AI Revolution: Sales and Sales Operation are Next [learn how to stay ahead of the competition]
We recently chose to have a focus on offering productized Sales Operation consulting solutions. We got our first client and within four months, we reduced their sales team cost by 20% and added $6MM to their projected revenue. Our machine-learning-powered solution delivered more than 4MM sales leads with verified contact information to them and cleaned 97% of the duplicates in their Salesforce CRM. That helped them increase the number of valid sales leads by 400% and increase their 20% YoY growth rate even further. The results were so promising that they already have asked us to provide them with a few more solutions including lead scoring and churn prediction.
It is the right time to focus on investing in technology enablement solutions for Sales and Sales Operations teams. Why and how? Please keep reading and you will find out.
Today, Sales and Sales Operations are where Marketing was a decade ago, ready for disruption by data driven approaches and solutions. Data driven methods and machine learning (ML) have changed the game in marketing in a drastic way; to the extent that one has a narrow chance to get a job in Marketing if at least they don’t have a basic understanding of data analysis. Marketing has become a way more efficient market compared to even 5 years ago. Today, less sophisticated players even with an innovative and on-demand products/services find it extremely hard to deliver their messages to their audience. The last time I checked (August 2018), there were around 8000 companies making technology products to help marketers stay competitive. Sales and Sales Operation are next.
Vast amount of data is gathered by sales teams and other teams every day and it has invaluable amount of information and insights in it. There are numerous inefficient or tedious processes in sales and operations that can be handled by machines. It’s not about replacing humans, it’s about enabling them to do their job and what they are great at more and spend less time and energy on tasks that could be done using machines or in other words by cheaper capitals. It’s about empowering sales teams with insights that are hard for us as humans to obtain but computers can do in a fraction of second.
Now, let me give you a few ideas on how you can hop on this fast-moving train and not be left behind. Here are a few ways you can use data science and ML to take your sales/sales operations to the next level, easily increase your revenue at least by few percent and reduce your costs by another few percent. Not only these solutions improve your business KPIs, they also cause your teams focus on what they really need to do and do what they enjoy the most and become happier in their work.
· Dedupe/Clean Up Your CRM
· Enrich Your Data
· Automate Your Lead Generation
· Score Your Leads
· Cross-Validate Your Leads
· Right Lead for the Right Person
· Reach Them at the Right Time and Place
I’m going to write a detailed article on each of the above and other subjects in the coming weeks so stay tuned! For now, let me give you a short description of each subject.
Dedupe/Clean Up Your CRM
CRMs are the heart of any company. Based on our experience, 10–20% of the records on CRMs are duplicates. That’s 10–20% waste of your budget if you send them a postal card for example adding up to millions and millions of dollars for larger companies. And for your sales reps, it’s 10–20% of their time wasted and constant frustration.
Enrich Your Data
Do you treat a senior person the same way your treat a younger lead? When your reps are cold calling a lead, should they be talking about your solutions being on cloud or emphasize on ROI more? Have your leads been in business for a while or just started? Did they just raise a big round or have been financially struggling for a while?You don’t know if all you have is a name, email or phone number. Nowadays, just by looking up their email, looking at their social media and etc.; we can get you a lot more about someone. Age, gender, music taste, you name it! Knowledge is power.
Automate Your Lead Generation
The leads you bought from source X or paid a person in India to grab off the internet are not that reliable. You need to keep them updated and the only way you can do it is by having access to a resource that can do it for you regularly. However, it’s a repetitive task that shouldn’t cost you every time you do it. You need a smart bot to do it for you on a regular basis.
Score Your Leads
Leads have different qualities and even leads with the same qualities have different chances of conversion. Why should you treat them the same or spend the same amount of time (in other words money!) to convert them? After enriching your lead data and knowing more about them, ML can accurately predict the conversion chance. In the long run, that means millions of dollars increased revenue, happier sales staff and happier you!
Cross-Validate Your Leads
Why would you spend your time and money from leads information that is coming from a single source? We’re no longer in 50s. Everything has a higher speed, people move around and there’s an enormous amount of bad data out there. By cross validating your data with several sources, you are improving your leads quality sometimes by a factor of 10. Guess the result? Millions of dollars increased revenue, happier sales staff and happier you!
Right Lead for the Right Person
Sales reps are human and have different personalities, capabilities and interests. Sally might work better with more senior leads and Alex might have more chemistry with a young lawyer who just opened their practice. By looking at your data, it’s no longer a guessing game or gunshot approach. You give me the leads I have a higher chance of closing. The result? All of the good stuff above and higher predictability of revenue.
Reach Them at the Right Time and Place
Mondays are not great for reaching out to leads, right? Nobody reads their email on weekends, right? Depends! When I was raising capital for my previous company, I found out the best time to contact more senior investors is on weekend evenings. Based on a project, we found out the best time to approach women in a specific demographic is Monday mornings. Email versus phone vs etc.? Depends! The good news is that it’s all hidden in your data you already have. The bad news is that you need to know how to extract it or it’s just sitting there.
Can you afford your competitors benefit from these superpowers without you taking any steps?
Thanks for reading this and looking forward to writing more about this topic in the coming weeks. Sign up for our newsletter here, to get our articles straight in your inbox.