Artificial intelligence (AI) is a thrilling prospect for most people, even if some have a nagging feeling in the back of their minds that robots will ultimately replace them. And, given the number of jobs that have already become automated, that fear is not unwarranted.
Technology is certainly changing everything, and those who can't adapt will likely be pushed out of the way. For business leaders, though, staying on top of how AI is progressing today can be the key to mapping out their companies' future.
The use of artificial intelligence today
Right now, AI is being used to gather and interpret business metrics. The big talk of the town is Salesforce's Einstein, which has made a big splash for marketers and sales teams alike. From lead conversion to sales acceleration, it's helping companies make decisions based on past events.
Einstein relies on predictive analytics to get new leads and identify the decision-makers within target companies. Used correctly, it can tell you when your competitor might broach your clients, when to upsell or cross-sell and when there's likely to be a hiccup in the business.
It also gives you the profile of the best possible customer, a process that normally takes a lot of mistakes made by marketers. The caveat with AI in B2B sales right now is that the information you receive is only as good as the data it processes. The scoring and dividing-up of the leads for easier contacting and strategy decisions is deeply affected by a lack of quality data, which can account for some of the failures that companies have seen using AI.
Working out the information
There's little doubt you're already dealing with a mountain of facts, statistics, names and numbers, as it is. Some of those facts, though, have either changed or been clarified over the years. You have an incredible incentive for improving the accuracy however, because AI is designed to give better, more intuitive advice, the more you work with it.
This means that you need to stick with this technology for more than the first few rounds. There are services available that will chart how the relationships and behavior of businesses work and may help your business figure out how to work with the existing order to penetrate a certain market.
Having that information at your fingertips could enable you to start generating more of your own relationships and focus on better strategies to gain the trust you want from key people.
Making software relevant
Software companies come out with fresh innovations every day, and many are shocked to find their clients aren't so much impressed with their hard work as confused and discouraged. Many have speculated that the real value of AI has to do with the fact that it makes the machinery and devices easier to use, so training is minimal and changes in the structure are sparse.
Sales reps, in fact, come to despise software updates and communication failures, especially considering these events' direct impact on their numbers. Clearly, then, AI may not be there quite yet, but eventually it will give sales teams a reliable way to make better decisions both in the office and in the field.
As mentioned, sales AI is all about predictions, and the best companies are also the best predictors. AI should be able to take your CRM from a basic tool to a more engaging and interactive experience. It's these insights that empower a team to make better connections with clients which ultimately inspire the real loyalty you're looking for.
AI is not meant to give you a direct answer, but rather make the answer clearer. Too often, managers completely underestimate the motivations for a buyer's hesitation, and that lack of knowledge hurts the whole company. By eliminating the information that clouds people's judgment, you can simplify your understanding of the situation for a better outcome.
The future of sales and technology
The nature of technology is that it only gets better. AI will continue to interpret the information of the past to create stronger machines that can easily adapt to the circumstances of the day. Even though the people in B2B sales may not be the first group to leap on what's new and now, that doesn't mean they won't get there eventually.
Salespeople have a tendency to be focused on whom to call, as opposed to the fancy coding that makes that contact information available. However, once they see the difference that AI can bring to their performance, they'll become its leading champions. AI will continue to be integrated with the internet of things, which will bring further convenience and automation to clients and salespeople alike.