I asked the very question that is in the title of ChatGPT. The answer is pasted below. I’m doing this because of work I am doing in this area (on interrelated sales and AI topics) and the trend report I am writing. So it’s a way or working and sensemaking aloud. I wanted to see how broad the work I am doing is and which areas of sales transformation I am touching. Read the response then I’ll provide my input and learning.
Here are several key ways in which sales is being transformed by AI:
- Data-driven insights: AI-powered tools can analyze large volumes of data to extract valuable insights. Sales teams can use these insights to identify patterns, predict customer behavior, and make data-driven decisions. AI can help optimize sales strategies by providing information on customer preferences, buying patterns, and sales trends.
- Sales forecasting and predictive analytics: AI algorithms can analyze historical data and market trends to generate accurate sales forecasts. This helps organizations plan resources, set realistic targets, and align their sales strategies accordingly. Predictive analytics also enables sales teams to identify potential opportunities and risks, allowing them to make proactive decisions.
- Lead generation and qualification: AI technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing, can automate lead generation processes. By analyzing customer data, AI systems can identify potential leads, score them based on their likelihood to convert, and prioritize follow-up actions. This streamlines the sales process and improves efficiency.
- Personalized customer experiences: AI enables sales teams to deliver highly personalized customer experiences at scale. By analyzing customer data, AI systems can provide real-time recommendations, tailored product suggestions, and customized offers. This personalization enhances customer engagement and increases the likelihood of conversion.
- Chatbots and virtual assistants: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can handle routine customer queries, provide product information, and assist in the sales process. They can engage with customers through natural language interfaces, offer immediate responses, and help automate customer support. This frees up sales reps’ time to focus on more complex tasks and high-value interactions.
- Sales process automation: AI can automate various sales tasks, such as data entry, lead nurturing, email outreach, and scheduling. This automation reduces manual effort, improves productivity, and allows sales teams to focus on building relationships and closing deals. AI can also provide sales reps with real-time recommendations and guidance during customer interactions, increasing their effectiveness.
- Sales performance analytics: AI can analyze sales performance data to identify areas for improvement, assess individual and team performance, and provide actionable insights. It helps sales managers gain visibility into sales activities, track key metrics, and make data-driven decisions to optimize performance and drive revenue growth.
Focus and learning so far
I am focused in my work on the last two list items (in bold). I am working with two Microsoft technologies in particular (disclosure) and with customers.
Viva Sales for sales process automation
This is probably best demonstrated from this video, in summary. As you can see it pretty much nails many of the stated activities and goals.
I also started a new series of posts where I deep dive into each area and in this post I focus on the note taking function: Features that delight – AI for better sales productivity – notes.
Viva Insights for sales performance analytics
This recent video highlights how various CHRO leaders use Viva Insights for organisational insights, but it’s not specific to the sales function.
In my work with customers using Viva Insights, we are integrating CRM account data and combining it with behavioural data, data you get from M365 and beyond such as internal and customer collaboration gleaned from Teams, Email and Meetings use, Sales Navigator use, learning/training progress, etc. This provides powerful insights on sellers’ behaviours linked to their performance.
What other leading sales consultancies think
Just to sense check, here is what Korn Ferry, a leading sales consultancy, is thinking in this area: How does sales technology improve sales productivity? (kornferry.com). Main takeaways from the article are below, summarised for you using Bing Chat. I would say that the two areas I am focusing on are the most important of all from the initial list.
Sales technology challenges: Many sales organizations have a robust tech stack but fail to integrate their tools or train their sellers on how to use them effectively. This leads to low adoption and wasted time.
Sales technology benefits: Sales technology can improve seller productivity and effectiveness by automating tasks, providing insights, forecasting sales, identifying best practices and prioritizing actions. These benefits can help sellers win more deals and grow their pipeline.
Sales technology solutions: Sales organizations need to streamline their tech stack, integrate their tools with their sales processes and data sources, and reinforce the value of technology through training and coaching. They also need to choose tools that combine analytics with sales methodology, such as Korn Ferry Sell.