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How to Choose AI Sales Tools to Boost Productivity

Posted in:  Sales and Marketing Management

Sales teams often face hurdles in hitting targets and meeting revenue growth expectations. Luckily, tech advances have paved the way for new solutions to refine sales processes and improve performance. Enter Artificial Intelligence (AI) sales tools – a breakthrough development in the world of sales.

In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about using AI sales tools. We’ll look at what these tools are, why they matter, how to use them, and what to ask when evaluating vendors.

What Are AI Sales Tools?

Sales tools with AI technology boost sales rep productivity. These tools include chatbots, content generators, and virtual assistants. Their functionality is thanks to machine learning (ML) algorithms that simulate human intelligence. Typical uses of AI in sales include task and workflow automation, lead scoring, and sales analytics.

Why Do AI Sales Tools Matter?

Traditional sales techniques often fail to meet today’s savviest business buyers’ demands. Manual tasks are laborious and time-consuming. They are also error-prone and cannot adapt to evolving B2B transactions. The solution – apply AI sales tools to existing sales processes for substantial improvements.

Businesses that invest in AI have seen a revenue uplift of 3 to 15% and a sales ROI uplift of 10 to 20%, according to McKinsey and Company. These stats underscore the critical role AI plays in modernising sales, making it an essential tool for growth.

How Sales Teams Use Different Types of AI Sales Tools

AI technology supports many sales functions. These span data management to forecasting and lead generation.

Let’s explore the best AI sales tool functions to transform the way sales teams operate:

Sales Forecasting and Pipeline Management Tools

The Gartner State of Sales and Revenue Operations Survey reveals that 67% of sales ops leaders find creating accurate sales forecasts more difficult now than three years ago. Compounding this challenge, 78% of RevOps and sales leaders report a lack of correct data to make accurate forecasts.

AI-powered platforms such as analyse sales data points and identify trends to accurately forecast future sales performance. By leveraging ML algorithms, these revenue-focused platforms help sales teams make data-driven decisions and prioritise opportunities throughout the sales pipeline.

Lead Generation and Qualification

Tools like LeadIQ utilise AI algorithms to identify potential leads by analysing customer data. It goes on to score and qualify these prospects, highlighting those with the highest likelihood of conversion. These tools also manage contact information and automate cold emails. They make finding and talking to the most promising opportunities easier, streamlining your sales outreach efforts.

Sales Coaching and Training

AI-driven coaching platforms like Highspot often work with Clari integration. Managers can listen to sales calls and provide valuable feedback to help salespeople improve their pitch and communication skills. These platforms spot improvement opportunities and offer tailored coaching, which helps sales teams achieve better results.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CRM software like Salesforce centralises customer data, automates repetitive tasks, and provides valuable metrics. AI-powered lead scoring and predictive analytics features help sales and marketing teams identify likely buyers and connect with the target audience in more meaningful ways. Plus, Salesforce’s engagement platform can work well with many other tools, making sales operations smoother.

Automate Manual Tasks

Tools like Highspot’s conversational AI platform focus on buyer engagement. This helps automate follow-ups, note-taking, summaries, and transcriptions across different languages. These tools improve productivity by allowing sales reps to quickly assess sales calls and focus on higher-value activities.

Generate Content

Tools like Taplio can analyse customer behaviours on social media platforms like LinkedIn. They will automatically send tailored connection requests and messages to engage with potential customers. Also, generative AI like ChatGPT and can create personalised content and templates for inbound and outbound sales emails and campaigns. This automation will help guide buyers through the sales cycle without compromising time.

Important Features to Look for in AI Sales Tools

When assessing AI sales tools for your business, consider features and use cases that will have an impact now and in the future. These range from specific product functions to vendor attributes like market longevity, company culture, vertical speciality, and if you can build a lasting partnership with them.

Let’s explore some key product features to consider:

1. User-Friendly

Ensure the solution you select offers intuitive interfaces and easy navigation. Easy-to-follow user interfaces and logical navigation encourage adoption and usage, especially by sales teams that may not have technical expertise.

2. Predictive Analytics

Advanced dashboards and analytics capabilities enable sales teams to project future sales outcomes, spot emerging trends, and make informed decisions based on data. For example, forecasting analytics allows sales representatives to better understand and predict customer preferences, enabling them to customise their strategies throughout the customer journey, including during sales negotiations.

3. Integration for Centralisation of Data

Seamless integration with existing systems allows for centralised management of CRM data and sales activities. Sales professionals shouldn’t waste time searching through multiple solutions to find information needed for a sales conversation with a customer.

4. Configurable

Look for tailored solutions that easily adapt to your sales team’s unique needs and preferences. The ability to configure ensures that the tool aligns perfectly with your workflow and processes without endless, expensive programming costs.

5. Support and Training

Dig into support and training resources to ensure the successful implementation and adoption of AI sales platforms. Comprehensive support and training can facilitate a smooth transition and maximise the ROI of the tools.

6. Scalability

Think about where you see your business in the future. Look for solutions that can adapt and expand with the needs of the business. Opting for scalable options means your investment continues to deliver value, even as your business evolves.

7. Personalised Recommendations

Sales reps excel when they understand their customers’ desires. However, predicting a customer’s requirements can be challenging. Find tools with AI-driven recommendations to predict your prospect’s next move. AI will personalise recommendations and increase conversion rates.

