AI in Sales: How Artificial Intelligence Can Help You Close More Deals
Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere.
Have you ever watched a show on Netflix because the app "suggested" it to you? Does your company website have chatbots that interact with visitors during off-hours? Maybe you use spell check to eliminate errors before adding new emails to your outreach campaigns?
The truth is, most people use AI tools every day without even realizing it. Sales reps are no different. There are plenty of apps you can use to supercharge your daily workflows.
In this article, we’ll discuss what AI for sales is, how it can help you crush quota, and specific AI tools your company can use to streamline and improve your sales process.
What Is AI Used for In Sales?
According to IBM, artificial intelligence, often referred to as AI, is "a field, which combines computer science and robust datasets, to enable problem-solving."
The fields of cognitive computing, computer vision, machine learning (ML), neural networks, deep learning (DL), and natural language processing fall under the AI umbrella.
"Great," you're thinking. "What the heck does that all mean?" I'll break it down: AI helps machines complete tasks that usually require human input.
So, AI for sales is about using artificial intelligence to complete sales tasks—without sales teams needing to do the tasks themselves. Think how much more efficient your reps will be when lead scoring, CRM data entry, and sales email automation is done for them.
Way more efficient, right? Here's more good news: A recent study found that only 37 percent of sales organizations have implemented AI and machine learning tools into their sales processes. By jumping on the bandwagon now, you can get a leg up on the competition!
Curious about the impact of AI in sales enablement? Explore how it revolutionizes customer engagement and drives revenue growth.
And if you need to elevate your revenue growth strategies with the power of CRM – we've got you covered.
How Can Artificial Intelligence Help Salespeople?
Okay, it's time to get into the nitty-gritty.
How will AI boost your team's sales performance, essential for effective sales performance management? I've already mentioned a few benefits, but let’s take a closer look. Here are a few advantages of sales AI:
Win Back Time
The average sales rep spends only 28 percent of their workweek selling. The rest of the time is spent on things like data entry and deal management activities. Obviously, this is less than ideal. AI for sales can eliminate tedious, non-selling tasks and help boost team efficiency. When this happens, your sales reps will be able to focus more on closing deals and driving revenue.
Increase Data Accuracy
Manual data entry tasks aren't just time-consuming. They're also extremely prone to error—especially when conducted by tired sales reps at the end of a long day. Certain AI tools can automate the data entry process, improving data accuracy. Company decision-making will become much easier for your leadership team when they can trust the numbers.
Scale Your Company Faster
Greater productivity will lead to greater revenue. And increased data accuracy will allow company leaders to make better, more informed decisions regarding the direction of your organization. Both of these things allow your business to scale quicker. For a more granular perspective on your expected revenue trajectory as you scale, consider utilizing our revenue growth calculator.
In addition, studies show that AI can boost employee job satisfaction. Happy employees tend to stick around longer, which will only improve your company's ability to scale.
Close More Deals
Last, but certainly not least, AI for sales will make your current sales operations more successful and help you close more deals. It doesn't matter who you are—the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed sales assistant, or the grizzled sales vet who's been in the industry for decades. Once you're backed by the right AI technology, you'll get more done and achieve more success.
7 Ways AI Can Improve the Sales Process
Artificial intelligence is a tool. How you use it will ultimately determine how beneficial it is to your business. Here are seven smart ways your sales team can use AI right now:
1. Score Your Leads
I don't care how talented you are. You can't sell to bad leads.
That's why lead scoring is such a big deal these days. When you know who's most likely to buy from your company, you can focus your efforts on these folks and close more deals.
Certain AI sales tools will score your leads for you and/or the sales professionals you manage.
Imagine scrolling through a social media site like LinkedIn. After a few minutes of research, you discover a potential customer. You then use an email finder tool to identify their contact information, which you add to your CRM of choice. Great! Now what?
With the right sales technology, you can automatically score the lead you just generated. If it scores well, you can immediately send them an email to introduce yourself. If it scores poorly, you can simply remove them from your CRM database.
This level of prioritization will do wonders for your team's productivity levels.
AI Sales Tools for Lead Scoring:
- 6sense: Want to know which of your leads to contact right now? 6sense will tell you who's most likely to convert. That way, you can focus on them. And, since the app's data is continually refreshed, you can always trust its recommendations.
- VanillaSoft: Your sales team just received two leads. Which one should you contact first? VanillaSoft ensures "every sales rep is calling the leads that are closest to the money." And, sales managers can define lead priority themselves, if needed.
