There are few buzzwords with the same reach as “artificial intelligence”, or AI. The potential applications for AI are incredible, and every industry is trying to find a way to leverage emerging technology. However, nowhere artificial intelligence poised for greater industry transformation than within sales.
Once upon a time, artificial intelligence was purely science fiction. We’re still decades away from autonomous, self-aware robots like those Asimov wrote about, but basic artificial intelligence is here, now, and has been with us for some time. Ever conduct a Google search? AI delivered your results. Ever search Netflix for a movie, or Amazon for a product? AI helped you out. Now, that same non-human intelligence is positioned to transform the sales sector. How?
How much is a product worth? Exactly as much as someone is willing to pay for it. It doesn’t matter how much R&D went into something, the quality of the build materials, or the fit and function involved, if a human being isn’t prepared to pay a particular price, then it is overpriced. Price optimization can be a massive challenge, but AI can help with everything from pricing new products to discounting strategies.
One way that AI is really changing the sales landscape is in the area of sales predictions, or forecasting. Forecasting once took a great deal of both knowledge and luck. Today, algorithms can do it with greater accuracy than human beings ever could.
Automating Sales Activities
When you think of sales, chances are good that you picture cold calling or marketing for franchises, responding to emails and the like. Those are part of it, sure, but they’re not really the heart of sales. They’re monotonous, boring activities that can be better handled by AI, freeing up skilled sales professionals to do what they do best. Not only does this result in improved conversion rates, but it also bolsters job satisfaction and prevents burnout. There are many custom AI algorithms that can help you improve your business and adapt to your every need.
Improved Effectiveness with Customers
Yet another interesting way that AI is about to transform sales is in how salespeople interact with customers. Often, sales professionals lack key insights and data to help with the prospecting process. AI can provide that information for them, aggregated by order of importance, or ranked in tiers as necessary for a particular product or industry. This allows the sales professional much greater insight and flexibility, helping to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Avoiding the Complications of Hunches for Better Forecasting
Sales professionals are notorious for relying on their gut instincts. In some cases, that can be a very good thing. However, it can be disastrous in others. The truth is that gut feelings, or hunches, are no way to run a business. AI allows you to take emotion out of the sales forecasting process.
Of course, the “hunch” can still play an important role. For instance, if a sales professional has a very strong feeling about a particular prospect, the AI can run predictive models based on actual data to determine what action should be taken.
In the end, AI is here. It is already part of our everyday routine. It is only a matter of time before it stands the sales industry (and most other industries) on its ear.