Can Bots Beat Sales Reps at Their Own Game?
- The speed and efficacy of AI is unparalleled in the digital realm.
- Perfect for sales outreach, AI can seem to do no wrong. But can it outdo person-to-person B2B sales?
- Not quite - SDRs are still required, as human emotions and the connection factor cannot be replicated.
- Balancing both the human approach and utilizing the brilliance of AI seems the best approach in sales outreach when viewed from either extreme.
The future of AI technology is up in the air. AI's ability to process information with such speed and accuracy leaves many fearing certain professions might be left in the dust - including Sales. Yes, AI is no doubt brilliant, but would you leave your entire sales outreach strategy in its seemingly exceedingly capable hands and be done with it? Some may confidently say “Yes!”, without realizing that humans still play an integral part in the end, no matter how advanced your AI is.
Most common/frequent Challenges faced by Sales Reps
In an increasingly diverse digital landscape, SDRs face mounting challenges. The Top 2 are finding the right leads and reaching them at scale.
Connecting with the correct audience
Delving into the right customer profile is central to not only reaching the right client, but also reaching the right client with the right message. Machine learning and AI can do the heavy lifting by assimilating similar data patterns to depict a more accurate Ideal Customer Profile. It enriches existing data by collating, interpreting, and segmenting information to predict future trends and personal preferences, which can help reduce the time sales reps take to figure this information out manually when presented with information overload. The result? Hyper-targeted campaigns based on the above-mentioned improved ICP that produce results timeously without overextending the marketing budget. Possibly saving a cent or 2 by reducing the workload of SDRs.
Reaching qualified leads at scale
Even when connecting to the correct audience, reaching qualifiable leads at scale can be problematic. This is something machine learning can do effortlessly through automated processes in combination with existing CRM tools, like Salesforce, to help sales professionals pinpoint and nurture relationships with only pre-targeted leads and prospects. This reduces time spent by SDRs nurturing prospects that most likely won’t become Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).
Why Sales Reps can't be replaced
While AI is capable of formulating personalized messaging, humans are required to add authenticity to the messaging that can elicit the emotion required to spark action. Much like the psychology behind verbal and non-verbal cues in human interactions, only humans can unpack what is going on behind the scenes regarding knowing when to prompt or nudge a prospect in the sales funnel. Also, SDRs know when to hold back and reinforce the message a little more based on the prospects' reciprocity towards your approach, which could be the difference that turns the prospect into an SQL. Most importantly, personalized lead nurturing presents the opportunity to improve overall brand recognition and can greatly contribute to cementing long-standing brand loyalty further down the line.
The future of AI and Sales
The most effective way to reach prospects is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. Truth is, sales outreach can only be done effectively when there is a blending of both worlds, both human and AI. Technology is moving fast; AI is part of our foreseeable future - the stats don't lie. By 2025, it is estimated that around 116 million people will be using Generative Artificial Intelligence to assist with various forms of decision-making. Interestingly, AI has the potential to become so good at what it does that even Elon Musk is tentative yet committed to integrating AI into his ventures - with a word of forewarning, that is.
However, as it presently stands, it's safe to say AI is dependent on human sales reps to do its job efficiently. AI’s inability to automate top-down commands with total accuracy requires human input to ensure there’s a logical flow of direction, especially in sales messaging sequencing. Therein lies the need for trained sales reps to help set the parameters within which AI operates to complete a particular function from beginning to end. Then, of course, there is the genuine connection element that can't be replicated without the possession of human qualities and emotions to extract the correct information and invoke the necessary responses.
The resulting conclusion
The only resulting conclusion is to embrace both human sales personnel and AI in B2B marketing, as one is dependent on the other. But could this dynamic change down the line? Possibly. Perhaps even sooner than we think - or not at all. The most important takeaway here is that you should be looking for ways to make your outreach strategy shine by combining the two and not sacrificing one for the other.