Productivity is crucial in sales, but many teams struggle to maintain a steady pace. Often, reps sprint to meet their goals at the last minute, instead of approaching sales as a marathon. To overcome this challenge, sales management and operations need to establish a sales process and tech stack that maximizes time efficiency and consistency.
By incorporating smart sales AI tools into your organization, you can set a swift and steady tempo that boosts the productivity of each sales rep throughout the year. But what exactly is sales AI? It refers to any tool that utilizes artificial intelligence to enhance the sales process. While there are numerous applications for sales AI, the two main functions are automation and augmentation.
Automation involves using tools that perform certain sales tasks without human intervention, such as data entry, tracking, and research. On the other hand, augmented intelligence helps sales reps work smarter by identifying cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
Sales automation platforms enable you to streamline or even automate parts of your sales process. This means that you can delegate tasks to these tools, reducing the need for manual effort from your sales reps. Considering that reps spend 64% of their time on activities other than selling, there are plenty of automation opportunities that can save them time and generate more revenue.
For instance, you can use an automation tool to convert leads to the next stage in your CRM based on specific triggers. Let’s say you send a proof-of-concept document to a prospect through email. An automation tool can detect this action and automatically move the lead to the evaluation stage in your CRM.
Moreover, time-consuming CRM data entry and updates can be handled by automation tools. Did you know that sales reps perform around 300 CRM updates each week? By using a CRM automation tool, you can automate the logging and updating of records, saving your reps hours of productivity every week.
One example of a sales automation platform is SalesHero, which automates CRM updates, prospecting, contact and account research, and scheduling. It reduces cognitive load for sales reps while still keeping them involved in the process.
2. Next-Step Recommendations
AI tools can also augment sales rep behavior by providing recommendations on the next steps to take with prospects. This helps sales reps make smarter choices to increase their efficiency and improve win rates.
These intelligent tools have various applications, such as building follow-up cadences or offering engagement recommendations. Research shows that most sales require at least five follow-ups after initial contact, but many reps only follow up once. Tools like Outreach can augment follow-up cadences, preventing potential deals from slipping through the cracks.
Other tools, like Highspot, suggest highly-targeted marketing content to send to prospects, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
3. Lead Scoring and Prospecting
Prospecting is often considered the most challenging part of the sales process. Determining when a customer is ready to buy and prioritizing leads in a pipeline can be difficult. However, intelligent sales and marketing AI tools can make this process much easier by offering insights based on previous data and prioritizing leads using scoring algorithms.
These tools allow sales reps to focus their attention on leads and accounts that are more likely to convert, optimizing their time and improving efficiency. For example, Hatchbuck alerts sales and marketing teams when leads exhibit buying behavior, such as reading specific content on your site or visiting certain webpages. Each hot prospect is given a score, enabling reps to prioritize their time effectively.
4. Process Analytics
Tools that analyze the sales funnel as a whole and monitor sales rep activities and behaviors can significantly optimize the sales process. By identifying areas that may require more training and understanding which processes and behaviors lead to conversions, managers and operations teams can refine their strategies accordingly.
Insightsquared is one example of a traditional reporting tool that is gradually integrating intelligent capabilities. It breaks down sales stages and provides insights into rep conversion rates, speed, and lead drop-off rates. Gong, on the other hand, is a tool that monitors sales reps’ interactions with prospects, optimizing sales conversations and increasing conversion rates. However, it’s important to inform customers that calls are being recorded when using this tool.
In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect quick responses. However, many companies take days to reply to inbound leads, potentially losing valuable opportunities. Chatbots can bridge this gap by providing immediate attention to inbound leads, preventing deals from slipping through the cracks.
Conversational marketing platforms like Drift can help sales and marketing teams increase their response speed, capture lead information, and even pre-qualify leads. By leveraging chatbots, you can deliver a superior customer experience and gain a competitive edge.
Implementing these AI tools can significantly enhance your sales productivity. They empower your sales reps to work more efficiently, focusing their energy on high-potential leads and optimizing their sales process.
About the Author
Jessica Munday is a content marketing specialist at SalesHero, a San Francisco-based startup that’s revolutionizing the sales process with its AI assistant. The SalesHero AI assistant automates CRM and administrative tasks, enabling sales reps to reclaim their selling time. To learn more about how SalesHero can improve your sales productivity, visit Zenith City News.