There’s no escaping it… AI is in the headlines, your social media feed, and probably overheard conversations at your favorite cafe.
And it’s creating a bit of a frenzy, the new FOMO of the business world. Leading you to wonder if there’s something you should be doing with AI to improve your competitiveness and efficiency, to boost sales performance.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we give you an overview of what AI sales tools are and how they work, and the numerous benefits they offer for businesses. That way you can more easily determine what might be a good fit for your operation.
Understanding AI Sales Tools
Before we dive deeper into the advantages of AI sales tools, let’s first take a look at what they are and which are driving the biggest results.
At their core, AI sales tools leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to automate and enhance various aspects of the sales process. There are numerous components to AI sales tools that work in tandem to optimize performance.
How AI Sales Tools Work
Many AI sales tools work with the help of machine learning algorithms that analyze various data points and make predictions about customer behavior. For example, a lead generation tool may analyze a prospect’s online behavior to determine their likelihood of making a purchase.
Additionally, AI sales tools can help automate repetitive tasks. Crucially, this can free up time for managers, sales reps, and contact center agents to focus on high-value activities. Being able to focus on managing relationships and making strategic decisions can be a game-changer by itself.
Today’s AI sales tools typically work in the following ways:
- Data collection: AI sales tools collect data from various sources, including CRM systems, social media, and website analytics.
- Data analysis: Machine learning algorithms analyze data to identify patterns and make predictions about customer behavior. Thanks to their speed and power, AI sales tools can process huge amounts of data and are often capable of making connections that sales teams either could not make themselves or could only make over much longer stretches of time.
- Automation: AI sales tools automate tedious and repetitive tasks, such as lead scoring, email outreach, and phone dialing, to unlock time savings and new efficiencies for sales teams. Sales & marketing automation has been one of the hottest markets for a reason.
- Insights and recommendations: Many AI sales tools offer real-time insights and recommendations to help managers and agents make informed decisions about how to approach prospects.
Top Examples of AI Sales Tools
AI sales tools can take on various forms, but they all revolve around the concept of utilizing AI to improve sales performance. Some examples include:
Lead scoring tools
At least 4 in 10 salespeople say prospecting is the hardest part of sales. Luckily, there are AI sales tools to help make the process easier and more effective.
Lead scoring tools use AI to analyze customer data and predict which prospects are most likely to convert to a sale. Using past performance data, the tools can help sales teams know which leads to focus their attention on and avoid wasting their efforts on the unlikeliest sales. Leading solutions can even alert teams when a lead takes an action—such as downloading lower-funnel content or visiting certain pages on your site—that signal they’ve potentially moved closer to a purchase.
Customer segmentation platforms
Like lead scoring solutions, customer segmentation platforms can analyze CRM data and past performance to place sales prospects into different target groups. And when personalized experiences are expected by the vast majority of today’s customers, this can be a huge boon to sales teams. Using the output of these platforms, teams can tailor their messaging and outreach efforts to each customer segment.
Sales forecasting software
AI tools aren’t just making it simpler to make sales at the level of the individual lead. They’re also helping managers predict future performance and plan their team’s growth. By analyzing historical sales data and overall market trends, sales forecasting software can predict future outcomes with increasing accuracy. Some tools can also help identify potential losses and predict customer churn. This way, teams can zero in on maintaining the relationships they’re at risk of losing.
Sales and workflow automation platforms
The AI tools covered so far augment sales planning before and after outreach. AI can also help improve your actual outreach efforts. Rather than dialing, emailing, and texting leads on a whim, you can use workflow automation to create fine-tuned cadences that improve contact rates and your chances of conversion. Likewise, sales automation platforms can eliminate some of the work done by agents in between customer conversations. By detecting agent actions and, for example, call outcomes, the sales platform will automatically reclassify leads. Even just eliminating a few seconds of manual data entry after each sales call can quickly add up to huge savings for large-scale sales operations.
Conversational AI solutions
Conversational AI technology refers to solutions designed to understand, process, and respond to human language in a natural and contextually appropriate—or, in other words, conversational—manner. By this point, you’ve probably interacted with this technology in a variety of contexts: it’s what powers the Siri assistant on your iPhone and the Alexa in your kitchen.
For sales teams, conversational AI powers smarter and smarter chatbots. Chatbots on websites are increasingly capable of conversing with potential customers and guiding them toward solutions and sales.
However, their much more advanced counterparts, IVAs, are taking a number of routine tasks off of sales teams’ plates. Intelligent Virtual Agents like Voso.ai can augment teams of human agents, holding complex conversations with prospects over both text and voice. Fitting seamlessly into an omnichannel sales strategy, this sort of conversational AI solution for sales and lead gen can supercharge sales growth and boost ROI.
Sales quality assurance software
At organizations with large outbound call centers, keeping tabs on the contents and outcomes of every call has long been a difficult, if not impossible, task. AI-powered QA tools can change all that. With a simple integration in your outbound dialer, QA solutions can listen in on every call, provide guidance to sales agents in real time, and streamline the process of providing coaching and feedback after the fact. With the total transparency afforded by these tools, your sales team can speed up improvements and drive better outcomes.
Boosting Performance and Driving Scale with AI Sales Tools
These top use cases for AI in sales can empower sales teams and help them achieve the growth they’re after. As we’ve seen, AI sales tools can help teams:
- Save time: About two-thirds of sales reps’ time is currently spent on things other than selling. By eliminating repetitive and tedious manual tasks, AI helps organizations accomplish more with the workforce they already have. And it helps them focus their efforts on things that actually move the needle.
- Improve agent engagement and satisfaction: To motivate and engage today’s workforce, businesses need to empower them with the latest tools—tools that make their jobs easier and more fulfilling. The best AI sales tools do that, driving not just better results but improved morale and job satisfaction.
- Greater strategic insights: Getting the insights you need from all of the data your customers and sales operation create can be tough. With predictive analytics and powerful processing, AI sales tools can speed up the process and deliver the information you need to bring better sales strategies to bear.
- Increased personalization: Today’s customers expect sales processes to cater to their individual needs. With the analytical and predictive power of AI sales tools, you can deliver on those high expectations to close more deals.
- Upskill your sales teams: By streamlining feedback delivery and making it easier to make improvements, it’s not just your sales numbers but your team members themselves that will improve, gaining new skills and bettering those that they already have.
Each of these different benefits offered by artificial intelligence share one thing. They’re about efficiency—about making the very most of the resources and know-how that sales teams already possess. By augmenting and enhancing the performance of managers and reps alike, AI sales tools can help teams not just grow but scale.