Sales is one of the most important functions in every organization – it defines your growth and business success. Anything you can do to bring efficiency and agility to this function, you must embrace it, and that begins with using AI in sales processes.
Sales professionals need insight, reports, and innovative ways to reach potential customers. With Artificial Intelligence, sales teams can change how they approach selling and significantly increase lead generation, lead conversion, and overall customer experience.
This blog post explores the top 12 ways businesses can leverage AI for their sales functions in 2023.
Table of contents
What is AI in sales?
AI in sales is the process of using Artificial Intelligence technology to assist your sales team in each stage of the sales cycle. This can impact every sales function, from lead generation, conversion, and engagement to demand forecasting.
Popular artificial intelligence technologies that sales leaders are looking to utilize in their businesses include automation, Generative AI, and machine learning to name a few.
Mckinsey’s research suggests that about one-fifth of sales teams can benefit from automating certain tasks, and AI can definitely play a strong role in that.
Why do we need AI in sales?
Using AI in sales helps businesses manage administrative and non-consumer-facing tasks such as lead generation, lead scoring, categorization, and follow-ups. AI is adept at collecting valuable insights from vast amounts of data to understand customer behavior and inform further sales strategies.
Using AI in sales operations means you can supercharge your team’s productivity. AI in sales include can help businesses in:
- Improving efficiency
- Eliminating time-consuming tasks
- Accurate sales prediction
- Higher job satisfaction
- Enabling faster company growth
- Higher conversion rates
Sales reps spend 65% of their time on activities that are NOT directly connected to selling. Only about 35% of a sales rep’s time is spent actually selling your service or product.
Businesses can significantly improve efficiency in sales teams by using AI to:
- Automate repetitive tasks
- Integrate sales datasets with CRM systems for easier transfer of data
- Understand customer interactions better with automatic sales call transcribing and recording
Eliminating time-consuming tasks
Sales reps have to indulge in many time-consuming tasks riddled throughout the sales process. Chatting with unvetted web visitors, managing customer data, and gleaning insights from hundreds of sources get in the way of sales performance.
AI can definitely handle these tasks while also improving the impact of these tasks. For example, your sales rep may not be the best at summarizing customer conversations, but AI can do that better than most people in a jiffy.
Your sales team can also create personalized, insight-backed, and accurate sales pitches for your customers to convert them faster.
Also, with AI in sales, managers can instantly access reports they need without the sales rep having to put it together every day or week.
Accurate sales prediction
Sales teams run on targets, deadlines, and revenue projections. While your manager may be too optimistic or even fail to identify a few lucrative closing opportunities, AI can help you do this without bias.
Artificial intelligence technologies shine in analyzing large datasets and predicting customer behavior, sales trends, and further demand.
Traditional forecasting relies on what happened last year or season and perhaps a handful of current variables to anticipate what will happen in the future. On the other hand, AI-driven sales analytics tools consider complex algorithms and data sets for a more accurate outlook.
You can use website visitor data, sentiment analysis, reputation score, and more to predict sales for the business accurately.
Higher job satisfaction
It is common knowledge that sales teams want to get out there and connect with leads more than anything else. Giving them the tools to do this better and faster will help businesses increase job satisfaction.
In fact, according to a 2022 Deloitte survey, 82% of respondents believed that AI would help them improve job performance and lead to higher job satisfaction.
Enabling faster company growth
Using AI for your sales process is the arsenal you need to accelerate your company’s growth in this competitive environment. According to research,
- Powered by AI, Netflix’s personal recommendation software saves them $1 billion annually.
- Amazon saved 20% in operating costs when it adopted AI-powered robotics.
- Harvard Business Review reports that AI in sales generates savings of up to 60% and a 50% increase in sales.
This indicates that businesses have much to gain by investing in artificial technologies.
High conversion rate
The lead-to-customer conversion cycle is long and challenging. While the effectiveness of your sales team plays a major role in conversion rates, the quality of leads matters too.
It is important that your sales team can access the most important leads first rather than getting a huge lead set without any scoring or categorization.
