Machine Learning in sales.
The rise of the machines is well underway, but do you need to worry about your obsolescence? Are the machines here to divide and conquer? Before you admit defeat and submit to your new AI overlords, you may want to consider the value Artificial Intelligence offers your workplace.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already helping you. It helps you shop, protects you from digital hackers and saves you hours of mundane manual labor through programmes and algorithms embedded in your work software and digital gadgets.
AI has the ability to unlock the power of your company’s data to inform and shape the actions of departments, including sales, to better pitch, sell and serve customers.
AI is creating practical value for sales teams by automating, augmenting and supercharging the way they work (Source)
Think of all the data your business has. Can you access it? If you can, do you know how to get information out of it? Or do you not even know what questions to ask to get the insight you need to close a deal?
This is often a serious issue within business – the problem of data silos. This may be due to data being sensitive, new GDPR rules, or database owners being too busy to run the reports you need. The end result is that no one in the business has a full picture of what is happening especially as there is so much data.
DATA VS TIME
In 1986 we heard the cry ‘Johnny5 need input!’ and boy have we been delivering on his plea by generating masses of data on a global scale.
It’s estimated that by 2020, 44 trillion gigabytes of data will be created every day (Source).
With a never-ending supply of data, how can salespeople gain a competitive advantage when they are working from yesterday’s insights? We need to crunch that data faster. We need it grouped, highlighted and automated to ensure salespeople are armed with the best information to close a sale or save a leaking account.
Whilst many business intelligence systems, such as sales-i, already offer data system integrations that provide business performance overviews, reports and trend insights proven to make every salesperson more successful; AI applications complement this by following a set program and presenting data directly to the end user without the need for that person to analyze the data themselves. AI has the ability to evolve its programming to improve the quality of results it provides. Simply put, it can learn what works and duplicate it without any human interaction through machine learning.
For a sales team, AI can analyze all of the complex interactions stored in years’ worth of CRM and invoice data and draw conclusions about a customer’s future behavior. It’s the crystal ball you’ve always needed.
AI IN ACTION
AI delivers granular insights that will set your business apart from the crowd. These include:
Price Optimization predictions on the lowest discount that is most likely to close a deal based on historical data. Data would include orders, individuals’ behaviors, order value and order frequency from individual people within each company you sell into.
Forecasting data for team/business sales income, product stock levels, and seasonal demand patterns that will allow your business to be prepared for market changes.
Upselling & Cross-Selling Identification. AI can analyze and suggest upsell and cross-sell opportunities in real time. Identifying which of your existing customers have a propensity to change their orders to higher grade products or to a different brand will not just help the sales bottom line – but also reduce the costs from your marketing department having to sell to existing customers.
Lead Scoring. By analyzing the data in your CRM about the actions of each customer, AI will lease score prospects. Positive and negative scoring markers identify prospects that are most likely to become a customer, buy more products or leave your business. Automatically alerting you to changes to contacts scores and helping sales teams focus their efforts more efficiently.
Performance Management. Hand-in-hand with forecasting, sales managers will be able to quickly review the performance of individual salespeople compared to the strength of the lead they have been working on. Managers can identify where individuals’ strengths (and weaknesses) lie, which sales methods are being most successful and encourage others to learn from each other accordingly.
The insights delivered by implementing an AI system do not threaten existing sales teams. They actually increase the value of staff by helping to research and focus efforts.
No pAIn, no gAIn
While many are still worrying about robots taking their jobs, smarter sales teams are embedding AI technology into their work.
Sales leadership foresees AI reaching a critical mass by 2020, when 54% expect to use the technology (Source).
The concern should be about the AI empowered salespeople taking your business from you, not a robot uprising. The race is truly on to use the new tools available to us.
Are you looking for a way to get the data you need without needing your own Jonny5? Here at sales-i, we are constantly developing new ways to deliver valuable automated insights to our customers. Our in-house development team work with our customers to face market challenges as they arise. We are proud to provide an award-winning service with our cloud-based software.
Check out how sales-i can help you today by requesting a free demo today.