Artificial Intelligence is the talk of the town in 2023.
The enablement folks among us are probably familiar with the term, “the department of broken things.”
So, the idea that adding automation and AI to this complicated world of process improvement will help and not hurt might be met with skepticism.
But it’s more important than ever for anybody involved in their company’s revenue motion to be able to adapt to unexpected changes.
That’s where new technologies come in, whether you like them or not.
By automating certain processes and using AI to assist others, sales managers can boost their teams’ efficiency and effectiveness, empower individual players, reduce human error, and even coach more effectively, all while freeing up their own time for bigger challenges.
AI and automation are becoming essential facilitators of success.
If you’re a sales manager, you don’t need to devote your career to automating most things and outsourcing the rest to a chatbot.
But you do need to take these tools seriously as catalysts for major improvements in your sales team and the functionality of your business.
Learn to leverage AI and automation now to stay ahead of the curve.
Score, Qualify, Nurture Leads
AI-driven tools can help to score leads based on criteria set by sales managers, allowing them to quickly and accurately decide which ones should be pursued.
This saves time and energy for sales reps who would otherwise have to qualify each prospect manually.
More time to focus on leads with a higher chance of close.
Sales managers can also harness AI-based tools to conduct sentiment analyses of customer feedback (or email exchanges) to generate more information-rich reports about how customers really feel.
It’s also possible to automate aspects of lead acquisition, like tracking website visits and inbound interest inquiries to ensure that new leads are promptly identified, scored, and passed on to sales reps.
Consider your ability to do the following with AI:
- analyze historical sales data to identify patterns and trends in customer behavior that indicate which leads are most likely to convert into buyers.
- automate the process of collecting, cleaning, and analyzing data from multiple sources so managers have an accurate view of a prospect’s interests before initiating contact with them.
- automatically detect sentiment on webpages or other channels (social media) to gauge how potential customers feel about certain products or services before reaching out.
Track Tacit Knowledge
A sales team’s success is heavily influenced by the tacit knowledge held by and shared among its members. Automation can help capture and disseminate this knowledge to newcomers and veterans alike.
AI-powered chatbots can provide answers and assistance to sales reps (newcomers, veterans, and anyone in between) in their day-to-day, giving them quick access to relevant information without having to wait for managers or teammates to provide answers.
Machine learning (ML) algorithms can recognize patterns in customer data that indicate preferences and buying trends, then notify sales teams so they know what products are selling better than others at any given time.
Natural language processing (NLP) technology allows managers to capture spoken conversations between sales reps and customers and identify key topics of conversation.
In short, automated systems enable sales teams to more easily share best practices, compile data from multiple places into a single source of truth, then act upon them efficiently and effectively.
Minimize the Mundane
AI and automation can handle the burden of tedious and repetitive tasks that otherwise occupy reps’ valuable time.
ML or NLP can help sales managers improve accuracy and drastically reduce the effect of human error when carrying out complex data-driven tasks.
This gives sales reps more time to focus on their highest-leverage work: either selling or learning to improve!
Automate to streamline workflows so that teams can learn quickly and become more efficient with minimal interjection from management.
Consider using automation tools to altogether eliminate mundane tasks like data entry, customer service inquiries, certain email sequences, appointment scheduling, et cetera.
Eliminate Human Error
As we mentioned briefly, we can minimize human error almost completely if we automate properly.
Beyond processing documents, ML algorithms can be used to detect discrepancies in documents and alert sales managers to review any anomalies before finalizing them.
Robotic process automation (RPA) robots can scan documents, quickly and accurately extracting relevant information from them and flagging potential inaccuracies for human review.
NLP technology helps automate the hassle of reading through contracts for specific conditions by identifying relevant keywords and phrases with high precision and speed, at scale.
Optical character recognition (OCR) software can scan documents and convert them into digital formats for easier analysis, storage, management, adjustment, and sharing with virtually no human intervention.
Leave the human work to the humans. Give the repetitious, multifaceted, complex, need-to-scale work to the computers.
Data-Driven Sales Coaching
AI-driven tools can enable sales managers to provide more focused coaching and guidance to their teams by using data from a variety of sources.
For example, AI-based systems can analyze customer engagement data and other interactions with leads to identify areas for improvement in a rep’s process and help them hone their skills.
By analyzing this trove of sales data, you can then devise and recommend the most effective strategies for different customer types and situations, helping reps become more successful in their day-to-day activities.
AI tools are also capable of automatically generating insights from customer conversations so that managers can act appropriately and ensure their reps are addressing customers’ needs efficiently and effectively.
This has been a brief introduction to the capability of AI and automation to positively affect your sales team in a massive way.
Sales managers reading this should devise a plan to take full advantage.
Help your teams to stay ahead of the technological curve, maximize their focus on high-leverage work, and learn how to continue harnessing the power of automated tools and data-rich insights.
By leveraging AI and automation for mundane tasks, eliminating human error, capturing and disseminating tacit knowledge, scoring and qualifying leads, and informing coaching decisions, you can drastically improve the productivity of your sales team and the health of your entire business.
AI is set to revolutionize the way sales teams work and ultimately benefit sales managers, teams of sales reps, and their customers.