AI can help trace customer behavior, analyze customer communication, and use predictive models to score leads even before sales reps talk to the customers. This significantly improves conversion rates and helps you devote resources to the right customers.
12 ways to use AI in sales
While most businesses wish to implement AI in sales, the scope of how much artificial intelligence can do for them is often lost. AI can transform many sales functions, and this section covers the top 15 ways to leverage the technology for a business.
Lead generation is the first and most important step in the sales process. But, how your sales teams work on those leads plays a major role in deciding your conversion rates.
For a successful deal closure, your sales team needs a variety of aids, such as marketing collateral, customized proposal decks, content libraries, and more.
Businesses can use AI to enhance sales enablement by:
- Building a customized proposal for each business by analyzing customer pain points, industry trends, and pre-sales conversations.
- Identifying opportunities for upselling and cross-selling
- Lead nurturing activities by building targeted advertising campaigns
- Create customized video demos
This especially comes in handy for B2B sales teams as they have to nurture a lead longer than typical D2C markets.
Not all leads are built the same. For your business to achieve its targets and not miss out on any opportunity, your sales team must focus on leads that are more likely to convert immediately than those that need a bit more nurturing.
Without the intervention of AI-driven lead scoring systems, your team would have to spend time making calls, understanding requirements, and filtering out the hot leads from the cold ones.
With AI, you can automate this by using past patterns to analyze leads and segregate them into the appropriate categories. Sales managers can then assign leads to the respective sales rep and accelerate the conversion process.
What we miss sometimes is that the whole organization contributes to the sales a business does. Every customer interaction shapes brand perception and plays a major role in the customer’s purchase decision.
An accessible brand that is available to solve customer queries gains precedence over its competitors instantly. AI enables businesses to build a lean team while projecting 24/7 availability with AI-driven chatbots.
With chatbots, businesses can boost sales by:
- Developing a set of frequently asked questions and enabling customers to interact with the bot to solve these queries.
- Allowing consumers to get answers to their questions outside business hours.
- Record customer questions during the no-agent timing and respond to them ASAP. This makes sure that you don’t lose any leads or important queries from a potential customer.
Knowing what your competitors are charging and predicting what customers are willing to pay will help you find that sweet spot in pricing. But this process is easier said than done.
Leveraging AI in sales pricing models can help you:
- Analyze your past sales trends vs. pricing trends to determine what works best
- Gain insights from pricing surveys to determine the right pricing strategy for your business
- Devise a questionnaire for customers to understand their preferences in pricing and pricing models
Your website is open 24/7, and it’s your customers’ first stop when they have a pressing question. Their experience here impacts brand perception and the likelihood of turning that visitor into a customer.
AI can significantly improve your website visitors’ experience using personalization techniques. Businesses can use AI to:
- Analyze heatmaps to understand visitor activity and help position CTAs in the right spots
- Personalize pop-ups to improve the visitor experience
- Gather feedback from customers on website experience and suggest changes accordingly.
AI-powered analysis of sales calls
It is important that sales managers monitor and analyze every sales call. This helps them determine the sales team’s effectiveness, understand customer sentiment, and pivot sales strategies.
However, listening to all the calls every day can be quite strenuous and time-consuming. So, this is a great opportunity to leverage AI for this task.
- AI can “listen” to callers’, analyze word choices and tone, and determine their overall mood using Natural language processing. That information can be related to your sales rep in real time and increase sales performance.
- Businesses can also use AI to create conversation summaries they can refer to later while reporting or further negotiating with customers.
- AI can also help transcribe sales calls to help businesses record all customer conversations, especially in the healthcare industry, where such information may be pertinent.
Accurately forecasting sales volume is one of the most effective ways to increase your company’s efficiency. AI sales tools can look at your sales history as well as market trends to create accurate forecasting to help you power sales productivity and manage warehouse stock.
The advantage of using AI is that you can derive dynamic reports that change when the variables change, automating the task.
