From Repetitive Tasks to Strategic Insights: How AI is Revolutionizing the Sales Processes
As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of articles written by industry thought leaders in maturing software categories—Shaun Shirazian, the Chief Product Officer at Pipedrive, explains how artificial intelligence (AI) is changing sales processes.
In an age of ChatGPT and Generative AI, marketers worldwide are discussing the disruptive potential of artificial intelligence (AI) technology on customer outreach and their own roles. While AI is poised to revolutionize customer engagement and streamline processes, the core steps in the sales process haven’t changed in millennia.
Reflecting on history, commercial transactions trace back 20,000 years to Papua New Guinea, with tribespeople trading obsidian knives for other goods. Even then, ‘salespeople’ had to consider their target audience, product differentiation, pricing, demos, and follow-up. These steps are the same today as 20,000 years ago, long before writing was invented.
Efficiency: Automating Repetitive Tasks
Think about the time-consuming process of writing sales pitch emails and follow-ups. AI tools can generate personalized, compelling content that resonates with customers, saving valuable hours for sales representatives. AI can also streamline booking meetings and sending reminders to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. With AI support, sales teams can focus on nurturing relationships and closing deals.
AI can also analyze sales pipelines and automate sales tasks, such as remembering to involve sales engineers in pitches or ensuring a seamless and consistent engagement experience with prospects. Small businesses, in particular, can leverage AI’s integrations with platforms like Shopify, messaging, and scheduling, simplifying their sales processes and boosting overall efficiency.
Effectiveness: Automating Prospecting and Engagement
AI can also improve effectiveness to close bigger deals and win more clients. AI-powered systems can identify high-potential leads based on industry, geography, sales cycle, and price points. You can look back over a dozen years of data from hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide and say, based on what we’ve seen, this is a target customer profile to go after. And if you’re integrating with other partner data sources, you can find leads that match that profile, so you can start calling them today. It makes it much easier for a small company to sign up for a CRM, answer a handful of questions, and get an immediate list of new prospects.
You can also consider using this intelligence to identify a missing step in a sales process. For example, AI can look at a checklist and flag that you should send certain marketing materials two days before a sales call, ensuring sales reps are fully prepared for each pitch. Equipping the sales team with this intelligence will help them understand how to restructure a sales process to make it more effective at closing deals.
The Human Connection: Irreplaceable in Sales
Regardless of how fast Generative AI takes off, the human element remains irreplaceable in sales. While AI excels at automating tasks and uncovering connections, understanding customer needs, trusting instincts, and discerning challenges require human judgment and consciousness. AI’s limitations in understanding nuance and providing creative solutions underscore the continued importance of building genuine customer relationships.
Even as AI technology advances, sales professionals must prioritize the customer and adapt to their needs. The ability to read between the lines, understand subtle cues, and address individual needs remains fundamental to successful sales. So, while AI can accelerate this process by providing valuable insights and data, it is the human touch that establishes trust and fosters long-term customer loyalty.
To thrive in an AI-driven world, sales professionals must be ready to give this new technology a shot. A ‘growth mindset’ is essential as individuals adapt strategies and explore emerging solutions that enhance their performance. AI’s ability to expose unexpected connections demands adaptability and trust from sales professionals to pursue those unexpected opportunities—even if the relationship isn’t immediately apparent.
The Payoff: Uncovering Hidden Patterns and Focus on Customer Solutions
When you look at all the implications of AI in sales, you can tell this is just the beginning. ChatGPT is effectively the ‘worst’ that AI will be in terms of capabilities: it just gets more powerful from here. Instead of relying on external consultants to analyze data, AI tools can identify patterns of success within a company’s results and industry standards. This saves resources and empowers sales professionals to focus on what they love most—solving customer problems.
Ultimately, as AI continues to advance, sales professionals who embrace its capabilities will thrive in this dynamic landscape. With AI as an ally, sales teams can unlock hidden patterns, focus on customer solutions and be even more effective in their jobs.