Sales expert Dan Stewart helps you navigate some common issues using AI based solutions.
How AI-based Sales Tools Can Help You Mitigate the Chaos
Artificial Intelligence scientists at the University of Sydney have discovered that the behavior of optimally charged nanowire can simulate neural networks that exist within the human brain. The nanowire aligns on a flat plane in such a manner as to replicate brain neurotransmitters, utilizing resulting electrochemical junctions as synapses.
The studies revealed that when the nanowire is subjected to signals too weak, they failed to produce complex outputs. Too high, and chaos reigns. The optimal condition — the one that brought about the best alignment and outcome — was associated with a charge whose output resides at the edge of chaos. The belief is that human brains also operate optimally in this state.
If the edge of chaos is the optimal state of operation within the human brain, then the sales profession should be a great environment within which to study the human brain. Although it’s doubtful that this type of chaos is what the scientists had in mind, it’s worth noting that today there are an array of AI-based sales tools available within the sales landscape that just may mitigate this chaos.
What typically goes through people’s minds at this point is the recognition that sales is a uniquely personal proposition; “successful salespeople don’t generate revenue via AI,” they say, “they succeed by building relationships and adapting to changing market and client needs.” And while key elements of this reliable strategic proposition remain true during the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the mundane and repetitive aspects have now moved decidedly in the direction of AI and machine learning.
The recent Zoom boom coupled with advancing technologies that enable employees to work from home have generally accelerated the automation of broad areas within business, notably finding a foothold in the sales domain. By replicating and optimizing time-proven methods of vetting sales leads, these tools also have the capacity to accelerate opportunities while simultaneously making the sales process more efficient.
Just as certain tasks within a manufacturing environment are often robotically automated, freeing humans to perform higher level functions, so too does AI within certain sales functions. Here are three examples are worth mentioning:
1. Lead Scoring and Prospecting:
Listed as the most frustrating aspect of the sales process, the hit-an-miss elements of trying to identify which prospects hold the most possibility of success can now be automated through tools that isolate leads exhibiting identifiable buying behavior such as clicking on specific website content, visiting certain webpages or downloading material. (An audible sigh arises from the sales community).
Removing the salesperson from specific tasks through automation can be liberating for the sales team. If, for instance, the salesperson sends an email to a lead within its existing CRM, that lead could automatically be converted to evaluation or negotiation categories, reducing the time salespeople spend manually converting leads during this task.
3. Upselling and Cross Selling:
How does a salesperson know when clients are ready to move to that next level, or for that matter, leave your organization? Aside from constant interaction — which is impossible — they don’t. It’s a well-known precept, however, that the fastest and most efficient way to grow revenue is through existing clients. Fortunately, advanced AI algorithms can now identify which clients are ready to purchase — or leave.
It’s clear that the trend is moving toward deeper adoption, bringing about a significant reduction in sales chaos — edge or otherwise — through the adoption of AI. According to McKinsey, “79% of Marketing and Sales teams are achieving year-over-year revenue increases this year (2020) based on AI adoption.”
It’s simply not possible for a salesperson to maintain effective personal engagement with each and every client or prospect. Some form of AI can, and should, be used to relieve sales activities of this onerous burden. Many companies are adopting varying levels of AI to streamline the customer experience, allowing for some autonomy in the buyer’s journey. It can be hard letting go, but the freedom is, well…less chaotic.
What’s left for the sales team is the laser focus of their finely tuned and highly valued skills found on the “last mile” of the sales process: the handshake, the sharing of a meal, the “Gimmie putt,” — in short — the engagement of the human condition. In the final analysis, this is what matters most in sales — optimally charged neurotransmitters teetering on the edge of chaos notwithstanding.