AI-driven sales training
As your AI sales tools collect and analyze data, you’ll learn the best ways to train and support your sales teams. AI allows you to see where leads drop off in the sales funnel.
Using AI-driven training tools, businesses can:
- Generate high-quality training material to help their sales teams
- Promote self-training with videos and demo accounts
- Identify gaps in existing training programs and make changes accordingly.
Sales pipeline and cycle management
There are a lot of processes in managing a sales cycle and that begins with managing the sales pipeline. Businesses can forecast sales and estimate revenue by investigating the leads in the pipeline and taking steps to convert them.
AI sales tools will help you track where leads are within the sales pipeline with insights on the best ways to close the deal.
You can also AI sales tools to monitor the sales cycle and make sure:
- The sales teams will never miss a follow-up call or email again
- The team tracks the next steps in the sales funnel, and sales reps reach out at the optimal times.
- Sales reps can focus on connecting with customers instead of setting reminders with an automated appointment reminder system
With all the digital marketing channels out there, you want to invest your marketing budget in the right places. AI sales tools can automatically track attribution in the buyer’s journey. You’ll know if Facebook outperforms Instagram or if programmatic advertising beats out organic search results.
AI-driven prospect engagement
Your sales team is good at selling, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are adept at crafting the best emails or responses to customer queries. Yes, you can train them. Or, you can go a step further and invest in AI-driven prospect engagement tools to boost sales efficiency.
AI sales engagement tools can help:
- Craft engaging and appropriate emails to potential customers to convert them into leads
- Answer complicated questions from customers while sounding professional and sincere. AI-driven messaging tools like Birdeye can help rephrase answers and check grammar for the best results.
- Use text messages to interact with customers and secure appointments instantly.
To gain control of your sales processes, businesses must have access to in-depth reporting at all times. Sales managers are better assigned to manage sales reps than creating reports constantly.
With AI-driven tools like Birdeye, businesses can gain access to custom reports delivered in seconds based on the parameters they set. You can also automate receiving these reports periodically to have all the information you need to make the best business decisions.
Leverage AI in sales with Birdeye
Birdeye is an award-winning AI-driven platform that helps businesses improve customer experience right from the prospect stage. It is also one of the most cost-effective choices for businesses across industries. Some tools that can help businesses boost their sales performance are:
- Mass texting
- Aggregate all customer conversations under their profile so that you never miss any detail
- Create conversation summaries to help sales reps understand the history of interactions
- Use AI-driven tools to draft, rephrase, and regenerate responses to customer queries
Birdeye is one of the #1 AI sales reporting tools that helps businesses:
- Analyze and grow their online reputation so that you can take actions to form a perception impression of the brand.
- Track and analyze customer sentiment from feedback.
- Identify trends in customer interactions.
- Monitor mentions on social media.
- Analyze performance against competitors with benchmarking tool.s
- Gain actionable insights from customer feedback to streamline their processes.
Send discounts, surveys, and one-on-one messages. You can respond to texts from your mobile device or assign them to sales reps for follow-up.
Then, when it’s all said and done, analyze data from your text campaigns to learn how to improve your sales performance.
FAQs about AI in sales
AI improves sales by freeing up salespeople to do what they’re best at – sales outreach. AI sales tools help track data, provide valuable insight, and automate administrative tasks.
AI can identify trends within your company and overall industry data to forecast sales and demand. Sales analytics tools make your company efficient and successful.
AI in sales enablement is one of the best investments as it equips sales reps with the right sales collateral, customer data, and insights to improve their performance.
Boost sales productivity with Birdeye
If you don’t use AI in your sales process, you risk falling behind your competition. Almost 90% of sales leaders are thinking or already using AI in sales, and for good reason.
AI can help make the most of the data available to you. AI tools make your sales process more efficient, increase sales, and make accurate forecasting possible.
Birdeye has tools that can help you improve customer experience right from the first interaction and drastically improve your processes. AI-driven tools save time and resources and bring efficiency, making scaling and growing a much easier task for any business.
Leverage the suit of products from Birdeye to make the change today!