What to Know About Sales AI in 2020

By Aptivio | Updated August 12th, 2020

Sales AI is the highly talked about digital tools that offer several types of solutions to help at every stage of the sales process—here's what to know in this year of AI. As your business considers adopting AI for sales, remember that intelligent market monitors that create dynamic digital sales playbooks can be the missing link to fuel efficient growth.

What's inside this article:

Sales AI Are the Digital Tools That Help

Much has been written about artificial intelligence being both a thing of science fiction and a 21st-century reality. Research papers, opinion pieces, and apocalyptic short stories have shaped what we think about AI. Specifically looking at its implications in sales, what's fact and what's fiction? We know this much is true—AI for sales is the digital tools powered by artificial intelligence that have the potential to transform the sales process.

AI Has an Immense Value

The hype for AI has been around for years and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. McKinsey sees up to $2.6 trillion in potential value unlocked by AI applications in marketing and sales. Research like this is only encouraging more AI adoption in all sectors.

Look Out for Sales Process Mining

A new and promising software category called Sales Process Mining is taking advantage of AI technology to assist the sales process. Intelligent market monitors created in this category are alerting salespeople of hidden revenue opportunities that would otherwise be missed. This new kind of software combines the powers of CRM sales applications and intelligent automation. It's developments like this that show the current and future potential of AI for sales.

Process Mining Delivers Data-Driven Results

Process mining is a less-discussed concept compared to AI, but it is still worth mentioning while on the topic. It is a process analysis method that captures relevant information and delivers detailed performance indicators so that organizations get data-driven suggestions for improvement. Applications of process mining have the power to reconstruct the sales process so that sales teams are optimized in their work and given all the tools needed to make well-informed decisions.

Use Evidence-Based Applications

Just as with AI, the beginning of process mining is rooted in academic exploration. Before any real-life applications were possible, researchers like Wil van der Alst have been formulating what it means to realize process mining's potential. Research papers have explored process mining as it applies to sales and now sales process mining software is becoming popular solutions for businesses looking to maximize their CRM investment.

Know the Different Types of Sales AI Tools

Of everything to know about AI for sales in 2020, it helps to be up to date on the types of tools currently available. Broadly, these tools can be divided into two categories—tools for task management and tools for data processing. Each of these tools offer different benefits at key stages of the sales process. Most sales AI tools easily integrate into CRMs so learning about what they are is the first step to adopting them into the sales process.

Manage Time-Consuming Tasks With Ease

The first type of sales AI tool that any business should consider is task management tools that can save hours a week for sales teams. Automated scheduling and document management are examples of this type of basic AI for sales. These sales AI tools take over time-consuming duties that steal energy from salespeople who could otherwise be meaningfully interacting with clients. Realize the full potential of this type of sales AI and your business is a step closer to total optimization of the sales process.

Don't Forget About Sales Automation

As we mention sales automation, it's worth exploring a bit more. In terms of sales AI, think of automation as the basic version that can accomplish the tasks that are significant enough that they have to be done, but ultimately are time-consuming. Tasks like scheduling meetings or data input are essential for a running business, but don't necessarily contribute to salespeople creating positive client relationships. For more information on this kind of automation, check out The Ultimate Guide to Sales Automation.

Use Sales AI for Data Processing

For the second type of sales AI that every business should know about, consider data processing tools. Unlike task management, these tools truly tap into the unique power of artificial intelligence. Whereas task management tools can perfect automation, data processing tools can search through and make sense of the billions of signals and information that no single salesperson could accomplish. Plus, many of these tools use machine learning so that with continued use, it gets more intelligent about the kind of information most relevant to sales teams.

AI for Sales Helps at Every Stage of the Sales Process

After reviewing the value of AI and its different tools, we should also go over how sales AI can help at every stage of the sales process as of 2020. From lead generation to sales forecasting, there are sales AI solutions to improve at every step. For example, intelligent market monitors capture the important information required at pivotal decision-making stages of the sales process.

Generate Leads With Confidence

Lead generation can kick off the sales process to a great start if done with the right tools. Sales AI technology fits right in to learn, sort through, and offer the best leads for a sales team. This kind of automation is ideal for expert salespeople who are better off using their interpersonal skills with actual prospects and clients, instead of spending hours researching for leads.

Predictive Lead Scoring Ranks Best

Following up lead generation is predictive lead scoring, another sales technique that can optimize the workflow of salespeople. With predictive lead scoring, sales teams can receive accurate rankings of which leads are most likely to convert based on demographic and behavioral indicators. Combine lead scoring techniques with intelligent market monitors so that salespeople have all the best tools to make well-informed selling decisions.

Sales AI Helps Follow up With Clients

After lead scoring, sales AI tools can help in the next stage in the sales process, client engagement. These kinds of tools can take care of the easy follow-ups that can be automated to streamline communications and ensure no opportunity falls through because of delayed engagement. The benefit of this kind of sales AI is that clients end up receiving more attentive interaction to answer simple questions and when they have more complex concerns they're directed to an expert salesperson.

Forecasting Is Easier With AI for Sales

To finish up where the sales AI can help at every stage of the sales process, AI tools are uniquely prepared to execute forecasting predictions. Similar to process mining, sales forecasting takes in all the relevant information and signals to deliver accurate results. With this information, sales teams can make data-driven forecasts for future sales. Search for sales AI tools that enable enterprises to make informed business decisions based on hidden revenue opportunities, industry-wide comparisons, and economic trends.

Seamless CRM Integrations Are a Must

Your CRM is probably at the core of your sales process. It coordinates the sales team and ensures that every client interaction is at peak performance. All major CRM systems offer sales AI tools and integrations because they know its potential for best serving clients. So as for the status of sales AI in 2020, remember it doesn't mean much if it doesn't seamlessly integrate into your business.

Answering Top AI Questions

To finish up this 2020 overview of AI for sales, let's explore some burning questions on the topic. Concerns over total human replacement or countdowns to the demise of personal selling are common, but misguided. Ultimately, sales AI tools are just that—another tool in an expert salesperson's toolkit.

Will AI Replace Sales?

We may love a robot apocalypse action film, but there should be little concern about sales AI taking over. The most intelligent tools will probably never capture the uniquely human essence of interpersonal skills that make selling an art of person-to-person connection. So fear not about AI replacing the entire concept of sales, it's just another tool to assist the sales process.

What Year Will We Have AI?

The fundamental question—when does all of this start? If you can't tell, we've already begun the AI era. Sales teams across industries have access to the intelligent tools that boost performance and streamline productivity. Now it's about perfecting the tools and adopting them into workflows.

Intelligent Market Monitors Are 2020's Tool

This update of sales AI would not be complete without a final mention to one of the best tools available to transform CRMs into digital sales machines—intelligent market monitors. At Aptivio we understand how to harness the power of sales AI tools to fuel efficient growth. Our Aptivio Intelligent Market Monitor for Sales creates simple dynamic digital sales playbooks from billions of buying signals to maximize your CRM investment.

Our impactful action cards generated by analyzing 150 proprietary signals from billions of external data points can transform the performance of expert salespeople. With seamless integration directly into your CRM and business intelligence platforms, Aptivio is the missing link to creating a digital sales machine. Ready to learn more? Get started for FREE today!

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