Sales

How to Use AI To Boost Your Sales Performance

Learn how AI for sales, predictive sales AI, and customer service AI can optimise your strategy, engage leads, and amplify performance.

Rory Sadler
September 21, 2023
February 24, 2024
Learn how AI for sales, predictive sales AI, and customer service AI can optimise your strategy, engage leads, and amplify performance.
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What marks the best sales professionals out from the rest? Is it that they do what everyone else does, only better? Or do they approach sales completely differently, harnessing new tech and advancements to boost their performance?

You can bet it's the latter.

Artificial intelligence (AI) in sales is delivering a complete overhaul of traditional practices – and the best teams are leading the way. While AI uptake is only 37% in all sales organisations, over half of high-performing sales teams rely on AI. It's not hard to see why: AI saves salespeople over 2 hours a day, on average.

This article teaches everything you need to know to get started with AI in sales – what it means, why it matters, and what techniques to use.

We'll cover:

  • What is AI in Sales?
  • Why Use a Predictive Sales AI
  • How Sales Professionals Can Use Artificial Intelligence
  • Best AI Sales Tools

What is AI in Sales?

In a nutshell: it involves using artificial intelligence (AI) to optimise and enhance a sales strategy. How a company chooses to use AI depends on the challenges they face. New algorithms can learn and predict customer behaviour, provide personality analytics from social media posts, answer a prospect's questions, and much more.

As a general rule, cutting-edge generative AI and machine learning can analyse any large dataset to determine the best course of action, whether it's predicting the optimal landing page or rewriting your sales script.

Here are some examples:

Lead Prioritization with Data Analytics

AI evaluates vast lead data to determine conversion potential, allowing sales teams to focus on high-potential leads efficiently.

Enhanced Customer Interactions via Chatbots

AI-driven chatbots provide instant responses on various platforms, evolving with each interaction to improve user experience and boost conversions.

Sales Forecasting Leveraging Predictive Analytics

AI analyses past sales and market variables to predict future trends, aiding businesses in inventory planning and budgeting.

Personalised Marketing Campaigns using Machine Learning

AI processes customer data for tailored marketing content, maximising engagement and ROI.

Sales Process Automation and Efficiency

AI tools within CRMs automate tasks and offer data-driven suggestions, streamlining sales approaches and enhancing overall efficiency.

Why Use a Predictive Sales AI

Heard of first-mover advantage? It's a concept in sales that describes the competitive advantage gained by the first company or organisation to bring a product or service to market.

Think of the UK getting a leg up on its European competitors by industrialising first or Amazon creating the world's first online bookstore.

Being the first gives you time to solidify your place in the market. You can also outcompete your competition through better efficiency, exclusive agreements with customers (or suppliers), and greater brand name recognition.

Analysis by McKinsey suggests that companies that use AI in the next few years will be front-runners in the coming revolution. These first movers can expect their cash flow to skyrocket by more than 120% by 2030. Those who fail to adopt AI will see a -23% change in their cash flow during the same time frame.

As the analysis noted: "McKinsey surveys have found that about one-third of companies were investing in AI to improve their sales of current offerings, to expand their offerings of products and services, or both—possibly at the expense of their rivals."

In short, you can innovate and advance, or you can fall behind.

How Sales Professionals Can Use Artificial Intelligence

The question isn't just whether you should use AI but how to use it. There are two broad types of AI you can employ:

  1. Generative AI. Commonly called chatbots, these generative AI, like ChatGPT, are far more powerful. While they're not quite at the level of the best copywriters, they can mass-produce emails, write prospecting social media messages, and answer a prospect's queries.
  2. Machine Learning. In this case, an algorithm is trained on past sales data and behaviours. Machine learning can predict potential customer behaviours, optimise pricing strategies, and refine lead scoring. It's a tool for enhancing decision-making and anticipating market trends, ensuring that sales tactics are timely and effective.

Machine learning is usually added as part of a SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform, enhancing its existing capabilities. Generative AI, however, is much more flexible and can respond to whatever directives you give it.

Try these ideas:

1. Writing Messages and Emails

In the business of cold outreach? Sending the same stock email over and over again won't produce the best results. Whether you're a B2B or B2C company, your prospects won't even open your email unless it catches their eye. You've got to stand out in the inbox.