- Fathom: Taking notes on calls is a time suck. Fathom automatically takes records, transcribes, and highlights important moments from sales calls. Even better, they can automatically send those notes to your CRM. Its like having an AI assistant who can take notes and enter data all in one tool.
2. Eliminate CRM Data Entry Tasks
Remember what I said earlier? The average sales rep spends only 28 percent of their time selling. This is mostly because of repetitive tasks like CRM data entry.
Customer relationship management software is 100 percent necessary today. But updating prospect information, logging customer interactions, etc., is time-consuming.
Fortunately, AI is here to help.
Once you invest in the right tools, data entry tasks will be handled for you and your team, giving you more time to concentrate on other, more important activities.
For example, you'll be able to contact more prospects. Or, spend more time talking to existing customers and ensuring they have an amazing customer experience, making them more likely to buy from you again in the future. Repeat sales? Um … yes, please!
Trust me. The massive productivity bump your sales team achieves will be more than worth the monthly fee you pay for this kind of AI tool.
AI Sales Tools for CRM Data Entry:
- Close CRM: You're in sales, which means Close was made for you, not your company's marketing or customer service teams. One of the ways that Close serves sellers is via automated CRM data entry. The software will automatically track who your sales reps contact, who responds to these messages, and more.
- Docparser: Tired of manual data entry? Try Docparser. This tool is designed to pull data from a variety of documents and upload it to your CRM of choice. It's super easy to use, and thanks to Zapier, it can connect to thousands of other solutions.
3. Self-Correct Contact Details
Your team works hard to generate quality leads and add them to your CRM database. That's why it's such a bummer when said leads are filed incorrectly.
Maybe there's a typo in the lead's email address. Maybe the lead is using a different phone number than they were six months ago. Or maybe it's something else entirely. Whatever the case may be, you can't sell to prospects if you can't contact them. Again, AI can help.
There are AI powered tools that will analyze your CRM records and make sure they're accurate. If they aren't, the tools will automatically update them as needed.
Sounds cool, right? Just be careful. In the past, con artists have hacked into CRM databases and changed contact and/or payment information. If your AI tool of choice doesn't catch this ploy, you might send payments to the wrong accounts or experience other issues.
AI Sales Tools to Correct Contact Info:
- Clearbit: With Clearbit, you can "2x your pipeline, not your budget" thanks to a wide array of features. One such feature involves data enrichment. Connect Clearbit to your CRM and the tool will automatically refresh records when a change is detected.
- Dropcontact: If you're worried about the quality of your CRM contacts, consider using Dropcontact. This platform will help you find and validate emails. You can then integrate it with your chosen CRM and let it enrich your data automatically.
4. Improve Your Sales Coaching
How do your reps respond when a red-hot lead suddenly goes cold? How about when a potential customer balks at your company's pricing structure? And do they know when in the sales cycle to upsell and cross-sell their prospects? Do they offer these things at all?
If you're a sales manager, it's your job to coach your reps to success. That means you need to ensure they're prepared for every scenario, including the ones mentioned above.
But here's the thing: Coaching reps successfully is hard. You need to understand why some sellers succeed and others don't. You need to have intimate knowledge of your company's sales process. And you need to earn the respect of the reps you intend to manage.
It's a lot. Fortunately, AI can help you in a couple of different ways. First, certain tools will automatically record sales calls and collect important data sets for each of your sales reps. You can then analyze this information and give your reps relevant advice to improve.
And second, you can invest in a tool that actually includes AI-powered sales coaching features. These guided selling platforms will use advanced technology to help reps perform the right activities at the right times. (Note: Your reps don't have to follow your AI app's advice. There's always room for human intervention. But you may find the advice works.)
AI Sales Tools to Improve Sales Coaching:
- Gong: With Gong, you'll get all of the sales call insights you could ever ask for, including full recordings of rep conversations. Gong will even give data-driven recommendations based on each of your rep's personal selling style and behavior.
- Chorus: Like Gong, Chorus lets users record sales calls. But it goes a step further and lets you track emails and sales meetings, too. It then uses AI to determine what top sellers do differently. Sales managers can share this data with other reps.
- Close CRM: Close is equipped with multiple sales coaching tools. There's the "Whisper" feature, for example, which let's sales leaders listen to their reps' calls live; then, give them advice without the prospect knowing they’re there. When it comes to AI, Close will automatically record every sales conversation. You and/or your reps can then listen to them at a later date, take notes, and improve your approach.
5. Send Better Email Campaigns
Email has the potential to become a sales pro's best friend.
Why? Because you can use it in a variety of use cases. And it can be automated to help you connect with leads, follow up with prospects, and make sales on autopilot.
