Jun 6, 2022 4:41:26 PM
This blog is part of our book: Data-driven digital commerce – turn data into revenue. Download a copy of the book in the green box to the left or at the end of this blog.
Not only can artificial intelligence take over the most boring parts of a salesperson’s work, it can also augment it. Need to figure out a price range to catch your prospect’s attention or fancy some intel on the competition? AI can lend a hand – allowing salespeople to focus on more interesting tasks.
In B2B sales, there are three types of data sets that can be used: internal sales and customer data, external data from sales technology providers and a combination of the two. Various companies offer software that combines publicly available data about clients, prospects or competitors with internal data when integrated into a CRM (customer relationship management) system. With enough relevant and structured data, AI could be equally useful to salespeople at various stages of the sales funnel.
Sales data is often “soft” in the sense that, for example, appointment notes on CRM systems are messy and unstructured and thus difficult to utilise. However, AI and natural language processing capabilities are developing rapidly and are already able to understand and analyse unstructured textual data. While these solutions are primarily available in English, the capabilities for other languages are being built. AI can also be used to help capture data, making the process easier and faster while enabling more useful AI use cases.
Throughout the sales funnel, there are several stages at which AI can be useful. This begins with identifying relevant audiences and ranges all the way to enhancing customer loyalty at the end of the funnel:
In addition to the previously mentioned examples, many non-selling administrative tasks, information gathering and data extraction can be outsourced to AI. This means automating the most boring chores, like feeding data points, making CRM updates and compiling unstructured soft data. AI also brings predictive elements to traditional analytics capabilities, helping to predict the future and support sales efficiently.
It’s obvious that sales organisations that make use of technology and data have a significant competitive advantage over those that don’t. What’s important to note is that AI is only useful when there is sufficient relevant data available in a form that makes it efficient to handle; and if there’s none available, or not much, then AI won’t be of any use. Hence, each sales organisation should be gathering data regarding what has been done and how things are going in order to understand where the organisation should be heading.
However, no salesperson should be concerned about losing their job to AI. Working together, real people and AI can be more efficient than either could be on their own. If anything, AI handling the boring and repetitive tasks automatically, more accurately and faster than a person ever could frees up time for salespeople to focus on the interesting parts of the job – making it more enjoyable and more productive.
This blog post is part of the handbook Data-driven digital commerce – turn data into revenue. The aim of this handbook is to help a sales, marketing, IT or ecommerce leader to formulate an overall understanding of the critical themes for turning data into concrete business impact. The book includes interviews with global thought leaders on the topic as well as industry experts from companies including Supermetrics, Singular Society and Kesko.
May 23, 2022
Head of Marketing & Communications
May 3, 2022
Senior Consultant, Design
Apr 26, 2022
Consultant, Full Stack Marketing
Stay up-to-date what’s going on in digital commerce and Columbia Road. We’ll email you once a month with news, interesting articles and studies from the industry and the crème de la crème of our blog.