How Sales Professionals Use Their CRMs in the Time of AI Solutions?


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Sales professionals are already into AI solutions. Integrations with CRMs have become a common practice for sales teams, optimizing all different kind of tasks like forecasting, lead socring or customer service case routing. But what is AI’s true potential? How can actually help your business?

Cien’s Global Study: The Future of Sales conducted among B2B sales professionals around the world, explains how today’s sales professionals are making use of their CRMs and how they believe AI is impacting their work. Sales professionals, contrary to most doomsday predictions on AI, seem to have a clear understanding of what is its true opportunity in sales.

These are five main findings of the study:

# 1 Professionals’ confidence in data varies according to age and job seniority
What is it that sales reps know that their leaders don’t about their CRM data? The study shows that sales leaders tend to have more confidence in the data in their CRM than representatives. Alternatively, sales representatives tend to believe their CRM is filled with erroneous data.

Chart 1

A number of this information should technically be solved by their CRM. However due to known behavioral biases such as sandbagging or other, sales leaders have mild confidence in the quality of their CRM data.

Has CRM adoption come a long way? When controlling for company size, millennials tend to have more confidence in the data than their elders.

# 2 Sales leaders stick to their inboxes while baby boomers are more mobile

When it comes to accessing their sales data, research surprisingly shows that baby boomers tend to prefer using their mobile devices more than millennial peers.

Chart 2

In addition, sales leaders state a clear preference for receiving sales information by email in between meetings.

# 3 Sales professionals are obsessed with real time data
Although CRM usage varies greatly depending on your job function or your organization’s sales model, sales professionals typically check their CRMs quite frequent.

Chart 4

More than half of the sales professionals surveyed, expressed checking their CRMs every couple of hours or more. In addition, 70% of them check it at least once a day.

# 4 Sales professionals enrich their CRMs in different ways
The study also explains that sales forecasting tools such as lead scoring and pipeline analytics remain very popular among sales professionals looking to augment the CRM data (34%), followed by sales enablement and sales automation tools (22%). Sales attribution solutions and call analytics are used 14% of the time.

Chart 3

# 5 Demand for sales productivity tools rises

Interestingly, more than forecasting, automation or performance, the biggest opportunity for AI in sales according to the respondents is to address productivity. 66% of them identified sales productivity as offering the biggest upside for improving the quality and the performance of their jobs. Among Salesforce users, this number jumped to 71%.

Sales professionals’ behavior has evolved and leaders are becoming more demanding. With CRMs supplements strong adoption, growing confidence in the data and sales leaders’ need of easy access to it, AI seems to be ready to go one step further in sales addressing productivity this time.

About the Study
This study was conducted by Cien, makers of the AI-powered sales productivity app. Respondents were polled between June 1st, 2017 and July 1st, 2017. The full version of the study is available at:

Maria Victoria Quiroga
Victoria is Marketing Specialist at Cien, a new Artificial Intelligence startup focused on helping teams increase their sales productivity. Based out of Barcelona, Spain, she advocates a personalized, creative and data-driven approach to marketing.


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