How Machine Learning Can Transform Sales

A lot of business decisions are made simpler nowadays thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Salespeople can find out a customer’s behavioral pattern at the simple click of a button. They can also personalize content in such a way that it aligns with their interests and browsing history.

Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Accenture states: “The playing field is poised to become a lot more competitive, and businesses that don’t deploy AI and data to help them innovate in everything they do will be at a disadvantage.”

This suggests it’s time to consider AI and machine learning if you’ve not done so yet. But how will that transform sales? There are three ways this can be achieved:

  • Standardisation
  • Automation
  • Optimization

Standardisation

First and foremost, you need a standardized process. It needs to have full AI integration, which will enable you to analyze what your sales team is doing. Let’s take your best salespeople as an example. If you set up a process using AI, you can look at their techniques and practices to create a knowledge base system for other employees to use as a point of resource. You also need to ensure the standardized process is structured in the right way in terms of performance and creativity. That way there will be no flaws in the AI around human flexibility.

If we list the top companies using AI and machine learning to great effect, you’ll soon understand that it’s of paramount importance to adapt your company’s sales process. Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft. The list goes on. Using Facebook as an example, they use AI to understand and interpret the content and emotional sentiment of hundreds of thousands of posts. Facebook can even pick your face out from a recently uploaded photo. Their facial recognition technology is incredibly advanced.

Not only do Amazon use AI with their voice assistant, Alexa, but they collect so much data about your buying habits that they’ll often know what you may want to purchase next before you do. This type of process that incorporates data mining, predictive modeling, and machine learning is called predictive analytics.

A further example away from the bigger companies are the newcomers sites on the casino market, especially those holding a UK license, where competition is high. They are known for implementing the latest technology into their business models to get ahead of their well-established competition. One of them being AI, which is helping them understand and predict players’ behavior, and understand their preferences.

And they can achieve this using the recommender system, which are algorithms aimed at suggesting relevant games to users, based solely on the past interactions recorded between users and games in order to produce new recommendations. Moreover, the more users interact with the provided content the more new recommendations become accurate.

Automation

The power of automation should never be underestimated. As a salesperson, performing manual and repetitive tasks takes up a lot of valuable time. AI and machine learning can help with that. AI can perform those tedious tasks so that it frees up plenty of time for you to focus more on your clients, which, in turn, could drive more sales. You’ll also build better relationships with clients if you have more time for them.

machine learning help sales

Take the research done by Hubspot on sales statistics for instance. Salespeople spend just one-third of their day actually talking to prospects. They spend 21% of their day writing emails, 17% entering data, another 17% prospecting and researching leads, 12% going to internal meetings, and 12% scheduling calls.

That’s nearly a quarter of a working day responding to emails. Take that manual process away with AI and you can use that time to speak to your clients, thus potentially converting those conversations into sales.

Optimisation

Last but certainly not least is optimization. Standardization and automation speed up the process of achieving goals whilst using less effort and fewer resources. But it’s the optimization that boosts sales. When you look at your return on investment (ROI) and how satisfied your customers are, it will all be because of how AI and machine learning has optimized the right metrics. If you always remember that optimization makes it easier for businesses to deliver value to their clients, that will stand you in good stead for the future.

There are many ways that your business can apply AI and machine learning. It will dominate the future of sales, so you need to need to continue to improve on your AI as a business if you have it in place already. If you don’t have any AI or machine learning set up yet, now’s the time to get the ball rolling. Customers are evolving, and you should too if you want to improve sales.

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan