Outbound sales has always been a fast-moving industry, making the need to embrace new technologies and methods of working a priority for many businesses. With the rapidly growing AI revolution, many outbound sales teams may be looking for new ways to transform their working practices and stay ahead of the competition.
But figuring out exactly how AI can be the most useful isn’t always easy, especially if you’re keen to maintain a human touch when working with prospective clients. While ChatGPT has hundreds of uses, AI has a lot more to offer outside of this popular app – you just need to know how to apply it to your business problems effectively.
In this blog, we’ll cover some of the main ways you can harness the powers of AI to make your outbound sales team a more efficient, well-oiled machine, allowing its members to focus their skills where they can have the biggest impact for the best chance at success.
Data entry, scheduling and repetitive tasks can waste a lot of your outbound sales team’s time when they could be focusing on more important work, such as sales pitches and calls with clients. While automation has already come a long way in the last decade or so, AI could streamline your processes even more so.
It’s already possible to schedule emails to be sent at a certain time, but AI can use engagement and customer data to ensure that emails are being sent at the right time to the right people. AI can also take into consideration different time zones and adjust your schedule based on real-time changes. Some models may even integrate A/B testing into their strategy, meaning they’ll put in the time and the work to not only analyse existing trends, but test their hypotheses to find out what really drives results.
And don’t forget, AI is also more than capable of critiquing the content of your emails with tools like Grammarly, helping you to make sure your tone of voice and way of writing always fits your purpose and professional standards.
At the start of the sales journey, your team may spend a lot of time answering questions about what services you offer and standard pricing structures. This can take up a lot of time, especially when a lead doesn’t pan out. Chatbots can save your outbound sales team a huge chunk of time by taking over some of the initial Q&A with prospective clients, ensuring that your team are more likely to be talking to leads that are already warm.
But chatbots aren’t just useful for client-side conversations and can be used by your team as well. Instead of waiting to test a new sales pitch on a real lead or practise talking about a new product with other members of the team, sales staff can use chatbots to simulate automated conversations with leads. This may lead to preparing for new types of questions, understanding what could be going wrong with certain pitches or simply boosting the confidence of new hires.
Adding a personal touch to sales pitches and communications with leads is key to developing trust, but it’s a misconception that personalisation can only come from real people. While it might seem like AI would be more likely to produce generic responses to leave clients feeling undervalued, it can actually be harnessed to deliver a much more personalised service.
For example, while it may not be wise to have AI write all your outbound sales emails, it can create templates that can be automatically populated and adapted to suit the needs of different people. To do this manually, your sales team would have to spend a considerable amount of time tailoring each e-mail to suit different leads, while AI is able to use a combination of data and creativity to speed up much of this process.
Lead generation is arguably the most important part of outbound sales, but it can be difficult to get right. Many teams will send hundreds of messages, only to have a handful of responses, meaning that the time and effort that goes into the process isn’t always reflected in the outcome. AI can help outbound sales to generate better leads more quickly, increasing their chances at finding clients that convert in record time.
A key component of lead generation is data analysis. After all, this is what allows outbound sales teams to pursue the leads most likely to lead to success rather than the ones that will stay cold no matter how good their pitch. Based on your unique needs, AI can sort through huge amounts of data and find the leads that are the best fit for your business’s product. Data from tools like a reverse phone API can also be leveraged as part of this process, helping you to verify the contact details of leads. This way, your outbound sales team can get in touch with the right people straight away and can avoid wasting time ringing outdated phone numbers or trying to find the best point of contact in a particular business.
Platforms like LinkedIn have become a key way for outbound sales teams to find new leads, but searching for the right profiles while maintaining your own social media presence can be time-consuming. AI has the ability to do a considerable amount of legwork for you and can analyse posts across platforms to produce reports of trending topics or summarise what certain key figures are interested in. You can leverage this data to either create profiles of your ideal leads or use it to craft your own content, making it easier to meaningfully engage with thought leaders and business owners.
Data is becoming a crucial part of nearly every business process and AI can help your outbound sales team to better analyse the data they collect and put it to good use. For instance, if you’re currently using a variety of outbound sales tactics, AI can quickly process which of these has had the highest success rate. You may also be able to pinpoint at what moment in the process leads are either converting or dropping off, helping you to troubleshoot your approaches in different situations. You’ll also be able to glean insights into customer behaviour, common needs and requirements, as well as buying and conversational patterns. These can all help you to evaluate your team’s performance and work on your outbound sales strategies.
It’s clear that AI can be used for a wide range of purposes to help your outbound sales team work more effectively, but some of the key benefits to take away include:
Through automation and its ability to process masses of information very quickly, AI can boost your outbound sales efficiency and save your team time. Not only can it help you take care of mundane tasks, but it can also point you towards insights you may have missed or had to spend a considerable amount of time discovering.
AI can lend a personal touch to all your outbound communications, whether that’s emails, sales reports or posts on social media. Individually personalising each and every message to a potential lead can take up a lot of time without AI, but it can make the world of difference in how people respond to and connect with your business.
Considering its capabilities, AI is a very low-cost way of improving your business processes. Not only should it fit in with your business’s budget, but it will help you get more value from your sales team as well, as they’ll no longer be wasting their valuable time on admin and data entry. This means their attention will be fully focused on converting leads into paying customers, increasing your ROI.
It can be easy to get stuck in the same old ways of doing things, especially if your outbound sales team is delivering satisfactory results. Using AI opens the door to constant improvement and can highlight previously unseen areas for improvement. While it makes sense to use tried and tested methods over and over again, the insights that come from AI can significantly elevate and enhance your approach to outbound and may transform your team for the better.
Using AI in your outbound sales processes won’t lead to guaranteed success, but it certainly has great potential to improve the way your team currently operates. It may take some time to get used to using AI-powered tools, but testing it with different strategies is a sure-fire way to figure out what works for your team and what doesn’t. In an increasingly technology-focused business world, AI will likely become key to remaining competitive in whichever form you choose to use it.