Sales teams have leveraged advanced technologies for decades. It started with first-gen routing systems to connect callers to the first available agents to provide instant sales support and follow-up. Then, we switched to IVR systems that are still extensively used today.
News flash – none of it made customers happy.
These processes were a brute-force, time-consuming solution to a problem that required careful consideration—the problem of how to delight every customer. How do you reduce sales cycles and increase conversions? How do you personalize their journey - instead of offering a one size fits all offer? How do you use automation - but also make it more human?
Then came the two megatrends that turned things upside down.
The first was the mass adoption of smartphones and social media platforms - Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and so many more. This changed consumer-facing apps drastically and put user experience in the spotlight. Customers were always kings - but now, with the power of instant connections and communications and the problem of abundance, they finally found their thrones. They were not going to tolerate laggy apps or websites. One bad experience and your user is gone forever.
The other was the development of cloud services and advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence. While these branches of study started as quests to understand the human mind and how it works, their applications have been far and wide. In the sales ecosystem, too, AI gave sales teams a chance to improve customer service while outsourcing mundane sales tasks to the sales virtual assistants. This was largely made possible by analyzing legacy and real-time sales data, providing predictive insights, and suggesting the next steps to take.
Today, virtual sales assistants have evolved in capabilities and offer companies and sales teams the perfect platform to experience comprehensive and transformational benefits in their sales processes. These AI-powered assistants are ideal for helping customer satisfaction, sales teams' efficiency, and intelligent operations.
Virtual sales assistant for customers
For decades, customers have disliked IVR systems because they are often clumsy and waste more time than they save. More often than not, customers had to hang up without the desired information, but with added frustration. To tackle this problem, businesses moved to human agents to help dejected customers after their IVR experience.
However, this approach puts a lot of pressure on agents and leaves room for many vulnerabilities and errors. Take the example of the health insurance giant Humana - in 2019, their call centers were flooded with 1 million monthly calls. Despite the large volume of calls to tackle, 60% of those calls were regarding basic information and simple queries. The situation is similar for sales calls, too. Your sales team and sales reps handle so many calls day-in and day out in an attempt to shorten your sales cycles. However, if you analyze their calls and dive deeper into the interactions, most of these conversations are automatable and don’t require much time.
Virtual sales assistants, powered with artificial intelligence and automation, help your sales teams and your customers save a lot of time. Automatable queries are quickly automated so that your users don’t have to stay on hold while their queries are passed on to sales reps for consideration. This way, you get a complete win-win situation!
Virtual sales assistants for human agents
The powers of AI-enabled virtual sales assistants don’t stop at answering basic queries and routing complex queries to the agents. Behind the scenes, these virtual assistants read and analyze data from multiple company resources and platforms. This includes customer data, CRM, sales calls, communication channels like Slack, etc. This allows sales assistants to get a holistic view of your business data and derive patterns and insights. You get intelligence at your fingertips - with sales assistants who know how to understand and interpret your business data.
Virtual assistants can, in real-time, analyze your sales reps’ communications with your customers and raise alerts and alarms when things start to go south. Virtual assistants act as the perfect companion for your agents and recommend different solutions and approaches to tackle customer problems in real-time. The end goal is to reduce your sales cycle and call duration while also providing a personalized user experience.
Another application could be to use these AI-enabled virtual assistants to turn dozens of data types into overall customer risk scores. For instance, the number of times your customer has uttered “I want to cancel my account” could indicate a higher risk score. When the overall risk score reaches a certain threshold for a particular customer, the virtual assistant can send alerts to your sales teams to help them take the necessary actions to lower the churn rates and help the customers move ahead in the sales pipeline.
Virtual sales assistants for intelligent call routing
The 1990s were the era of “skill-based routing” - wherein a basic customer profile would be paired with a relevant agent with the right skills, and the required routing would be done to assist the customer. This was a good approach for the tools we had back then. But today, we have AI and analytics.
Artificial intelligence can help you with predictive behavioral routing. Essentially, this will match your callers with a specific customer personality model - based on all the data that has been collected on the caller so far. Then, these personality models route the calls to relevant agents who can best handle those personality models.
