B2B Sales and Artificial Intelligence … Are You Ready?

Ok so we’re starting to hear more and more about Artificial Intelligence (AI)  in B2B sales. If the word AI conjures up images of Arnie’s “I’ll Be Back” and gives you the shudders, then simply replace AI with the words “new technology”.

The big question is what does AI mean in laymen terms for us joe-soap normal sales folks here in undeepest, undarkest South Africa?

Remember about 20 years ago,  when CRM systems started replacing everything we reps did manually – like handwritten call reports, the A5 tickler box index cards for keeping customer info, the lever arch files of typed correspondence dutifully punched and filed? Took us all a while but many of us embraced CRM in some form or other (having said that, I’m still finding that many poor reps working for SME’s only have accounting software records to look at when it comes to their customer base). Get with the programme guys. Even the most basic CRM system has replaced much of the time-consuming stuff that your (expensive) reps are still doing manually. Free them up to sell more, more often!

All in all though, we’re quite a bit more effective and efficient. But .. still drowning in information, hence everything STILL needs to be simpler and faster – and better of course.   And this is where AI for B2B sales comes in.   AI is designed to further streamline what we do and set us free to do the truly human sales stuff (like talking to customers face-to-face). We shouldn’t fear it, in fact we should all be looking forward to it.

Have a mosey around Google sometime for B2B sales AI some time. Here’s what you’ll find is already out there for you to consider:

Clarke.ai:    No more manual note-taking of telephonic discussions, on Skype or in face-to-face meetings: Just takes a few clicks to add Clarke into your meeting, then “he” silently listens, records and analyses the conversation and instantly gives you (or all of you) a summary and to-do – which I assume of course could be automatically added to the notes tab in your CRM if set up properly.  Clarke uses NLP (natural language processing not the other NLP).  And yes, there is a cost (in dollars).

Chorous.ai:  Does something similar – it listens, records and analyses the conversation and points out key things such as when the prospect asks about pricing and how often – a useful tool if you’re trying to figure out their needs over the phone.

X.ai No more time-wasting email ping-pong on trying to schedule meetings: Just cc in your x.ai email address when you send someone a meeting request and give the programme access to your calendar. It takes over the ‘discussion’ by email on finding a suitable date and time for the meeting. Try it.   I could go on and on but I’m sure you’ve already come across a whole host of them too – especially chatbots and general AI found in B2B lead generation and ‘big data’ marketing. I’m guessing that LinkedIn will come out with a big launch of some brilliant B2B sales tech for us to use locally in the near future.

Want to read a bit more about the future of the sales profession in general now that machine intelligence is chomping at the bit? Check out Harvard Business Review article here

But let’s keep it relevant between you and I on a cloudy Monday afternoon in Gauteng .. on an average sales day … it really won’t be long before Maximizer CRM and many other international CRM systems out there will have a big selection of AI ‘add-ons’ for us to choose from. The future of B2B sales is bright.

Very bright indeed in fact. And we humans still feature in it. I’ve just returned from a CRM conference in London and the focus is B2B sales apps and AI.  It’s all about integration.

‘I’ll be back’ on this topic again soon. I have some AI testing of my own to do  🙂

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