Time is one of the most scarce resources of modern working life, but can artificial intelligence (AI) empower businesses to focus on more nuanced aspects of sales, such as building client relationships?

While rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are providing a myriad innovations in tech, many professional services firms are unaware of what it is, how it can prove beneficial, or where to start with it.

What is AI?

AI is precisely that: intelligence shown by non-living things like machines and programs. It can present itself in many different ways from Google auto-suggesting search results, or Amazon hinting at what to buy next, to the predictive text feature on your smartphone.

And whilst it may sound like quite a futuristic technology, AI is already established  in the business world, but how can you leverage it to improve your business processes or generate leads?

1. Research automation

This might be for a research task or to help generate relevant leads. It can be used, for example, to search for information based on predefined criteria, to help with recruitment or business development leads.

Tools like Growbots can automate the process of researching and curating potential leads, using algorithmic learning to produce tailored lists of contacts that are highly matched to your specific requirements. Intelligent automation like this can save time and often provide better results than manual research.

2. Qualifying leads

Qualifying new business leads is one of the most crucial aspect of the sales funnel and AI can help take things one step further than simply filtering leads based on factual or demographic information.

For example, our deal management and business development portal, Foleo observes your prospects as they interact with your proposals or brochures, and uses complex algorithms to determine who exhibits behaviour that has led to a sale in the past. It will then automatically prioritise leads to follow up, highlighting the most interested parties on a per-deal basis – based on prospects’ behaviour and interest in your specific deal.

3. Tailoring language

AI excels at systematic and repetitive tasks, but it can also provide valuable insights into the more qualitative side of sales. Virtual assistants like Siri aren’t providing truly human-like conversations yet, but AI can be used to help us communicate with people on a more personalised level.

For example, Crystal helps you to write emails to prospects and clients by examining the language they use and personality they show when interacting with you. Crystal then suggests tweaks and changes that can help you ‘speak their language’, and develop a rapport which can lead to much more productive conversations.

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3 Ways to Use Artificial Intelligence to Close More Deals first appeared in The Business magazine February 2018 issue.