When it comes to your sales department, the right technology matters. In fact, according to a April 2021 McKinsey article on sales performance indicators, B2B enterprises that successfully adopt new digital solutions are far more likely to be top performers. Whatever the main challenge of your sales team may be — whether it’s failing to get enough inbound leads or improperly using the ones you already have — righting the ship may require more help than human analysis.
Enter artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology. Now, with the right solution, massive amounts of data can be turned into real, actionable insights for your sales team.
While bringing in a high total number of leads can certainly be valuable to sales success, quantity for its own sake just isn’t enough these days. Instead, top organizations focus on achieving a high conversion rate at each step of the buyer’s journey — avoiding bottlenecks as much as possible. A strong conversion rate isn’t about having the highest number of potential customers: It's about figuring out which of your leads have the highest potential of becoming paying customers and efficiently moving them through their buyer's journey. In addition to closely examining your human processes, the right technology can help ease sales funnel bottlenecks and increase conversion, according to Hubspot.
To determine which leads and accounts are the most likely to make a purchase you need to sift through a great deal of data. That’s where AI & ML innovations come into play.
Determining the potential of leads or accounts, and trying to rank their value, requires data from multiple sources — making it a challenge to identify the patterns that are actually important. AI & ML solutions can parse the data and be programmed to look for trends and then turn them into insights.
With AI & ML, solutions can become more effective at the tasks they're programmed to handle as they process more and more data. This technology is especially helpful in a sales context because it means that the solution can see what data points translate to a successful conversion, spot patterns and adjust what it’s looking for accordingly. This can help your sales team break out of a rigid mindset and understand what real signals indicate a qualified lead.
The right AI & ML sales solution can help with:
Predictive lead scoring
For larger sales teams working with thousands of prospects, a long, computer-generated list of qualified leads isn’t enough. The right solution can account for factors like level of interest, purchase history, account size and industry, and use it to predict a lead’s likelihood of buying. Even better, a predictive solution can analyze all the data — not just the fields you believe are important — to uncover any other signals or patterns that may indicate a propensity to buy. Insights like these can help your sales team decide which leads to target with greater confidence that their efforts will pay off.
AI & ML can take data from disparate sources and compile it in one place — ensuring you have a full understanding of who your “ideal buyer” is. This helps you segment leads more accurately than ever before, finding new ways to categorize leads that more effectively translate to new sales.
In some cases, these solutions can even boost the total number of prospects you’re working with, by uncovering previously ignored prospects you may have ignored with similar traits to your high-ranking leads.
While many of today’s sales solutions offer AI- and ML-based lead scoring, there are several factors to consider before investing in this new capability.
One key area to look for in a solution is the way it integrates with your existing CRM and software infrastructure. Not only does your predictive lead scoring solution need data from your platform to get started, but it can also help to organize your CRM by segmenting leads in a more effective way. None of this can happen if all of your tools are siloed off from one another.
With the right AI & ML sales solution, an optimized sales and marketing funnel is closer than you think.