R. Paul Singh, COO of The Modern Data Company. An entrepreneur, educator and startup executive with 20+ years of B2B experience.

The ever-more competitive sales landscape demands a constant focus on innovation and efficiency. In this data-driven era, artificial intelligence (AI) is being utilized as a powerful tool for sales teams—not as a replacement, but rather as a strategic partner to boost performance. As businesses strive to stay ahead in competitive markets, understanding how to integrate AI into sales processes effectively has become all the more important. According to a 2023 State of Sales 3rd edition report by Salesforce, 76% of the sales teams that use AI have increased sales staff and seen an increase in their performance.

Based on public use cases and my own experience in sales and data integration software, let’s take a look at some ways to make your sales teams AI-ready and help them leverage AI tools to enhance efficiency, engagement and, ultimately, sales outcomes.

AI As An Executive Assistant

The advent of AI in the sales and marketing arena has sparked concerns about job displacement. According to a CNBC survey, 46% of workers in advertising and marketing worry AI will soon take their jobs. However, I believe it’s important to understand AI as a powerful assistant that can augment the capabilities of your teams. AI-driven tools and solutions are designed to streamline operations, provide insightful data analysis and automate mundane tasks, allowing sales professionals to focus on what they do best: building relationships and closing deals. By embracing AI as a collaborative partner, sales teams can unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation.

When I started my career 20+ years ago, our best salesperson was notorious for not inputting any information into our CRM system until the head of sales offered the help of his executive assistant to input the information. It is no secret that many salespeople hate to input data, but new natural language process (NLP) tools can go a long way in making it easier to record and load data for making decisions in the future. Think of it like giving every salesperson their own executive assistant.

Clean Data As The Fuel For AI

Poor data quality has often severely undermined the effectiveness of AI systems, leading to inaccuracies and biases. High-quality data is the lifeblood of any AI system, as inaccurate or incomplete data typically leads to unreliable insights. That’s why it’s important to ensure your training data is diverse and representative of the target audience and to equip your salesforce with the skills to properly collect, clean and input data into CRM systems.

Often, first-party data collected by sales and marketing teams is incomplete. For example, consider if a B2B sales team only recorded half of their meetings; this could lead to the false assumption that it took only three meetings to convert a customer rather than six, resulting in incorrect forecasting. This is why it’s important to ensure the data put into your AI systems is complete and reliable. As for third-party data, knowing where and how that data was captured is key to getting the right data set. In my experience, using multiple third-party data sources is desirable to get a complete picture.

AI-Powered Content Creation: A Balancing Act

Creating and editing content, ranging from emails and request-for-proposal (RFP) responses to customer-facing documents is a significant part of a sales job. This is one area where ChatGPT and Google Gemini have been very effective. A common complaint is that email copies generated by these tools sound robotic.

To customize ChatGPT for better email responses, start by defining your company’s voice and style through clear guidelines and examples. Fine-tune the model with a dataset of your communications, and use detailed prompts to guide its outputs. Implement a feedback loop with human review to iteratively improve responses. Some companies build their own prompting and customization guides on top of ChatGPT and train their teams to use them, while others choose tools specifically designed to assist with writing, such as Copy.AI and Jasper.

Exploring The AI Sales Toolkit

The market offers many first-generation AI-powered tools, from prospecting to follow-up to reporting, designed to optimize sales processes. For example, B2B companies can significantly reduce prospecting time by automating tasks such as finding prospects on LinkedIn Sales Navigator, retrieving their contact information, reviewing recent posts and generating the initial email. Many CRMs, like Salesforce, now offer natural language interfaces to simplify data input and retrieval, facilitating quicker decision making.

Although some prospecting tools still require fine-tuning or aren’t yet ready for enterprise deployment, many hold great potential and are improving with each release, increasing the potential benefits of early adoption.

Revolutionizing On-Demand Sales Training

Traditionally, sales training involves workshops or online courses, which can disrupt busy schedules and don’t always meet individual needs. However, companies like Gong have created AI sales training tools that analyze every sales call and provide relevant data to train sales teams in real time. The next generation of sales training tools, from upstarts like Zime, have the potential to constantly learn from sales calls, historical data and the company knowledge base to create custom real-time training to improve results. For instance, if you have salespeople who struggle to close deals with specific customer segments, consider using an AI sales training program that can recommend relevant content at the right time, including training modules based on successful sales pitches from colleagues.

Conclusion

Making your sales teams AI-ready can be a strategic investment in the future of your business. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, prioritizing data quality and equipping your salesforce with the right AI tools, you can unlock greater sales excellence and drive sustainable business growth in your organization.

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