CRM

Artificial Intelligence in Sales Performance

How Artificial Intelligence Helps in Boosting Sales Performance

How Artificial Intelligence Helps in Boosting Sales Performance 1920 1080 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • In today’s hyper-connected digital world, customers expect personalization, convenience, and targeted sales experiences. Sales professionals are continuously striving to provide an enhanced and integrated customer experience.
  • Sales Professionals face many challenges every day – a better understanding of buyers’ needs, value communication, demand prediction and most importantly, staying connected with the customer.
  • Low customer engagement hinders companies’ brand image, forcing them to switch to other brands that better cater to customer requirements. Availability of market data and customer behavior is driving sales professionals to understand customer needs better. Enhanced customer experience ensures business outcomes.
  • Sales powered by Artificial Intelligence is the differentiator that can build better customer relationships as AI helps to understand customer behavior, enhances your ability to forecast, and enables you to focus on sales that matter. AI in sales also helps you in effective demand forecasting to stay in line with the market demands.

The Age of Distraction

Your sales departments play a pivotal role in your organization. They face numerous challenges in increasing customer satisfaction. The significant consequence of living in a digital era is that sales reps get defocussed as they cannot accurately read the customer information. Sellers need appropriate tools to instill a focused effort on sales.

 

These distractions reduce sales efficiencies by 14%

59%Sales people claim to have too many tools

64% Sales reps’ time is spent on non-selling activities

50%Sales reps’ have no idea about what is expected of them

In addition to distractions, sellers face increasing complexity in today’s sales environment. They work with an average of 10 stakeholders for every purchase decision to be made, resulting in buying decisions to take 97%¹ (Gartner) longer than expected.

Yet, 60% of companies lack a well-defined sales process, further contributing to the long sales cycles. The need to work with different functions and people requires more collaboration, adding to its complexity.

Using Artificial intelligence in sales helps you streamline your sales process by automating various functions like – sales execution, tracking sales performance, connecting with prospects helping you increase your conversion and win rates.

For instance, AI automation in sales has helped automate purchasing using bots decreasing 15 to 20% of expenditure sourced through e-platforms.

Gartner predicts that 30% of all B2B companies will employ some type of AI to augment at least one of their primary sales processes by 2020. Your competitors are experimenting with artificial intelligence, looking at the benefits it offers from automating their sales processes. Per McKinsey, companies using artificial intelligence in sales have seen –

  • 50% increase in leads and appointments
  • 40-60% decrease in overall costs
  • 60-70% decrease in call time

While staying at par with competition makes automation a must, clarifying the software’s personalized capabilities and limitations is paramount.

85%

of customers will manage their relationships with different enterprises using bots or virtual assistants by 2020.

Source: Gartner

Smart CRM Solutions Can

  • Transform decision-making across many functional areas
  • Unite key functional areas on organizational goals
  • Improve efficiency, accuracy, profitability
  • Allow staffers to do more creative & strategic work

How can AI help your sales department?

There remains a misconception that AI automation can replace humans. Instead, AI helps humans to increase accuracy and perform their jobs better than before. Incorporating artificial intelligence in your sales departments enables you to automate various tasks done by humans and reduces the scope for human error increasing efficiency. Your sales department can benefit from AI by –

AI for increased price optimization: To decide the discount to be given to a client is always a tricky question for companies. As important as winning the deal is, leaving money on the table is a loss for you. Adopting artificial intelligence in sales departments helps you estimate the ideal discount rate for a proposal by viewing the specific features of a past deal closed. These features also include Features could include: the size of the deal in dollars, product specification compliance, number of competitors, company size, territory/region, client’s industry, client’s annual revenues, a public or private company, and level of decision-makers (influencers) involved.