8. Intelligent Automation

Data entry, scheduling, outreach, and follow-ups consume a sales rep’s day. These are all necessary but take them away from working directly with customers. Automating these routine tasks using AI increases sales performance. Their time is now free to focus on high-value activities like building relationships and closing deals.

9. Performance Tracking

Sales leaders need the tools to oversee sales outcomes, pinpoint potential improvements, and evaluate achievements through immediate tracking and sales intelligence reports. This facilitates incentives based on real-time metrics, targeted coaching, and strategic decision-making.

10. Lead Management

Advanced lead enrichment and management capabilities change the way leads are handled. They prioritise leads, improve segmentation, track customer interactions, and nurture relationships throughout the sales cycle. This important feature analyses data patterns so sales reps focus on high-potential opportunities, leading to increased revenue.

11. Security

Data breaches are at an all-time high. Enforcing robust security measures, such as encryption, access controls, and regular security audits, safeguard sensitive information. Additionally, secure APIs and vendor security protocols are essential in preventing unauthorised access and compliance with data privacy regulations.

Best Practices for Choosing the Right AI Sales Tools for Your Business

Find technology that complements your team’s current capabilities and addresses unique challenges. Do you need to improve forecast accuracy, data analysis, or customer engagement? Is your team tech-savvy or just beginning to embrace digital transformation?

Let’s take a look at best practices for choosing the right AI sales tool:

Identify Your Business Needs

Define your sales objectives, challenges, and priorities to determine where AI sales tools will add the most value. Solicit feedback on pain points, feature preferences, and usability requirements to ensure the chosen tools align with your team’s workflows.

Evaluate the Features and Functionality of Different Tools

Different AI tools stand out for different tasks. Compare AI sales tools’ features, functionality, and cost implications to find the best fit for your requirements. Ask these questions as you evaluate:

  • How well does it integrate with the sales software you’re already using?
  • Does it offer the functionality that your sales process requires?
  • Is it cost-effective for the scale at which your business operates?
  • Can the tool scale to meet your future needs?
  • Does the solution require training?
  • Will it be difficult to onboard sales reps to use the new tool?
  • What security measures are available to protect customer data?
  • What are the different levels of support and maintenance offered?

Consider Your Budget and Resources

Look beyond the sticker price. Assess the initial implementation and training costs and the ongoing expenses and human resources needed to maintain these solutions. If you’re seeking a ‘set it and forget it’ solution, prioritise tools that are highly configurable to your needs without requiring a dedicated team for constant tweaking and management.

Seek Expert Advice and Recommendations

More than a cursory level of AI understanding is typically necessary as you evaluate solutions. Reach out to industry experts and analysts, especially those specialising in your industry and the AI sector. Also, don’t overlook the power of vendor customer references. Hearing firsthand experiences from peers implementing and currently using these AI tools can provide invaluable insights.

Consider Training for the Sales Team

Ensure the vendor offers thorough training sessions and guidance throughout the implementation and adoption phases. At the same time, incorporate this in your sales communications to reinforce onboarding. Neglecting to account for the time and resources required for adequate training could lead to underutilisation of the tool, diminished ROI, and potential frustration among your sales team.

The Impact of Highspot’s AI Digital Assistant

Imagine having a smart assistant that brings all your content under one roof and serves up exactly what you need when you need it, thanks to some clever AI tricks. Highspot is making a big splash by simplifying how companies manage and utilise their sales materials.

Let’s explore the impact of Highspot through the experiences of SAP Concur, SailPoint, and Demandbase.

How SAP Concur Improved Content Management

SAP Concur struggled with managing its scattered sales content. The content was dispersed across multiple repositories, resulting in wasted time searching for assets and inconsistent messaging due to outdated or improvised content usage.

Highspot changed the content management face of SAP Concur. The solution provided a centralised platform for organising and accessing all sales content. With features like semantic search and content targeting powered by ML, Highspot enabled SAP Concur to streamline content management, enhance sales productivity, and gain valuable insights into content usage and optimisation opportunities.

Transforming Enablement at SailPoint with Highspot

SailPoint’s journey from a reactive to a proactive enablement model underscores the necessity of a single, unified platform for go-to-market strategy. The company’s reliance on AI and ML found a perfect match in Highspot. Highspot provided a solution for equipping, training, and coaching their sales representatives. This partnership led to an improvement in sales engagement, a reduction in ramp time, and a 40% increase in productivity.

Related Resource: Webinar – Harnessing Enablement Success with AI

Demandbase Boosts Win Rate with AI Integration

Demandbase, a provider of ABM solutions, struggled to provide its sellers with tools for client conversations. Recognising the potential of AI in enhancing B2B revenue achievement, Demandbase turned to Highspot to standardise messaging and guidance throughout the customer journey. This move empowered Demandbase’s revenue teams and led to a 10% increase in the average win rate.

Empower Your Sales Strategy With Highspot’s AI-Powered Platform

AI tools like Highspot Copilot are changing the way sales teams work by turning scattered content into a streamlined powerhouse of resources. Teams with AI sales assistants are setting new standards. They are working with precision, foresight, and adaptability.

Looking ahead, the significance of AI in shaping sales strategies and operations is only expected to increase. According to Gartner, 35% of chief revenue officers will have established a centralised “GenAI Operations” team within their go-to-market organisations. This move stresses the critical role AI, including platforms like Highspot, plays in augmenting sales tasks and driving strategic decisions in forward-thinking sales departments.

Ready to see the difference AI can bring to your sales enablement practices? Request a Highspot demo today.