How to improve sales effectiveness with guided selling

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Over the last four years, more than half (51%) of top-performing companies have either turned to or plan to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered guided selling by 2025, according to Gartner.

Gartner says: “AI functionality has permanently transformed the form and function of guided selling capabilities. B2B sales organizations should help sellers improve sales execution by adding AI-based guided selling to their sales technology stack”.

Those who adopt this solution are able to spend 50% more of their time in productive prospecting, and are at least 84% more likely to achieve their quotas . Those are just some of the benefits.

Navigating the challenging day of a sales rep

Sales reps have a lot to juggle. Not only do they need to understand their product/service, know the customer well, keep track of meetings and diverse tasks, be engaging and positive when they connect with buyers, but also have the right content at hand at the right time, to push prospects through the buyer’s journey intelligently.

With so many demands on reps and navigating long B2B sales cycles, and with less and less time to do so, any technology or tool that can help sellers along the way is welcomed.

What is guided selling?

Sales enablement is becoming increasingly important for B2B organizations. Guided selling is an essential tool in sales enablement, as it provides relevant and timely content and information to reps during the sales process to use to keep buyers moving towards a purchase decision.

In guided selling, machine language-trained applications suggest content for sales teams to show prospective buyers. This can, for example, happen within a sales enablement platform. The content recommendations are based on the user’s sales methodology, the prospect’s stage in the sales cycle and particular industry.
When sellers prepare for buyer engagements, from emails to meetings, AI provides insights-driven content recommendations on what content to share or details to keep in mind based on previous experiences with the prospect.

Why implement guided selling?

As much as 64% of reps’ time is spent on non-selling tasks, and only 34% of their time is spent selling. So, when they are selling, they need to be engaging with their prospects as effectively as possible.

What’s more, organizations that have a sales enablement program in place are 96% more likely to achieve competitive levels of sales excellence, compared to organizations that don’t. Needless to say, these companies have a huge competitive advantage.

As Gartner states, “Intended to augment more traditional sales tools, such as sales playbooks, algorithmic-guided selling uses sales data to boost the seller’s ability to engage with prospects, manage the buying process and generate quotes.”

For sales reps, guided selling is a game-changer.

Tad Travis, Research VP at Gartner rated guided selling “one of the most sophisticated and complex sales execution technologies” of recent years, pushed to the fore by Covid-19 forcing sellers and buyers to interact in a virtual environment.

“The value proposition of AI-based guided selling is undeniable,” said Mr. Travis. “However, it is not an immediate solution for better sales execution, as organizations with data quality or process issues may not be able to take advantage immediately.”

In essence, AI-based guided selling improves the effectiveness of sellers and enables sales teams to engage customers through automated and personalized digital sales aids and content recommendations that incorporate customer-specific information.

Guided sales improves your customer engagement, aligns and automates your sales, services and marketing efforts, enables your sales team to be more efficient and productive, reduces the complexity of your operations, scales your business with automation and process optimization, and closes the marketing loop with actionable insights. Guided selling is well likened to matchmaking — helping your sales teams match perfect products with customers first time round, ultimately driving more revenue for your company.

However, AI-powered guided selling will not replace traditional seller engagements. Instead, AI wholly complements the work sellers already do.

How guided selling works

Guided selling helps sales reps to uncover what buyers want and give it to them. Guided selling opens the door to more efficient, accurate and personalized sales.
As an example, guided selling can happen before a customer interaction or a presentation, as preparation, where the software gives the rep prompts as to what content to show or send the prospect. It can also happen within a sales call.

This form of sales guidance for reps aims to make sales less of an art form and more of a repeatable skill, to be used for any sales rep. The AI analyzes previous actions that the rep or customer/prospect has taken automatically and recommends the rep what to do next.
For example, a sales professional can use the customer sentiment function to further filter down customer needs and context, before recommending particular products. In the process, the rep educates buyers on their best options and alternatives, sometimes upselling or cross-selling, and helps them complete the sale.

Am example of a guided selling software capability

As an example of how guided selling can work, with Pitcher’s Super App, you can guide your teams and transform them into real brand ambassadors with consistent and personalized content delivery that underpins their storytelling. AI-powered guided selling is a low-touch sales technique where customization and autonomous decision-making are intrinsic. Pitcher’s platform provides AI-powered content automation, surfacing the right content at the right time, for each customer.

In short, guided selling ultimately generates customer trust. It’s the ultimate selling technique, where your sellers are guided to present the most meaningful content, which resonates with your customers.

Image credit: Adobe Stock

1 COMMENT

  1. Great article on guided selling!

    The only thing I would caution readers about is that AI is, despite the amount of marketing hype it has received over recent years, still early in its development and is often more of a great concept than a real value add.

    Regardless of the vendor, if AI is a critical component, probe deeply during the sales cycle to ensure it will meet your needs.

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