How AI Automation Will Change the State of Sales

Last updated: 03-12-2020

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How AI Automation Will Change the State of Sales

Today’s post is by Jessica Munday, a content marketing specialist at Automation Hero, an intelligent process automation (IPA) company combining RPA and AI for next-level businesses.

Sales productivity is the number one challenge for 65 percent of B2B organizations. It’s an industry-wide problem that heavily impacts revenue margins and a company’s bottom line.

The biggest inhibitors to productivity are the inefficiencies within the sales process. According to Salesforce, the average sales rep spends 64 percent of his or her time on non-selling tasks – 25 percent of which are administrative tasks.

The burden on sales managers grows as executive leaders push for higher revenue gains. The solution managers have discovered? Implementing sales AI to automate inefficient processes that prevent sales reps from selling. These technologies make it so the data entry and busy work are still done, but salespeople have more time to sell and drive profits for the company.

The current sales tech landscape has more than 700 tools – up from around 300 in 2015. Growth in the sales technology space will continue to accelerate over the coming years, resulting in a flooded market with thousands of productivity tools.

While many of these tools promise to increase productivity, the number of vendors and products out there add even more noise and confusion for sales managers. In this hyper-growth market, managers can find it difficult to select the right tools for their business needs. They waste time comparing and evaluating vendors to find “the needle in the haystack.”

Many of these basic productivity tools add even more steps to the already-inefficient sales process, further preventing sales teams from selling.

Sales AI tools differ from traditional sales technology because they’re built with intelligence to improve the sales process and enable salespeople to be as productive and sales focused as possible. Sales AI optimizes the sales process through automation and augmentation.

Automation is when an intelligent machine performs low-level, repetitive tasks automatically with little assistance from the sales rep – and, as previously stated, sales reps spend a majority of their time on administrative tasks. Sales automation cuts down that time by performing tasks like CRM data entry, researching contact information, scheduling meetings, and drafting emails.

Augmentation is designed to elevate human intelligence to help people work smarter. Augmenting the sales team’s intelligence leads to sales reps making smarter decisions. Tasks that can be augmented include “next-step” engagement recommendations, prospecting, and cross-sell and up-sell suggestions. Gartner predicts that, by 2020, 30 percent of all B2B companies will add intelligence augmentation to augment at least one of their primary sales processes.

A Forrester survey shows that 46 percent of companies are looking to implement AI systems specifically for their sales and marketing teams. Salesforce says it’s the top growth area for sales teams, with adoption expected to grow 139 percent over the next three years.

Early adopters are already seeing results. Eighty-three percent of the most aggressive adopters of AI and cognitive technologies say their companies have already achieved either moderate (53 percent) or substantial (30 percent) benefits. Research shows that high-performing sales teams are 3.4 times more likely than underperforming teams to already be using AI.

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