3 Steps of Sales AI Evolution

We all know AI has just gone from cool to useful, but what does this mean for sales teams? What do you need to be paying attention to right now?

If you haven’t already invested in AI technology for your sales team you’re falling behind. That’s how fast things are moving right now. And you might be thinking, “I just started hearing about AI with chatgpt, how am I already falling behind?!”. Don’t worry, you’re in the same spot as many others, and let’s be fair – AI just recently made the transition from cool to useful.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start seriously looking at and integrating AI into your sales organization, because in addition to the tools finally becoming useful, the underlying AI technology is being used to accelerate the development of future AI, so buckle up and enjoy the ride!

So, with that out of the way, let’s take a quick look at where we are with sales AI technology, and what the next developments are going to look like.

1.    Integration

Right now, we are in the integration phase, as previously stated, AI is finally useful for us computer jockeys. So where is this integration taking place with AI and sales organizations? Here’s a few areas to look out for (this is by no means a complete list!):


Co-pilots encompass a variety of tools that help you write better emails and send better messages. Think about having the world leading expert in writing cold-emails hovering over your shoulder while you write your outreach emails. This category of AI can drastically improve your outreach skills, help you write more engaging messages, and automatically analyzes the results of different strategies and can help you automatically evolve and optimize for the best strategy.

AI can also act as your meeting co-pilots. Think about those times you had another person in your meetings dedicated to taking notes and catching things you missed. Now you can have this in every meeting powered by AI.

Revenue Intelligence:

Revenue intelligence is a broad set of AI technologies, but it all boils down to measuring and tracking buyers and identifying opportunities to generate more revenue. These tools can measure everything from site visits & interactions, incoming/outgoing phone calls, answer rates, deal progression, application usage, etc. The AI then analyzes all this data and looks for opportunities to boost sales or look for opportunities that are prime for an upsell.

Content Generation:

Content generation is all the rage right now. You can now describe a picture to an AI, and have it generate one for you. You can quickly write a short brainstorm of an idea for content and instantly have AI generate a highly polished finished product for you. This technology isn’t ready to work without human oversight, but it’s getting closer. AI can immediately help take ideas from the brainstorm stage to the final edit and polish phase, skipping everything in the middle.

AI Prospecting:

AI prospecting really takes the pain out of finding new leads. One of the things AI prospecting tools do great is identify good leads based on parameters you set and how you rate future leads. These tools also improve the productivity of your reps by creating customized follow up plans, automatically generate follow up content. It can also help reps up their game by recommending actions to be taken, think of it like an on-demand prospecting coach.


2.    Automation

The next phase of the AI revolution in sales is automation. If you look at all the examples above, all the AI technology still requires intelligent human operators in order to get anything done, automation will begin to string together multiple sales tasks, and allow the AI to take customer facing action without human approval. So, what specifically will this look like? Here’s 3 examples of what’s coming:

  1. Your deal pipeline will automatically be updated based on custom criteria using meeting, call, email, and other customer data. You’ll be able to say things like, “if pricing has been discussed and a next meeting is scheduled the deal is in the negotiation stage”. The AI will then move all deals that meet those criteria to that stage in your pipeline. The deal sizes will also be updated automatically based on actual conversations and signals from the customer. This is going to save your reps a lot of time and give executives a far clearer and more real-time view of their pipeline than they currently have.
  2. Simple customer questions via the web or email will automatically be responded to instantly. For example, let’s say you have a customer that asks, “Hey we love your product, but we would like to see if we could get a 5% discount before moving forward”. AI can automatically take this, look at the deal, see that 5% is OK to give without requiring further approval, and send the updated quote to the prospect without having to involve an account executive. This is not only going to save time, but will give prospects the immediate responses they want, and we all know immediacy is big in sales.
  3. AI will start to automate the top of the funnel outreach and will be used to as a sales development rep to automatically prospect and schedule calls with account executives.

3.    Replacement


Now comes the part everyone is worried about – replacement. The line between “automation” and “replacement” is blurred, but we do know that AI will eventually automate entire workflows and processes, instead of just large chunks of work. Once this happens, replacement of human operators will begin (although there will for some time still be a very small number of highly competent operators).

We don’t know when replacement will begin, but it’s almost certain that many sales jobs we know today will be replaced by AI in the coming years/decades. Soon we will have AI bots that can join zoom calls with prospects, and look exactly like a human, talk exactly like a human, and be able to answer questions better than a human. Best of all, This sales AI will be available 24x7 and will be infinitely scalable. This will give customers instant access to all the information they need to purchase the product, and the AI bot will be able to instantly close the sale and deliver the product to the customer.

Now don’t worry – for the foreseeable future AI will still require advanced human operators in order to function correctly, but one thing society will have to contend with (and this doesn’t only apply to sales): how do we train advanced human operators when we have automated all lower-level entry jobs? This is a question we don’t have the answer to yet, but we will have to deal with. All the best salespeople started from square 1, with low level repetitive jobs that taught them the fundamentals before they moved up. How do we replace that?

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