Your sales team is worried— worried about the amount of accumulated data and the number of calls they have to make. They are not sure which leads to focus on amidst the staggering amount of data piling up in your spreadsheet. But they won’t tell you. They will go ahead and populate the data. And in that silence, drowns important metrics, buying patterns, and cold leads that never saw the light of the day. Unknowingly, your team creates data litter in a loop. This is where AI for sales comes into the picture — to help your sales team make sense of data, without manual effort and minimize human errors. 

 

 

ai for sales

What is AI for sales?

 

According to best-selling author Alan Cohen, “Success of a business depends more on relationships than spreadsheets.” This especially holds true in sales as salespeople have always relied on building a personal connection with leads to help them solve their problems. 

But what happens after you have built that connection? 

Do your leads perish away in a spreadsheet? 

According to an IBM study, around 88% of all spreadsheets contain at least one error. In fact, the London Olympics infamously ended up selling 10,000 tickets for non-existent seats because of a spreadsheet error. 

This goes to show how there is room for AI to step in, and help reduce errors and make sales more lean and mean. In fact, Gartner Future of Sales 2025 report reveals that 60% of B2B sales organizations will transition from experience- and intuition-based selling to data-driven selling by 2025. 

Applying AI for sales helps develop a data-driven approach, and surface leads who are most likely to buy from you. It even provides timely suggestions on the next steps you could take. AI for sales also helps reduce human errors and redundancies. It helps to make your sales team more efficient by empowering them with the right information at the right time -- so they can quickly take action to convert more leads.

 

Three challenges of storing data in spreadsheets

You can’t understand the whole picture

Often, sales teams have data scattered across notes, spreadsheets and laptops which often get lost over time along with crucial information. Information like:

  • where your leads are coming from 
  • how they are interacting with your website or email 
  • interest level/ buying signals 

This crucial information should not be buried in a data minefield, but be used to convert more leads. 

Out of sight, out of mind 

Your salespeople spend crucial time establishing relationships with leads and customers, only to see it go waste as the next set of leads and customers come in. Their names and contact information is lost in a sea of information, which can be tapped for cross-sell and upsell opportunities. 

You can’t forecast revenue with scattered data 

As a sales manager, it’s important for you to track data, and predict the sales for the upcoming quarter on a regular basis. With data stored in spreadsheets, it gets tedious to process the data, track metrics and forecast sales accurately. 

How is AI changing the sales landscape 

 

Sales processes differ across industries. But the essential steps— reaching out to leads, qualifying, following up and sustaining the relationship — remain the same. So how do you make sales leaner, meaner and sharper in your industry? 

AI helps connect the missing dots in your sales process. For instance, in the sales prospecting stage, it can help surface leads who are most interested in your business and qualify the ones that are most likely to convert. 

According to research firm Gartner, AI functionality has permanently transformed the form and function of guided selling capabilities.

 

ai for sales

 

Before implementing AI-based guided selling, Gartner recommends that sales leaders follow the below four actions:

  • Educate all sales partners on the foundational elements of AI-based guided selling, including micro level actions of engagement that sellers undertake within the span of an active deal
  • Identify sales process steps and business outcomes that are unique to the organization’s processes to find the best-fit solution
  • Update the sales technology roadmap by selecting the form of AI-based guided selling technology that is most relevant to the sales organization’s lead, opportunity, sales enablement and quote management use cases
  • Prioritize where AI-based guided selling functions would be most relevant by identifying the parts of the sales value chain that are prone to the highest amounts of human-educated guessing

 

AI also suggests the next-best action you can take to convert the lead, so your follow-ups are consistent. It can also alert you if a deal is lying dormant for long. 

Benefits of implementing AI for sales

Improves productivity, increases selling time

According to a study, sales teams that adopt AI can increase leads and appointments by about 50%. So, how exactly does AI improve productivity?

While most CRMs help improve productivity, an AI-based CRM can automate many sales activities, including: 

Collecting lead information
Engaging with leads
Scoring leads
Suggesting how to move deals through the pipeline

When manual and repetitive tasks take up a bulk of your salespeople’s time, they hardly have any time to sell. But with an AI-based CRM, these tasks can be automated which saves more time for your salespeople. Which means there is more time to build relationships and get customers for life.

ai for sales

Identifies buying signals 

Leads can come in many ways. They could hear about your product from a friend/peer in the industry. They could discover you through a search engine. They could have spotted your branding at an event and searched for you. They come in many ways, but the underlying factor is that they are all interested in your product but have different intent. AI helps rank your leads based on this intent and their engagement with your business. 

