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9 Min Read

AI for Sales: What You Need to Know

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AI is helping salespeople everywhere crush their quotas. It's doing that in two big ways.

First, it's dramatically increasing productivity by automating and augmenting important, but repetitive, sales tasks like: taking notes during meetings, analyzing calls, and speeding up research on prospects.

Second, it's supercharging sales performance by unlocking AI-powered capabilities that were previously impossible like: predicting the likelihood that leads will close, identifying new in-market leads, and automatically scoring prospects based on intent.

Today, forward-thinking professionals are discovering unprecedented ways to sell better, smarter, and more using AI in sales. 

In this post, we're going to show you how.

We'll outline a working definition of AI in sales that includes just the bottom line, no fluff or technical jargon. Then we'll look at some top AI use cases you can adopt if you're a sales representative. And you'll come away armed with some ideas on how the technology can help you better make quota.

Finally, we'll overview some top companies that use AI technology to give salespeople superpowers, so you have several AI sales tools to start looking into.

Happy hunting.

What Is AI for Sales?

Artificial intelligence is an umbrella term that covers several different technologies, like machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, deep learning, and more.

At their core, though, all of these technologies help machines perform specific cognitive tasks as well as or better than humans.

For instance, AI-powered computer vision systems in self-driving cars are able to identify obstacles just like people do, allowing the machine to take the wheel. Your favorite voice assistant, like Alexa or Siri, understands your words just like another person, then responds in kind all using AI. Amazon and Netflix use AI recommendation engines to offer up products and movies you might like, making assumptions about your preferences just like a fellow product or movie enthusiast might.

While there are a ton of complexities to different types of AI, all you really need to know right now is that "artificial intelligence" describes many different types of smart technologies. And many of these technologies can impact your sales process, career, and performance in profound ways. That's because AI isn't just automation, though it may include elements of intelligent automation. And it's not just using ChatGPT for a couple tasks at work.

AI goes much further than that.

These technologies analyze large datasets. They don't just crunch numbers, though. They use advanced computer science techniques and superior computational firepower to extract insights from data. These insights can then be used to make predictions, recommendations, and decisions. This type of AI, "machine learning," powers the most impressive capabilities in sales. Machine learning is a type of AI that identifies patterns based on large sets of data. The machine uses these patterns to make predictions. Then, it uses more and more data to improve those predictions over time.

The result?

Technology powered by machine learning gets better over time, often without human involvement.

This is very different from traditional software.

A typical non-AI system, like your accounting software, relies on human inputs to work. The system is hard-coded with rules by people. Then, it follows those rules exactly to help you do your taxes. The system only improves if human programmers improve it. 

But machine learning tools can improve on their own. This improvement comes from a machine assessing its own performance and new data. And newer types of AI, like generative AI, can go one step further and generate all sorts of increasingly good outputs that can aid salespeople.

For instance, an AI sales tool exists that writes email subject lines for you. Humans train the tool's machine learning using samples of a company's marketing copy. But then the tool drafts its own email subject lines.

Split-testing occurs, then the machine learns on its own what to improve based on the results. Over time, the machine gets better and better with little human involvement. This unlocks possibly unlimited performance potential.

Now, imagine this power applied to any piece of marketing or sales technology that uses data. AI can actually make everything, from ads to analytics to content, more intelligent.

This means sophisticated AI can analyze customer and prospect data, predict which prospects are most likely to close, recommend the most important sales actions to take, forecast results, optimize pricing, and more. It also means generative AI tools can produce more and more of the outputs you typically have to create manually in your sales work.

AI for Sales Use Cases

So how can the power of AI help you sell more?

Check out the top use cases for the technology below.

Sales Forecasting

Artificial intelligence systems exist that can predict or forecast outcomes using historical data to inform future results. Common predictions that sales AI systems can make include:

  • Deals or prospects most likely to close.
  • Deals or prospects to target next.
  • New customers that may be interested in what you're selling.

Now, the accuracy of those predictions depends on the system being used and the quality of the data. But the fact is that, with the right inputs in the past and present, AI is capable of showing you who is most likely to buy in the future.

