With all the buzz around ChatGPT and dozens of related tools popping up every month, there’s no doubt that AI is slowly eating the world. And the use of Artificial Intelligence in sales is no exemption.
While personal AI-powered assistants like Alexa have gone mainstream a while ago, businesses have been reluctant to join the trend, until recently.
The wide adoption of business AI solutions happening right now is by far one of the biggest shifts in sales since the digitization of the whole process and transition to the inside sales model in the early 2010s.
And the players who have been quick to react are already reaping the benefits, like a 3 to 15% increase in revenue or 10 to 20% higher sales ROI, according to McKinsey.
You want to keep reading because we will explore some of the ways AI can empower your sales team and lay out the action plan to help you get started and capitalize on it.
But first, let’s talk about the potential impact and limitations of AI in sales.
Although it’s a really powerful and versatile tool, AI is no silver bullet. So before you start exploring specific use cases, it’s important to understand what AI actually can and can’t do for sales.
For example, one of the key use cases for AI is to analyze large amounts of structured data to discover hidden patterns and provide actionable suggestions.
Yet, if you don’t have enough data to feed to the algorithm, the accuracy of the outcomes will be a lot worse.
Artificial Intelligence sales agents might excel in conversational intelligence and automate any interaction with the prospect – from initial outreach to handling objections or setting appointments.
However, when it comes to building genuine relationships and human connections, you can’t fully rely on AI.
No matter how “intelligent” they are, AI assistants can’t navigate emotions and make ethical judgments.
As a result, any automation will still require human oversight and occasional intervention.
The somewhat disappointing truth is that generative AI, including ChatGPT, is highly dependent on the context. So if your prompt lacks the background info or isn’t descriptive enough, you won’t get any decent results.
Despite the listed limitations, Artificial Intelligence can have a tangible impact on your bottom line.
In case you missed it, a recent survey by Dialpad finds efficiency (43%), customer insights (39%), and competitive advantage (30%) to be the top three benefits people expect from AI on a company level.
Needless to say, all of these aspects impact your sales team’s outcomes, although indirectly.
Other than that, there are multiple examples of more straightforward ways AI can affect your outcomes, cited in a survey by People.ai and HBR.
One of the surveyed companies saw a 15% increase in bookings per sales rep after automating manual CRM data entry with AI.
Another one reported a 75% to 80% of salespeople achieved or exceeded their goals as a result of implementing the AI-based coaching system.
Want some real numbers regarding the business impact of AI?
A Harvard Business Review article mentioned a telecom provider that adopted AI to understand and address each customer’s unique needs.
This helped them quickly reduce the time to execute marketing campaigns by 75% and lower customer churn by three percentage points, adding $70 million to the company’s bottom line by the end of 2021.
As you can see, the benefits of using AI for sales are numerous. But so are the use cases. It’s important to know all potential areas of application for AI in sales before you pick the ones to implement in your business.
So here are 5 aspects of your sales process – from prospecting to overall productivity – that you can level up with AI.
The initial step of any sales cycle – prospecting – can utilize Artificial Intelligence in many ways. First, you can employ it to create or optimize your ideal customer profile.
Uncover trends in your data: Using the data about your current customers, deals in your pipeline, or even market research in general, AI can discover certain trends and opportunities to adjust your targeting or discover additional audience segments.
For example, rather than focusing on SDR leaders as your primary ICP, AI can suggest expanding your reach to Growth or Revenue executives based on the growing number of related opportunities in the past few months or recent competitor activity.
Sentiment analysis: Another way AI can optimize your prospecting efforts is through sentiment/intent analysis.
For example, you can detect various signals (company growth, new hires, competitor interactions), to build laser-focused prospect lists to engage them at the perfect time and with relevant messaging.
The next stage of the sales process can be generally referred to as engagement – whether it’s cold outreach or inbound nurturing. And AI can be your perfect co-pilot here too.
First of all, it can act as your personal writing assistant, helping you craft compelling emails from scratch.
This is the perfect sales use case for ChatGPT or other generative AI tools (standalone or built right into your sales engagement tool).
All you need to do is provide some context – the purpose of the email, your value proposition, and some information about the recipient.
You can even ask it to use a certain framework/structure or tone for the email or tweak the initial result with more specific requests, asking to include social proof or improve the I/you ratio.
Furthermore, you can use Artificial Intelligence to personalize your sales prospecting messaging at scale based on the available information about each prospect or your previous interactions.
This is a hot trend in sales engagement tech, so there are plenty of tools to personalize anything from an email intro to video messages.
Once you engage your prospects with AI-generated and personalized messaging, you might need some assistance with pitching. The newest tech can already help you create outstanding competitive sales pitch decks with AI.
From creating stellar sales presentations to tracking the way your audience interacts with them, AI can make this process more effective and transparent.
A major player in this field is Storydoc. This tool can both generate your sales pitch decks and track and report your prospect engagement.
This allows you to get better engagement but also gain a better understanding of your customers’ decision-making processes along with actionable insights to plan your next steps.
You can actually use Storydoc to create any high-stakes business document like your product marketing one-pages, or proposals from a prompt (and personalize them in a click). It’s an obvious addition to your team’s sales stack.
Here are some handy templates on which you can generate your sales collateral with AI:
At this stage of the buyer’s journey, you can also employ conversational intelligence tools to analyze your conversations for actionable insights into the prospect’s reaction and adjust your overall strategy accordingly.
A well-established player in this field is Gong, which dissects your sales calls and extracts invaluable information and insights you may have missed using Machine Learning analysis technology.
