Artificial intelligence (AI) sales assistants are a new category of software tools that leverage AI and machine learning to support and enhance human sales teams. As revenue operations managers like Monica Masaoka explore how to increase sales efficiency, AI assistants emerge as a promising solution to streamline processes and unlock seller productivity.
What is an AI Sales Assistant?
An AI sales assistant is software that helps sales reps complete routine tasks, surface insights, and have more effective customer interactions. Key capabilities provided by AI assistants include:
- Data entry and CRM updates
- Lead scoring and routing
- Next best action recommendations
- Drafting emails and social media posts
- Analyzing customer communication sentiment
- Providing contextual cues during sales calls
- Forecasting probability to close deals
- Automating follow-ups and reminders
Benefits of AI Sales Assistants
Adopting AI sales assistants offers numerous potential benefits for revenue operations managers looking to boost productivity:
- Increased Efficiency – By automating administrative tasks and powering lead engagement, AI tools alleviate manual work for sales reps so they can focus on having deeper, more strategic customer conversations.
- Enhanced Insights – AI assistants supply actionable intelligence into deals, accounts, and broader market trends so sales teams can make better decisions.
- Improved Win Rates – AI provides customer sentiment analysis, risk alerts, and probability scoring to help reps have better engagement and close more deals.
- Shortened Sales Cycles – By automatically following up on leads, drafting correspondence, and updating records, AI systems accelerate opportunity progression through the funnel.
- Consistency at Scale – AI sales tools apply rules and best practices uniformly across all opportunities to reduce human reliability gaps.
Ethical Considerations Around AI Sales Assistants
While AI sales assistants offer game-changing potential, revenue leaders must weigh benefits against ethical risks – an often overlooked dimension absent in other evaluations of these tools:
- Data Privacy – AI systems ingest customer data that may contain sensitive details, requiring safeguards to prevent breaches or unauthorized use.
- Transparency – The inner workings of AI are complex and opaque. Clear explanations of how conclusions are reached builds trust.
- Bias and Fairness – Like other AI applications, sales assistant decisions could reflect and amplify societal biases if not properly monitored.
- Job Loss – As AI handles more sales tasks autonomously, managers must assess impact on workforce and mitigate job elimination concerns.
Responsible AI Framework for Sales Teams
Revenue operations leaders should take a measured approach in adopting AI sales tools. Below is guidance on evaluating and piloting assistants ethically:
- Assess AI system data practices and security protocols to ensure customer information is protected.
- Review tool explanations and auditing capabilities to promote transparency.
- Set up bias testing routines and monitor AI outputs to reduce unfair impacts.
- Pilot AI assistants in controlled environments to gauge performance.
- Analyze impact on seller activities to predict how work could change, then proactively retrain staff.
The Future of AI Sales Assistants
AI promises to fundamentally reshape the sales profession. Already AI assistants handle many repetitive tasks, freeing up human reps to focus on complex situations and strategy. As the technology improves, AI will take on even higher value responsibilities – providing core system infrastructure for revenue teams rather than just piecemeal functionality.
While prudent precautions are needed, AI sales assistants overall represent a positive evolution. Much like past workplace automation, the goal is not to replace jobs but rather remove lower-value work. This empowers salespeople to find greater meaning and impact, guiding buyers through key decisions rather than chasing quotas. And for forward-thinking revenue leaders like Monica Masaoka, AI systems will enhance how selling gets done – driving efficiency while keeping the human touch.
The Path Forward: Recommendations for Revenue Teams
As interest grows around AI sales assistants, below are key recommendations for revenue operations managers exploring these tools:
- Conduct Thorough Evaluations: Approach AI assistants like any enterprise software purchase. Set pilot groups, outline success metrics aligned to revenue goals, and test tools over 3-6 months to gauge effectiveness. Focus evaluation criteria around core selling activities to improve, data integration needs, and customization options.
- Start Small, Then Scale: Piloting AI assistants with a few reps or specific product lines allows for controlled implementation. Once a tool demonstrates solid performance, managers can confidently expand availability more broadly across the organization. Taking an incremental approach is prudent given AI assistants are still an emerging technology.
- Combine AI with RevOps Best Practices: AI works best when complementing other sales productivity strategies. Assistants should integrate with underlying CRM and sales enablement systems. Further productivity gains come from combining AI with revenue operations frameworks like Salesforce's High-Velocity Sales model.
- Retrain and Upskill Sales Teams: As AI offloads administrative tasks, reps gain capacity to have deeper customer conversations and pursue more complex opportunities. Operations managers should provide coaching and training for salespeople to master these higher value activities. Example skills to strengthen include business acumen, industry expertise, and consultative questioning techniques.
- Incorporate AI Ethics into Plans: To uphold responsible AI principles, dedicate resources to monitor assistant recommendations for bias, explain tool decisions for transparency, and implement responsible data policies. Although still an evolving field, incorporating ethics helps future-proof revenue teams as AI capabilities advance.
The responsible adoption of AI sales assistants allows organizations to automate simple selling tasks in an ethical way. This empowers sales reps to have richer conversations that drive customer success. With the right vision and planning, operations leaders can implement AI-powered selling to increase revenue performance while keeping the human touch.
Sales Enablement Using Relevance AI
Watch this tutorial on how to query your sales enablement playbook using Relevance AI. We give you a walkthrough on how to do it using a basic template that you can customize and expand to your needs.