5 Ways AI Will Enhance the Modern Sales Professional
Technology is here to support us, not replace us. Put aside your fears and take advantage of sales AI to boost your performance.
November 20, 2017
If talk about artificial intelligence (AI) conjures images of being replaced by a cyborg or automaton, you can rest easy. In spite of a study predicting that AI will cost 5 million human jobs by 2020, B2B sales professionals have little to fear.
When selling high-consideration solutions through a complex sales process, you call upon a diverse set of skills. Your success depends on uncovering deep insights about prospects and building strong, trusted relationships with them. The abilities to read a room, sense emotions, and pick up on body language won’t be replaced by technology any time soon.
However, AI can make you an even better salesperson. In fact, new research suggests that AI implementations are actually creating jobs and boosting sales.
Here are five ways AI makes short work of tedious tasks while enhancing your core strengths.
1. Identify the Best Prospects with Ease
Your prospecting prowess may be admirable, but let’s be truthful: research, experience, and intuition are subjective and hardly infallible. Rather than leave such a critical part of the sales equation to a bit of chance, you could leverage AI to analyze the profiles of your high-value customers and identify the best matching prospects. You’ll essentially get a list of likely buyers along with an idea of the products or services that would address their needs. Plus, AI gets better as it analyzes more and more data, meaning it will progressively put a greater number of qualified leads in your hands. So, instead of spending time identifying who to target, you’ll spend more of your time engaging and closing those leads.
2. Serve Up Valuable Insights
Once AI identifies promising leads, it’s time for you to apply your human touch. As you pursue those prospects, you need to engage with insights. With all the technologies and data available today, buyers now expect you to anticipate and satisfy their needs by providing relevant guidance and suggestions. In fact, leading with insights is what sets apart winning sales professionals from the rest of the pack.
AI is the equivalent of having a digital assistant who conducts the research and serves up information you can pass along. Its algorithms can scan through millions of events to find patterns and correlations that you would never notice. Think of AI as your brain on steroids, making it possible for you to crunch numbers and uncover insights faster than humanly possible.
Here are a few examples of what AI can surface:
- Businesses in XYZ industry using XYZ solution are achieving these types of results
- People in a certain role facing XYZ challenge are choosing this solution to address their issue
- Companies of this size are buying this bundled solution to optimize XYZ process
Imagine using this knowledge to confidently – and more efficiently – guide your buyers down the path to purchase.
3. Direct Your Actions
One of your biggest headaches in sales is figuring out where to focus and how to use your time wisely. Think about how often these questions cross your mind: Is now a good time to reach out? What should I say in this email to elicit a response? What is the best content to send to this prospect?
With AI, you can eliminate the guessing game and receive automated guidance on the next best action. As AI analyzes huge volumes of data, it can offer smart suggestions. AI might notice that you see better results when you send a certain eBook to prospects after your first call. Or it might detect that your prospects respond to you at 50% higher rates once you’ve commented on two of their LinkedIn posts. In other words, it can suggest the exact action you should take at each stage based on its analysis of similar prospects, customers, and transactions. It can even analyze all your interactions to date with a prospect to predict the buyer’s intent and recommend what to do next in order to move the deal forward.
4. Recommend Content That Will Resonate
AI can even help you bridge the gap between the time buyers are conducting their research online and ready for a phone call or meeting. In much the same way that Netflix and Amazon recommend movies or products of interest, AI can point us to content that will resonate with our prospects. It does so by capturing and analyzing all known information about your prospects (such as industry, role, top concerns, technology implementations, and more), then mapping this to similar prospects and how they interact with content online.
Rather than spend your precious time sorting through all the content in your company’s repository, you could simply pass along the materials that your digital assistant recommends. Once those prospects are ready to talk, AI can filter through all your prospect interaction data to help orient your conversation for optimal impact.
5. Optimize Existing Customer Relationships
You know the fastest path to a closed deal is upselling or cross-selling an existing customer. But it can be tough staying on top of all the buying signals being emitted by your customers. Respond even a few hours too late, and a sales opportunity could pass you by.
The beauty of AI is that it can discern buying patterns and anticipate when an existing customer is likely to be in the market for another purchase. It can suggest what product and at what price will appeal to your customer, and even make you aware of potential barriers to purchase so you’ll be fully prepared to navigate a deal.
At the end of the day, your job requires human connections, and that is not something AI can easily replace. But it can act as the ultimate assistant, alleviating you of tasks that bog you down and even enhancing your capabilities so that you can connect and sell better than ever.
To stay up-to-speed on the latest sales trends, subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog.