Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer at DemandFarm
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly evolving technology that is transforming various industries. Sales, account management, and sales enablement are no exception. According to a recent report, the global AI market in sales is projected to reach USD 12.4 billion by 2025, up from USD 1.3 billion in 2019. This rapid growth in the use of AI in sales and account management underscores the technology’s importance to businesses worldwide.
Imagine you’re a sales manager for a large retail company with hundreds of sales representatives operating in different regions. Your job is to ensure that the sales team hits their targets every quarter. You must also provide regular updates on the team’s performance to the executive team. Imagine how challenging it is to keep track of each sales rep’s performance and to provide actionable insights to help them improve.
This is where AI comes in. With AI, you can automate various processes such as lead generation, customer segmentation, and sales forecasting. It also becomes easier for you to guide and coach your team to improve their performance.
If you want to know how AI will shape the world of sales in 2023, this article will help. Discover the latest predictions made by leading industry analysts on the role and impact of AI in sales, account management and sales enablement.
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Overview of the Current State of AI in Sales, Account Management, and Sales Enablement
AI has been transforming the sales and account management landscape for several years now. With the ability to process vast amounts of data, analyse patterns, and make predictions, AI helps in improving business performance and aids sales growth. Recent data shows that when AI is used to aid sales processes, leads increase by 50%, call times and overall costs are reduced by about 60%.
A brief history of AI in Sales, Account Management, and Sales Enablement
AI has been a buzzword in the technology industry for many years, but its practical application in sales and account management has gained momentum only recently. Sales and account management professionals have been using AI to automate tasks and optimize performance.
For example, sales teams use AI to generate leads, personalize sales pitches and forecast sales. Account managers are using AI to segment customers, monitor contract renewals, and upsell or cross-sell. Sales enablement tools use AI to deliver personalized content, track engagement and improve sales reps’ productivity.
Current State of AI Implementation in Sales and Account Management
The use of AI in sales and account management is growing at a rapid pace. AI can automate repetitive tasks like data entry, lead prioritization, and follow-up emails. It can also provide insights into customer behavior predicting the likelihood of churn, the probability of purchase, and the optimal time to connect with customers. AI-powered chatbots are becoming more prevalent in sales and account management, providing instant support to customers and prospects. Close to 70% of users enjoy the speed at which chatbots answer.
Overview of Sales Enablement Technologies that Use AI
Sales enablement tools have been integrating AI to improve their functionality and deliver better results. AI-powered sales enablement technologies can help sales teams with lead scoring, sales forecasting and personalization. They can also assist with content creation, management and distribution. Over 40% of marketers agree that using AI for email marketing generates higher market revenue.
AI can also provide insights into content performance, enabling teams to adjust their sales strategy and approach based on what’s actually working. AI can also help sales reps prioritize their leads and opportunities, ensuring focus on the most promising leads.
Ebook: AI-Assisted Account Planning – Conversations of the Future Part 1
Revolutionizing Sales and Account Management: The Emerging AI Trends
As AI continues to make significant inroads in sales, account management and sales enablement, new trends and applications will continue to emerge. Some of the most promising and exciting developments in AI for these fields include chatbots and virtual assistants, predictive analysis, machine learning (ML) to improve customer experience, and AI-powered sales performance monitoring and improvement.
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants:
In recent years chatbots and virtual assistants have become increasingly popular in sales and account management. Through extensive use of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML), these tools can automate routine interactions, answer commonly asked questions and even make product recommendations. According to Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.7% from 2022 to 2030 and reach USD 3.99 billion by 2030.
Predictive analytics for sales and account management:
Predictive analytics can help sales and account management teams identify potential customers and personalize their outreach.
Through the analysis of data including purchase history, website behavior, and social media activity, predictive analytics tools can identify which prospects are most likely to convert. They are also able to determine which messages will resonate with them. With over 50% of companies worldwide leveraging advanced and predictive analytics, the benefits are obviously widespread.
Machine learning for customer experience improvement:
ML is used by sales and account management teams to better understand their customers and improve customer experience. By analyzing data from emails, chat logs, and social media, ML algorithms can identify patterns and threads in customer behavior.
With these reports sales teams can receive personalized recommendations and tailor their approach to each customer. A study by Salesforce shows that almost 90% of customers believe that the experience offered by a company is equally significant to its products or services.
Automation in sales and account management:
In sales and account management, automation helps with streamlining workflows, helping teams focus on high-value tasks. By automating tedious and time-consuming tasks like data entry, lead prioritization and follow-up emails, sales teams can save time. Thus efficiency is also improved. This helps to free up time for more productive activities like lead generation and nurturing.
Research by McKinsey Global Institute has shown that over one-third of sales-related activities can be automated. Those who implement sales automation early on consistently report positive outcomes. These include more time spent with customers, improved customer satisfaction, 10%-15% efficiency gains, and the potential of a sales uplift of up to 10%.
AI-powered sales performance monitoring and improvement:
AI technology can sift through call transcripts, email responses and even meeting notes. Through this data, AI-powered tools can provide useful perspectives on sales process efficiency and the likelihood of deal conversions. This helps sales teams monitor their performance and identify areas for improvement. There’s plenty of scope here as recorded in The Sales Mastery 2022 survey. The report states that the average ratio of time spent on selling v/s non-revenue producing activities by salespeople is 30:70.
Advancements in AI for Sales – What to Expect in 2023
Gartner, Forrester and IDC are some of the leading industry analysts that have made predictions about the role of AI in sales, account management and sales enablement.
Presentation of Key Predictions by Industry Analysts
Gartner predicted that AI would be increasingly used in sales operations by 2023. The report predicted that AI would take over repetitive sales tasks through automation. Sales forecasts would also improve and sales data analysis enhanced. Personalization of customer experiences and the identification and prioritization of the best leads would also be assigned to AI.
That chatbots will become more prevalent in sales and account management was predicted by Forrester. According to the report, chatbots will be used to provide instant support to prospects and existing customers, improve lead engagement and reduce sales cycle time.
They further predict that AI will be increasingly used to analyze customer behavior and provide insights to reps. This would enable them to offer personalized recommendations and anticipate customer needs. This is important because over 85% of customers want businesses to be proactive in contact and communication.
IDC made predictions on the use of AI in the optimization of sales enablement. Their prediction was that AI will be used to identify and customize relevant content for sales reps, provide sales training and improve sales reps’ productivity. AI will also be used to analyze the effectiveness of sales enablement programs and to optimize the sales process.
The predictions made by industry analysts underscore the growing importance of AI. As businesses aspire to remain competitive, and improve customer engagement, the use of AI in these areas will become increasingly important.
Here’s how AI is poised to specifically influence areas of sales, account management and sales enablement:
- AI will enable more personalized experiences: 2023 predictions include AI continuing to drive personalization. This allows sales reps to better understand and respond to the specific needs of each customer. Recommendations will see a high degree of personalization, customer experiences will be enhanced and overall results will be better.
- AI will improve lead scoring and qualification: AI will help sales teams by efficiently sifting through data and qualifying the better leads for follow-ups and opportunities to be explored. Reports on customer behaviour and the probability of conversion will result in better lead prioritization and the overall effectiveness of the sales process.
- AI will automate more sales tasks: In 2023, AI will continue to be used to automate mundane and repetitive tasks. By doing this sales reps will be free to focus less on administrative activities and more on revenue-generating and relationship-building activities. As a result, deal closing rates will see improvement.
- AI will drive sales forecasting: AI can analyze customer behavior and predict future trends. Using this information, sales teams can make appropriate changes to their sales strategy. They can also alter their approach to better align with customer needs and ultimately drive better results.
- AI will improve the effectiveness of sales enablement tools: AI-powered sales enablement tools will become more sophisticated in 2023, providing more personalized content recommendations and insights into content performance. AI can help sales reps to prioritize their content and ensure that they are providing the most relevant information to their customers, thus improving the effectiveness of sales enablement tools.