Predictive forecasting can also create value for your sales team internally. AI can help sales managers forecast their team's performance for the quarter well in advance, so they can take proactive steps based on the numbers.

Summarize and Provide Action Items from Meetings and Calls

Every salesperson engages in calls with prospects and customers. A vast amount of time and energy goes into summarizing what was discussed on each sales call, then creating action items for sales teams based on the content of the call. This is not work that humans should be doing manually anymore.

Today, AI can automatically summarize calls with a high degree of accuracy, often instants after the call has concluded. These summaries can then be emailed to all participants automatically. AI can also use these summaries to automatically draft next steps for each call participant based on what was discussed. 

While these are basic tasks, outsourcing them to AI saves huge amounts of human resources that could otherwise be used on higher-value tasks, like closing more deals.

Analyze Sales Calls

And it’s not just about summarization and action items.Each of the calls that salespeople engage in provides a rich amount of information about how a prospect or customer views your offering, what pain points they have, and what needs and wants matter to them. But getting at all of this information isn’t easy to do on a manual, case-by-case basis. 

That’s why forward-thinking salespeople are leaning on AI to analyze their sales calls for them. AI today can tell you exactly what happened in a call and what it means in the context of closing the deal. It can even understand the mood, tone, and sentiment of the calls to surface opportunities and obstacles that impact whether or not the deal moves forward or closes.

Recommend Next Actions for Sales Reps

A big barrier to sales productivity is simply figuring out what to do and prioritize next. Your sales team has a lot on their plate and work many different deals at the same time. If they fail to prioritize and perform the right actions in the right order, they miss opportunities to close more revenue.

AI can help.

AI can actually recommend next deal actions for each sales rep in real-time based on all the information related to that deal and the stage it’s in. In this way, AI acts like an always-available sales coach and manager, guiding reps towards the exact steps needed to achieve maximum sales productivity.

Generate Sales Emails and Subject Lines Automatically

Email outreach is a critical part of the work most sales organizations do, whether it’s to inbound leads or outbound prospects. Doing all of this outreach manually gets repetitive and tedious. It’s also not as effective as it could be. 

Generative AI can help salespeople draft high-quality, compelling email copy and subject lines in seconds from scratch. That means you can use AI to scale up your outreach dramatically, either by creating first drafts and focusing on polishing and personalizing your emails—or automating email creation entirely.

Not to mention, AI’s ability to generate dozens or hundreds of gripping email subject lines in instants means your emails stand an even better chance of getting opened.

Identify New In-Market Leads

Using its powers of data analysis at scale, AI can find patterns in lead data that allow it to identify new leads that are in-market, based on the criteria that matters to your business.

AI can analyze what your existing good-fit leads look like, then analyze third-party lead databases and platforms to determine which new people are a great match for the types of leads you’re trying to generate.

Predict Likelihood to Close

Using its powers of prediction, AI can make increasingly accurate estimates of how likely it is that leads in your database close. By analyzing vast amounts of historical and market data, AI can highlight which types of leads stand a better chance of closing and when. In turn, this lends a whole new level of predictability and effectiveness to your sales pipeline.

Predict Readiness to Buy

AI can also predict when leads are ready to buy based on historical data and behavioral signals. That means you can actually begin to effectively prioritize and work the leads that are closest to purchase, significantly increasing your close rate.

It also means you don’t overlook leads who are ready and willing to give you their money, if only you engaged them in a sales conversations.

Prioritize Leads Automatically

Thanks to AI, you can have a wealth of predictions at your fingertips about their likelihood to close and their readiness to buy.

AI can then use these signals to prioritize which leads you should be working and when in order to close more business and move leads through your pipeline efficiently.

Score Leads Automatically

Manual lead scoring is certainly helpful. And automating a lead score you came up with is even more helpful. But this process is still relatively static and requires a fair amount of work, evaluation, and maintenance to ensure leads are being scored properly.

AI can take some of the work off your plate. AI can now score leads the moment they come in, completely automatically, based on behavioral factors, lead data, and your scoring criteria. What’s more, AI can dynamically adjust scoring criteria on the fly to respond to new data, new close rates, and new information about what signals indicate a lead is a good fit.

