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How Artificial Intelligence Will Affect Sales

Bartosz Majewski in

Blog/How Artificial Intelligence Will Affect Sales

Artificial intelligence is becoming an increasingly hot topic. We’ve moved from purely sci-fi speculations into times, when its basic forms have become a reality. AI’s further development isn’t the question of ‘if?’ but ‘when?’ and ‘how advanced can it get?’ Despite being an extremely complex issue, it’s also worthy of a discussion, because it will undoubtedly impact everyone’s life. Join me for an overview of how artificial intelligence is poised to influence sales.

OK, so here’s a quick primer on where we’re currently at in terms of AI:

  • the goal: make machines able to mimic certain human capabilities, including learning, hearing, and seeing
  • the method: programming computers to know how to learn on their own (machine learning)
  • the process: using deep learning and neural networks based on complex algorithms in order to analyze huge datasets

Even though by most optimistic estimates we’re still decades away from human-level AI, it has already gotten its foot in the door and won’t be letting up. Some of the areas it’s already being successfully utilized in are:

  • personal assistants
  • smart home devices
  • chatbots
  • video games AI
  • purchase prediction
  • algorithmic purchasing suggestions (customers who bought this also bought…)

What’s already available in terms of AI sales support?

Alright, but I’m here to learn more about sales.

Fair enough. Wherever there’s a significant amount of accessible data, artificial intelligence will be making a stronghold. In case of sales, AI can be understood in terms of software, which is used to empower other software to better perform its originally intended tasks.

Some of the more interesting sales supporting AIs I’ve come across in my research include:

  • Chorus.ai – it monitors sales reps’ phone calls for keywords. Chorus runs analyses and generates recommendations and reports – tasks currently being taken care of by sales managers.
  • Conversica – an AI-powered sales assistant, designed to engage with leads, leaving making the essential sales to actual people. It performs lead qualification, so the quality of them is high when human interaction occurs, which in turn boosts the conversion rate.
  • Crystal– it provides email content suggestions based on your GMail and social media contacts personality assessments. This allows for making a better first impression, which is huge in business. Using Crystal, you can adapt your style to particular personality types. The goal is for you to become a better communicator.
  • Seamless.ai – a Chrome extension helping you find the right contact information and lots of other business intelligence. The main goal of this solution is to help you build meaningful relations and create business opportunities. Seamless also delivers lots of other useful data, including people and company recommendations.
  • Spiro– another solution wanting you to shift your focus to actual sales. Spiro keeps track of and makes prospect recommendations. All interactions are automatically logged in with the app. What I found really interesting and cool about it is that it comes with different assistant personalities, which is amusing and a way to stand out.
  • X.ai – a personal assistant for scheduling meetings. It takes care of the email back and forth that can be a nuisance, especially if you’re trying to arrange meetings across different timezones. Just hand it over to Amy, and you’re good.

So, how artificial intelligence helps us influence sales?

Now, to answer the original question, I tried to include different tools in this brief overview, however, some essential areas where artificial intelligence will influence sales seem to arise.

Meeting scheduling – a mundane, yet necessary activity we’re willing to delegate to someone else. At first, it was secretaries. Now, it’s digital personal assistants doing it for you.

Prospecting – making intelligent suggestions for contacting leads, based on advanced data processing. Taking analysis completely off a salesperson’s shoulders, and leaving him only with the task of making an actual sale – the resurgence of soft-skills.

Point of contact – chatbots are rapidly growing, but as discussed above, artificial intelligence can even support content creation. I don’t think personalization will ever go out of style, and email contents adjusted to your recipient’s personality is just a starting point.

AI’s main task will continue to be the automation of the processes that take place behind the scenes, or those deemed expendable. Say, a sales team, where reps are droning scripts will most likely cease to exist if AI development keeps its pace.

What’s coming down the pipeline?

Right now, your guess is as good as the next man’s when it comes to AI’s final form. We don’t need to predict the future 40 years from now, though. Just make sure you will test solutions that are out there and learn about it because over time its importance will grow.

What we know for sure is that artificial intelligence is the next frontier and major players like Google/Alphabet are acknowledging that we’re “moving from a mobile-first to an AI-first world”.

Machine learning relies on huge datasets to deliver insights, which seems to exclude smaller businesses from the race for now. They’ll still rely on traditional tools, or some of the simpler and more affordable ones, like those mentioned above. We’re currently putting out more data than ever thanks to the digitalization of touchpoints and moving activities that have been previously taking place in the physical world or in our hard drives into the cloud. Examples are everywhere: e-commerce, self driving cars, CRMs.

list of startup which use artificial intelligence

Andrew Ng, one the world’s leading experts on AI, points out that currently the type of AI being utilized by businesses is a very limited one. Basically, you have some input data, that generates a response, and has certain applications.

The endgame seems to be cognification – enlivening everyday objects with artificial intelligence, similar to the way electricity has enliven our surroundings.

The AI revolution has already begun and so far has affected the job market to some degree, which is a good and a bad thing at the same time. On one hand, some people will surely lose their jobs, on the other, it will provide people with more time to do other, more creative and fulfilling things.

For now, we’re looking at AI supporting human efforts in multiple areas, and not completely replacing meatbags.

Final word

The growth of artificial intelligence will have a profound impact across all industries. Sales, already employing cutting-edge technology, will remain at the forefront of the revolution. We won’t be alone in this. Lawyers, doctors, marketers and many more professions will be there as well. But as long as humans will buys humans will sell. Technology will replace only those individuals, who aren’t adding any value to the buying process, so the best defence against being a victim of automation is the good old providing value, listening, and caring for the customer.

AI has the potential to transform and bring fundamental changes to organizations. Access to big data combined with huge computing power push AI’s development every day. It will soon influence sales greatly.

The point not to be missed here is that this isn’t just another IT project, but an immense civilizational transformation that will create ripples felt by generations to come.

Source of image: https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/artificial-intelligence-top-startups/

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Bartosz Majewski

Co-founder of RightHello. Ten years of experience in sales. Has executed business expansion into 38 markets on 6 continents. A regular speaker at business conferences. An active snowboarder outside of work. Avid book reader and blogger.

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