Sales Leaders should always be looking for a competitive edge, finding innovative ways to maximize sales and drive sustained growth is a priority. One powerful tool that has emerged in recent years is Generative AI for sales. You may have read something about it, or be using some of the public tools already. We’re talking about ChatGPT and the spin-offs.
You have probably heard that leveraging the capabilities of artificial intelligence, specifically chatbots and machine learning, generative AI has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses engage with prospects, boost customer confidence, and elevate sales momentum. But how do you get from where you are now, with probably very little AI in your processes, to starting that journey and seeing some early benefit?
It’s a fascinating area and one that offers so much productivity. But it can be daunting, and when you land it, how is it going to help?
In this article, we will explore the power of generative AI in sales, its benefits, and real-life ways you can execute this strategy.
The Rise of Generative AI in Sales
Generative AI, a sub-sect of artificial intelligence, enables robots to produce content autonomously. By automating the creation of material through algorithms and deep learning techniques, generative AI empowers businesses to generate a wide range of digital information, including text, graphics, and even music. In the context of sales, generative AI has the potential to become a game-changer, empowering sales and marketing teams to create tailored and creative content that resonates with the target audience while adhering to brand guidelines.
Benefits of Generative AI in Sales
Generative AI offers numerous benefits for sales teams, enabling them to streamline processes, enhance productivity, and deliver personalized customer experiences. Here are some key advantages of using generative AI in sales:
- Automated Content Creation: With generative AI, sales teams can automate the creation of content such as customer emails, reports, and presentations. This saves time and effort, allowing sales professionals to focus on high-value tasks. Let’s take an example of a Sales visit. The first thing we know, they never go to plan. Not always, but often enough, the Sales person will not be able to discuss the key points they want to get across, or the customer won’t be in a position to fully engage. The opportunity can be lost until the next visit. By having the ability to tailor content to the customer, based on up-to-the-minute prompts and insights, your sales team with further the conversation quicker and with better outcomes.
- Tailored Messaging: Generative AI enables sales teams to generate tailored and personalized messaging for individual prospects. By analyzing customer data and preferences, generative AI tools can create content that resonates with each prospect, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
- Improved Efficiency: By automating routine activities, generative AI frees up sales teams to focus on more high-leverage activities. This improves efficiency and allows sales professionals to allocate their time and resources more effectively.
- Consistency and Brand Adherence: Generative AI tools can ensure consistency in messaging and brand adherence across all sales materials. This helps maintain a cohesive brand image and builds customer confidence.
Getting Started with Generative AI
To adopt generative AI successfully and reap its benefits, sales leaders must take certain steps to ensure success. The fundamentals to getting going is making sure you are using the technology to the benefit of your team and the customers they serve.
Here’s a guide to getting started with AI in sales:
- Learn the Tools? Or Clarify your Requirements?: Often the advice is to familiarize yourself with the different generative AI tools available for sales. But this can often be frustratingly difficult. There are lots of them, but most only solve one particular issue. One skill that is worth starting to practise let alone master is to understand how to create prompts and choose the appropriate voice for generating content. Prompt crafting plays a crucial role in getting the desired output and providing a better customer experience. Our advice here is to understand why you need to ‘generate’ content.
Where is the gap? Is the gap, for example, around the sales visit? This may be in preparation or after the sales visit. Generative AI can help with creating sales collateral to use in the visit, but also for follow-up. You’ve probably done sales visits when you skip a few slides, or realise that what you are showing to your customer isn’t really relevant to them, or that you haven’t customised your offer correctly for their trading pattern. It can be quite painful. Generative AI can help with that. You can send your sales teams in with the latest information, the most dynamic insights and the right content for that particular customer based on their exact needs. Every sales prospect is asking what you can do for them. Now you can show them every time. By being able to also automate the output in a controlled way, you will also reduce the requirements on other functions and teams to help you create them. Once set up the solution will learn with you and start to predict what you need and when.
