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February 16, 2017
As AI Advances, So Can Your Sales Productivity
Artificial intelligence helps sales teams accelerate sales and achieve projected quotas.
Although you may now be accustomed to instant search results in a blink of an eye, personalized recommendations, and all the other AI-powered goodness that the likes of Google, Amazon Alexa, or Apple Siri are putting at our fingertips, much of this still seems fresh and unchartered to those in the sales domain.
So, the important question remains, how can AI help sales? Here at Clari, since inception, we began with a laser focus on data science and machine learning. AI has actually been embedded into all aspects of our product. Just to name a few examples:
Machine Learning to Quantify the Chance of Winning
Based on historical sales records, and email and calendar-based user activities, one can tell how engaged a prospect is on a particular deal. We are able to identify how each individual’s deal is trending by comparing it to similar deals in the past. Sales managers and executives can also get insights into historical patterns to determine which current pipeline opportunities are risky and likely to slip into the next quarter.
Projection into the Future
For sales managers and executives, the first top-of-mind question is whether my team will achieve quota. Hence, a projection of where quarter revenue will land, gives a starting point to understand how well the team and company is doing. With AI, we are not counting on “gut feel” anymore. Now, the hunch-based number calling becomes data-driven. By simulation (recall that one of AlphaGo’s success, which is due to its capability to play Go with itself and improve skills), we can compute the expected end-of-quarter revenue and best/worst case scenarios.
AI to Help Task Prioritization
At Clari, we provide different types of scores through machine learning to quantify how likely one deal will close by a certain date (typically by end of quarter or a specified close date). On top of that, a sales rep can slice and drill down into different segment of deals to determine which ones need more attention. These kind of insights can be delivered seamlessly to your palm by the right timing and context, through email, Clari’s mobile app, or Clari Connect.
ClariBot: a Conversational UI for Sales
With ClariBot, an intelligent bot which serves as a smart sales assistant for reps, managers and execs, we can surface not just actionable insights, but also further integrate with other daily tasks of salespeople, like scheduling meetings, checking opportunity status/updates, or identifying the right contact. Thanks to advancements in AI, a conversational UI, either by text or voice, is possible today.
Self-driving Sales Update
Ask any sales rep — one of the major pains is updating sales records. This kind of daily routine, is time consuming — and keeps reps in front of their computers, instead of in front of customers. Simply put, the state of sales record data hygiene is usually a mess. Most of the time, CRM opportunities aren’t updated often enough to add value to managers who are looking to understand what’s really happening. For instance, even if a company believes its sales cycle to be 3 months, we find that a significant portion of opportunities are actually created and closed within a few days! The lack of proper and in-time update, blinds managers and executives, and sets up that recurring scenario where a scary percentage of committed deals are slipping. That’s why we have an ambitious goal to make the update automatic (one click/swipe), by leveraging AI to detect critical updates through email exchanges, telephone conversations, or additional objective digital signals captured in other systems. Ultimately, Clari can be a self-driving car to update sales records, and deliver insights to the right person in the right context.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of tapping AI to accelerate sales — not to mention resolving other related problems — including lead generation and qualification, account management, resource planning, sales coaching, recruiting and others.
Now that we’ve shown you some of the possibilities, is your sales team ready to take on AI? In my next blog, we’ll explore even further, what the future of AI holds for the sales workforce, how AI can empower salespeople (not replace them), and what your sales teams can expect when adopting AI technology.