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How to Use AI to Improve Your Sales Efficiency

A group of four work colleagues gathers around a computer and smiles.

​​​​​​According to Salesforce's State of Sales, "69% of high performers use AI to automate repetitive tasks." But artificial intelligence is not just about automating simple tasks like sending follow-up emails or keeping customer information streamlined across Salesforce and other tools; AI can do a lot more than just that.

If you're looking for ways to use AI to improve your sales efficiency, here are some concrete ways to start using it, including how to improve workflows. 

The best part? These ideas aren't as complicated or time-consuming as you may think.

What are Sales Efficiency and Sales AI?

Sales efficiency is the process of streamlining and optimizing the sales process to close more deals in less time. To increase that efficiency, you can automate tasks, use data and analytics to inform decision-making, and adopt new technologies like artificial intelligence. When AI is adopted, contact centers can be two times more efficient, according to a Dialpad study.

Sales AI is a subset of AI that specifically focuses on helping sales organizations improve their performance. This can take many different forms, but some common applications include automatic prospecting, lead scoring, and real-time coaching.

There are many benefits to using sales AI, however, it's important to note that sales AI is not a silver bullet and it should be used as part of a broader sales strategy. When used effectively, though, sales AI can help your team win more deals and drive better results for your business.

Benefits of Using AI in Sales

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest benefits of AI and automation is that it frees up time for sales reps to focus on higher-impact activities, such as building relationships with prospects and developing new business opportunities.

Additionally, AI can help sales reps be more efficient and effective in their jobs by providing them with valuable insights into customer behavior to cater to the selling experience, especially when it comes to customers who are ready to buy.

For example, sales AI can help your team identify patterns in customer behavior, such as when they are most likely to buy, what kind of products they are interested in, and what kind of messaging they respond to. This type of information can be extremely valuable in developing targeted sales strategies.

Other benefits include the ability to scale your sales operation quickly and efficiently, as well as improve the overall quality of your sales leads.

Six Ways to Use AI to Improve Sales Efficiency

1. Generate Better Forecasts

Sales forecasts are essential for reporting and defining goals. Businesses need to understand what their expected revenue will be in the future however, sales forecasting is often inaccurate which can lead to businesses making poor decisions.

AI can help improve the accuracy of sales forecasts by analyzing historical data and identifying patterns. For example, Salesforce's Einstein Prediction Builder uses machine learning to improve the accuracy of sales forecasts. You can create your own AI models depending on your needs, such as which customers are likely to renew so your team can act accordingly.

This can help businesses make more informed decisions about their sales goals and strategies. It also helps sales managers save time so they no longer have to manually pull data to create a forecast.

2. Scale Your Team Coaching

Another great way to use AI is being able to provide real-time call coaching to your entire sales org without having to listen in on every call. In apps like Dialpad, users can create real-time assist cards (RTA cards), which include helpful tips that appear on an agent's screen when the agent or the prospect mentions a certain word.

There are a variety of different topics and scenarios that users can create RTA cards for, such as:
- pricing questions
- product questions
- other frequently asked questions
- objection handling
- how our product compares to competitors
- what to say when upselling and cross-selling

This feature can help sales reps improve their performance and be more successful in their jobs, plus it helps shorten the ramp-up time for new hires. The faster a new sales rep feels confident in their role, the more calls they can handle and the more deals they will be able to close.

3. Have Better Conversations with Prospects

AI can also be used to help improve the quality of your conversations by automatically gathering information about a prospect before the conversation takes place. This information can include things like the prospect's job title, company size, and location. Knowing these details beforehand can help sales reps tailor their conversation to the specific needs of the prospect.

Then, once the conversation begins, it can be difficult for a rep to completely focus on what the prospect is saying while juggling other tasks like taking call notes or trying to recall specific pieces of information relevant to the type of persona they're communicating with.

AI can even help transcribe what is being said in a conversation and flag important information, like talking points to follow up later. Then, your call can be automatically logged into Salesforce with a copy of the transcription.

4. Monitor Customer Sentiment

For large sales teams constantly making calls, it's helpful to use AI to automatically analyze customer sentiment. This is especially valuable for sales managers because they can quickly identify calls with negative sentiment or potential problems early on, then take steps to address them, such as listening into the call and "whispering" to the agent to guide them.

Alternatively, managers can filter out calls with negative sentiment within a given time period, review the transcript or recordings for those calls, and identify areas that the team can improve on.

With this data, sales managers can then tailor future sales training to prevent negative customer sentiment and provide strategies on how to diffuse tension in order to close more deals.

Analyzing customer sentiment can also help you understand what customers are saying about your product or service. This information can be used to improve your offering or make changes to your marketing strategy.

5. Focus Your Efforts on High-Quality Leads

While it's great to give potential customers the option to inquire about your products and get live help, your sales team may end up with a large volume of messages with mixed levels of quality and interest.

Instead of tackling each one, conversational AI tools can deflect certain conversations so prospective customers can "help themselves" whenever possible.

For example, an SaaS can use an AI-powered live chatbot to answer common questions during the sales process, then encourage the prospect to sign up for a free trial. This is more effective than having someone on your team do the exact same thing. Instead of fielding these types of inquiries, your sales team can focus on prospecting and relationship building.

6. Improve Your Prospecting and Lead Generation

Crunchbase found that "top sellers spend an average of six hours every week researching their prospects". That’s 15% of the workweek!

Luckily, there are several tools using AI to help sales reps find new prospects by analyzing data sources such as social media, website traffic, and online directories. These tools can automate the process of contact list building and also help your team prioritize leads, so they can focus on the most promising prospects.

Automating the leads qualification process means your sales reps can save up to six hours a week, if not more.

Implementing AI Into Your Team's Workflow

No matter what type of communication channel you use— whether it's email, live chat, social media, or a call— AI can be a powerful ally for sales reps in many ways. From prospecting and lead generation to forecasting and coaching, AI can help both sales managers and sales reps focus on important tasks and perform at their best.

Don't be afraid to use AI to help your team work more efficiently. Ultimately, not only will it help you generate more revenue but also improve your business relationships with its customers.

Ready to implement AI into your team’s workflow? Check out apps like Dialpad on AppExchange to get started today! 

About the author: Desiree Wojtkowski is a Senior Manager of Sales Development at Dialpad with more than 10 years of experience managing both inside and outside sales teams. 
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