- AI will enable better collaboration between sales and marketing: By providing valuable information about customer behavior and preferences, sales and marketing teams can collaborate better. They can deliver more personalized and effective messaging to customers and improve business results.
Real-World Examples of AI in Sales, Account Management and Sales Enablement
In the real world, companies across various industries are implementing AI in their sales and account management processes. Whether it is to deal with routine queries, analyze data, or improve coaching and training, AI technology has found its way into improved processes and better business results.
Salesforce, a global leader in customer relationship management (CRM) software, has integrated AI into its CRM platform with Einstein AI. It presents sales and account management with a range of features including lead scoring, predictive forecasting, and intelligent opportunity management.
Einstein AI automates lead scoring and prioritization. Thus sales teams can focus their efforts on the most promising leads, increasing the efficiency of the sales process. Sales reps gain insights into customer behavior and preferences, allowing them to tailor their approach to each customer.
Predictive behavior is also available, helping sales teams to anticipate future revenue and identify growth opportunities. With the help of AI, sales teams can analyze historical sales data and identify patterns and trends indicative of future success. This allows companies to make better decisions about their sales strategy and allocate resources more effectively.
AI technology supports intelligent opportunity management. Sales reps are provided with recommendations for the best actions at each stage of the sales cycle. Customer behavior is analyzed and historical data leveraged, to deliver personalized guidance for moving deals forward.
A company that has successfully utilized AI for sales enablement is DocuSign – a cloud-based electronic signature and document management company. The company’s sales team was struggling to keep up with the sheer volume of customer inquiries, making it tough to close deals quickly.
To solve this problem, DocuSign implemented an AI-powered chatbot that could help resolve common customer queries and provide quick responses about the company’s products and services.
The chatbot, which is available 24/7, has been able to handle over 90% of customer inquiries, allowing the sales team time to focus on more complex tasks. This has resulted in a 10% increase in sales and a 50% reduction in response times. The chatbot has allowed customers access to the information they need quickly and easily and has thus helped improve customer experience and engagement.
Best Practices and Tips for Businesses Looking to Implement AI in Sales and Account Management
While implementing AI in sales and account management is no piece of cake, there are some best practices that businesses can follow:
- Start with a clear use case – Before implementing AI for the sake of it, have a clear understanding of what problem you are trying to solve and how AI can help. This will help ensure that you’re investing in the right technology. You will also be able to measure the impact of your investment.
- Involve your sales team – Your sales team will be the ones most using and benefiting from AI-powered tools. It’s therefore important to involve them in the decision-making process. Get them to contribute to the features and functionality that would be most useful to them. Make sure they are comfortable with the technology.
- Prioritize data quality – The quality of predictions and recommendations made by AI depends on the data input. Make sure your data is of high quality – clean, consistent and up-to-date – before implementing AI.
- Start small – It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the potential of AI, but remember to start small and focus on a few key use cases. This will help you gain experience with the technology and build a foundation for future expansion.
- Measure and iterate – once you’ve implemented AI, it’s important to measure the impact of your investment and iterate as needed. Use data to track the performance of your AI-powered tools and adjust strategy as necessary.
Driving Digital Account Planning and Management with AI: The DemandFarm Advantage
DemandFarm is a leader in digital account planning, offering a product that enhances the account planning process by providing contextual insights to account managers.
With a modular deployment approach, the solution can be tailored to an organization’s specific needs, and the connected app environment delivers a holistic user experience. The tool’s AI capabilities are designed to provide meaningful insights to experienced account managers, rather than trivial nudges based on peripheral data.
The platform’s analytics quotient and clean UI are also endorsed by industry analysts. DemandFarm’s productized solutions, gamified onboarding, and training help facilitate a successful transition from online to digital account management.
The company’s focus on change management, adoption and customer experience makes them a trusted partner for any organization seeking to embrace the benefits of digital Key Account Management.