AI and Inside Sales: 3 Things You Need to Know Now
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/
How Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Sales Automation Software Tools Platforms are Affecting Inside and Outbound Sales
Quick: Can you tell me, in three sentences or less, exactly what AI is and how it is going to impact your sales career or company?
If not, then don’t feel bad. It’s kind of like when the word “cloud” started being used to describe cloud-based computing. No one really understood it, and even fewer people trusted what they heard about it.
Welcome to that moment again, only different. Today, technology is much more accepted, and technology and sales are inseparable. I mean, can you imagine doing your job without a CRM system? How about access to social media? If you’re a manager, can you do your reporting and metrics measurement without the host of intelligence tools measuring call times, funnel stage reviews, etc.? Probably not…
And so welcome to the future, I mean, present! If your head is still in the clouds (sorry, I just couldn’t help the pun) when you hear the mention of AI then this article is for you.
Here are three things you need to know about AI:
#1: What is AI?
A.I. (artificial intelligence) as applied to the sales environment means that many of the tasks you currently do as sales reps (and managers), can now be further automated and expanded to explode your effectiveness and even predict your sales results. This means improving on (and eliminating even) tasks like putting emails and communication notes into your CRM, or prioritizing leads, or combing through notes and deciding who the “hottest” leads are.
AI can now do all this—and a lot more. AI (as the name suggests), can even tell you which of the leads (in your entire database) are likely to be a deal. Here’s a quote from Lynne Zaledonis – SVP, Product Marketing, Sales Cloud, Salesforce:
“When you sell into a company, you have to go back and read through all of the past deals that were lost or won — and there are typically a lot of them. AI helps you to have any or all of that information at your fingertips — and to analyze it. For instance, AI can automatically synchronize — and natural language processing can review — all of the calendar entries and emails as part of the millions of data points it uses to make potential recommendations. All those data points are what you use to find the right lead to call or to close a current deal. Imagine not having to do the dirty work because AI surfaces the predictions that you just can’t do yourself. Now that you’re armed with all this information, you can approach the deal differently and with greater likelihood or success.” (See full article here.)
Bottom line, it is in your best interest to learn more about the capabilities of this amazing confluence of sales automation and smart technologies and find the best way to use it to crush your competition—before they crush you.
#2: Who are the leading companies in the AI environment and how are they different?
Okay, so you’re sold that there may be some application to your own company or sales environment, what now? Now you need to know who some of the leading companies are that have already harnessed AI and determine which one does what best.
For example, some companies, like Nudge, leverage AI to source news and social updates and filter/deliver this huge amount of information directly to you so you can quickly and efficiently use it to make more strategic sales calls.
Others, like People.ai help improve the visibility and effort of the sales team by identifying where they spend their time. It uses this info to then identify stagnant deals, and gives warning alerts about deals that are slowing down, etc. Useful to know, wouldn’t you say?
For a list of other leading AI companies, and what they specialize in, click here.
#3: Will AI finally eliminate cold calling?
Short answer? No.
Remember when “Sales 2.0” came out and all the pundits claimed, “Cold Calling is Dead!” Remember what happened next? Your manager told you to spend 5 minutes on LinkedIn and then pick up the phone and make a cold call….
Same thing will happen here. Will you have more data on your leads? Sure. Will you have reached out to them through more channels like email, voice mail, text, social media, video emails, etc.? Sure. Will you not have to pick up the phone and qualify and sell? Nope.
So, guess what? You are sill going to have to get really good at the profession of sales (better even), and if you want to get ahead of the AI curve, you’d better start today. A great start is having 500+ current, effective, and proven word-for-word scripts, questions, and phrases to open and close more sales.
If you think that sounds like a good idea, then click here. Get a copy for your entire sales team. This the best resource to use while you’re getting ready for the AI sales revolution to transform your company—once again.