This is extremely important in the sales ecosystem to ensure that your prospects and customers are getting matched with the right sales reps - in a way that will foster and maximize conversion rates. Sales teams around the globe realize this, and as a result, the market for AI-based virtual sales assistants is expected to reach a staggering $2.8 billion by 2024.
Apart from these benefits, a virtual sales assistant is also instrumental in improving your day-to-day sales processes and ensuring that your salespeople are always putting their best foot forward. Let’s look at some benefits of using a virtual sales assistant for your sales calls.
Comprehensive benefits of virtual sales assistants for your sales calls
We saw how virtual sales assistants nudge your sales teams, sales processes, and customer satisfaction in the right direction. Here is how all of that translates into daily advantages:
1. Finding and qualifying leads
Lead generation is difficult - but not with a virtual sales assistant by your side. AI assistants can analyze all of your business data to find qualified new leads from the list of current customers. This is just one way AI-enabled assistants can help you find new customers and perform prospect research. AI-enabled virtual assistants act as the perfect tool for sales departments and sales professionals to quickly and reliably qualify potential customers.
2. Improving conversion rates
Low conversion rates are mostly a result of bad sales processes and inefficient sales assistant services. With AI-enabled virtual assistants, you can rehaul your sales processes to shorten your sales cycles and improve conversion rates while nurturing leads. AI assistants can pre-qualify your leads for you, thereby ensuring that your agents can convert more leads into deals. After all, if your sales reps have qualified leads, there is a higher chance of improving the overall conversion rate. Another way AI helps improve conversion rates is by matching the caller to the right agent, who can offer them the best assistance. This, too, is done by analyzing and understanding customer data and behavior and creating personality models.
3. Ensuring compliance, always
Auditing call interactions is a foolproof way of adhering to regulations, scripts, and company standards to stay compliant. AI-enabled virtual assistants play a huge role in ensuring compliant conversations by sales and customer support. They can raise alerts and notifications whenever the sales reps seem to be drifting away from compliance and deviating from the script unexpectedly. Likewise, you can ensure that your sales reps maintain the perfect tempo of conversation and aren’t talking too fast or too slow. All of these, and more, insights can help you stay compliant with rules and norms while ensuring utmost customer satisfaction.
4. Deriving intelligent insights
Virtual assistants that utilize data to produce intelligence are useful when creating reports for sales insights. You can get all the information you need, based on your requirements, without any overheads. Whether you want information sorted by sales reps or by customers - your AI-enabled assistant will present the information to you in an easily understandable manner. Such detailed and insightful reports are extremely useful in these ways:
- First, you get a bird’s eye view of everything that’s going on, which helps you find error-prone areas and take preemptive action.
- Second, you can easily share these reports across the board if you want to share the insights with other business owners or perform any outreach.
Once you understand the insights properly, you will find yourself able to make much more improved decisions, translating to shorter sales cycles and a more efficient sales funnel.
5. Reducing operational costs
According to McKinsey’s global AI survey, 45% of executives who have used virtual assistants in their sales process have realized cost reductions. With AI-enabled assistants, you get to automate many mundane, repetitive tasks, making those processes highly time-efficient. That, eventually, translates into money for your business. It also enables you to reduce the operational costs to manage sales calls. This is primarily because you no longer need to spend on training or hiring extensively, even if your requirements scale up overnight. AI-enabled tools are highly scalable and can handle your escalating requirements easily.
Experience the very real benefits of virtual assistants
AI-enabled assistants are virtual, but their impact is quite real - like the wide array of benefits you and your sales team enjoy from having virtual assistants by your side. Artificial Intelligence has proven its worth across all possible domains of operations and helped solve most of the pressing business problems. And it continues to do so. The idea is to understand what AI-enabled assistants offer and strategically include them in your business processes to get the best results while building strong customer relationships and keeping the workflow streamlined.
Let’s help you out with that!
Wingman’s actionable conversation intelligence platform helps you unlock insights from every sales interaction. Wingman connects your already existing sales tools - like CRM, onboarding tools, calendar, and more - so that everything you require is in one place. You get to do what you do best while Wingman takes care of the rest! Try the demo and experience actionable intelligence with your sales processes and administrative tasks.