The nature of a sales force’s work has changed a lot in the past twenty years. First, because companies are using CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to “industrialize” marketing and sales processes, but also because the administrative workload share has increased considerably to reach up to 60% of time spent. Sales representatives must “fill in” the CRM, make visit reports and align their actions with the triggering of automatic events planned in the software. We hear a lot about AI for sales but how can new technology help drive sales?
Why AI Delivers on the promise of the CRM
While the goal is laudable and the CRM remains one of the most strategic technologies in any business, increases in sales productivity have failed to meet customer expectations in the majority of CRM projects.
Because, while CRMs have made it possible to collect large amounts of vital data, bringing great traceability to the sales process, when a customer wants to speak to a salesperson, 90% of the time it is not for product information (most often already found on the Internet) but for expertise. This is where AI for Sales comes into its own, because AI software not only makes sense of data but it goes further apply expertise to the data in the CRM.
Expertise: How AI Puts the CRM to Work
Expertise is the application of general knowledge about a product or service – business rules, best practices, standards, etc. – to a particular context, for example that of a client’s specific project in progress. I’m not aware of any CRM today that can generate such expertise and explain how to sell to each client based on their particular situation. AI provides two main categories of concrete benefits to salespeople
(1) The automation of repetitive tasks that the salesforce usually does not enjoy much, such as writing visit reports, collecting data, writing sales proposals, and
(2) Help in interpreting the customers’ known data to determine which product or service best meets their need, and help by developing more relevant personalized arguments (that include what the product or service does not do in this context) that reduce the risk of faulty advice.
In my latest book, “The Rise of the Cobot”, I give five examples of real-life AI applications for salespeople. AI brings great satisfaction not only to salespeople but also to their customers. While companies that have deployed AI applications for their sales department see a systematic end to employee churn.