William Webster

written by

William Webster

Researcher, Avoncourt Partners GmbH

Culture Blog - Jan 30, 2018

Sales use AI data driven decisions to get the decisive edge

We are in the era of relationship-driven business. Seeing the introduction of artificial intelligence data-driven sales forces, what can we expect to be the next steps of a transforming economy?

“Innovate, adapt or die.” This principle has powered successful businesses for 30 years and is still valid today. For over two years, a well-informed army of AI empowered sales reps has begun swamping every sector of the economy. Sales teams are constantly collecting data about their current and prospective customers. This is an expensive and challenging task, which is becoming vital to a business’s survival.

Sales has been applying analytics to improve the quality and speed of decision making for years. The addition of AI to this scenario since the last two years has led to changes in strategy and tactics that others didn’t expect. The information that sales gathers has expanded to include real time feeds regarding risk, weather, finance, and the news. Sales teams are able to incorporate broad trends and factors in their decision-making processes such as localized events and buying patterns or the impact of weather/seasonality on demand.

Software analytics and recognition people in city with flare light effect

Two of the advantages sales stands to gain by applying AI are lead generation and opportunity evaluation. For every salesperson seeks to stand before the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

Generating new leads

Business development is costly. When a sales team is given a lead, they must assess its potential profit for the organization. How likely is it to convert into a closed deal? How much might that deal be worth over how many years? How high maintenance will the company be as a customer? Are there PR opportunities associated with the company based on their industry, geography, or brand? A sales AI uses historical data to predict how likely the conversion is and make recommendations about the best way to convert the lead based on the relevant contact point, industry, and need. This technology gives its users a significant edge by saving hours, days and weeks on investigations, and provides them with data-driven information for making decisions within minutes.

Businessmen standing and giving advice with arrow pathway choice

Opportunity Evaluation

Yet even a good lead can be poorly managed or lost if not approached at the right opportunity. Opportunities pose themselves daily to sales teams. The question is always: which is the right opportunity? Which provides us with a greater likelihood of closing a deal? Each sales team in the mix is trying to offer the best value to a potential customer while observing the needs their own companies have of profit. This can be a painstakingly slow process of backs and forths. Yet actual data from AI can lead the process to be a calculated rather than an ‘emotional’ decision on behalf of the sales team.

Red opened door among many closed white ones

AI is providing powerful decision-guiding information into the hands of salespeople, raising the stakes for other sales teams not using this technology.

We are still in the era of collaboration and relationship-driven business. Though this may never really change in form, the decision about whom to approach and when is going to make all the difference.