Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here whether we are ready or not. With massive initial public interest in tools such as Midjourney, Lensa, and Open AI’s DALL-E 2 and ChatGPT, there is clearly a widespread curiosity about these tools, their impact, and how they’ll come to impact our everyday lives. Like most, I’ve spent much of my recent time considering how the “Cambrian Explosion” of AI is going to play out in my particular arena: sales.
It’s no secret that the “sales stack” landscape has greatly changed over the past ~10+ years. In my first sales role, I managed contacts and accounts out of spreadsheets and dialing by hand on a corded phone. Then came the CRM from companies such as Salesforce and Hubspot to improve the process. On the heels of that, companies like Outreach.io, Salesloft and countless others followed to automate more and more repetitive tasks while offering sales reps more data and insights.
With thousands of options that already exist for any given sales stack, where should AI fit - and what’s the benefit?
How AI can help teams
AI will allow sales teams to improve automation of repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus more of their efforts on strategic initiatives. With AI tools like chatbots and virtual assistants handling the initial customer interactions and answering basic questions, sales reps are freed up to focus on higher-level tasks like developing relationships with key clients and working on strategies to close deals. Of course, there are already tools that have made some headway in doing this. What AI offers is a far better customer experience. Today’s LLM models promise far more fluent, authentic and flexible tools than the much derided chatbots of previous years offered, and could prove to be truly welcome and value-added additions in initial encounters.
AI can handle the heavy analytical work to rapidly provide valuable insights and data at scale. AI has long excelled in information processing at a speed and volume humans just can’t compete with. With AI-powered analytics, sales reps can quickly and easily collect and access real-time data on customer behavior, sales trends, and other important metrics. Even more useful, they can rely on AI tools to spot patterns and reveal insights that they can leverage to optimize their process, build stronger relationships, and better nurture prospects.
AI can help sales teams identify and prioritize leads. By analyzing data about customer behavior and interactions, AI-powered tools can identify which leads are most likely to convert and prioritize them for follow-up. This allows sales reps to focus their efforts on the most promising leads, rather than wasting time on low-probability prospects.
AI can go one step further in personalizing the customer experience. With AI-powered tools , sales reps can customize their interactions with customers based on individual preferences and behaviors. This level of personalization can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately resulting in more sales. At Waymark, we use AI to support media sales teams in exactly this way. Our video production platform gives them the ability to strengthen their interactions with potential customers through customized, ready-to-air video and results in a significant increase in closed deals.
While it's important to be mindful of the potential risks and challenges associated with AI, it's clear that it has the potential to revolutionize the sales process and help companies achieve significantly better outcomes. The question for most members of the sales industry shouldn’t be about whether AI will replace them; it should be about how they can use it to stay ahead of their goals. For those who haven’t considered how it might best fit into their sales strategy; now is the time to start.