Who said that the dazzling powers of generative Artificial Intelligence were reserved for marketing jousts? Admittedly, technology has historically favoured marketers to the detriment of salespeople… and you only have to compare the business volumes of the MarTech vs. SalesTech markets to realise this. But today, the situation has changed. Generative AI is fundamentally “neutral”, in that it does what you want it to do.
1. AI-Enhanced Sales to Regain Influence in the Buying Journey
Let’s set the scene quickly: today, 55% of B2B buyers believe that sales representatives are not (or are no longer?) trusted partners capable of advising them and guiding them to the satisfaction of their needs (HubSpot). As a result, on average, they spend 57% of their purchasing process before making initial contact with a potential supplier or service provider (Accenture). But at the same time, one in two B2B buyers says they are confused by the abundance of content available on their issue.
For Brent Adamson, a best-selling author specialising in the sales function and regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, the challenge for B2B buyers is not finding relevant content on the web. There is plenty of it available. Rather, their challenge is to sort, organise and prioritise information, and integrate it into the context of their sector of activity, their market and their company.
According to Gartner, salespeople need to become “meaning-makers” and “content curators”. They need to contextualise, weave a common thread and articulate their sales pitch based on the specifics of their prospect’s sector of activity. And this is where generative AI comes in.
The sales rep could, for example, feed a ChatGPT chatbot with business documents provided (via the AskPDF plugin available on ChatGPT-4), including market studies, analyst reports, specialist press articles, blog posts and even posts on social networks. With its ability to understand and digest a huge amount of information in record time (just a few seconds), ChatGPT could then summarise these documents into a few clear and relevant Bullet Points, enabling the sales rep to quickly understand the key issues in their prospect’s sector of activity and gear their sales pitch accordingly.
In short, AI chatbots will enable you to optimise your sales reps’ pre-appointment workflow while improving the quality of their pitches.
2. Generative AI: a “Judgment-Free” Learning Environment
Even the best salesperson will inevitably have a few gaps in their understanding of certain concepts, and can therefore potentially gain in skills provided they have the tools they need to learn ‘on the go’. Here again, generative AI such as ChatGPT can work wonders. A generative chatbot can act as a theoretical trainer on demand, enabling sales staff to revisit the fundamentals of their profession in a fun and intuitive way.
Sales staff can ask direct questions, seek clarification and explore concrete examples to better assimilate the concepts. They can also delve deeper into the theoretical underpinnings of field tactics. For example, they can ask ChatGPT about the principles of negotiation or the latest consultative selling techniques.
But where generative AI really shines is in its ability to provide a non-judgmental learning environment. Salespeople are free to ask questions that they might find ’embarrassing’ in a more traditional learning environment.
3. Simulate a customer meeting to anticipate objections
Thanks to its natural language processing and text generation capabilities, ChatGPT and Bard AI can play the role of the customer to provide your sales force with more or less realistic simulations before the real meeting.
In practical terms, the salesperson could configure the chatbot to represent a specific potential customer based on the criteria of their buyer persona and the customer’s personal details: sector of activity, needs, turnover, number of employees, etc.
With a well-thought-out prompt, some creativity and a bit of Test & Learn, the chatbot could be programmed to ask questions that the customer is likely to ask, raise objections that are common in their sector and thus challenge the sales pitch. It’s an excellent workflow that will help the sales rep refine his approach and approach his meetings with greater certainty!