But to succeed with your email messaging campaigns, you have to, you know, write really good emails. This isn't always easy to do. Luckily, an AI assistant like the ones mentioned below can simplify the process—even if you write like a second grader with a crayon.
You could, for example, use an AI tool to generate email content for you. At the very least, this strategy will help you conquer blank page syndrome and write messages faster.
AI can be used to analyze your email communications, too. Perhaps your open rate is lower than you want it to be. AI can analyze your content, as well as customer behavior, to make sure your subject lines are top quality and that your messages are sent at the right times.
When you have this information, you can focus on optimization, working to make your current emails more effective and boost your ROI with this communication channel.
(Note: AI is awesome, but if you struggle to write engaging email content, try using one of these free cold email scripts. They're proven to work and won't cost you a dime. Win!). Or you can use our AI tool to write amazing cold email templates.
AI Sales Tools to Improve Your Sales Emails:
- Jasper: Jasper is a popular AI-powered content creation tool. Customers can use it to craft social media posts, blog articles, and, yes, email marketing campaigns, at 10x the speed of the average human being. It's currently available in 25 different languages. If this tool is outside your budget, here are some popular and affordable Jasper alternatives worth checking out.
- ChatGPT: ChatGPT has taken the world by storm. This powerful AI software is easy to use: enter a prompt, receive a response, and evaluate the results. It's a great tool for idea generation. Ask ChatGPT what to say and use the response as a launchpad.
- SendGrid: SendGrid is a fully-featured email marketing platform. I've included it in this list because it has a few powerful AI tools. Validate emails, create automated sequences, and receive AI-powered insights to improve your messaging.
6. Automate Your Sales Reports
Is your sales strategy working? You'll have to run a few reports to find out.
From historical data used to run predictive analytics, to real-time data used to determine how close to your team's quota is, you need access to numbers.
Plenty of tools will get you these numbers, but not all of them are equipped with AI algorithms. The sales intelligence tools that are have a distinct advantage.
AI Sales Tools to Automate Sales Reports:
- Clari: Clari wants to help your team "capture every drop of revenue." To do so, it will automatically collect data and sync it to your CRM. Its AI can also be used for sales forecasting purposes so that you always know where your department stands.
- Close CRM: Close is a top-rated CRM software, so it's no surprise that it has an in-depth reporting dashboard. Use this tool to track the specific KPIs that matter to your business, forecast future results, or manage leaderboards for your team. With the latest update, Close now offers its users an iOS mobile app, enabling seamless access to critical sales data on the go. With the Close Mobile App, you can conveniently view activity details, track customer interactions, and stay updated on the progress of deals, enabling you to stay connected and make informed decisions wherever you are.
7. Automate Specific Sales Tasks
Finally, AI can streamline specific sales activities.
Want to exploit upselling and cross-selling opportunities? AI can help you identify your next best action so that you can strike while the iron's hot, as the saying goes.
Maybe you want to score a few referrals to jumpstart your sales program. AI and sales automation tools can deliver email and text communications at certain times, ensuring your messages reach prospects exactly when they're supposed to.
AI Sales Tools to Automate Sales Tasks:
- Apollo: Apollo has a bunch of cool sales tools, but we're going to focus on the AI-powered ones. Use Apollo to automate numerous sales activities, personalize emails, and understand why some messages convert while others fall flat.
- Close CRM: Can I shout out Close one more time? The platform includes a built-in sequencing tool, which can be used to schedule entire communication sequences. Make sure your messages hit inboxes at the perfect times with Close.
- Boomerang: Are you a Gmail user? Then you'll love Boomerang, which allows you to schedule appointments, send emails at specific times, and write more engaging content—all without leaving your Gmail account. Use it to contact former colleagues to ask for referrals, respond to prospects with sales enablement content, etc.
- Cold Email Generator (Close): How much time do you spend writing cold emails? This cold email generator makes it easy to create a first draft of a cold email in seconds.
Is AI the Future of Sales?
Here's the bottom line: AI-powered sales tools will make your life better.
These apps are specifically designed to simplify the sales process by making it easy to capture data, complete tasks, and crunch numbers.
Because of this, AI can be incredibly beneficial. But don't misunderstand me. Sales will always be a people-driven profession. The tools I mentioned in this article won't replace you and/or your team. Instead, they will only enhance the skills and know-how that you bring to the table.
If you want to learn more about the impact of AI on sales strategies, read our article on "The Future of AI in Sales: What Changed and What’s Next."
Ready to give AI for sales a try? Start your free 14-day trial of Close today!