December 13, 2022
You may not be aware, however, of just how ubiquitous and accessible they’ve become. They are literally everywhere and they’re now easy enough to use that even the most technologically challenged among us can give them a spin.
So we figured we’d create a fast introduction to AI in Business Development & B2B sales: What it is, how its used, and how you can get your feet wet in the AI pool. Read on!
What’s AI and how can Business Development & Sales use it?
Artificial intelligence – AI for short – refers to a wide variety of algorithms and techniques used to perform tasks that have traditionally only been performed by intelligent human agents. The technology underlying AI often includes stuff like machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, image recognition and generation, and more.
More important than that though, at least for our purposes, is what AI is capable of. The tech has evolved to the point where it can carry on conversations with people, identify the potential customers most likely to buy from you, or even highlight behaviors or words likely to lead to a successful close. Because of these benefits, some expect the AI software industry to grow to over $126 billion by 2025:
The sky’s the limit when it comes to the application of AI to Sales & business development. The category is broad enough, and it’s developing so quickly, that new uses for the tech are being uncovered every day. It’s no wonder that marketing and sales companies report significant increases in revenue after adopting AI tech:
AI Tools: Sales forecasting
For companies with enough raw data, off-the-shelf and custom AI software can be a powerful tool for forecasting future sales numbers. Rather than trying to guesstimate how much you’ll sell in a particular week, month, or year, the right AI tools can use past sales and growth data to identify with precision how much revenue your organization will take in in the future.
Salesforce is an industry leader in this area, with both built-in and 3rd-party options for creating robust sales forecasts based on past data and machine learning.
AI BD & Sales Tools: Robotic process automation
One of the most common complaints amongst business development and sales team members is the time they’re required to spend on labour-intensive administrative tasks that reduce the amount of time they spend in front of and with customers and potential customers.
To address this complaint, many successful firms have started implementing something called robotic process automation, or RPA for short. RPA is just what it sounds like. It automates commonly repeated processes (like, for example, sending an email to a manager every time a quota is hit or a deadline is missed).
Where it gets really interesting is when you add AI to the RPA mix. AI can help automate processes that might not even be apparent to the naked eye. It could, for example, prompt a salesperson to send an email to clients who haven’t responded in 5 business days or who haven’t yet agreed to sign a contract after experiencing a free trial.
UiPath is a stellar example of an RPA provider blazing new trails in the AI game. Their business automation platform makes it easy to create and customize software processes that take the grunt work out of your employees’ daily lives.
AI BD & Sales Tools: Team operational visibility
AI can offer business development & sales team leaders valuable insights into how their team members use their time and effort to try and drive sales in your organization. New AI tools can show you how much time each of your team members spends on the phone or in Zoom calls with potential clients, how much service they’re providing existing customers, or even where in the funnel an individual salesperson loses most of their prospects.
For a great example of how AI is transforming BD & sales leader capabilities, Pipedrive has been making it simpler to get a front-row seat to your teams operations.
Will AI Replace Sales & BD people?
There are those who have claimed that AI tools spell the end of the human business development and salesperson. But if you’re anything like us, reading through the previous use cases we’ve listed hasn’t made you think that humans are endangered. If anything, these tools enhance the productivity and efficacy of humans doing their best to sell, making them even more indispensable.
So, if you’re reluctant to make use of the latest artificial intelligence because you’re worried about the security of your business development-related job, you can put your mind at ease. We’re a long ways away from an AI that can do the heavy lifting of business development, salespeople, and their team leaders.
What are the best AI tools for Business Development and B2B Sales?
Jumping into the pool of currently available AI sales and business development tools can seem a little daunting, especially at first. After all, the tech can get a little complex, the jargon’s a bit confusing, and some folks in this industry love to overcomplicate things.
We’ve found that the best thing to do is to keep it simple at the beginning. Identify one or two simple tasks you’d like to automate or refine, and see if there are AI tools available that may help you accomplish those goals.
At the same time, try to stick with out-of-the-box solutions that come pre-assembled, so to speak. In other words, utilize pre-fab tools that don’t require a lot of customization or installation.
For example, if you’re wondering about how you might automate some of your team’s administrative processes, look for some web-based tools that can plug into your existing software framework to deliver immediate results.
Alternatively, check out a few of these powerful tools you can implement right away to get some traction.
B2B Database that Predits Growth: Gazelle.ai
We couldn’t start any discussion about powerful AI business development and sales tools without mentioning our own creation, Gazelle.ai combines artificial intelligence and human-gathered intelligence, to deliver one of the world’s only B2B databases that identifies growth companies across every sector.
Gazelle.ai use AI to predict the next wave of the fastest growing and internationally expanding companies. It’s a great way for Business Development professionals to start using the power of AI to identify rapidly growing companies who stand a good chance of needing what you sell. By using Gazelle.ai, business development professionals leverage a powerful AI-driven B2B database that will help them uncover high quality leads that are actually in buying mode.
Saleswhale, by 6sense, is a sales pipeline optimization app that monitors your entire sales funnel and supercharges conversion rates across the lifecycle. In other words, you’ll close more sales without generating any additional top-of-funnel leads. The app generates additional sales rep meetings based on input from email messages, phone calls, content downloads, and more.
People.ai delivers critical insights and sales intelligence to the people most central in any given deal or prospect conversation. Like Saleswhale, this software monitors your entire sales process and optimizes touchpoints to close more deals per generated lead.
Crayon is an outstanding competitive intelligence app that keeps a constant eye on what your industry competitors are up to. From executive team change notifications to customizable sales battlecard templates, Crayon spills the tea on your competition in ways you can act on immediately.
Wingman, by Clari, is a great entry in the “conversational intelligence” category of AI applications. These apps monitor your sales people’s calls and prompts them with helpful info and intel exactly when the conversation indicates it might be useful. Not only is this a leg up for your sales people but it’s also a great way to propagate best practices throughout your sales force.
That’s all folks
Hopefully we’ve been able to convince you to dip your toe into the inviting waters of AI-enabled Business Development & B2B sales tools. And if you’re interested in giving Gazelle.ai a whirl and connecting with the world’s fastest growing companies, give us a shout at this link right here and we’d be glad to hook you up with a free trial!
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