AI for Better Forecasting: Forbes estimates that 74% of large B2B firms engage in sales forecasting every week. They also estimate that 69% of companies, regardless of their size, consider their sales forecasting methods to be ineffective. Sales managers face a daunting challenge in tracking where their team’s total revenue falls short each revenue cycle. Using AI in sales can help you effectively estimate and predict your revenue, reducing your operational challenges to manage your inventory and resources better.

Companies boasting accurate sales forecasts are 10% more likely to grow their revenue and 7% more likely to meet their targets.Source: Aberdeen Group

Cross-selling and up-selling: The most effective and economical way to increase profits is to sell more to your existing client base. But how do you understand which audience to target? You can spend your revenue marketing your product to the wrong audience or use AI algorithms to identify which clients would be willing to update their product (up-selling) and/or buy a completely different product that you offer (cross-selling).

Enhanced lead scoring: 61% of companies say misleading buying signals are a huge barrier to effective lead scoring. They claim to fall prey to customers’ gut impulses and inaccurate information, which significantly hurts their lead scoring or bottom line. Per Forbes, 68% of respondents reported implementing lead scoring strategies, whereas 40% believe in the value associated with lead scoring.

Effective performance management: Sales managers are expected to eagerly track their team performance and look out for barriers in meeting their revenue targets. With AI, they can now use dashboards that showcase employee performance and help managers predict which salespeople are likely to hit their quotas and which deals have a higher chance of being closed.

Empowering your sales force with AI technology

Before investing in a pilot project, you need to meet your sales managers and understand the potential use cases to determine the suited requirement. Three types of AI technology promises results for B2B sales organizations. They are –

  • AI in Sales Predictions – Analytics like AI in sales forecasting find correlations between various data points. Such tools automatically create the insights that are essential to managers and sales reps. For example, they can determine a prospect’s likelihood to become your client and help in sales forecasting.
  • Prescriptive – Such analytics supports guided selling. AI suggests activities based on all the sales methodologies adopted by the firm. This is a step forward to move a deal to the next sales stage or develop a pricing model based on a prospect’s general preferences.
  • AI for Text and sentiment analysis with Natural Language Processing – understands and analyzes the context of customers’ questions and their behavior. Using sentiment analysis, sales reps are alerted if signs of dissatisfaction are discovered.

What Microsoft Dynamics has to offer: Exclusive Features

Dynamics 365 AI for Sales enables salespeople to build stronger functional relationships with their customers to increase customer satisfaction. It helps them take actions based on helpful insights helping them close sales faster.

Dynamics 365 AI for Sales offers the following capabilities for sellers:

  • Relationship analytics: This feature helps you assemble relevant information from the entire database to create a graphical representation of all the KPIs and activity histories. Such a visual display showcases KPIs and activity histories for any contact, opportunity, lead or account.
  • Predictive lead scoring: This feature helps you generate scores for all your leads in the pipeline. It assigns a score between 0 to 100 to leads based on signals from them and related entities such as contact and account. This helps you identify and prioritize leads with more chances of converting into opportunities.
  • Predictive opportunity scoring: This feature provides a scoring model to generate scores for opportunities in your pipeline. It assigns a score between 0 and 100 to all the opportunities based on the signals they give out and other related entities such as contact and account. This helps identify and prioritize opportunities that have more chances of converting into sales.
  • Notes analysis: Notes give you intelligent suggestions to help you save time and effort by taking actions such as creating a meeting request and adding a contact. The text in the note is highlighted and when selected, suggestions are displayed.
  • Talking points: This feature is useful to help you start conversations with customers based on emails. The conservation starters include topics that are related to Health, sports, vacation, family, and entertainment. These topics help you start a conversation with your customer, as you can choose your customer’s area of interest. Talking points will display only the latest communication for each topic in hand.
  • Who knows whom: This feature provides you details such as your contact’s name and email address who knows the lead. Using these details, you can reach out to your contact and get introduced to a lead and increase the chances of a positive outcome during the interaction.