Once opened, your message has to hit their pain points, highlighting their problems and detailing how you've got the solution. No generic message. No stock copy.

Newer generative AI models, like GPT-4, allow sales professionals to draft LinkedIn messages and emails completely tailored to each lead. These systems analyse past conversations, understand a recipient's preferences, and draft messages accordingly.

That could be crafting the perfect subject line to boost open rates or curating content that captures your product pitch.

2. Predictive Lead Scoring

Previously, scoring leads relied solely on intuition or basic metrics. Predictive AI algorithms can leap lightyears ahead, ranking leads based on a multitude of intersecting variables. They'll mine historical data, behavioural analysis, and other metrics to identify which leads will likely convert.

And, as you feed in more data about your successes and failures, the machine learning algorithm will continue to improve. That means your sales professionals can direct their energy towards prospects with the highest potential for conversion, increasing your return on investment.

3. Customer Service AI

Current research predicts that chatbots will help earn over $142 billion in retail sales by 2024. How? Well, chatbots don't need downtime. They're ready to answer customer questions whenever they ask them.

Consider:

Enhance Lead Generation with Chatbots

Chatbots can quickly identify and engage with warm leads, respond to queries instantly, and automate lead-generation processes using surveys, sign-up forms, and order phone calls. This 24/7 tool aids in swift responses, with research highlighting brands replying within an hour are seven times more likely to qualify a prospect.

Proactively Engage Clients

Proactive messaging by chatbots, including welcome messages and notifications, positively impacts brand perception and drives customer engagement across platforms and languages. Around 70% of customers view brands more favourably when they offer a proactive service, enhancing potential relationships and influencing purchasing decisions.

Efficient Appointment Scheduling via Chatbots

Especially beneficial for service-based businesses, chatbots make booking interactive and user-centric, allowing self-scheduling and sending timely reminders. Case in point: Sephora observed an 11% rise in conversion rates after integrating a chatbot booking system.

4. Optimise Lead Distribution

Getting the right lead to the right person can make or break a sale. Whether that's the sales rep with the most relevant expertise or the one who's got the best sales technique, lead distribution is a key step in any sales strategy.

Once again, machine learning is ready to help. The most advanced algorithm can:

  • Segment your leads based on numerous factors, including browsing behaviour, purchase history, previous engagement, and more.
  • Analyse the sentiment of lead communications and assess the performance of your sales reps. It can help determine who is the best fit for the sale.
  • Identify the leads' buying intent, wait for the right time to assign a lead, and make the best use of your company's limited resources.

5. Provide Personality Profiles

Buyer Intelligence platforms analyse your prospect's LinkedIn pages, sales communications, and any other available information to deliver authentic personalisation.

Some platforms, like Humanlinker, provide an in-depth personality analysis, generating hyper-contextualised icebreakers optimised to get a response. Others, such as Humantic AI, help businesses open up potentially lucrative buyers, opening new avenues for success. Not only does this help close more deals, but it also builds long-term relationships that increase a customer's lifetime value.

4 AI Sales Tools

Not sure where to start? Several platforms already integrate AI into their analytics or customer relationship management (CRM) tools. However, there are tons of innovative ways to bring AI into sales. Here are a few ingenious AI sales tools to leverage in your organisation.

Smartlead

An advanced cold email outreach platform, Smartlead enhances lead generation through multichannel outreach, including platforms like email, SMS, and Twitter. Its unique features, like auto-rotating email accounts and humanised email AI, ensure higher deliverability and response rates.

Clay

Clay is a dynamic AI copywriting tool that personalises messaging by analysing data from over 50 providers, ensuring targeted and efficient outreach. With capabilities to craft tailor-made emails and integrate them with platforms like Google and Slack, it optimises sales campaigns for maximum impact.

Humanlinker

Serving as a blend of copywriter and corporate psychologist, Humanlinker offers personalised icebreakers and a unique DISC personality analysis based on a lead's social media presence. This enables more tailored interactions and guidance on building trusted client relationships.

Breakcold

Breakcold simplifies B2B relationships by integrating lead management and customer relationship management, tracking both email and social media interactions. The platform's Prospecting Feed and cold email software streamline personalised outreach and ensure effective communication with prospects.