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How artificial intelligence is shaping your sales strategy

Nitin Bajaj
10th Oct 2016
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From Apple`s Siri to Google Allo, we are in the age of artificial intelligence, and it is getting integrated into our daily routines. Similar trends can be seen in the way we do our sales. Yes, you heard it right — artificial intelligence is shaping our sales strategy. Right from sales prospecting to closing deals automatically, it has brought about a transformation. There is no need to fear for your jobs, however; artificial intelligence is only going to help those in sales focus on chasing the right customers and closing deals faster.

artificial-intelligence-vs-human_yourstory

As per a recent Forbes article, businesses are realising the need for analytics in the sales process, and data-driven sales roles will be in high demand. Gong.io is a startup that improves B2B sales productivity by analysing sales conversations with clients. According to CEO Amit Bong, people do not expect to see sales people anymore as there are tools that enable you to sell virtually to any part of the world. Inside sales are becoming more prevalent than enterprise sales and instead of creating a full-fledged sales army of your own you can outsource your routine tasks to artificially intelligent tools.

So let’s go further and understand how you can leverage artificial intelligence to improve your sales process.

Inbound sales assistant and intelligent CRM

The process of engaging, nurturing, and qualifying leads can be handled by artificial intelligence now. Conversia, which provides a virtual sales assistant, helps you start friendly conversations with your online customers and ensures automatic response to every lead 24 by 7. Using tools like these increases site conversion and engagement rate by 50 percent.

The sales force is offering an intelligent customer relationship management tool and has forayed into using artificial intelligence by launching Salesforce Einstein that uses deep learning and natural language processing to help you make sense of your CRM data. It helps you discover insights into your customers, predict the outcomes, and also recommend the next steps you should take to close deals faster and improve your sales ROI and revenue.

Prospect your outbound leads the smart way

We have dealt with data mining techniques that are manual and much too time consuming. Not only does it take days to find sales prospects for your outbound campaign but the quality of leads is also not very high. This no longer poses a problem. Machine learning can help you understand your existing customer profiles — which technology they use, how much revenue they have, how many employees they have, their geography and demographic preferences — and based on that, machine learning can classify using probabilistic techniques the other set of customers who are similar to your existing customers. Google Prediction API is one such step in this direction. It helps you prospect the sets of customers who are more likely to buy your products.

SPIRO also provides services that help you understand your existing customer profile and target the next ones.

Reaching your customers is not enough; reaching at the right time is important

A company, ‘X’, has recently raised funds of several million dollars and the next steps they will take will include upgrading their technology, hiring more people, engaging in more sales and marketing, and purchasing more equipment and office automation products. This is the right purchase signal that can’t be tracked manually, but using tools like IFTTT and Google Alerts, you can keep an eye on the purchase signals coming from your prospects.

Marketing agencies, technology solution providers, and hiring consultants can use these simple tricks to increase their pipeline and improve sales prospecting using AI tools.

Outbound sales automation and smart follow-ups

It’s not easy to keep track of your ‘sent’ folder and consistently remind and follow up with your prospects at scale. Reply.io offers an outbound automation tool that helps you send automatic, personalised follow-up mails to your prospects. You can set the frequency of your mails and also control the content.

Recently, Microsoft has acquired a startup called Genee that books your appointments with your clients automatically and fills your calendar accordingly. Another startup offering similar services is X.ai, which is an AI-powered personal assistant that schedules meetings for you.

Tell your customers stories they like to hear

It is often said that you shouldn’t sell directly to a customer; instead tell him/her a story and how you can solve his/her problems. There are tools that use artificial intelligence and do sentimental analysis and analyse a conversation with customers and provide you information on how to move ahead. These tools can also help you write emails tailored to your prospects by reading past behavior from email replies.

SendGrid provides this feature of analysis of your incoming emails and lets you understand based on customer sentiments whether your customer is really interested in buying from you and what you should write to make him/her interested in your products.

Artificial intelligence is something everyone wants to implement, but people don’t really know where to start from. Everything mentioned above exists today and is being used extensively to automate sales strategies and make the best use of AI and machine learning to improve sales processes and funnels.

How are you going to use artificial intelligence in your sales strategy? We would love to hear from you. Comment below with your thoughts on your use case.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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Nitin Bajaj
Nitin Bajaj is the Founder of EasyLeadz which is a crowdsourced sales prospecting and lead generation platform that uses Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to help salespeople find their prospects’ contact information and outbound sales. He can be reached at nitin@easyleadz.com.

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