Monitor Competitors Automatically with AI-Powered Intel

Every salesperson on the planet spends time in some fashion on research…

Especially researching the competition. What your competitors are doing on any given day dictates a good portion of your sales strategy and which moves to prioritize and deprioritize. But, often, you spend so much time manually researching the competition that you take time away from actually wooing customers away from them.

AI provides a better way to do competitive analysis.

AI tools today can track competitor activity online in real time and automatically surface the critical insights you need to know. That drastically reduces the amount of time spent getting a clear picture of what the competition is doing—so you can reallocate the hours in your day to actually beating them.

AI Tools for Sales

Now that you know what you can do with AI in sales, you might be wondering what solutions out there actually do it. There are plenty of quality sales AI vendors in the space that serve organizations of various sizes. Here are just a handful that are worth exploring to get you started.


Crayon is an AI competitive intelligence platform. It tracks competitor activity in real-time across millions of online data sources, giving you a clear picture of a competing company’s online footprint. Crayon uses AI to then automatically surface these insights daily in your inbox, summarize news stories about competitors, and score the importance of competitive intelligence items.

That means no more manual competitor research—all thanks to AI.


Drift offers hyper-intelligent conversational AI chatbots that are of huge benefit to salespeople. Using Drift’s AI, you can automatically converse with, learn from, and qualify incoming leads. That's because Drift’s chatbots engage with leads 24/7 and score them based on their quality, so no good lead falls through the cracks because you lack a human rep manning chat.

When the time is right, Drift then hands off qualified leads to human salespeople for a warm, high-touch engagement.


Gong uses AI to capture and analyze all of your interactions with prospects and customers, then turns that information into intelligence you can use to close more deals. That includes surfacing the key topics and questions discussed with prospects and customers, as well as the actual relationship dynamics that matter to closing the deal. Gong’s AI can then even be used to coach reps on what works best, making each and every subsequent customer engagement even more successful.


Quantified is a sales AI coaching tool that uses AI-generated avatars that can conduct roleplaying and sales coaching with your sales team at scale 24/7. It does that by simulating sales calls with realistic AI avatars that help reps practice until they’re perfectly on-message and effective. Quantified also scores rep skills, such as visual and vocal delivery, enabling coaching and improvement even when a human trainer is unavailable.


Salesforce is a giant in sales software and, like other leading solutions, has gone all-in on baking AI into every aspect of its platform.

The company’s Einstein Copilot, an AI assistant, unlocks huge productivity and personalization opportunities across Salesforce’s sales tools. Using it, you can do things like:

  • Automate account and prospect research…
  • Surface insights to quickly prepare for meetings…
  • Automatically update CRM records…
  • Generate sales emails…
  • Summarize sales calls…
  • And much, much more.


Trender.ai is an AI tool for B2B contact intelligence. With Trender.ai, any sales professionals can automate the process of finding top leads across the social web by giving the tool’s AI your ICP. The tool also provides AI-powered research capabilities that surface deep insights about these leads, so you can close them more effectively.


6sense is an AI-powered sales platform that sales leaders can use to actually predict and identify accounts that are in-market. 6sense will also prioritize which ones matter most, based on their propensity to buy. 6sense’s AI can even uncover third-party buying signals to predict when you should engage with these prospects.

Will AI for Sales Replace Salespeople?

It's a valid concern—after all, these technologies are growing more powerful by the day.

Here at Marketing AI Institute, we have tons of sales reps in our audience. We regularly interview and interact with these professionals. And we track thousands of AI tools in sales and marketing.

Overall, we're not too worried that AI will replace sales.

There is no doubt AI will transform how sales teams work. But these tools often augment human salespeople rather than replace them. In fact, AI tools are increasingly taking over work that human salespeople don't have the ability or the time to do.

For instance, one tool we list below actually follows up with leads without human intervention, going so far as to conduct two-way conversations with them. Instead of leads falling through the cracks, as they often do, every lead is contacted, nurtured, and qualified. Once the lead is warm or needs human attention, the machine hands the lead off to a human rep.

Instead of automating you out of existence, most AI sales tools actually give you superpowers.

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