Artificial Intelligence is having an impact on sales productivity and it’s here to stay. Still, few people know what AI is or how it works. In this episode of the Playmakers Podcast, Dave Boyce, Chief Strategy Officer at XANT discusses what leaders need to know about AI and how they can get started without going in the wrong direction.
Dave Boyce is Chief Strategy Officer for XANT and is also on the board for Forrester.com. He spoke to us about the value of AI in the sales industry, but also shared one principle for sales success. He called it the “shut up and sell” principle.
“Nobody likes a salesperson who just talks about themselves and their product. Its just not the way human beings interact. What we really want to do is learn about our prospects. So, asking questions and then shutting up and then listening and then asking smart follow up questions builds way more credibility. Because the truth is out there, where our customers are, it’s not here with our product. If we can align our product to their truth, that’s when we’re going to establish credibility and close the deal,” said Dave, on the Playmakers podcast.
Artificial Intelligence is Already Here
Artificial Intelligence has become a bit of a buzzword, and it’s more present in the public consciousness today than it has ever been, added Dave. However, we benefit from AI every day.
“It’s a little bit difficult to think about AI impacting our lives, outside of science fiction movies. But if you think about it, in your personal life, we benefit from Artificial Intelligence every day. Amazon provides a guided buying experience. Netflix suggests movies that others have watched. Pandora suggests music. We have smart thermostats in houses, and navigation apps to help us get from point A to point B,” said Dave.
“If you connect the dots, Artificial Intelligence is already here and augmenting our lives. So the leap is about making it relevant to my work life, like it is for my personal life,” he added.
Why AI is Slow to Penetrate Businesses
While B2C companies have been quick to harness the power of AI in their systems, the B2B world is lagging behind on adoption, shows research. Dave Boyce believes it’s all about the complexity of the business systems, and that the pace will pick up soon enough.
“It’s probably easier to find a million people who eat food than it is to find a million people who have the same business process. Therefore, Yelp was created. Or, it’s easier to find a million people who drive cars – therefore Waze was created,” said Dave.
“But that’s fine. We do that all the time. Easy to use user experience started in consumer as well. It only made it into B2B applications in the last ten years,” added Dave Boyce.
Artificial Intelligence Applied to Sales
Artificial Intelligence can offer huge benefits in the sales industry, added Dave, during the Playmakers podcast. By tapping into cross-company, anonymized data, salespeople can find out the sales strategies that really work to close their deals.
“AI makes a recommendation: people who bought X, also bought Y. It’s not a huge leap to say – people who called X also called Y. If I’m on a complex deal with multiple decision makers, I’d like to know who else to call to make my deal more successful,” explained Dave.
“Or I might be in a more transactional type deal and I’m calling a certain prospect. AI can show that people who called prospect A also called prospects B and C,” added Dave.
How to Spot the Fake AI’s of the World
Artificial Intelligence has become a buzzword lately. As with every popular concept, there are bound to be some offers that lack in consistency and real results, adds Dave. He also gave some tips on how to spot the ‘fake AI.’ These are products that boast of using Artificial Intelligence, but don’t really help business in any way.
Here’s Dave’s two steps to picking your AI sales acceleration solution:
1.AI Must Help Salespeople Close Deals
“I would not spend a single penny on a science project that will end up a Cell N/A database. It’s sort of like a tree falling in the forest. It doesn’t exist, doesn’t help anybody. Whatever the output of Artificial Intelligence is, it has to show up at the point of decision for an actual sales person actually doing her job. Just like navigation assistance, it has to show up on our dash while we’re driving. If we just were to publish somewhere in some database that I had to go look up, I’d never use it,” said Dave.
2.Data is the fuel of Artificial Intelligence
“Number two is – AI runs on data. The fuel for Artificial Intelligence is data and it needs industry wide observations. With Waze, if there were no signals coming back from all the other drivers on the road reporting traffic accidents, speed of traffic and police, it wouldn’t really help you and you’d be the only one. (….) If you feed an Artificial Intelligence engine with the universe of possibilities, it will find you the optimum. You feed it just with your history, it will regurgitate back your history,” added Dave.
Listen to the rest of our podcast to learn why:
- AI needs industry-wide data and information to make accurate predictions;
- How domain specific algorithms are used to make AI work
- Why leaders who take advantage of new technology trends win
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