, technology comes as a rescue to drive engagement and creativity.
Whether you’re new to sales or a seasoned veteran, let’s look at several ways AI can be that best friend, mentor, and helper to support you to learn more, sell more, and, most importantly, get paid more.
Sales teams love data, and AI is the perfect tool to help them to make sense of it. In fact, artificial intelligence is starting to be built straight into CRMs and marketing automation systems, and the funny thing is that people won’t necessarily need to know it uses AI to reap the rewards.
Making a sale is all about connecting with a customer on a personal level, and AI can help to power those personal connections by providing sales teams with the information they need to strike up a conversation. It can make predictions based on how similar leads have acted and by tapping into big data, and a lot of the power of machine learning comes from the fact that it gets better and better over time.
Recently I sat down with Anoop Bhatia, the Chief Executive Officer of Nowigence who discussed the benefits of utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI).
I started my career as a sales rep in the mid-80s. The pace of business was slower, and we didn’t have a plethora of digital tools like the web or team collaboration platforms like Slack or the ability to record and transcribe conversations and discussions. Now sales reps work in a digital era where more data is available than they can manage. Staying abreast of all internal and external intelligence to help them succeed is a task by itself. We utilize AI to fill the gap. Their market intelligence is enriched in real-time to help them achieve their goals by continuously grooming leads, strengthening their relations with clients and setting future targets with confidence.
Over the last two decades, we have developed digital platforms for sales reps that ask for information from them like in CRMs. However, these tools contain information already known to the sales reps. Or they receive contact details regarding new prospect from their Marketing department or from lead generating platforms like Marketo. They still need to dig for additional intelligence and spend time qualifying the leads before approaching prospects.
Pluaris is like your personal notepad extracting relevant content from various sources used in your day-to-day work and organizing, storing, and delivering tailored intelligence as per your preferences in ready-to-use formats, added Mr. Bhatia.
A sales rep can only be as productive as the time spent selling. Does anyone want to be putting emails and communication notes into the CRM system when they could be on the phone or working on a high-level meeting? Of course not. This is where the helper part of AI in sales really shines. Let AI automate activity logging, identify high-priority emails, and create new contacts for you. Pass off that admin work and start spending your time in more productive ways.
When you sell into a company, you have to go back and read through all of the past deals that were lost or won — and there are typically a lot of them. AI helps you to have any or all of that information at your fingertips — and to analyze it. For instance, AI can automatically synchronize — and natural language processing can review — all of the calendar entries and emails as part of the millions of data points it uses to make potential recommendations. All those data points are what you use to find the right lead to call or to close a current deal. Imagine not having to do the dirty work because AI surfaces the predictions that you just can’t do yourself. Now that you’re armed with all this information, you can approach the deal differently and with greater likelihood or success.
Humans have always found innovative solutions. Calculators were invented when the accounting needs of growing businesses increased to the extent that speed in calculations became a necessity. Similarly, the emergence of digital media has resulted in an information explosion which is expanding at a rapid pace.
“Without the power of machine comprehension to keep pace with information, a new era of the impoverishment of knowledge will set-in”, added Anoop.
Artificial Intelligence seems to be the need of the times. We are beginning to understand why there is so much hype about AI. Nowigence’s platform Pluaris serves to not only provide sales intelligence for businesses that want their sales reps to be more effective and not miss sales quotas, but it now frees up time for sales reps to focus on better tasks at hand.
“It used to take me days to collect talking points and develop my communication strategy when meeting new clients. It now takes me a few seconds,” said Anoop.
5 most valuable things you should know about artificial intelligence (AI):
- (AI) is hyped. Large scalability AI solutions are rare. There is a huge market opportunity of over $7 Billion in B2B to organize textual and conversational data.
- The world of data science knows how to harness quantitative or numeric data but not textual or qualitative data. This data type is only exploding in the world. Twenty years ago, we did not have chat, the web was small, social media did not exist and audio recording was non-existent. Not anymore.
- Nearly, 90% of data is unstructured (textual and conversational). Organizing unstructured data is increasingly becoming a focus.
- Data science skills to deal with automated machine learning in real-time or to comprehend natural language queries are scarce.
- Training and inference are both important to advance artificial intelligence solutions. Training machines faster require large scale and automated data-handling capabilities. Only then can we detect data patterns and the ability to infer.