AI and the Future of Sales
The world of B2B sales is changing. Today, B2B customers are for the most part remote workers with millennials as primary decision makers and GenX running with the budget. B2B buying has evolved from an in-person, direct experience, to a digital, complex buying process with multiple stakeholders. Steak dinners are a thing of the past.
Buyers today don’t answer calls and don’t want to be bombarded with emails. In fact, email open rates have plummeted to their lowest ever, below 1% in most instances. These tech savvy buyers expect a different engagement process. Frequent touch points across “multiple” channels is the new normal. These super savvy buyers are bringing their consumer purchase playbook to the B2B buying experience. They visit websites, attend webinars, watch videos, read reviews, and spend a lot of time on social media.
For most B2B businesses, posting and engaging on social media is typically a key piece of any B2B digital marketing strategy. But why limit it just to marketing? What about leveraging social media for sales? That’s called Social Selling. And AI can play a big role.
Today, AI can write blogs and create social media posts for you. AI can read and write using natural language generation and natural language processing. It can detect and mimic tone of voice using sentiment analysis. It can identify images, video, and faces using image recognition and computer vision capabilities. AI can even predict performance and recommend actions. AI can automate monitoring. AI can help make increasingly relevant and accurate predictions about buyer intent and who to engage. On and on.
AI in sales is used to help manage and predict customer behavior, identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities, automate repetitive tasks, and improve forecasting accuracy. According to a McKinsey study published in the Harvard Business Review, the sales force that has implemented AI have boosted leads and engagements by around 50%.
Some of the benefits of AI in sales include;
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Because AI learns from data, it can use data from social media audiences to inform SDRs and Sales AE’s in a number of ways.
- Learn which headlines, words, and images in posts lead to the most engagement.
- Discover new prospects and trends based on sentiment analysis.
- Predict who is in a buying cycle and likely to engage.
Improved customer engagement
AI can be used to make selling more automated and efficient, reducing time and costs and helps accelerate pipeline development.
- AI automatically scores and highlights the healthiest contacts, giving sellers the ability to prioritize leads.
- Automating the creation of responses (i.e. like, comment, share) across social channels helps sellers respond effectively in the moment.
- Notifications and alerts provide vital insights on customer activity, prompting sales to engage.
Better sales forecasting
AI can predict or forecast outcomes using historical data to inform future results. Common predictions that sales AI tools can make include:
- Informing on deals or prospects most likely to close.
- Deals or prospects to target next.
- New customers that may be interested in what you're selling.
Many AI tools are available to experiment with. Hands-on experience is a must. Since AI tools and their capabilities vary. Plenty of companies offer free trials or demos of their tech. Start exploring AI-powered vendors in sales.
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