AI for Sales

AI in b2b Sales: WHat you need to know

Augmented Intelligence
Buyer Engagement
Real Solutions for Real Problems
Success Stories
Sales Transformation

Augmented intelligence

AI 101: The basics of Artificial Intelligence

Early adopters of artificial intelligence, for B2B sales, are already reaping benefits. By collecting and rapidly analyzing vast quantities of data related to pipeline velocity and sales rep performance, AI can deliver insights into what deals to focus on, how and when to support reps, influence sales training and improve forecasting – all in real time.

Can Artificial Intelligence Solve All of Your B2B Sales Problems?

Artificial intelligence has great potential, especially in B2B sales, but it’s not a silver bullet. It certainly won’t replace your sales team anytime soon. In fact, AI is best used in laser-focused ways to analyze data and extrapolate information well beyond human capacity. Yet human decision-making must still play a significant role to define organizational goals.

AI in the sales context should be used to augment the sales teams decision-making ability, rather than replacing it entirely. Augmented Intelligence provides comprehensive insight and analysis that:

  • Incorporates human-AI decision making customized to an organization’s specific needs
  • Provides targeted insights that sales leaders need to drive towards performance goals
  • Improves accuracy for complete and transparent forecasting, coaching and training

Buyer Engagement.
The universal truth of sales.

Buyer engagement is the only predictor of conversion throughout the entire buyer experience. Why is measuring the buyer’s engagement a better predictor of a sale or conversion point than measuring strictly sales activities? Because responses or reactions to stimuli are intrinsic to the person and generally cannot be faked or misinterpreted. Either there is a reaction, positive or negative, or there is none.

Many AI vendors have taken a data-focused, predictive approach (or in other words only look at historical data tracking the sellers activities).

The problem with operationalizing a solution based on the requirement of cleansed and enriched data is, quite simply, the cost: 6+ months of incentivized or mandated CRM adoption, resources to develop and regulate sales process, time spent operationalizing methods with no insight into effectiveness, selling time lost due to unexposed inefficiencies, or the cost of ineffective and/or non-integration selling tools.

Additionally, the model needs to be trained to support every conversion point in order to get the value of the prediction. So put simply, our sole focus is not the action of the seller – we include the reaction of the buying team. This provides insight into your most effective sales plays and the deals most likely to close without requiring a full history of cleaned data.

Real Solutions for Real Problems

VP of Sales

Artificial intelligence combined with your organization’s human expertise can dynamically prioritize opportunities. Now your reps can focus on deals that will have the most impact.

Artificial intelligence is excellent at automating activity entry with perfect accuracy. By capturing data right at the source (email) all relevant information can be captured and tied to the correct opportunity – giving your reps hours back in their week.

By analyzing all buyer and seller communications artificial intelligence can tell you exactly how your reps are interacting with opportunities – and more importantly, if buyers are receptive to their efforts. Armed with this knowledge coaching can be targeted and reinforced.

Sales Rep

Artificial intelligence can give reps the critical information they need (and prompt them) to respond to promising opportunities in a timely manner. By isolating buyer responses from a rep’s normal inbox and analyzing the amount of time between communications reps can feel confident they aren’t letting big deals slip through their fingers.

Artificial intelligence can be utilized here to maximize sales rep productivity. By automating CRM data entry from all the tools reps already use (with email and calendar being two of the biggest, but not the only ones) reps get back valuable hours in their day to continue selling.

Artificial intelligence can automatically identify buying team involvement and determine who reps should prioritize in their targeting. If reps still feel stuck, training modules from the organization can be surfaced right to the opportunities they are relevant to – minimizing time spent questioning and maximizing time spent advancing opportunities.

Sales Ops

Artificial intelligence in sales has the unique ability to deliver value to the operations team even if sales reps decide to never utilize the tool themselves. Because the AI is working in the background to automate rep’s data entry, sales operations still gets the visibility they need into forecasting.

Artificial intelligence can generate a scorecard for every opportunity based on a multitude of engagement data. To make forecasting even more dependable the AI engine can leverage your team’s expertise in sales and weight them into the scores for incredible accuracy.

Artificial intelligence can take the guesswork out of follow-ups. Through analyzing buyer engagement and the time since last communication, the AI engine can surface gaps in communication across every opportunity. The result? Productivity skyrockets because reps always know what they should be doing next.

Further reading on Sales Ops from SiriusDecisions:
SALES OPERATIONS: PLANNING ASSUMPTIONS 2019

Success Stories

Find out how these companies have enabled their sales teams to sell smarter, better, and faster using Accent’s solutions.

167%

INCREASE IN OPPORTUNITY CONTACTS

“The only thing I would change about the CRMSupercharger rollout is that I would’ve done it sooner.”

DAVE HOLLAND
Director of Sales Enablement, CDK Global

CDK’s sales team was like most others. Reps would enter some contacts associated with an opportunity in CRM, but there were big gaps. By utilizing Accent’s CRMSupercharger’s ability to automatically associate contacts with opportunities reps could save valuable time – and see a much better picture of sales situations.

Solution: CRMSupercharger

30%

INCREASE IN SALES PRODUCTIVITY

“Best sales enablement platform in the industry for our needs.”

