How to empower the modern sales rep with AI
Erica Karnes is a content specialist for Highspot, the sales enablement industry’s leading platform for content management, customer engagement, sales productivity and analytics.
No longer the stuff of a lofty sci-fi plot, AI has permeated modern businesses and inspired innovation in multiple industries and roles.
The sales function has been no exception; sales reps have been quick to recognize the benefits of AI’s ability to gather and process massive amounts of information.
Since so much of the modern sales process relies on personal connection and customized content, AI aids reps in collecting important information that increases the likelihood and longevity of a successful sales conversation.
Furthermore, AI can identify prospects that are more inclined to pick up the phone or open emails and appropriately tailor content to appeal to different sales personas.
As InsideSales.com points out, sales reps spend 36.6 percent of their time actually selling. Empowering sales reps with the right tools and tactics minimize time-consuming tasks and boosts sales productivity in a huge way, and AI can be a powerful means of accomplishing that goal.
Here are four ways you can use AI to boost sales productivity:
1. Sales prospecting
Prospecting leads is not easy. According to Gleanster Research, only around 25 percent of all leads are valid. In other words, reps spend a huge amount of time combing reports and analysis, sifting through 75 percent of unproductive or unqualified leads that lead nowhere. How can effective reps better establish which leads to chase, and which ones to walk away from?
This is where AI comes in. Today’s reps need the right leads paired with customer insights, and machine learning identifies patterns that can better establish which leads result in deals and increased sales productivity.
Modern sales tools can enable sales reps to correlate leads with unique customer data (e.g.: purchase patterns, recent and past purchases, and engagements across marketing channels). To drive customized, personal, and proactive connections with buyers, reps can utilize key data points, in real time, that target the identity and role of potential customers.
2. Sales guidance
How do reps know the next best sales action to take? Insights. Specifically, prescriptive insights that can shed light on situations such as “Where do I take this deal next?” and “What improvements could I implement in my pipeline?”
AI guidance around next-step sales actions equips reps with the confidence (and capabilities) to close successful sales. Additionally, it better empowers reps to discern the necessary and varying levels of effort required across different deals—insight that ultimately saves reps valuable time.
A huge component of effective selling stems from reps having access to the right content, at the right time. A modern sales enablement solution that’s powered by AI can locate relevant, effective content for each sales opportunity by maintaining and analyzing a knowledge graph representing the relationships between every user, opportunity, lead and piece of content.
3. Workflow assistance
What if every rep were assisted by a knowledgeable, fully capable sales AI assistant? Imagine the time saved if reps could focus solely on selling, rather than managing and organizing all behind-the-scenes content.
Modern AI acts as reps’ one-stop shop for all admin needs, enabling reps to do just that—sell. From identifying and logging emails and communication notes into a CRM system, to building new seller contacts, AI can save reps valuable time.
Keep in mind, AI doesn’t replace reps in the selling process — it better equips them within it. Modern AI should provide customized, research-backed insights on which leads are hot and which are lukewarm.
Additionally, it should gather data around timelines and offer reps task-related reminders and lead prioritization tips. From a company-wide standpoint, AI can measure and compare results across entire sales teams, ultimately highlighting best practices as much as pain points to solve for.
Using AI to analyze reps’ success sheds valuable light on sales effectiveness and can reveal team data points around experience level, product know-how, industry expertise, and efficiency in closing deals.
4. Sales engagement
It’s virtually impossible to engage hundreds of prospects with tailored, customized content without the use of some form of AI. Today’s sales tools enable reps to save time, act strategically, and delegate some of the more tedious aspects to landing sales.
These same tools can search and analyze existing content — internal or customer-facing — and assemble data around which assets appeal to, and convert buyers.
When it comes to using AI to personalize and scale messaging, reps are better able to align with the language customers are using, the insights they’re searching for, and better yet — the information necessary for assembling various buyer personas. The insights gleaned from AI better connects reps to their customers, leading to more time saved and more successful sales.
For sellers to stay relevant in today’s market, years of experience and other learned skills can only take reps so far. Incorporating some or many forms of AI can ease the burden facing competitive sellers, streamline processes and further optimize valuable time, effort and energy.
From prospecting to sales guidance, systems automation to sales engagement, AI brings a varied and unique amount of ease to reps’ daily workflow and increase sales productivity.