• Artificial Intelligence
  • Nathan Sykes
  • JAN 28, 2019

AI and Sales: A Relationship for Improvement

The ability to meet quotas and achieve goals is a huge part of being in a successful sales team. For sales managers, whose jobs include coming up with those quotas and benchmarks, the process of drawing up realistic and attainable goals amid a backdrop of intensifying market and competitive pressure can be anything but straightforward.

Thankfully, AI-powered sales forecasting is already here, and it's making sales forecasts more accurate and responsive to real-world variables, including past sales figures, current success rates, market volatility, new sources of competition and more. Supercharging forecasting isn't just good for your sales reps, either. It also provides a degree of stability that can trickle through your entire organization and make it leaner thanks to more accurate expectations — from manufacturing operations to acquisitions decisions.

Optimization for Discounts and Sale Prices

Some sales processes are more involved than others. Maybe your company deals with bidding or negotiating before closing a deal. In situations like these, it's beneficial if you can go into the deal-making process with some help apart from your world-class haggling skills.

Artificial intelligence can be that help. When it comes to making a sale, it's not always easy to know how much of a discount to offer in order to win somebody's business. AI-based pricing tools for sales teams can help weigh the variables and come up with an offer, or a discount package, that's much more likely to close the deal than just eyeballing it. Some of these variables include:

  • The size of the deal in question vs. past deals
  • Dollar amounts for past deals and previous discounts
  • Competitors in your field
  • Whether it's a new or existing client — or a new or existing business overall
  • The client's territory and annual revenues

Having an algorithm that can sift through these details and provide pricing guidance may soon become something you won't know how you did without.

Customer Relationship Management and Upselling

In a lot of ways, Amazon.com served as a kind of pilot program for sales technologies that would go on to become indispensable to smaller businesses. Each visit to the e-commerce giant yields a number of algorithm-driven suggestions for what to buy next, including purchases related to items you've viewed or bought in the past, or to products currently in your shopping cart. For e-commerce websites everywhere, this is a straightforward and ultimately profitable addition to your retail experience.

You can take it one step further, though. Making more relevant predictions and suggestions to your customers isn't just about making more sales — it can also be about converting a casual visitor into a lead based on their clicks and product views. Some 88 percent of online shoppers indicated a personalized shopping experience positively influences their spending habits.

There's more. When it comes to upselling to customers and clients, an AI-powered sales dashboard could also automatically tag customers and clients whose services or subscriptions are close to expiring. It could also let them know when past purchases are close to their EOL dates or have been made obsolete by a new product or an update to their existing one. Using AI to uncover potential sales like these can reduce the burden on your marketing budget and help ensure customers shop with you first before renewing or looking around elsewhere.

Automation for Tedious Back-Office Functions

Whether it's scoring leads, updating prospect or client contact information, or churning out status reports for your promotions and campaigns, selling involves a lot of non-selling tasks. This is far from the flashiest application for artificial intelligence, but it might become one of your teams' favorites. AI can deliver automation to these and other essential sales team tasks. It can:

  • Update client information in relationship management dashboards at regular intervals
  • Generate status reports for current sales trends and the performance of any in-progress marketing campaigns
  • Perform target demographic research
  • Pull and organize keyword usage data from search engines and social media

The goal with all this is twofold. AI removes all unnecessary friction from the daily lives of your salespeople and helps them focus more on their communication skills, sales techniques and ways to close the deal. It also improves your research efforts by providing actionable insights into what your target demographics are looking for and where they're hoping to find it.

The long and short of AI for sales is that it can improve your relationships with your customers by adding value to your organization. Whether it does this by helping your teams sell more effectively, connecting you with an audience you didn't know you had or just staying better organized behind the scenes, AI and sales is an obvious pairing with compelling use cases — and true staying power.

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