You might think that sales is a profession where humans will never be replaced by machines — but you're missing the point.
There's a lot of talk about AI in sales. But using AI in sales isn't about replacing people or changing the nature of sales.
It's actually about making sales smarter.
Consider how much time you and your sales team spend on activities that don't involve closing deals.
Some of these tasks are important. We're talking things like building pipeline, prioritizing leads, and finding new opportunities.
Others are tedious, but necessary. Hunting down contact information and updating CRM records come to mind.
And a few end up being a total waste of time.
In all cases, AI tools exist that are being used today to make sales smarter. Forward-thinking sales reps are using AI-powered systems to perform important tasks faster and more effectively. They're using AI to augment and streamline tedious, but necessary, work. And they're using the technology to automate or eliminate tasks that are a waste of time.
In this article, we'll outline some of the top use cases today for AI in sales — and offer actionable recommendations of tools you should look into for each use case.
Build a Pipeline
Building a quality pipeline is no easy feat. Artificial intelligence can help you do it faster, better, and more cost-effectively.
- Find the leads most likely to close. InsideSales.com uses artificial intelligence to identify the people and accounts in your existing database that are most likely to close. This helps your sales reps prioritize the best revenue generation opportunities you already have available.
- Find your total addressable market quickly. Seamless.ai uses machine learning to find all the people you want to sell to, then provide accurate emails and phone numbers for them. The platform also uses predictive analytics to identify all the new contacts you should be working with, but aren’t.
- Create lookalike sales opportunities. LeadCrunch uses an AI-powered predictive model to find you B2B audiences that look like your best or ideal customers. The model improves over time, building you a qualified audience of companies that are a great fit for your products and services.
Once you have a qualified pipeline, AI can also help you close more.
- Engage and qualify leads automatically. Exceed.ai uses AI to automatically engage and qualify leads through email and chat. This machine assistant seamlessly handles interactions with leads, until they’re ready for a conversation with a human sales rep. And it works 24/7 for any number of leads you throw at it.
- Predict lead conversions. Node.io is a machine learning platform that forecasts lead conversion and win rate predictions, so you can forecast pipeline success and act accordingly. The platform also offers recommendations on top prospects that are most likely to close.
- Predictively score leads. HubSpot uses machine learning in its marketing and sales platform to score every contact in your database with a custom model. The result? You’ll know exactly who’s most likely to buy.
- Engage all of your leads. Conversica makes sure the leads coming to your website and interacting with your brand don’t fall through the cracks. The company’s AI assistants will initiate contact with leads, reply intelligently, and give tailored responses, before passing off qualified opportunities to a human.
Automate and Augment Sales Activities
AI doesn't just prioritize and predict. It also automates and augments the activities sales reps do everyday, which frees up more time to, you know, sell.
- Automate data capture and busywork. Salesforce Einstein uses AI to intelligently automate some of the most repetitive tasks your reps waste time on every day. That includes sending automatic notifications and insights about buying signals, automating data capture for leads, and streamlining forecasting.
- Replicate the success of your best reps. Gong.io captures all of your sales conversations, including phone calls and emails, then uses artificial intelligence to analyze what makes these conversations successful. It then offers
How to Get Started with AI for Sales
If you're a sales pro or a marketer who works with sales, chances are that AI can help you increase revenue and reduce costs. That means now is the time to get started with AI, no matter your skill or comfort level.
To do so means you build a potentially insurmountable competitive advantage. To delay means you risk getting left behind.
Good news, though:
There are two ways to accelerate AI adoption in your career and your company.
The first is by accessing our free Ultimate Beginner's Guide to AI in Marketing.
The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to AI in Marketing is a free resource with 100+ articles, videos, courses, books, vendors, use cases, and events to dramatically accelerate your AI education. It's based on the years we spent on research and experimentation—and you can access this knowledge in a fraction of the time.
The second is by attending our Marketing AI Conference (MAICON).
MAICON brings together top authors, entrepreneurs, AI researchers, and executives to share case studies, strategies, and technologies that make AI approachable and actionable for marketers.
Last year's event brought together 300+ marketers, including attendees from 12 countries and 28 states. The conference is simply the best way to learn how to adopt AI, straight from marketing leaders already using the technology.
About Mike Kaput
Mike Kaput is the Director of Marketing AI Institute and a senior consultant at PR 20/20. He writes and speaks about how marketers can understand, adopt, and pilot artificial intelligence to increase revenue and reduce costs. Full bio.