A traditional spreadsheet cannot give you so much visibility into leads. In most cases, leads tend to stay within the borders of a cell wall, hardly tapped to their true potential. AI helps you contact leads that are most likely to convert and make more sales. 

ai for sales

 

Plan for the future

As a sales manager you want to know if a deal will convert or not. AI helps look into historical data, sales activities and lead engagement to predict deal outcomes, and help you plan better for the future. 

data driven managers

AI-based CRM to improve sales productivity 

 

CRMs offer a complete view of your prospective customers. By combining deep intelligence (AI) with a complete view of every customer, you can: 

Using an AI-based sales CRM like Freshsales helps businesses understand their customers, not just in parts, but as a sum total of all their interactions -- combining data, insights and intelligence.

Five AI features that can improve sales productivity

Focus on the right prospects with predictive scoring 

When your salespeople have many leads to pursue, it's a wasted effort to chase after all of them at the same time especially when they have targets to close soon. 

AI can step in and help them identify the best leads to go after, helping them save time. AI can provide a predictive score and rank leads based on their level of engagement with your business. 

When you get your team a CRM with AI, it instantly becomes a part of their daily routine with suggestions like - ‘ Here are the top leads you need to go after today’ or ‘ Act fast on these deals, to close.’ 
Freddy, the AI sales assistant from Freshsales helps deliver intelligence that enables sales leaders like you to make timely decisions and close deals faster.

ai for sales

Make sense of your data mine with next-based actions

Many salespeople view CRM as a place where data is simply dumped. As a result, sales reporting suffers as the data quality is poor.

With so much data in your hands, how do you make sense of it all? It is impossible to skim through all your data in a reasonable amount of time before you make major business decisions. 

With a sales CRM like Freshsales, you can add a layer of advanced AI capabilities on top of sales workflows like lead qualification or deal management. So you can take actions based on insights delivered.

AI for sales

Engage with website visitors with chatbots

Your salespeople are not available 24/7. Your prospects hate getting redirected to a call centre. How do you, as a business, ensure that you are there for a customer, even when you really aren’t there? Set up an intelligent AI chatbot of course. 

An AI-powered chatbot within Freshsales, chats in real-time with website visitors, reducing first-response time. Set up bots that interact with prospects, answer their queries, and book meetings on your team’s calendar.  

AI for sales

Understand health of your deals

Every deal looks like a deal worth pursuing, in a salesperson’s eyes. So it’s really hard for a salesperson to differentiate between top deals to go after or deals at risk. 

And even if they do go with their gut feeling, they might not know the next best action - should they follow up more, or share more content, etc. This makes your sales process slow and erroneous at times.

Freddy AI can help your team identify deals worth pursuing, share recommendations on how to engage with potential customers, and even help dynamically review pipelines by suggesting the next best actions. 

ai for sales

Forecast revenue in a scaled manner

Progress of deals in your pipeline is hard to manage. One salesperson may say the deal is going to close, while the lead has just been qualified. Another salesperson may say the deal will take time to close, whereas the prospect is actually pretty keen on closing the deal soon. So as a sales manager, you are really in a Catch-22 situation. 

How do you know which deals are going to close for sure, and therefore understand your pipeline and revenue for the quarter? With Freshsales, sales teams can commit to deals, call out best-case deals, and (with Freddy AI’s help) identify deals that can be committed. 

All this is aimed at predictable, accurate forecasting. So you don’t have to break a sweat at your next revenue discussion with management. 

forecast ai for sales

Switch to AI for sales and improve sales agility 

According to David H. Deans, Senior Partner of David H.D & Associates, 

“One of the biggest benefits of AI is its capacity to take over tedious, time-consuming manual tasks. The ultimate goal is to use robotic automation to enhance productivity.”

So it makes business sense to eliminate redundant manual tasks, and instead let your salespeople do what they do best: selling. Leave the grunt work with AI and try a CRM like Freshsales.  

ai for sales