Between 2012 and 2019, the percentage of salespeople meeting their annual quotas fell from 63% to 57%. That means, ‘results-driven’ and ‘time-pressed’ are two descriptors that now defines modern-day sales. Unfortunately, administrative tasks and meetings increasingly take up sales reps’ time, putting active selling on the backburner. This exacts significant costs on businesses, leading to reduced sales and higher turnover, which impact overall revenue.
Where Does Generative AI Come in?
The rise of ChatGPT has put generative artificial intelligence (AI) and AI more broadly into the spotlight. AI analyzes and works with existing data to mimic human intelligence, whereas generative AI, a branch of AI, can ‘learn’ from data patterns without human direction. It processes huge amounts of data to generate new, original content, including audio, images, text, videos, and code.
Artificial intelligence’s value, specifically generative AI, has poised the advanced technology for rapid growth. Forrester predicts AI-powered platforms will grow to $37 billion by 2025.
Why should this matter to sales leaders? AI use in sales is expected to increase across 2023, according to 91% of marketing and sales leaders. With the support of generative AI, sales teams can improve efficiencies, facilitate better sales planning and predictions, and increase job satisfaction.
Used effectively, generative AI enables sales teams to do more of what they are meant to do – sell. Complementing sales teams with new ideas and suggested best actions.
Those that don’t work to integrate AI into their business operations will be at a significant competitive disadvantage moving into the future, suffering from reduced efficiencies and missed opportunities.
The Costs of an Overworked Sales Team
Sales teams are overworked, preventing them from maximizing their time and identifying lucrative opportunities.
How else is this impacting your sales teams…and your bottom line?…
- Decreased Sales: Overworked teams will likely miss sales opportunities because they don’t have the time to focus on building awareness, prioritizing the right leads, and delivering the personalized customer experience (CX) required to close sales.
- Increased Burnout and Turnover: Salespeople that are overworked or have unrealistic quotas are prone to burnout, which makes them more likely to leave a company. This issue is further compounded by the next generation of incoming workers, who expect a greater work-life balance and demand the technological support needed to help them perform effectively. This costs companies substantial time and resources invested into onboarding new employees, which can also negatively impact performance and motivation.
- Lack of Time Management: When sales teams are overburdened, time management is impacted as teams struggle to meet deadlines and progress actions at pace. This can result in missed opportunities and costly delays.
How Can Generative AI Benefit Sales Leaders?
Generative AI has the potential to support sales teams across the sales funnel – from prospecting to closing. Sales begins with understanding who your ideal customer is. What are their pain points? What problems does your offering solve? However, answering these questions adequately requires sifting through an extraordinary amount of information. Humans simply don’t have the capacity to get into the details of every possible lead or opportunity.
This is where generative AI comes in, acting as each salesperson’s personal assistant. It can analyze incomprehensibly large amounts of information from various sources, for example, social media interactions, website activities, and customer databases. Insights and predictive analytics produced by generative AI can help inform which sales channels will be the most lucrative, increasing revenue potential.
A generative AI model could also be trained to analyze customer behavior data to identify patterns to determine the likelihood of interest in a particular product or service. It can help process information about a prospect’s needs, industry, budgets, timelines, behavior, demographics, etc., to identify the best-qualified leads. This helps address the 54% of sales leads generated by marketing teams that are deemed poorly qualified or underqualified by sales. Sales teams can then focus on those leads with the highest chance of converting, ensuring time and resources are used as effectively as possible.
The customer service side of sales has never been more pivotal to outcomes, with expectations for digitalization and personalization pushing most businesses to adjust their customer experience (CX) strategies and reprioritize customer care. In fact, 32% of customers around the world would stop doing business with a brand they ‘loved’ after a single bad experience, and that number jumps to just under 50% after numerous bad experiences. This has led to JP Morgan Chase, Starbucks, and Nike making personalized CX a strategic priority, using artificial intelligence (AI) to deepen engagement and enhance customer offerings.
4 Ways You Can Use Generative AI to Improve Your Selling Experience
1. Deliver Personalized Experiences
Generative AI can help deliver the personalization needed to elevate customer service, and nurture leads to build the depth of relationship required to close deals. This includes creating personalized and original content that will resonate with each lead or segment quickly, such as emails, product descriptions, marketing materials, etc. Customer patterns and preferences are incorporated into all messaging as well as the mode of delivery. This targeted approach boosts engagement and conversion rates. Conversation transcripts can be analyzed to identify opportunities the sales team may not have thought of or had time to consider.
2. Addressing Customer Concerns
When it comes to addressing customer concerns, generative AI can support the best way to address these and suggest relevant case studies, testimonials, and/or other supporting information to address concerns.
3. Optimize Competitive Pricing Concerns
Price optimization is another area that has been historically difficult for sales teams to get right. Many operate solely on instinct, completely unbacked by intelligence. But, with generative AI, that can change.
Generative AI can play an instrumental role in ensuring prices are designed to drive sales and revenue. It can perform data analysis to identify customer patterns that affect the price point for a product or service. It can conduct competitor research looking at others’ market share, pricing strategy, and product positioning to suggest how to price to facilitate competitiveness. Predictive analytics based on previous sales data, market trends, and other factors can be used to forecast the effect of different pricing strategies on sales and revenues. Analysis of data from various sources can be used to adjust prices in real-time based on market conditions and customer behaviors.
4. Lengthening the Customer Life Cycles
Across the funnel, generative AI is poised to help sales teams optimize their processes to drive productivity – identifying inefficiencies and bottlenecks and suggesting ways to address them – and subsequently sales and revenue.
Beyond the initial sale, generative AI can help with ongoing relationships with customers. This includes assessing customer data to determine when and how to communicate with existing customers and which customers to approach regarding upsell opportunities. This is important since it tends to be easier to sell to existing customers than to bring in new ones. When it comes to closing, generative AI can identify the best negotiation strategies and approaches to improve the likelihood of a conversion.
The Importance of Adopting Advanced Tech like Generative AI
Competitiveness and long-term viability are at risk for sales teams that do not start to incorporate advanced technologies, like generative AI, into their day-to-day operations. Without it, workloads increase, messaging may be inconsistent across channels and campaigns, the capacity to personalize is drastically reduced, opportunities are missed, and more. These outcomes result in reduced sales and greater difficulty retaining employees.
Increasingly, the next generation of workers expects the support of the latest technologies. Organizations that don’t have them often struggle to retain workers, an issue that will only worsen with the next generation of workers and increased digitalization across sectors.
Work-life balance is an important issue for younger workers, with many of us familiar with trends like ‘the Great Resignation’ and ‘quiet quitting.’ Technologies like generative AI have the potential to not only drive better results by improving customer engagement and interactions but they can improve the quality of life for your employees, which improves their job satisfaction and motivation, making them more likely to commit to an organization for the long haul.
With the support of generative AI, sales reps and leaders also have more time to focus on higher value and creatively demanding tasks. They are given time back, and processes are streamlined and redesigned to optimize outcomes.
In a world of exponential technological advances, it’s time to prioritize selling smarter. SugarCRM can help you work smarter, not harder, to achieve your CX and selling goals. Our systems can assist you in generating accurate predictions to make better decisions with the help of AI-powered predictability. Help your company by leaning on an intelligent platform to benefit from dependable next-step advice and better visibility through external data.
Interested in learning more about how AI can assist your sales organization in eliminating the busy work and opening the doors to new possibilities? Speak with a Sugar representative today!