Whether you like it or not, today's businesses in every sector run on data. Even in the most "human-centric" profession, data and machines rule the landscape. 

Machine-learning for sales and marketing doesn't mean replacing sellers and creators with robots. Instead, it automates tasks and helps us focus on our more "human" strengths. 

According to McKinsey research, machine learning in sales and marketing gives sales teams more time to close deals and make connections. Researchers found that AI-powered sales teams were able to generate 50% more leads and reduce call times by up to 70%. 

But what does the use of artificial intelligence in sales and marketing really mean for organizations? If you’re a customer of Bigtincan, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “AI-powered sales enablement.” And we’ll be the first to admit it, we use the term a lot. After all, artificial intelligence is a core part of our platform. Let’s dig in to what you should know about how AI is changing sales, marketing, and other customer-facing roles. 

What is the primary use of artificial intelligence in sales, anyway?  

First of all, when we talk about AI and AI-driven features, the conversation often centers around this idea of automation. This is because we've long used AI to improve and support sales and marketing professionals throughout every phase of the sales and marketing lifecycle. Tools like automated content provisioning and intelligent recommendations are key examples of how AI is changing sales

Marketers benefit from trackable content metrics and the ability to prove the ROI of their daily efforts. Sales teams benefit from easy, mobile access to relevant sales collateral, helping them achieve higher win rates and deliver better experiences to prospects. For both teams, AI is the backbone of a more efficient workflow.  

How can AI help sales teams deliver better outcomes?

If you’re reading this and you are an executive or manager, you're already well aware of the sheer volume to-dos on your list every day. You're probably looking at several KPIs that represent success — think quarterly quotas, key account growth, marketing ROI, and opportunities in progress.

All of these metrics are linked to even more daily tasks, including program execution, lead qualification, follow-up calls, sales support, communications, training, cold-calling, appointment setting, meetings, more meetings, and so on.

You know (and get) the picture. Sales and marketing professionals are also incredibly busy. The more efficient and productive you can help them become, the more likely those teams are to succeed.

So, back to the question of how AI supports sales enablement — let's take a quick look at what AI brings to the table beyond the usual set off futuristic buzzwords. Here are four ways that the use of artificial intelligence in sales and marketing benefits the customer and the company:

Use of artificial intelligence in sales content

We all know the critical role that content plays in generating leads, educating prospects, and closing deals. However, many teams still struggle to address this gap between content creators and the sales teams that rely on those materials to move buyers through the sales cycles.

When surveyed, 65% of salespeople say they can't find sales collateral when they need it. That’s a lot of wasted time and money, considering that you're paying a marketing team to put together all of these unused resources. 

Now, instead, imagine if sales content was “recommended” to your reps based on that prospect's industry, or how well that piece of content performed for other reps in similar situations. Today's AI can do this — lifting a massive weight off of sellers' shoulders.  

What if, instead, recommended sales content automatically appeared in your reps’ CRM dashboard for a particular prospect or customer? Or, that content could be bundled together for individual reps and saved in preparation for an upcoming meeting? It’s those small details that save reps time and help them prepare for even the most complex selling situations. 

AI-powered sales enablement software like Bigtincan can seamlessly integrate into CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, and other business tools, giving reps everything they need to optimize every opportunity in the pipeline. 

Machine learning in sales and marketing means improved access to insights

Let’s move beyond the question of “how can AI help sales?” Marketing teams can reap the benefits, too.

For example, what if you knew exactly which marketing content your customers and prospects found the most interesting? Or which content led to the highest close rates? Or kept customers engaged the longest? Pretty useful, right?

With AI, those insights become reality, allowing teams to gain a deeper understanding of what elements make up the pieces of content that deliver the highest return on investment. 

Marketers would no longer have to defend their work with vanity metrics like social engagement numbers or incoming web traffic — instead, they could tangibly present a direct link between deals closed and content created, tying dollars to collateral.

How AI is changing sales through better learning, training, and onboarding 

It's not just customer-facing activities that benefit from an embrace of intelligent machines. AI is making training and onboarding faster and more efficient, too. 

For example, Bigtincan Zunos leverages AI to adapt learning content based on specific user personas, roles, skill levels, locations, and more. The idea is, learning content can be delivered to sales teams whenever, wherever, and however they choose to work and can be customized based on what they do or don't know. 

AI offers better collaboration and communication 

Helping sales reps develop improved selling techniques and higher quota attainment isn't just about formal training and access to content — it's about great communication. Working with and learning from colleagues can help spread critical knowledge across your team quickly and efficiently. 

And, rather than being the personnel-replacing boogieman that workers have come to fear, AI is being used to drive collaboration between real people. AI-infused sales enablement platforms can recommend peers to follow or collaborate with for better results.

One of the best examples of AI-driven collaborative selling is account-based marketing (ABM). Most B2B companies have this idea of a target account list as being this valuable thing that requires special attention and care to sustain over time. But with machine-learning systems that learn from past wins and losses, as well as content usage analytics, marketing and sales can get together to develop account-specific strategies based on what really works. 

Wrapping Up

Improving sales and marketing performance through AI isn't just wishful thinking, it's a reality for sales and marketing teams working across all sectors from retail and manufacturing to life sciences and tech companies. By combining machine-learning-based algorithms with pattern-matching and usage analytics to track and measure performance, engagement, and more, savvy teams can turn data into a recipe for success.

Recommended content and actions can help successful reps the right sales collateral at the right time, guiding a junior salesperson based on the success of more senior reps in the company. 

To learn more about how our unified platform helps your sales team win more deals, through better preparation and smarter recommendations, book a demo today.