Rapidly rising customer expectations, compounded by expanding volumes of data generated by consumers and businesses alike, are driving increased competition for enterprises. Leveraging data to grow business is imperative, especially in sales organizations where having time-sensitive and contextually-relevant information means the difference between closing deals or not. AI, combined with an array of data, is creating new intelligence at all points throughout the selling process.
AI increases efficiency within the sales funnel and provides operations professionals with deep visibility into the entire sales process at any given moment. Machine learning algorithms automate data workflows and other repetitive and menial tasks, such as entering customer data into a CRM system. AI-powered tools mine internal data to create comprehensive company-wide databases and identify contextually-relevant insights about leads in the sales funnel.
Sales pros want to spend time selling, not entering customer information or waiting on data analytics teams, and AI enables a new approach that places data-derived intelligence directly in the hands of the sellers.
To augment administrative tasks and uncover customer insights, next-gen relationship management platforms are now able to pull information from conversations in emails and phone calls to build rich data profiles of customers. Accomplishing this requires a complex combination of technical capabilities – data is gathered from various sources, cleaned and harmonized using machine learning and natural language understanding to intelligently navigate the different types of data and forms of communication between sales teams and customers.
Whereas BI tools of the past were comprised of data re-organized and visualized for operations teams, AI-enabled SaaS solutions now use data to serve up recommendations and direct actionable intelligence. Speech recognition enables phone coaching systems to analyze individual voices and their characteristics (tone, emotion, cadence) in real time to recommend optimized word choices for the seller, based on the data of previous successful outcomes. Computer vision brings similar power to webcasts and other video-based communication platforms. These processes are automated so enterprises can collect larger volumes of data and gather more intelligence directly from their customer interactions.
The rise of customer data platforms (CDPs) enables enterprises to seamlessly enrich internal customer data with high-quality external data, bringing a new dimension to marketing and prospecting efforts.
As enterprises create a single enriched dataset with information about their customers, they can use it to better train data models since the combination of data and AI scales increasingly over time. Beyond running analysis of trends, these trends can be used to provide direct recommendations on who to target, when, through which channel and with what message.
For the potential of intelligence-powered sales to materialize; a fundamental shift in mindset is required for AI and data to create competitive business value. Sales organizations need to think holistically about the customer data that already exists internally and how it can be enriched with external data. Adopting this data-first mindset represents a major turning point for an enterprise to realize the full potential of its data.
It’s a fast-changing and more demanding business environment than ever, and with an explosion of customer data, savvy sales executives need to and will want to embrace intelligent tools as part of their core.