“The power of selling is moving away from the individual and toward the machine – machines that can now prospect, follow up, present, and propose without human intervention.”
Victor Antonio, bestselling author, sales trainer and motivational trainer
As artificial intelligence (AI) infiltrates into every aspect of modern life, leading organizations are quick to adopt this disruptive technology to influence key elements of their sales planning and strategy. An enterprise sales function typically pursues three key avenues for achieving set revenue targets:
- Acquiring new logos that translate to selling more products or driving higher margins in new accounts
- Expanding to new markets with the launch of a new product, or launching an existing product in a geographically different market
- Retaining key accounts and minimizing customer churn through active renewals, cross-sell and up-sell efforts
AI intervention can impact each of these three key areas transforming not only how customers buy products and services, but also how organizations can better control the sales outcome. Predictive sales planning tools blend the known attributes of the account or customer such as company, industry, purchase history, spend, usage, adoption, and so on, with unknown factors of growth, partnerships, hiring trends, tech stacks, install base, solution intent, etc., to provide deeper insights. Let us look at some of the key traits of such a solution:
Sales teams often make the mistake of scoring leads based on inadequately interpreted buyer signals and gut impulse, which totally defeats the purpose of lead scoring and account segmentation. AI empowers businesses to enhance their segmentation and scoring activities by simply augmenting internal data with predictive attributes on profile fit and buyer intent. Thus, businesses are in a position to accurately determine the outcome of sales opportunities, and focus their time on the more lucrative leads and accounts.
Sales territories have a big impact on the performance of the sales organization. A good understanding of the sales potential of different regions is vital for sales success. Equally important is ensuring a fair distribution of territory among the organization’s sales representatives. This provides every rep an impartial opportunity to achieve their quota. Predictive insights in territory planning can help alleviate these challenges and improve morale and performance of the sales team. Leveraging AI, territories can be carved across the multiple dimensions of geography, industry, product, key account, etc. This ensures a balanced approach to territory planning based on historical data and total market size.
Setting sales quota is a tough balancing act for sales leadership, as it is directly tied to the sales professional’s compensation, morale and overall growth. Incorrect quota planning might impact all the three, set the salesperson on a downward spiral and also hit revenue targets. Intelligent quota allocation leverages predictive insights that empower sales leaders to design effective quota planning; setting achievable targets and quotas and in turn motivating sales people to achieve revenue goals.
Sales leaders are always looking for ways and means to maximize revenue. An oft overlooked and underutilized approach is that of capacity planning. Knowing which roles to hire, when to hire and determining the optimum sales capacity to achieve organizational outcomes are critical components of successful planning. An ideal capacity planning model can enable sales leaders with deep insights into strategies for enhanced sales coverage, capacity and gaps across channels and help improve sales productivity.
These are just a few key areas to start with. Adaptive and intelligent sales planning solutions can enable myriad perspectives with sales KPIs and analytics, sales coverage, objectives management, pipeline optimization, and a lot more. Leveraging data as a strategic asset across the organization, such solutions can create better, faster and stronger frontline sales with collaborative planning, accurate forecasting and enhanced sales potential.