If we’re talking about the use case where Artificial Intelligence can suggest the “next best steps” for your interactions with potential customers, it can be simply invaluable at the negotiation stage.
Also known as guided selling, this approach uses AI insights based on the prospect’s activity, verbal or behavioral signals, or any external factors to help you adjust your communication strategy.
As a result, it allows you to ensure timely interactions and keep the conversation going (eventually leading to the conversion).
A similar approach can work really well when handling objections.
No more canned replies – AI can suggest the right approach to overcome every objection, tailored based on your previous interactions with the prospect or any other signals they or similar companies have demonstrated earlier in their buyer journey.
The advent of ChatGPT by OpenAI has ushered in a new era of sales optimization, offering a plethora of avenues to enhance lead generation, customer engagement, and sales strategy formulation.
Below are some actionable techniques along with examples of prompts to effectively harness ChatGPT for sales:
Use ChatGPT to draft personalized emails for leads and customers by feeding it relevant information about the recipient.
“Create a personalized email for a lead interested in our premium software package, highlighting the benefits and offering a free trial.”
Use ChatGPT to analyze historical sales data to identify trends and forecast sales, aiding in better resource allocation and strategy planning.
“Analyze the sales data from the past year and provide a forecast for the next quarter along with insights on noticeable trends.”
Leverage ChatGPT to analyze customer purchasing behavior and market trends to suggest optimal pricing strategies.
“Analyze the purchasing behavior of our customer segments and suggest a pricing strategy to maximize revenue.”
Use ChatGPT to evaluate leads based on specified criteria, helping to focus on high-potential opportunities.
“Evaluate the provided leads based on their engagement level, purchase history, and fit for our product to prioritize them.”
Employ ChatGPT to create engaging blog posts, ad copies, or social media content aimed at attracting potential customers.
“Craft a compelling blog post on the benefits of our product, targeting small business owners.”
Leverage ChatGPT to generate persuasive scripts or responses to common objections, aiding in negotiation and closing deals.
“Generate a script to address common objections encountered during the sales process of our software solutions.”
Use ChatGPT’s multilingual capabilities to communicate with international leads and customers effectively.
“Translate the following sales pitch into Spanish and French: [Provide Sales Pitch].”
As mentioned above, AI really shines when it comes to improving efficiency and overall team productivity in sales.
Adding a level of intelligence to your sales automation process can help you build a system that is able to adapt and optimize itself, meeting the immediate needs of your team.
Data enrichment: rather than simply syncing the data across your tool stack, it can enrich or organize it for more effective use.
Conversational AI assistant: Another use case here is the conversational AI assistants that record and transcribe your sales calls to update your CRM with relevant and helpful insights.
Coaching: You can implement AI tools that help with situational coaching, offering guidance and support to your salespeople 24/7, even as they talk to prospects.
Curious to dip your toes into the AI waters? As with any other shiny new trend, you have to be cautious to avoid the common pitfalls. Here are three key things to consider when getting started with AI in sales.
With all the benefits and opportunities AI has to offer, it might be tempting to go all in right away.
However, this could be a huge mistake – and a costly one. So it’s best to focus on one use case at a time.
This could be something that you’re currently struggling with or a task that you feel would be the easiest to automate with AI.
to use it effectively. AI might seem like magic, but it’s just a tool that only works if you know how to use it right.
So make sure to offer proper training for your team on the new software you adopt. This can be anything from how-to guides and playbooks to video tutorials or personal training sessions with the vendor’s team.
before you scale. Considering the time it takes to train your team and the price of the tool itself, it’s important to understand the actual return on investment from your AI experiment.
Set appropriate goals and take some time to see if there are measurable improvements to justify the effort of adopting another AI tool.
AI Email Outreach: Smartlead - this tool automates cold email campaigns with features like auto-rotating email accounts and AI warm-ups. Pro: Enhances outreach scalability. Con: Initial learning curve due to numerous features.
AI LinkedIn Outreach: La Growth Machine - this tool automates multi-channel outreach on LinkedIn, email, and Twitter, enhancing lead engagement. Pro: Increases reply rates significantly. Con: May require time to analyze and iterate campaigns for optimal performance.
AI Proposal Creator: Storydoc - this tool transforms proposal creation with AI, offering interactive, personalized business proposals to outshine competitors. Pro: Enhances engagement with interactive ROI calculators. Con: May not fully replace human creativity in proposal design.
AI Sales engagement platform: Reply.io - this tool is an AI-driven sales engagement platform aiding SDR teams in prospecting, multi-channel engagement, and opportunity creation at scale while maintaining personal touchpoints. Pro: Automation with a personal touch. Con: Learning curve for optimal utilization.
AI Cold Caller: Bland - this tool provides a developer-centric platform for implementing AI phone calls, and enhancing application functionality. Pro: Easy integration with existing applications. Con: Potential misuse of AI calling technology if not monitored properly.
AI Sales Assistant: Aomni - this tool accelerates sales by automating prospect research, generating actionable account plans, and optimizing outreach. Pro: Enhances lead conversion. Con: Requires initial AI training for personalized functionality.
AI Data Insights: Sybill - this tool automates CRM updates and crafts follow-up emails by understanding sales conversations, saving time for sales teams. Pro: Enhances sales efficiency. Con: This may require integration with existing CRM and call recording systems.
AI Sales Automation: Clay - this tool revolutionizes sales automation by amalgamating 50+ data providers, real-time scraping, and AI for personalized campaigns, ensuring more meetings. Pro: Hyper-personalized outreach at scale. Con: Dependency on multiple data providers could affect data accuracy.
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