Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Sales: How AI Helps you Target the Right Customer
No matter how advanced your solution is, it does not serve its true purpose until it reaches the right customer. The sales executives need to spend a lot of time nurturing, validating, and assuring their customers, especially in B2B sales. But, at times, sales executives don’t know their right customer, and this time spending becomes a dead investment. However, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology enables sales executives to target the right customer by automating and augmenting much of the B2B sales processes.
The latest statistics show that companies across industries can boost their productivity by up to 40% with the current AI technology. As per a Salesforce State of Sales report, sales leaders anticipate that sales teams would adopt AI faster than any other technology. The same report also revealed that top-performing teams are 4.9 times more likely to be using AI than poorly-performing teams. Given the inherent difficulties in the sales job, and evolving expectations of the B2B customers, AI is emerging as a game-changing technology. Let’s first explore what AI is for sales.
What is AI for Sales?
Essentially, AI is a group of technologies that can perform tasks that usually require human intelligence. Its purpose is to simulate human intelligence in machines, make machines work like humans, and save a lot of time and money in business development.
AI in sales leverages several intelligence technologies that collect and analyze all kinds of market data to gain insights into customer behavior and market trends, predict customers' next moves, and make automated decisions. This enables the sales team to prepare the right strategy to target the right customer at the right time.
Let's dive deeper into some ways a sales team can target the right customer using AI.
● Segments Customers Smartly
Earlier, sales executives used to manually estimate their target customers by preparing a basic set of questions or goals. With the help of AI-powered technology, this process is automated as machines enable sales executives to crunch a large amount of data from various sources in a relatively faster and more accurate way.
The insights gained from this data crunching include customer purchase behaviors, online communications, geographic details, historical data, referral sources, etc. With these accurate insights into customer persona, the sales team can smartly segment their customers and target the right customers more effectively.
● Offers Personalized Customer Experience
It is reported that 76% of customers expect companies to know and understand their needs and expectations. AI helps sales executives analyze the products customers have already purchased in the recent past. It also shows how much time customers spend on a particular webpage for a particular product. This data equips the sales executives with the knowledge of their customers’ needs and expectations. Empowered with these insights, they can target the right customers with personalized offers that may also include upselling and cross-selling with world-class customer service. The immediate impact of such personalization to the right customer is increased sales, customer involvement, and retention.
● Offers Personalized Content
Previously, dynamic content was the way to target the right customer. It included special offers or other creative elements that used to keep changing based on specific customer requirements. This was a time-consuming manual effort. However, AI-powered tools make it quite easier and faster.
The sales executives can create personalized email content, reports/messages, or social media content through automated, AI-based recommendation engines, and machine learning processes. They can leverage multiple tags or metadata to identify the group of customers to which such personalized content can be sent. The sales team can also come up with AI-based dynamic sales campaigns with personalized banner ads encouraging the right customers to buy.
● Offers Personalized Pricing
Offering personalized pricing is one of the ways sellers can target the right customers as well as boost the demand for their products. For example, AI-powered tools monitor market trends and customer behavior patterns and forecast the product demand accordingly. Sales executives can leverage this forecast and offer competitive prices by way of personalized or dynamic pricing. This strategy proves to be a win-win for both the sellers and the buyers as buyers get their desired products at personalized pricing and the sellers get the right customers to boost their sales.
● Prepares an AI-optimized Sales Strategy
While the sales team uses AI to segment the right customers, what about reaching them at the right time through the right channels? AI along with your preference centers, collects information about how many times a customer accesses the messages, through what devices, and at what time. This enables you to make more informed decisions on how to hit your target to achieve optimum results. These messages can be sent via email, mobile devices, desktops, laptops, and social media. AI-optimized campaigns for reaching the right customer often result in better customer engagement.
● Analyzes Sentiments in Real-time
Targeting the right customer means understanding the sentiments that motivate him/her to buy. If a sales executive does not know what their potential customers are feeling about their products, it is difficult to sell. AI-powered tools and applications track customer conversations and analyze word choices, emotions, tones, etc., in real-time. With this real-time sentiment analysis, sales executives can know customer sentiments and take appropriate action based on AI-powered recommendations.
● Uses Predictive Customer Analytics
You must know when to target the right customer. If you don't know the timing, no matter how perfect your sales pitch is, it will not close the deal. With the help of advanced predictive customer analytics, sales executives can know when their product would be most needed by their niche customers. This indeed makes them reach these potential buyers faster with the perfect sales pitch.
Will AI for Sales Replace Humans in Sales?
These are some of the ways AI helps sales executives to target the right customer. Its optimum use indeed results in more sales, customer engagement, and retention. Does that mean that it will replace humans in this inherently human-centric activity? Should sales executives get insecure at the possibility of losing their jobs?
Ilona Hansen, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner, answers this age-old question quite emphatically, “AI augments sales staff, but does not replace them. What it will do is reduce administrative sales work to give sellers more time to prospect, find new revenue and upsell existing clients.”
This is something we fully agree on! AI is here to stay, not to replace human intelligence, but to augment sales operations through a magical combination of man and machine.