Artificial intelligence(AI) is here to stay and it will transform the way you sell. From managing online conversations on websites to analysing massive amount of sales data for predicting deal closure, AI has made its presence felt.
While chatbots and virtual assistants are increasingly minimising human intervention in sales, AI can never replace a human. The reason is simple – no matter how good AI gets, it can’t build customer relationships like humans do. Humans exhibit innate sales skills such as listening, empathizing, persuading, negotiating and reacting quickly in unfamiliar situations. These traits will always put humans above machines, at least until 2029.
Download our latest ebook to understand what AI is and how will it impact sales process as we know it. In the process of creating this ebook, we reached out to several experts to tell us what to expect from AI in the near future. So, you will find some valuable views and insights that have not been shared anywhere else. Further, you will understand if AI is set to replace human sales associates and then learn how humans can beat AI in sales.
Artificial intelligence won’t replace sales reps, but it will automate some of the tasks associated with selling. Aside from automation, machine learning will improve the process of sales forecasting, personalization, lead management, and performance management.
Sales forecasting: Predictive analytics provide an accurate picture of anticipated sales figures using mined sales data from previous periods.
Personalization: AI uses previous customer interactions to help sales associates better target prospects with personalized emails for their company, industry, and stage in the sales funnel.
Lead management: AI-powered tools search the web for lead opportunities, as well as score leads based on relevant CRM data including previous interactions and social media activity.
Performance management: Predictive analytics can monitor sales calls, pinpoint over- or under-performing sales reps, and spot opportunities for follow-up on sales deals likely to close.
These tasks can all be automated using AI-powered tools or CRMs with built-in AI functionality. There will, however, still be a reliance on sales managers to champion AI initiatives and make use of the data provided by AI technologies to drive decision-making.
While AI is clearly a significant player in sales and marketing, it still has a long way to go. Lead scoring and lead recommendations from data driven insights certainly helps those in business development roles find opportunities earlier on in the process, and with more insight into the buyer’s interests.
There are some areas where AI and the way it’s leveraged is misaligned with authentic relationships, specifically regarding bots. And while I love the ones that are authentically bots, it’s those that try to disguise themselves as real people where I see the problem lies. Some bots are even given LinkedIn profiles with stock photos, hoping that the automated responses will bring in more deals. How can a buyer have a conversation, thinking there is a human on the other side, to later find out it was an automated system and still trust the vendor? This is where I believe AI is being misused and even misleading, which can and will hurt the reputation of the vendor and ultimately lose trust and deals.
AI is important, but keep it transparent. Engaging with a bot is fun, so let your buyers know the truth, and you will win with AI every time.
Now that we know that your sales job is safe, let’s take a look at top 5 skills you can build to beat AI.
Empathy: People buy from people they trust. Best sales associates try to walk in their customer’s shoes and truly care about solving customer problems. This, in turn, creates deeper connection and builds customer trust.
Emotional intelligence: Purchasing decisions rely on sales triggers that appeal to customers’ emotions. Sales associates who establish strong emotional connections with their customers are better at understanding what customers feel, need, and expect.
Creativity: Creativity is a secret weapon in sales. Creative sales professionals don’t conceptualize the sales process as a transaction, but rather as a problem-solving activity. If a prospect or customer pushes back with an objection, they’ll think creatively about how the problem can be solved. For instance, if price is an issue, they’ll be quick to consider offering discounts if acquiring the customer offers other benefits such as added brand awareness.
Persistence: Sales is a competitive space. Successful sales associates use their persistence and their stick-to-it mentality to win big. Persistence helps build rapport with prospects and stay on top of their minds when they are ready to buy.
Logical thinking: This involves observing and analyzing phenomena, reactions, and feedback and then draw conclusions based on that input. For instance, a sales associate modifies a presentation about a product to highlight its user-friendly qualities after receiving feedback from customers indicating that ease of use is their high priority requirement.
Download the ebook to get more such insights from the experts and understand how you can be ready for the shift.