Unleashing AI in a 124-Year-Old Company

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In this episode of the Sales Leadership Awakening Podcast,  Rob Ulsh, VP of Dealer and International Sales for Great Dane, discusses the use of AI in sales leadership. He shares his awakening moment as a leader during the COVID-19 pandemic and how he embraced AI to adapt to the changing landscape. He also explores the practical applications of AI in sales, including prospecting, customer retention, and pre-call planning.

“AI is a featured benefit that you can interact with, and it will actually help you develop and evolve.” – Rob Ulsh

Key Takeaways:

  • AI is not a threat to sales professionals but a powerful tool that can enhance their effectiveness. By leveraging AI, salespeople can access valuable insights, generate emails, and streamline processes, ultimately improving their productivity and customer experience.
  • Establishing strong relationships with strategic partners who can provide support and guidance is crucial during times of change. 
  • AI can significantly simplify pre-call planning by providing prompt research and insights about potential clients. 
  • AI can be used to improve customer retention by streamlining communication and providing real-time updates that enhance the overall customer experience and build stronger relationships.
  • Change management is essential when introducing AI into sales organizations. By addressing objections, providing training and support, and showcasing success stories, sales leaders can help their teams embrace AI and leverage its benefits.
The interactive podbook below contains videos, audio, articles, summaries, transcripts, and YouTube shorts from this podcast episode.

Full Episode Article:

Title: “Unleashing AI in a 124-Year-Old Company”

Byline: From an interview with sales leadership and coaching experts Colleen Stanley and Steven Rosen, along with their guest speaker Rob Ulsh, VP of Dealer and International Sales for Great Dane

Introduction

In a recent episode of the Sales Leadership Awakening podcast, Rob Ulsh, VP of Dealer and International Sales for Great Dane, shared his insights on bridging the knowing and doing gap in sales leadership. Rob discussed the transformative power of artificial intelligence (AI) in sales and how his company has embraced AI to enhance productivity, improve customer experience, and streamline processes. This article delves into the podcast episode’s key themes and explores AI’s implications in sales leadership.

Embracing AI: Modeling the Change

One of the key takeaways from Rob’s discussion is the importance of modeling the change you want to see in your sales team. Rob exemplified this by enrolling in an Executive MBA program to stay ahead of the evolving business landscape. He recognized the need to understand and embrace AI as a tool for sales leadership. By actively adopting and promoting AI tools, sales leaders can inspire their teams to embrace change and leverage AI to their advantage.

He emphasized the need for open-mindedness and a willingness to explore the possibilities of AI. He encouraged sales leaders to view AI as a valuable tool in their arsenal rather than a threat to their jobs. By incorporating AI into their day-to-day activities, sales leaders can enhance their own productivity and demonstrate the benefits to their teams.

AI for Pre-Call Planning and Prospecting

AI offers significant advantages in pre-call planning and prospecting. Rob highlighted the ability of AI tools to provide valuable insights and streamline the research process. With AI, salespeople can prompt the tool to gather information about a potential client’s industry, segmentation, pain points, and more. This enables sales professionals to enter client meetings with relevant knowledge and tailored talking points.

He also emphasized the time-saving aspect of AI in prospecting. AI tools can process vast amounts of data and generate insights in seconds, allowing salespeople to focus on building relationships and closing deals. By leveraging AI for pre-call planning and prospecting, sales leaders can empower their teams to make more informed and efficient sales efforts.

Enhancing Customer Retention with AI

While new business development often takes the spotlight, customer retention is equally important for sales leaders. Rob discussed how AI can be used to enhance the customer experience and improve retention rates. By connecting systems and leveraging AI, Great Dane has proactively provided customers with real-time updates on their orders. This level of transparency and efficiency impresses customers and strengthens their loyalty to the company.

AI tools can also assist sales leaders in responding to customer inquiries in real time. With AI-generated prompts and suggestions at their fingertips, sales leaders can provide timely and accurate information to customers, further enhancing the customer experience. The ability to quickly address customer concerns and provide updates fosters trust and strengthens the relationship between the company and its clients.

The Future of AI in Sales Leadership

As AI continues to evolve, its role in sales leadership will only become more prominent. Rob emphasized the need for sales leaders to stay informed and continuously adapt to new technologies. AI is not a replacement for sales professionals but a tool that can enhance their capabilities and productivity.

He recommended exploring various AI tools, such as ChatGPT, Claude, and Perplexity AI, to find the ones that best suit the organization’s needs. He also highlighted the importance of sharing best practices and success stories within the sales team to encourage the widespread adoption of AI.

Conclusion

AI holds immense potential to transform sales leadership by enhancing productivity, refining customer experience, and optimizing operational processes. Sales leaders must enthusiastically adopt AI, exemplifying the transformation they seek and empowering their teams to utilize AI tools effectively across various stages, including pre-call planning, prospecting, and customer retention.

By embracing AI, sales leaders can effectively bridge the gap between awareness and action, positioning their teams strategically to thrive amidst the dynamic and ever-evolving sales environment.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.

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