Let me share a frightening statistic: on average, sales reps spend 80 percent of their time qualifying leads and only 20 percent of the time closing them.
Not scary enough? How about this: despite the “Rule of Seven,” which says customers need to be touched seven times before they’re willing to close a deal, just 12 percent of sales reps make more than three contacts with a given lead. If your head is spinning from the dollars lost in potential sales, read on.
The good news is that artificial intelligence (AI) can help you solve those issues—and dramatically increase your qualified leads and closed deals—without having to add a single body to your sales team. Here’s how.
Moving from Bodies to Bots
You’ve likely heard about chatbots being introduced into the customer service industry. But the speed at which today’s customers move—and the increased quality in bot sensitivity—has led sales teams to look at the ways chatbots can support sales, as well.
AI-powered sales assistants are already proving invaluable to companies around the world. Not only can they do things like send thousands of emails a month, they can also interpret the prospect responses, vet the potential lead, schedule follow-up meetings with human sales reps, and forward any messages they aren’t quite sure about to relevant parties. Use case: Epson America was getting 40,000 to 60,000 leads per year from trade shows, direct mail, and other marketing campaigns. In the past, those leads would be turned over to the sales team to pour through with little to no ability to triage hot from not. After implementing an AI-powered sales assistant, Epson saw a 75% increase in qualified leads, leading to $2 million in incremental revenue in 90 days. Sound like magic? It is—the magic of artificial intelligence.
Automating the Paper Trail
Imagine if you wanted to arrange for someone to clean your house. But, instead of clicking on an easy-to-use scheduling app to arrange it, you needed to meet with the cleaning team in person, sign a paper contract, have your spouse or roommate sign the contract, and then deliver the contract to the cleaning company. Chances are good you’d change your mind about cleaning your house! It’s the same when it comes to any other business contract.
Believe it or not, one of the biggest reason deals fall through is not the quality of your product or the skill of your sales person—it’s the ease (or pain) of your overall deal-closing process. In fact, 75 percent of companies say their quote-to-close process takes over a week. The other 25 percent they actually take longer—a month or more. In a business landscape where customer attention spans are the shortest they’ve ever been, that kind of close time simply doesn’t cut it. In fact, more than 75 percent of business leaders say document processing has impacted their revenues and led to unfavorable customer experiences. Fortunately, there is a lot AI can do to remove the pain points in the closing process, simply by automating your paper trail.
There are already tons of as-a-Service providers to help with document automation, but one of the easiest ways to get started with automation is through Adobe Document Cloud.. The company has been at the forefront of document management for years now. It’s program Adobe Sensei the “heart” of Adobe Document Cloud—helps automate repetitive tasks like making any document searchable, classifying phrases for easy access, automatically enhancing document signatures to make sure they aren’t “kicked back,” and auto-capturing information for forms on mobile phones.
Partnering Your aaS Providers
Another great thing about AI is that it can be easily partnered with other aaS providers to create even more powerful—and efficient—tools for your team. For instance, CallidusCloud and Adobe Sign can help accelerate the sales process—together—by allowing sales reps to create quotes, track them, and route them for approval—without ever putting the quote to paper. Research shows using the two tools together can help speed the process of sourcing signatures and delivering proposals by 90 percent. Imagine how many more deals your team could close with that kind of efficiency.
Face it: if you aren’t automating at least some of your sales process, you’re going to fall behind in today’s marketplace. In a world where “now” is the speed of customer transactions—and expectations—limited follow-up and extensive paper trails simply won’t cut it. Using AI, there are so many ways to improve your efficiency—save time—and increase sales—all with the click of a button. I’d say it’s about time you try it.
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This article was brought to you by Adobe Document Cloud. Opinions and thoughts are those of the author.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.