On the subject of AI and job elimination, it’s hard to know what to take seriously. With a common retort being, “well, AI cannot replace the human connection’, salespeople can feel comfortable knowing that a large part of what they do cannot be replaced.
So, how will AI realistically affect your sales job in the near future? Sales writer, Maria Waida, helpfully lists how adding artificial intelligence ideas to your sales strategy can result in right-now results. I’d argue that some large companies are already moving towards the following practices, as forward-thinking B2B sales teams look to help clients buy complex solutions with ease.
So what’s happening? Trends noted by Waida include:
Greater Data Focus
The cornerstone of any effective AI program is data. AI will impact the sales function by requiring sales to ensure they have CRMs that generate high volume and high quality to take full advantage of these programs. For example, tracking how quickly a client moves from one stage of the sales funnel to another and measuring how quickly the sales representative reacts to that and monitoring the results. This gets the sales function closer to recommending actionable insights. In short, moving from predictive analytics to prescriptive insights. This brings us to…
The main purpose of predictive analytics is to provide sales models based on historical information that anticipate, with significant probability, the outcome of many given scenarios faced by your sales team. Prescriptive sales insights prescribe the exact actions that a sales team can take to achieve the desired outcome. Whether you’re behind on your quarterly goals or unclear on how to best use the talents of your sales team, AI can provide you with an actionable recommendation as to what levers to pull to achieve a particular goal.
Another way that AI can impact salespeople’s jobs is by enabling them to shift focus from number crunching and important, yet time-consuming, tasks to building relationships and closing deals. This is especially pertinent to account executives. For example, technology like machine learning and natural language processing powers email sentiment analysis, which scans reps’ emails for negative keywords and then alerts them of deals in potential danger.
There is, however, a lot to be gained from adding artificial intelligence to your sales strategy. As such, companies that plan on leveraging the benefits of AI will need to take a step back and make a few adjustments to the way that they manage sales performance on a daily basis.