Key Takeaways

  • Good sales professionals advance their sales processes by leveraging the right skills at the right time. They become agile in their approach to numerous stakeholders who represent a host of opinions and interests.
  • Sales managers will require their workforce to have skills and tools to help customers build the case for change by understanding how factors like desired outcomes and solution options influence decisions.
  • Companies can benefit from seeing tangible rep to customer conversion analytics and identify different ways to improve deal closure rate.

Get Your Free Consultation to Enhance Sales With AI Integration.

Get Started Now

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

clean your bad crm data

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Clean Your Bad CRM Data & Boost Efficiencies

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Clean Your Bad CRM Data & Boost Efficiencies 1187 695 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Sales teams world over, rely on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to drive sales force automation.
  • According to Gartner, one of the prime reasons why organizations have not been able to derive the intended benefits from a CRM system is due to bad data, also referred to as dirty data.
  • Only 15% of the companies are confident of the quality of their CRM data.
  • IBM Estimates that poor quality data costs US businesses $3.1 trillion per year.
  • Every 8 out of 10 companies surveyed reported that bad CRM data had a significant impact on lead generation campaigns and industry outreach.
  • A data quality initiative can raise your sales bar as high as 20-40% and you can cut down your IT cost by 40-50%.
  • Bad data in CRM not only causes greater loss in revenue but also places your brand reputation at stake possibly due to incorrect messaging, lack of targeted marketing etc.
  • This article talks about the importance of CRM data, its impact to your interactions with your customers and ways to proactively ensure clean data that can be of significant value to your business. The article connects the pain in your real-life and provides solutions to the practical problems we all face.

Why is CRM and its data critical for your business – An overview of CRM & Customer 360

Today’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are a lot more than just Salesforce Automation or Contact Management tools. CRM systems are being leveraged by most organizations to run their Sales force, Field Service, Customer Service, Project Service Automation, Marketing, Surveys, IoT, Telephony and Call Records, Emails, the list goes on..

CRM is now at the core of every aspiring company.Industry-leading CRM applications have the ability to capture and present a 360 degree view of all your customer interactions in real-time. Different departments within your organization can benefit from this single source of truth. Embedded Analytics tools assimilate data from different data sources such as ERP, Big Data, Social Media, Email interactions and aid in building this 360 degree view. It is imperative to plan for and include Data Quality Management (DQM) processes and tools while managing such critical data.

A Real-Life Story..

One of our customers decided to migrate from an industry-leading CRM to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. On the onset of the project, they realized that their data quality was bad and required extreme manual intervention. The clean-up initiative was a nightmare and lasted a few weeks. They had to engage more than 10 resources full-time to clean three (3) years worth of dirty data. Sounds ridiculous, but true.

Aren’t there any tools that can help automate this clean-up? Is this an archaic dinosaur-age CRM, or what?

Only 15% of all companies are confident in the quality of their CRM data. Quite the contrary, the customer was using a good CRM solution embedded with all kinds of powerful data-cleanup tools out-of-the-box. So why weren’t these data cleanup tools used? They did.

Despite the data clean-up and tools, there was a significant amount of additional manual intervention required because some of their technology-averse users decided to record data inconsistently and used fields for incorrect purposes. This could have been controlled by enforcing good data capture processes in place. Hindsight is always 20/20.

They have more than 30000 leads in the system with approx. 10% of them being duplicates. 20% of the remaining leads are filled with incorrect data such as:

  • Leads (people) not still with the company
  • Missing email and contact information
  • Missing revenue details
  • Missed customer feedback / surveys etc and many more

What’s the consequence?

Marketing campaigns for key events had to be delayed, resulting in a loss of tangible revenue. The status of current leads is at best “unknown” leading to missed sales and opportunities, causing a huge deal of stress to the sales and marketing teams..

So, here is the truth

They are not the first to experience this. Quite a few of our customers have been through a similar ordeal resulting in lost opportunities and more importantly the loss of serious revenue earning potential.

How did data get this dirty, and most importantly, what are the lessons learned?

