Technology is advancing at an exceptional rate and many of us are lucky enough to witness this transition into the digital era. As the saying goes – The wheel constantly turns. We must adapt to its position or be crushed beneath it. Indeed, many organizations are now actively adapting to changing technologies with AI and machine learning. These advanced technologies are offering better methods of doing business which leads to changing opportunities for sales leaders to provide improved customer experience.
We first need to understand the meaning of AI and Machine learning: Artificial intelligence represents machines making decisions or performing process as a human would. On the other hand, machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence that enables computer models to recognize shapes, designs, and patterns in existing data, allowing the machines to then learn for themselves how to take next action or make business predictions.
Why do we need to embrace this change?
Nowadays, communication is more rapid, helping sales teams to create closer, longer-lasting relationships with customers. However, such ease of access has led to increased expectations. Surveys have shown that more than two-thirds of consumers rely on social media to directly contact a business and expect to receive a response within 24 hours.
It has been observed that the response times are directly linked to sales conversion rates: responding to a potential customer within 5 minutes is 21 times more likely to qualify a sale than a 30-minute response. Yet, 55% of businesses still take more than five days to reply to messages, leading to decreased sales opportunities.
Besides, sales teams always require data. In fact, the more information a salesperson has, the better service they can provide to clients. Since most people now possesses a smartphone to connect to the web, it is critical for salespeople to use technology in order to boost sales through better data interpretation.
From prospect to client, AI and Machine Learning represents a real boost for sales. Here is how:
There has certainly been a shift in sales from being reactive to proactive, and from instinct-driven to insight and data-driven. AI & Machine learning has the ability to guide the sales process from identification to customer retention. There are now sales applications which can pick up each and every signal, in the form of any action, by any customer, community, or partner, while machine learning can continuously improve actions, offers, and processes for your sales organization.
Prospecting: Companies have large collections of data at their disposal regarding the purchasing and behavioural patterns of customers. With machine learning, these patterns can be identified to provide insights into customer behaviour over time.
More Productivity: AI can help boost the productivity of sales reps by decreasing time spent on routine administrative tasks that can be automated, like sending customized messages based on previous communications, social media responses, and CRM profile updates.
Better Customer Experience: Organizations can combine AI with virtual reality. This will allow sales to receive prospects virtually, even tour a factory and view the manufacturing process, as well as give demonstrations and hold initial meetings with virtual sales reps. Hence, the discussion with prospects will be focused on areas that are most likely to be relevant to them, making the process more efficient and systematic.
Using bots to boost sales: A survey by Oracle in 2016 revealed that 48% of businesses are already using bot automation technologies, with another 40% planning to use them by 2020. Using Facebook’s Messenger chatbot service, which automates responses based on customer input, beauty product seller Sephora has seen a sales increase of 11%, while Tommy Hilfiger has benefited from an 87% return rate on customers.
Customers are increasingly embracing these technologies. Therefore, it is crucial that business development leaders not only recognize the potential bots have for improving ease and overall availability of communication but also how they can be used to drive strategies, optimize and lower costs of online marketing and streamline business operations.
AI definitely makes sales smarter but you still need to up-skill your Sales Team
One thing is certain: AI can’t replace the value of human interaction when it comes to building relationships with customers. However, it can help to make sales smarter through guided selling and automating the operational job. This allow sales reps to have more focus on their primary job that is delivering value to customers and building loyalty that leads to organic revenue growth. This is why you constantly need to make sure that your salespeople have the skills needed to remain competitive in the market. Modern sales Training programs are the ultimate solution to up your game in the industry.
Having a powerful sales team along with adopting changing technologies can create wonders to exponentially boost your sales growth. The key lies in effective man power as well as making the most of new technologies such as AI, bots and machine learning to remain on top of the game. In today’s changing face of the corporate world, this is the secret to driving the sales pipeline and progressing through to accelerated revenue.