There are two types of people in sales right now.
First, there are those having an existential crisis because of the sheer disrupting power of AI — especially in the last couple of months (AI is everywhere!). For these people, their inner dialogue goes something like this: “I don’t want things to change… I don’t want to learn new technology… why can’t things go back to how they were?!” We’ll call them late-adopters or laggards. They will eventually use AI, but they’ll lose sales in the meantime, kicking and screaming.
Then you’ve got sales leaders who see AI as an absolute goldmine. They know they only stand to win by adopting and using AI where it makes sense. They welcome better forecasting, better productivity, better prediction, better everything. These are your early-adopters. Their inner dialogue is “If I stay on the cutting-edge of AI research, and implement AI technology before my competitors do, I will come out ahead in the marketplace.” And they’re right.
Obviously, there’s also a whole demographic of people somewhere in the middle, thinking to themselves, “I don’t hate AI technology, but I have no idea what it does or how to even use it.” So this is for them.
What is AI in Sales?
Read this article for a quick masterclass.
But here’s where you stand to benefit with AI: mundane sales tasks will become obsolete; you’ll be able to generate sales insights you had no idea about; sales forecasting and reporting becomes interactive and fun; and you’ll free up time and be more productive overall.
Now let’s take a quick survey of the AI landscape. Here is a sampler of AI tools and platforms to help you get a taste of what’s out there. Just don’t get tunnel vision though and think of AI as simply “tools to use.” It’s more a way of thinking about the world and the field of sales.
Remember the chatbot rage? Well, Exceed.AI is basically a chatbot on steroids. It bills itself as a conversational smart assistant for sales and marketing teams. And it’s actually pretty impressive. It’s able to engage leads at the right time, set the hook, and hand them off to your sales reps once they’re sales-ready. When prospects are interested, they must be qualified and nurtured.
How does Exceed.ai do this? It does it via AI-driven algorithms that perform just as well as a web chatbot as it does in email, and even SMS text messaging. I like to think of this as lead qualification at scale. And it’s helpful so that no prospect slips through the cracks during the busiest times for your team. If you can move just 5-10% more of your leads down the funnel to a meeting/demo, this AI sales tool will pay for itself 1,000 times over.
Pricing: Exceed.ai is not cheap. It starts at $500 per month and goes up from there based on several factors.
Who it’s best for: Fast-growing sales teams that need to plug holes in their pipeline.
Clari claims to turn sales teams into revenue machines. Is it possible? Well, this AI platform is all about delivering a) revenue data automation, b) revenue forecasting, and c) revenue retention and expansion.
What I like about this platform is the analytics, dashboard, and reporting features. Sure, you probably have some sort of dashboard in your CRM, but being AI-driven, Clari takes the visuals to another level. You can do “searches” within Clari — asking pretty much anything you want to know about your deal status, incoming deals, etc. — and it will display it using beautiful visuals. So rather than dealing with boring, rigid visuals, you’ll have completely fluid and customized insights at your fingertips. (That’s the difference between the capabilities of the latest AI and your average CRM from the early 2000s.)
You can use these insights to strategize on deals, manage your pipeline, and just keep a finger on the pulse of your sales team’s performance and success. It’s also worth mentioning that Clari has a product within its ecosystem called Wingman, allowing you to dig deep into sales rep performance and get actionable insights, and there’s even some sales coaching within Wingman.
Pricing: Prices aren’t listed on their site, but expect to pay between $75 and $125 per month per user.
Who it’s best for: Clari is best for sales leaders who love to aggregate sales data, plan, and report using visuals.
People.ai is an account-based sales tool that is, you guessed it, AI-driven. But what can this new tool do? Since it runs an “account-based” algo, it can give you org-chart or hierarchical data and insights within a given company. In other words, you’ll be able to map out the internal structure of your prospect’s company to see where key roles and buying power exist.
With People.ai, you can drag-and-drop your Salesforce contacts right into their “relationship map.” So it’s interactive and visual (which is a common theme in AI). The idea of relationship selling is something I stand on here at C-Level Partners — this brand of selling is all about getting in touch with the right person, in the right role, at the right time. If you can do that effectively, you’ll win at sales. This tool can help you (albeit in a small way) find and track decision makers throughout the sales process.
Pricing: Prices not listed on their website.
Who it’s best for: Teams that deal heavily in account-based sales
I mention this with great caution. Open AI just released GPT-4. This “large language model” is capable of producing text out of thin air. Just be warned, it’s not always the best text, especially when it comes to sales psychology, persuasion, etc. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater — GPT-4 can help boost your sales in various ways.
One way to use ChatGPT is in brainstorming. You can ask the AI for ideas, and it will spit out what it thinks is best. Then you can take it from there and refine it as best you can. Need a new sales script? Ideas on how to optimize your sales process? Sales rejection rebuttals? Just ask ChatGPT what it thinks, and take what makes sense, and ignore the rest. You can even use GPT-4 to help create full sales demos. But remember, it’ll need some hand-holding.
Pricing: Free (for now)
Who it’s best for: Everyone
5. Any AI Platform Or Tool That You Will ACTUALLY Use.
OK – this is important! The best AI platforms and tools are the ones that you’ll actually use. There is incredible technology at our fingertips, but it’s on us to put them to use.
Whatever you do, don’t go crazy and purchase a full tech stack for your sales team, only to have the software sit idly on your machine.
So I’d recommend trying out one program or tool at a time, and scaling up from there. The important thing is to become the type of person who welcomes helpful technology into their daily life, rather than avoid it out of fear. Remember, be the early-adopter, not the laggard. It will pay in dividends to become proficient in AI. And honestly, you can’t afford not to.
Until next time…