Is your sales team spending too much time doing other things besides selling? Do you feel like you can’t ever focus on strategic objectives because you are too weighed down by a constant stream of ad hoc data requests? Do you stay awake at night worrying about the accuracy of your forecasting?
If you answered, “Yes” or “YES!” to any of these questions, then you probably could benefit from implementing an AI-driven sales tool into your technology portfolio.
So What Is AI?
In general, Artificial Intelligence (AI), is a program or piece of software that mimics human cognitive abilities. AI-driven tools use data to identify, analyze, and take action on problems all without the need for human intervention.
You may already be familiar with AI through some highly popular examples such as IBM’s Watson beating the world’s best Jeopardy contestant and Tesla’s autopilot mode in its vehicles.
Make no mistake; AI is here to stay as the market research firm Tractica projects revenue from AI implementations to grow from 8 billion in 2018 to over 100 billion by 2025.
Ok, That’s Cool, but How Does This Help Me as a Sales Ops Leader?
As a sales ops leader, you constantly strive to increase selling time for your reps, ensure forecasting and pricing accuracy, and handle the many ad hoc requests thrown your way. You typically have to do all of this while being understaffed and underfunded while balancing your focus between strategy and execution.
The job of a sales ops leader is a tough one, but new AI-powered tools promise to decrease the time spent on tactical items, enabling you to focus on your strategic objectives.
Here Are 5 Ways AI Is Changing the Sales World:
AI-powered forecasting tools are approaching the point where they not only make it easier to forecast but are also quickly becoming more accurate than even the most precise human-driven forecast processes. A best-in-class tool utilizes your data, combined with third party data to analyze every minuscule detail associated with each sale. The tool continues to refine its forecasting algorithm through machine learning, ensuring optimum forecasting accuracy with minimal effort.
- Upselling & Cross Selling
As a sales ops leader, you already know the quickest and cheapest way to increase revenue is through growing your existing customer base. A study from Google estimated that, “90% of customer value for B2B businesses is obtained after the initial sale.” AI-powered tools can help you identify which of your current customers are most likely to buy more products from you and/or renew their current contract. Successfully deploying one of these tools can increase your revenue while minimizing marketing costs.
- Performance Management
The performance management process is never easy, but AI-powered tools can bring clarity to your decision making. Due to the prevalence of LinkedIn and Glassdoor, your employees, much like your customers, are much more informed than they traditionally have been. How your reps’ performance is measured, and how their bonuses are paid, is almost public knowledge. Your sales team expects to be paid for their performance, and they expect full transparency and visibility. AI-powered tools link with your CRM and track performance metrics in real time. The predictive algorithms assess these metrics and notify you if your team is expected to miss, make, or exceed their number, allowing you to take action before quarter or year-end.
- Prioritizing Leads
As a sales ops leader, you know what it is like to work in an understaffed and underfunded environment. As there continues to be a constant push towards doing more with less, prioritizing the leads that your sales team spends time on becomes more and more critical. Many times, this prioritization is left to the individual rep. This leads to decisions being made based on gut instinct alone. Ideally, this prioritization should occur objectively by focusing on those customers and prospects that represent the highest potential revenue. AI-powered sales tools combine your data with third-party demographic and social media data to accurately prioritize each lead or opportunity. This takes all of the decision making from the rep and enables them to focus on the next best opportunity or lead.
- Price Optimization
Are you discounting your products more than you should be? Are you driving potential customers away due to a high price point? Pricing has always been viewed as more of an art than a science. AI-powered tools aim to change that view. Today, AI-powered tools utilize your data to develop and display custom pricing for each unique customer or prospect. As is the case with lead prioritization, pricing decisions should not be left up to the rep to decide. Along with a proper pricing strategy, AI-powered pricing tools ensure that you are consistently capturing all potential revenue from your customers.
What Do I Do Next?
Now that you understand what AI-powered tools can do for you, it’s time to figure out if your organization is positioned to take full advantage of all the benefits. At SBI, we firmly believe that you should only make investments in technology that drives revenue and improves the speed at which your business operates. Your technology should always support and not hinder your selling activities. Take the first step towards assessing your sales tech stack by leveraging our AI Implementation Checklist.