- Verify for Brand Consistency: Once content is generated, it is essential to verify its accuracy and adherence to brand messaging and values. Establish a review system to ensure that all generative AI-generated content aligns with your brand guidelines. Taking the example above, being able to use generative AI within the context of the sales visit, if you are selling in new displays, showing planograms, or helping with the customer journey and experience planning, generative AI can help you visualise the impact for your customer in new ways. You can also help them predict or forecast the impact of such changes, by benchmarking with other customers like them and showing what works. Your customers want to hear from you about what is going to work, giving them that confidence makes their decision to go with you that much easier.
- Train Sales Teams: Provide comprehensive training to sales teams on how to effectively utilize generative AI tools. Train sellers to leverage the tool’s capabilities while minimizing the risk of spreading misinformation. Create role-plays and assignments to help sellers practice and improve their messaging skills. By leveraging generative AI into current workflows, but making them more engaging, more dynamic, more insightful and more meaningful for your customer, your sales teams are going to become champions. This is how you improve your best salespeople and how you turn the rest of the team into great players too.
- Apply Generative AI to High-Leverage Activities: Identify areas in the sales process where generative AI can have the most impact. For example, sales prospecting emails often require customization and value messaging. You can utilize generative AI tools to augment capabilities in crafting personalized and compelling sales prospecting emails. However, we think that for a lot of established companies lead generation is less of an issue. By creating dynamic sales tools from the raw ingredients that you already have, namely data, competitor data, brand guidelines, brand content and messaging, you can utilise generative AI to create more sales opportunities.
By following these steps and continuously evaluating the effectiveness of generative AI-generated content, sales leaders can drive adoption, improve efficiency, and enhance value messaging. Generative AI can be used to therefore make the Sales process much more effective and productive. Most of all, it can help to build the relationships that you have. This can help make business easier but also allow you to accelerate the process. This means that you can improve initiatives quicker and mitigate the risks of your investment, especially when you are sending salespeople to physical stores.
What we think is exciting about generative AI in sales is that it gives focus to the relationship with the customer. It’s data-driven, but it is also context-specific and customer-centric. You are placing the customer at the heart of what you do, but at the same time explaining how your proposition is best matched to solve their problem, amplify their sales and improve their process.
Define your Requirements
The first thing you need to do is to understand your requirements. What is the burning issue that you would like to solve? Where is the gap? Is that then a gap that be bridged by being able to apply generative AI? Is it the quality and quantity of the sales visit, is it the follow up messaging, is it the benchmarking process for cross and upsell?
Here’s some examples for external sales where you may have a gap:
- Prospecting is difficult and slow
- Lead generation efforts are stilted
- Don’t know what the competition are doing so little to pitch against
- Sales teams spend a long time searching for the right slides to present to customers
- Content for slides needs to be updated regularly – launching new products/category refresh or promotions/incentives
- Proposals/quotations aren’t written up quickly enough
- Many different types of customers meaning messages need to be customised
- Sales visits can be interrupted and not always productive – quality is difficult to manage
- Relationships are long-standing and communication needs to reflect that
- Volume of sales visits are stagnant or reducing
- Working a lot with channel partners to drive footfall
Once you have identified what you need from generative AI, you can then start to look at the different options available to you. You can use generative AI tools to create dynamic sales tools from data, competitor data, brand guidelines and content. This will enable you to craft personalized and compelling sales prospecting emails that are tailored specifically for each customer. Generative AI can also be used to create more sales opportunities by helping to identify areas in the sales process where it can have the most impact.
By leveraging this technology, sales leaders will be able to drive adoption, improve efficiency and enhance value messaging. It is also a great way of building relationships with customers and creating a customer-centric approach that puts them at the heart of what you are doing. This will help accelerate the process and ensure that initiatives are improved quicker, as well as mitigating the risks associated with investments such as sending out salespeople into physical stores.
Generative AI presents a world of opportunities for sales teams to elevate their performance, boost customer confidence, and revolutionize the way they engage with prospects. By leveraging the power of AI-driven sales automation and tools, businesses can maximize sales potential, streamline processes, and deliver personalized customer experiences. As generative AI continues to evolve, sales leaders must embrace this technology and stay at the forefront of innovation. Discover the power of generative AI in sales and unlock new possibilities for your business. Sign up now for more insights on generative AI for sales and take your sales success to new heights.
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