Are you one of those people who loves being yelled at by an irritated customer forced to wait in line listening to hold music before they reach you? What about wasting time answering questions that have nothing to do with your area? If you’d relish the idea of having a reliable source to tackle these mundane tasks for you, you’ll be glad to hear about the latest developments in artificial intelligence.

Sales innovations, in the form of AI applications, cloud-based tools and ChatBots, are making dealing with customers on a granular level a thing of the past. They’re also increasing the efficiency of your sales teams and taking some of the pain out of the sales cycle for all parties involved.

But can a conversational robot actually respond to customer queries in the same way that a human would? Can artificial intelligence really provide the same rich insights a human being might observe from a customer? Actually, according to a recent study by Bentley University and NeuraFlash, in most cases, yes.

When it comes to ChatBots, some 85 percent of people would rather interact with one over a human being, if it saved them time. And a resounding 100 percent would prefer talking to ChatBots if they solved their problem. This is just one example of how AI innovations are making sales teams more efficient. Streamlining the sales cycle and allowing your team to focus on more important tasks — like closing the deal.

With continued improvements in artificial intelligence, it’s not only customers who stand to benefit from automation. AI is greatly improving the efficiency of sales teams as well. There are many different technologies that can help raise their game and efficiency, including cloud-based tools, AI applications, CRMs and time trackers. If you’re wondering which ones will work best for your business, take a look at these 9 must-use-tools to increase your B2B sales here.

Hatchbuck

Hatchbuck provides your sales team with insightful information and allows them to find out more about your customers before the first meeting or sales call. Integrated into your CRM, Hatchbuck warms up cold leads and takes some of the guesswork out of the sales cycle, making unproductive cold-calling a thing of the past.

You can use this tool if you’re looking to replace your existing CRM, or install a brand new one for your business. With personalized email marketing, task management and deal pipeline management in the same platform, this is particularly effective for small businesses and startups, as a one-stop sales intelligence and CRM platform.

Terminus

Terminus calls itself the first Account-Based Marketing platform to help B2B sales target their best-fit accounts, engage decision makers, and accelerate sales. It integrates with Salesforce CRM to segment target markets and B2B personal profiles, and allows your sales team to communicate across various platforms, including audio, and visual channels.

For large enterprises with lengthy sales cycles and various decision makers involved in the sales process, this tool can help you reach everyone you need to more effectively. Salesforce integration is helpful for established firms well used to this platform.

 

Cold Turkey

 Cold Turkey is a simple way of keeping tabs on your sales team and increasing their productivity. Supervisors can view and assess their team’s online activity while blocking access to certain sites, including Facebook and Amazon. This cuts down on distractions and helps make your team more streamlined and efficient. Instead of taking internet breaks and updating their status when they should be working, they can concentrate on the task in hand.

Use this program if you want to control your employees’ time more effectively. But remember it’s important not to create an environment in which your employees feel like they’re constantly being observed. So, factor in breaks in their schedule and allow prohibited sites to be accessed at certain times. You can also look out for their well-being by alerting employees when it’s time to take a break and get up and stretch their legs. 

 

Engage

 Engage facilitates one-to-one sales with Cloud-based messaging. This creates a faster, yet more personal contact. It allows your team to appear for live chats with real-time website visitors, prospects, and customers. You can run audio, text, and video conversations and monitor the conversational behaviors with analytics to make well-informed decision in real-time.

If you work from a flexible office, with remote employees, this is an interesting option, as you can access Engage from any location on most devices. Also, if the human element is a key differentiator for your businesses, you don’t need to turn to complete automation to improve productivity and sales processes.

 

Decisionlink

 Decisionlink is an effective tool for large businesses, offering efficient Accounts-Based Marketing possibilities. This is an intelligent sales tool that helps to empower B2B sales teams with the customer-ready content they need to close a deal. Decisionlink provides users with ABM visuals that let new prospects and customers actually see the costs and benefits of your sales solution. The sales management strategy is to leverage customer value to improve engagement and conversion.

This is a useful tool if you want to gain deeper insights on your customers and tailor your offers to suit their needs. Your sales reps can be better prepared and ready for customers with a tangible “what’s in it for them” response. This can go a long way towards reducing both customer and employee frustration and turnover.

 

Dun & Bradstreet

 Dun & Bradstreet have long been considered a rich resource for business data. But now they’re also investing resources in programmatic technology to identify and target B2B marketing campaigns. The good thing about these B2B sales tools is that you can choose the one that best aligns with your business goals. From D&B Optimizer, that provides valuable data on customers, to Data.com, which integrates with your existing CRM to target and segment prospects.

Based on the fact that you can select the service you need, this could be the right solution for companies with an established CRM, who need extra sales intelligence, without implementing new systems from scratch.  

 

Inside Sales

 Insidesales.com is a cloud-based outbound dialer that requires no hardware and minimal configuration. It pulls a phone number from a local area code your team has targeted. Seeing as prospects are up to 400 percent more likely to answer calls from a local area code, this function can come in handy.

Insidesales.com is helpful for localizing your campaigns and getting your foot in the door. It also comes with some fun, motivational features, like gamification, to help engage your sales reps in visual competitions. If you have a sales force that works remotely, or run a young team that might benefit from this kind of approach, this could be a useful tool. Think about how it might fit in with your company culture though, as this might not be everyone’s favorite approach to work.

 

SalesLoft

 SalesLoft automates and tracks the sales process and provides a support team that you can customize to your needs. It’s a scalable sales engagement platform that can generate and help manage leads for you. SalesLoft can convert prospects into qualified appointments by generating a rhythm of emails, calls, social networking, tracking, and logging contacts and traffic. The LocalDial function also allows you to make calls from a local area code.

This tool integrates with SalesForce.com and other sales tools, which means that you can make the sales process more efficient without making any of your current systems redundant. So, if you’re not ready to say goodbye to your existing CRM, this is an option to consider.

 

TimeTrade

 TimeTrade is a scheduling framework that you can use to integrate related programs, from appointment scheduling and queue management, to analytics and reports. TimeTrade personalizes customer service with messages, such as guaranteeing that a qualified professional will serve customers as soon as possible. It provides continuation throughout the customer journey, so that your business can personalize conversations.

This is a neat tool for managing customer relationships and giving everyone in contact with customers the information they need. Reports on analytics also display actionability in the progress of customer engagement, so you can see how effective each interaction was and who was responsible for it.

 

Business-to-Business sales represent a large part of the economy. They help to drive commerce and create jobs. They also employ a great number of people in what has always been a competitive and demanding atmosphere. But sales innovations are changing the way that we look at sales and removing some of the stigma and frustration from the process.

Intelligent, cloud-based tools, ChatBots, ABM applications and time trackers are taking most of the tedious legwork out of the sales process. Sales tools are giving sales reps the freedom to do what they do best – build relationships and close the deal. The cutthroat world where a sales rep’s job relied on the results of their latest cold call is changing thanks to the availability of innovative B2B tools. Customers receive improved service and targeted offers, and businesses get more bang out of their marketing buck.

Christina is a copywriter, MBA, marketer, columnist and general life enthusiast with a love/hate relationship with monkeys.

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