Why artificial intelligence is crucial for sales to bridge the customer chasm

Today’s customers have more choice and buying power than ever before, and they expect unprecedented levels of contextualization and personalization.

The latest wave of technology, led by Artificial Intelligence (AI), may be the first time the sales team has an opportunity to harness a new technology before consumers do, to turn the tables and find new ways to meet and exceed customer expectations.

A recent report from the 2018 State of Sales report by Salesforce, which surveyed sales professionals from around the world, found that high-performing sales teams across the Asia Pacific region will increase their adoption of AI by an average of 271% by 2020.

The industry views AI as the secret sauce they’ve been looking for to reduce the time spent on admin and unearths the next best steps and insight needed to deliver better customer experiences and more sales.

Customer expectations driving sales team change

Customers have never asked more of the sales team. According to the report, globally, more than three quarters of business buyers said they want to work with a partner as a trusted advisor — not just as a sales rep — who can add value to their business.

It is difficult to deliver that value if you’re spending time on the work that isn’t delivering for customers. Sales agents in the region said they spent approximately 62% to 69% of their time in non-sales activities in the last year, according to our report.

No stranger to the increased expectations of sales teams by customers is AirAsia, a leading low-cost airline headquartered in Malaysia. As it revamps its customer care for the digital era, AirAsia has deployed cloud-based solutions as part of its strategy to create faster and more personalized service for its customers.

As a result, the airline’s service agents across eight countries have a single view of all cases from all support channels — web, phone, email, live chat, airport communications — and each guest’s complete history with the airline, allowing them to achieve higher levels of personalized service.

AI is marching toward a tipping point for sales

AI is the next evolution for sales teams using a real-time, single source of truth. AirAsia is leading in this aspect, with the use of AI to pinpoint which areas of customer contact will require more resource allocation and which channels may be phased out over time.

It is critical for local businesses to shift their focus to providing the right data and intelligence to their sales staff, so that they can get closer to the customer and be more efficient in delivering sales outcomes.

Why sales should embrace AI today

It is hard to escape the constant noise around AI and whether we should fear it or embrace it. However, it is clear high-performing sales teams are the ones who use the technology to contact more customers and close more deals.

AI is allowing salespeople to sell smarter in new ways, and delivering more customers to the teams that have already made the switch. According to the report, globally, the majority of sales teams using AI have increased their number of sales representatives since 2015.

New technology will continue to disrupt the ‘way it has always been done,’ and the increasing role of AI in the sales process is no different. It is time for sales teams to embrace AI to stay ahead of the curve to exceed customer expectations.

 


This article was originally posted on enterpriseinnovation.net


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