AI, also known as Artificial Intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes, such as learning, by machines. Statistics show that the use of AI is growing at a rather rapid rate and is also infiltrating a wide range of industries. AI has undoubtedly improved operations in businesses and manufacturing companies, significantly reducing the overhead costs.

Artificial intelligence mimics human cognitive abilities to execute specific tasks.  AI algorithms are today being used in different business spaces. Google, for instance, uses this technology to give you suggestions on what you are looking up by just typing a single phrase. Cab services such as Uber use AI to locate you an available car and even estimate the cost of travelling from one location to another.

One of the industries that AI has tremendously transformed and benefited is the sales industry. Here are some of the notable changes in the sales industry owing to the introduction of AI.

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1. Price optimization

Retailers in various sales industries rely on competitive and historical data for pricing. Such data proves to be very helpful when businesses are looking to make decisions on the discounts to give.

Thanks to AI solutions, retailers will be in a better position to make pricing great decisions that are beneficial to the organization. The beauty of AI is that it allows access to big data, which gives sales teams all the information they require for pricing.

2. Enhanced Sales forecasting

Sales managers need to know whether or not they should put in extra work to meet the sales targets set. That can only be possible if there is an availability of, and the analysis of data connected to the sales historically made by the business.

With the study of trends, it is easy for the sales managers to predict the sales they should be able to make to meet the financial objectives of the organization and also meet the market needs. As such, it is safe to say that Artificial Intelligence enables organizations to come up with better ways of managing inventory and resources.

According to David Anderson, an education expert at ihatewritingessays.com, AI is indispensable in the sale of educational courses as it helps managers to analyse past sales trends and predict annual sales, which in turn, allows them to make strategic changes that will increase their sales and their bottom line. While businesses are already leveraging this aspect of AI, the trend is expected to reach newer heights of innovation in the coming years.

3. Lead scoring

Lead scoring refers to the process by which the sales industry categorizes leads based on quality, which is indicated by various behaviours and attitudes. Lead scoring is an essential activity in the sales industry since it helps sales managers to make decisions on which segments of the audience to focus on in order to generate quality leads. Truth be told, while lead scoring is an essential sales strategy, it is a tedious one if done manually.

AI helps in predictive lead scoring by providing the sales team with in-depth knowledge of the customer. How does this work? Well, it is pretty simple. AI algorithms go through the customer database, learn trends, and identify patterns, after which they create a model for predictive lead scoring.

In the future, increases in data will enable AI tools to make highly accurate predictions that will help sales forces to prioritize and spend time on the leads that are most likely to convert.

4. Increasing the bottom line

The objective of any sales team is to raise the bottom line of the businesses through sales. Note that there are two ways in which a sales team can achieve that. One is by selling to new clients or increasing the market share. The other way is by selling more to the already existing customers.

However, identifying the people to sell to can be quite challenging. It is at this point that AI comes in. As aforementioned, machine learning algorithms run through the customer database learning their trends and behaviour.

Improvement in AI technology will allow algorithms to learn trends and behaviour more accurately, providing businesses with better information about potential customers. With such information, marketing and sales teams will be able to identify the customers that are more likely to buy and focus on them for upselling or cross-selling.

5. Management of performance

Monitoring and tracking performance is essential in all departments in various industries. Failure to manage performance in the sales industry can be detrimental to a business. The performance of individuals in the sales teams and revenue generated from sales are some of the most important aspects that every business should evaluate regularly.

Managers can now use AI and tools such as dashboards to assess and manage performance. This will help in identifying the best salesperson, products from a portfolio making the most sales, and the deals that the business is more likely to close.

In the future, managers will derive specialized information about every department and product various from AI tools, which will enable them to know which salespeople to appoint for particular tasks and the sales strategies that are bringing in the best returns.

6. Customer empowerment

The other way through which Artificial Intelligence will impact the sales industry is through customer empowerment. What does that mean? It means that customers will have all the information they need regarding the business and the products too. As such, they will be in better positions to make purchasing decisions. Also, access to customer service will benefit the customers as they will be able to acquire quality services and products that will meet their needs and demands.

7. Customer service

Customer service is an essential part of the customer journey. Artificial Intelligence looks to change the way customer service is delivered for the good of the sales industry, for example by introducing chatbots in sales websites.

The latest uses of AI in customer service include allowing customers to use their voices as passwords and AI-powered voice assistants that analyse the mood of the customer.

In the future, AI will enhance customer service by eliminating unnecessary human interaction which slows down the buying process. In that way, sales departments will save significant amounts of funds that would have been used for hiring customer service representatives and also save on the time taken to cater to customers’ needs.

Reports by Gartner show that by 2020, the more significant bulk of customer service in companies and businesses will be handled by AI. What AI will do is categorize queries for transfer to the right agents, provide answers to simple questions, organizing messages and so on. What this technology will do is make customer service cost and time efficient.  This will also contribute significantly to the bottom line, customer retention and at the end of it all, the overall performance in the sales industry.

Final thoughts

As AI continues to be integrated into the sales industry, you can only expect things to get better with time. AI will improve overall performance, simplify sales activities, and foster better customer service and customer relations.

About the writer: Carol Duke is very keen on teaching students new, effective ways of learning. When not freelancing and blogging on technology-related matters, Carol enjoys traveling, taking immense pleasure from visiting new countries.