elling is hard in good times, and we can’t ignore the added challenges of today, like burnout and the labour shortage. Gartner data shows three-quarters of B2B sales organisations will augment traditional sales playbooks with AI-guided selling solutions by 2025. These will facilitate guided intelligent selling, giving reps more informative and productive interactions.
AI-powered technology is a salesperson’s caddy. Just as a good caddy improves golfers, AI-guided selling provides information that can support customer relationships. Technology offers science, and the rep brings the human touch. This is game-changing for today’s sales rep – and we don’t take this phrase lightly.
AI-guided selling is helping dealers address pain points such as:
• Burned-out salespeople – Gartner reveals 89% of representatives report being worn out as fewer cover larger territories.
• Arduous onboarding – onboarding reps is a long process, with months of training around products and territories.
• Overwhelming data volume – pulling and analysing data to provide the value sales reps are looking to add takes much work on their part. And that’s assuming the rep wants to be consultative. They may not have the time or the energy.
Selling is hard, let’s make it easier
Gartner cites a “high burden of non-value-added administrative tasks” laid at the feet of sales reps. It includes data collection and preparation and reporting, and communication. So, how is the rise of guided selling, enabled by AI, reducing this load?
- AI can help you identify the most promising prospects from your data, establishing who a salesperson should call next and what to sell them based on behaviour, segment, and other factors. Such priority-based selling means sales representatives will spend less time on low-quality leads, and each call will be more meaningful – and successful.
- AI-enabled tools may also help short-staffed teams keep a pulse on the entire customer base. Sales reps can only nurture relationships one at a time. AI is able to catch and flag key risk indicators across all customers’ buying behaviour. This means sales teams can be proactive to prevent losses.
- Uncover opportunities in existing accounts and target them with relevant offers, something that’s difficult to do manually at scale. For example, suppose you identify a customer who only purchases high-quality printer paper monthly. You could offer a deal on ink cartridges, toner, or supplies such as labels, stamps, envelopes and mailing bags.
These are just a few examples of how AI drives greater productivity for sales teams. Consider the potential if finance and sales teams got that time back to dedicate to revenue-building activities, customer relationship building, and sales.
Over the years, people have developed a misconception that AI will replace sales reps. But that could not be further from the truth. After all, people buy from people. We still need and value the sales representatives.
Kevin McGirl is co-founder and President of sales-i, a leading sales enablement technology firm