Important Benefits and Pitfalls of AI for Sales

Businessman using mobile smartphone shows the technology and AI for sales
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is ready for primetime and rapidly changing the way we live and work. It’s no surprise, that it can and will continue to influence sales organizations. At its core, AI can automate tasks, personalize interactions, and streamline processes and communication, all of which can help sales teams close more deals and boost their bottom lines. In fact, early adopters can likely gain a competitive advantage.

What Is AI?

AI can be defined as the ability of machines to perform tasks previously only possible with human intelligence. With AI, machines can now offer solutions with human-like reasoning and carry on real-time machine-driven dialogues in a natural and conversational manner.

AI typically acquires its intelligence via Machine Learning (ML) based on broad and deep online data sets. AI also gains its ability to communicate organically by using Natural Language Processing (NLP). When combined, the AI brain first learns from vast information resources and can then respond to prompts in an “intelligent,” human-like way.

And What Is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI “Chatbot” system which can generate text, translate languages, write various forms of creative content, generate code, answer user questions, and much more in a natural way. While developer OpenAI, with ChatGPT, has been a pioneer in bringing AI into the mainstream, other AI platforms are rapidly expanding. For content, these include Jasper, Bard by Google, RYTR, and Writesonic. For graphics, MidJourney and Stable Diffusion are early leaders.

Is AI Really a Chatbot?

We’re familiar with sales chatbots as they’ve been used for many years on business websites. These tend to be rules-based automated tools that respond with programmed or scripted responses and actions to common user inputs. An AI chatbot, on the other hand, learns not only from a broader knowledge base but also from context and tone of the user interaction. Whereas a typical business enterprise chatbot is often limited to customer service and lead generation applications, an AI chatbot can help generate non-customer-facing longer-form content and process enhancements.

How AI can change the sales game

AI for Sales? How Can AI Change the Game?

Traditional chatbots are valuable to businesses because of how they can automate customer interactions on a 24/7 basis without the need for human engagement on the business side. These non-AI chatbots can also efficiently funnel customer questions and problems to the right human resources.

But what about AI for sales? How can an AI chatbot for sales influence sales operations and performance? They can, for example…

Accelerate Response Time

When sales reps can respond more quickly to prospects in a way that respects and mirrors their language of inquiry, the prospect can move smoothly through the sales process and feel more satisfied with their experience. And because the sales rep does not have to be fully engaged with each prospect at every stage of the sales process, response time can be cut drastically when direct engagement is required.

Improve Communications

Some sales representatives struggle with written communication and may not be experts in this area. With simple input into an AI chatbot for sales, the generated responses tend to be more refined and ready for adaptation.

Increase Productivity

Even with an efficient sales process, personalized communication and unique customer engagement are still important. By simplifying the creation process for these custom interactions, sales reps can serve more customers in less time.

Automate Lead Generation

Automated lead generation is a powerful tool that leverages AI to help sales teams identify potential customers. By analyzing data from past customer interactions and behavior, AI-driven systems can accurately predict who’s likely to become a customer and send targeted marketing messages to them. This helps qualify leads more quickly and efficiently, allowing sales teams to focus their efforts on the most promising prospects.

Reduce Costs

With the efficiencies of scale already noted, using AI tools for sales can reduce customer acquisition costs and increase margin both at the individual customer level and for the overall corporate bottom line. When using AI-driven lead generation, there I also the potential to to reduce costs associated with ineffective marketing campaigns. By only targeting people likely to convert, businesses can significantly reduce the number of resources devoted to advertising and other forms of outreach that don’t yield results.

Use Caution With AI Chatbots for Sales

While the benefits of using AI tools for sales can be many, proceed with caution. Remember that AI is constantly learning from ever-evolving data sets, so information generated can become obsolete as new resources are added. Beyond that, the information contained in those data sets are not 100% accurate, so any aggregation of content can include errors. When using AI, put on your fact-checker hat and use your hard-earned experience and wisdom to vet the content you intend to share!

Also, be aware that because AI-generated text comes from the vast sea of online information, it could inadvertently present verbatim certain information that is rights-protected. Be sure to edit and adapt AI output to create further distance from original source material.

The Bottom Line:

When approached with professional care, using an AI chatbot for sales can provide tremendous boosts to lead generation, customer communication, service, and response time. During the sales process, it can streamline operations and shorten the sales cycle. Taken together, these benefits can help sales reps accomplish more in less time while serving prospects and customers more efficiently. Best of all, early adopters who master the use of conversational AI for sales can gain a clear competitive advantage.

Not sure you are ready for the new frontier of AI for sales? A good place to start is to take the free Sales Xceleration Sales Agility Assessment to better understand the effectiveness and performance of your overall sales organization. Armed with that information, a Sales Xceleration Advisor can help guide the enhanced use of sales strategies, processes, and technologies such as AI tools for sales. To learn more about AI for sales, reach out to an Advisor today, or contact us at 844.874.7253.