MARK GARDNER
Sales Enablement Manager, Analog Devices

Analog Devices had over 3,000 different content repositories where they stored sales collateral. This made locating the right content for a sales situation time-consuming, confusing, and frustrating. Accent’s content management platform allowed Analog Devices to consolidate to one central location for all their content needs. Now that searching content is so much easier Analog Devices has seen a 50% increase in marketing content usage.

Solution: Accent Connect

30%

FASTER REP RESPONSE RATE

“Accent has allowed our organization to more easily manage our repeatable and predictable tasks, allowing the team to focus more of their time on high impact, value-add initiatives.”

RAY BERNARD
Marketing Manager, Columbia Threadneedle

Columbia Threadneedle was a growing asset management company whose marketing department was struggling to keep their growing volume of content up-to-date. Complex compliance and regulatory rules meant that most updates to presentations had to be done manually. With Accent’s content management solution presentation updates and compliance rules were configured to automatically push updates and control compliance requirements saving the marketing team over 2,600+ hours.

Solution: Accent Connect

5 Key Components of Sales Transformation

Every organization wants to generate more sales revenue, but getting there isn’t always simple. At Accent Technologies, we have identified 5 key components that lead to sales success.

Platform Data Enrichment

Sales reps don’t like to spend time entering data into their CRM. It takes away from actual selling time. Automatically capture rep activities and map to them to opportunities with greater accuracy.

Only 24.9% of participants in a CSO Insights survey expressed high confidence in the quality of the data in their CRM system.

CSO INSIGHTS

High-performing sales teams are 1.5 times more likely to base forecasts on data-driven insights. 

SFDC

Visibility into sales activities

Having a complete and accurate data set within the CRM gives sales leaders a complete understanding of opportunities throughout every stage of the sales cycle.

Actionable sales analytics

Visibility is great, but managers don’t have time to sift through raw data. Artificial intelligence should refine this data and make it actionable. This analysis lets reps and managers alike know if efforts are effective.

44% of sales organizations list increasing sales effectiveness as a top sales objective.

CSO INSIGHTS

80% of high-performing sales teams rate their sales training process as outstanding or very good.

SFDC

Insight into coaching & skill development

Visibility into sales reps’ effectiveness gives sales leaders a better understanding of which reps need additional training and in what phase of the sales cycle. Sales leaders are able to accurately pinpoint where they need to spend time to improve sales effectiveness and ultimately, close rates.

More sales revenue

Targeted coaching means that sales reps can increase their performance dramatically. By maximizing sales performance across the sales team, organizations will be able to realize increased sales revenue.

Firms that provide an optimal amount of coaching realize 16.7 percent greater annual revenue growth.

SALES MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION

AI for Platform Data Enrichment

Problem

One of the biggest problems in Sales Analytics of any kind is a lack of data from which sales leaders can extract insight. CRM systems, for example, are usually sparse and incomplete, and that makes it nearly impossible for any human or machine to draw conclusions. In the past, data integrity across an organization often came at a substantial cost—it required heavy training, strict governance policies, and constant cleansing and refinement.

While some of these governance strategies are still necessary, Artificial Intelligence is poised to remove much of this burden over the coming months and years. By intelligently integrating the systems that sales reps use every day, AI can automatically map data to the correct records within each of these systems. Data platforms across the enterprise, from the CRM to the marketing automation tool, then become exponentially more synergistic without the heavy lifting that has historically been present.

Read more: The Cost of Manual CRM Data Entry

AI for Executing Sales Strategy

Problem

Traditionally, organizations have formulated and operationalized sales strategies through a top-down approach. In this context, sales leaders have evaluated their Sales related Business Intelligence (reporting dashboards, market research, etc.) with their stakeholder peers, synthesized their strategy’s blueprint, and done their best to communicate that plan down the chain of command all the way to the front line. The problem is that humans, and specifically sales reps, are creatures of habit. Until these reps have support from the bottom-up to execute that change in strategy, the organization will struggle to pivot.

To truly engrain agility throughout a sales organization, teams need to be equipped with tools at the front line that will both amplify historical best practices and lead the transformation when strategies change. At scale, artificially intelligent solutions can play a huge role in shining light on these best practices, enabling sales leadership to operationalize and optimize new strategies with existing reps and onboard new reps to execute existing strategies. With today’s workforce quickly adopting a millennial mindset, its evermore important to arm sales teams with tools that will facilitate them in their moment of need. In this context, sales AI tools are transitioning from a nice-to-have, to a critical competitive advantage.

Read more: Where Traditional Sales Business Intelligence Falls Short in Creating Change. 

AI for Evaluating Sales Strategy Execution

Problem

In the past, Sales Performance management has been centered around Sales rep compensation plans. Inherently, this meant the focal point of SPM solutions were financial results—quota attainment, total revenue generation, etc.– and how those results translated to OTE earnings. While results maintain their importance in the present landscape, technological advancements have made it practical to begin evaluating sales performance from different angles.

While Sales AI can help operationalize sales strategies from the bottom-up, it can also create visibility at a more granular level into the frontline execution of those sales strategies. Through intelligent and automatic attribution of sales activities to opportunities and accounts, leaders can see if the efforts of their frontline sales teams are in alignment with their strategic direction. By evaluating sales reps’ activities, and how those activities contribute to tactical objectives, sales leadership can now leverage leading indicators to be proactive in course corrections and coaching efforts, rather than losing time in waiting for results to surface.

Read more: SPM Results Vs. Activity Performance

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