The Future of AI in Sales
Looking out over the next three to five years, AI is positioned to transform the world of sales in ways we never expected, helping to optimize how sales departments identify, engage, and collaborate/co-create with customers.
That said, there will be obstacles along the way. But companies need to start down that path now or face being at a significant disadvantage to competitors who move ahead of them. Below are some considerations for you and your organization.
AI for sales is many things versus a single thing.
Ultimately, what sales organizations need is an AI-enabled solution set that augments all aspects of customer life cycle management. That doesn’t currently exist. Looking at the AI applications reviewed so far, we found pieces of the ultimate solution that addressed problems in 13 aspects of selling, such as lead generation, forecast management, sales training, sales management support, prospect engagement, and so on. While AI today will not help you do everything in sales better, it can help you do some things significantly better, and that is why it deserves your attention now.
AI for sales needs a solid foundation on which to build.
AI in its present form can solve many problems, but not the one that represents IT’s long-standing challenge, GIGO—garbage in, garbage out. Applying AI to flawed processes or low-quality data will severely handicap the results you’ll be able to achieve. So working to stabilize both of those areas needs to happen before you implement AI.
The AI for sales marketplace will be contracting and expanding for several years.
Technology industry watchers will appreciate the fact that, through acquisition and attrition, the number of existing AI for sales providers will decrease noticeably over the next few years. What is different this time around, though, is the ever-expanding universe of data to which AI will have access. Allowing AI systems to analyze more structured and unstructured data sources will also create a whole new class of AI for sales solutions targeting specific vertical industries, geographies, targeted challenges, etc. So the overall net number of players might actually increase over the coming years.
It is no longer a question of whether AI will change the whole profession of selling, but rather a question of how soon. Starting to explore the AI for sales marketplace is something that needs to happen right now for all levels of sales professionals.
Based on article by Jim Dickie.