Using AI and ML Across the Entire Sales Cycle to Achieve Success
Prospect hunting in the digital era is like finding a needle in a haystack. The internet opens many doors for sales development teams to engage with potential clients — especially since 127 devices connect to the internet every second. Nevertheless, growing numbers of devices, social platforms and profiles mean more data for employees to troll before reaching their ideal clients.
The traditional sales cycle — prospect collection, connect, discover, present, handle objections, close, follow-up, and referral generation — is a slow relationship-building process that can take days or weeks. And it’s often only at stage three that you find out if your prospect is a true fit.
Artificial intelligence (AI) utilizes data analysis algorithms to take on tasks that are too time-consuming or data-intensive for individuals to accomplish alone. Machine learning (ML) is an extension of AI that helps recognize new patterns and update its algorithms based on the additional information. Like when many respondents decline a discovery call request, ML can realize this trend and revise the message delivered.
With the global AI market predicted to reach $190.61 billion by 2025, AI tools are rapidly entering the sales cycle to help e-marketers ensure every lead is nurtured. Let’s find out how.
AI/ML in Lead Generation: Timing is Everything
The real reason 79 percent of marketing leads never convert into revenue is timing. Agents need more and more hours on the clock to thoroughly research prospects, respond to each individual instantly, and guide them throughout the sales cycle.
More than three-quarters of top performers say they always conduct analysis before reaching out to prospects. AI tools such as natural language processing (NLP) allow machines to “read” and process unstructured data like LinkedIn profiles, articles shared, and company websites in seconds. This level of filtering provides sales specialists with an elite, streamlined list of contacts to reach out to.
In addition, there's an 80 percent drop in lead qualification when you wait longer than five minutes to respond. AI-generated automated responses can instantly resolve customer queries or notify sales agents when a computerized reaction is unavailable.
Achieving sales success isn’t about knocking on more doors; it’s intelligently selecting the doors of welcoming buyers and delivering the right message at the right time.
Buyer Confidence Opens a New Stage
Customer behavior is changing, and trust in digital relationships has risen — 31 percent of sales advisors say that they have closed deals over $500,000 without ever meeting the buyer face to face.
Research is a major part of today’s buying process: 50 percent to 90 percent of the buyer journey is complete before interaction with a sales rep. AI-powered voice assistants also present a huge opportunity, with 97 percent of mobile users using these tools. Conditional logic is where responses inform the next question shown on a smart form, providing users with a conversational tone. This approach enables sales teams to capture their prospect's needs and cater products based on unique enquires — all before the first human contact.
One fear that stops prospects from choosing to share information via chatbots is security. This is why providers build AI-powered voice assistants with interactive voice response (IVR) systems. Customers can use a secure IVR to enter card data using the keypad, preventing voice recordings from capturing customer payment details and protecting customers’ privacy right through to payment.
Whether you’re implementing NLP software into your existing prospecting tools or creating a chatbot service on your webpage, AI can support the entire sales cycle. From quicker prospect research to digital payment services, with AI-powered sales platforms, sales teams can reach out to buyers with higher potential interest and seamlessly take them through to the final stages. And in both cases, sales reps gain their most valuable asset back — time.
Lucas Bonatto is the CEO and founder of Elemeno, a company that provides industry-leading ML ops that allow data science professionals to accelerate and automate their machine learning lifecycles.
Related story: How to Make Your Chatbot Smarter With Intelligent Automation
Lucas is a technical founder who studied Computer Science and is currently leading Elemeno AI, a startup helping data science teams to increase their output in the industry. Lucas has experience working in a wide range of industries, including finance, retail and crypto. He is passionate about the advancements that AI could bring to our lives and believes that human beings are happier doing creative tasks.