Below are just a few of the many ways that a CRM system can go from a super valuable tool to an expensive headache.

  • Years of incorrect processes when capturing data
  • Improper training
  • Failure to perform due diligence when selecting the fields for specific data
  • Simple typos
  • Lack of a data quality management processes embedded within the overall flow

These issues are recurring and can be addressed proactively with active management and right processes. In the sections below we will talk more about the detrimental effects of having a CRM with unusable / ineffective data, and ways to avoid it.

Why is CRM data critical for companies?

The success of an organization to a great extent relies on an incessant flow of smarter data-driven decisions. The question that arises in this context is: How do you make the right decisions to ensure organizational growth?

  • High-quality information and strategy are the pillars of any objective decision taken within an organization. Just imagine if the CRM data, a significant element to be used by the sales and marketing departments of any organization, is filled with bad, dirty or even unreliable data? How successful would marketing campaigns be? Can Lead conversion be even calculated or improved upon? There are so many metrics that are not relevant because of bad data.
  • A CRM solution with unreliable data is similar to buildings without foundations. Just as a building cannot stand without its foundations, a customer relationship management system cannot deliver its intended value to the business without up-to-date, high-quality, reliable information.

Dirty data – What is it and How to identify it?

The term Dirty data / bad data refers to data consisting of any number of incorrect facts or assumptions. It can exist anywhere – your CRM, your ERP system, shared documents, reports etc.- and it’s usually a specific type of error or mistake.

According to Techopedia: misleading data, incorrect data, inaccurate data, duplicate data, non-integrated data, misspelled data, non-formatted data, incomplete data, all fall within the category of dirty data.

  • Invalid Data: Information that is inserted in wrong fields, records that cause software errors, unprocessable information due to erroneous formatting.
  • Fraudulent Data: Intended insertion of wrong information by users or sophisticated CRM bots to take the you out of the competition.
  • Duplicate Data: Records of the same customer under various pseudonyms and accounts due to user error.
  • Inconsistent Data: Data redundancy in the system that is unchecked over a period of time causing bigger inconsistencies.
  • Inaccurate Data: CRM data that was valid in the past years, but was not updated or no longer required.
  • Incomplete Data: Records that don’t contain holistic information, requiring additional CRM data fields to make it a functional information.

Many companies overestimate their quality of data and at times even ridicule any chance of dirty data attack to their business. This often causes significant losses in business.

  • CRM data is no longer an issue that companies can afford to ignore.
  • You need an effective approach to data quality management and convert bad leads to viable customer opportunities.
  • Implementing a Data Quality Management initiative can benefit your organization with a 20-40% increase in sales.
  • Additionally, you can cut down the IT spend of your company by as much as 50%.

How can bad CRM data impact your business?

Dirty CRM data is a plague, and it must be eradicated. The impact bad data can have on a business is staggering, and understanding how to avoid it is a strength as some of the side-effects include

  • Increased maintenance costs and resource utilization
  • Lower customer satisfaction and retention
  • Increased errors in messages and emails, resulting in spam reports
  • Prolonged sales cycles heightening costs
  • Reduced productivity and performance
  • Affected sales and distribution channels due to inaccuracies
  • Non-compliance issues resulting in regulatory penalties
  • Damage to reputation and a decrease in revenue generation

Any one of these things alone can be bad news for a business, and dirty data can create many of these effects at one time.

The typical organization invests roughly $150,000 to generate 1,000 leads.

  • Only 30% of those leads typically get routed to sales.
  • The company leaves 700 leads behind that are never routed to sales.

This translates to the company losing millions of dollars in pipeline opportunities.

– Carlos Hidalgo, Founder & CEO of VisumCx

Are data failures in CRM history?

It can happen to any organization big or small, and it can lead to serious damages. Damage to reputations can cost millions, and fines and penalties as well, can be quite steep – just as the following companies found out

  • In the banking sector, the cost of dirty data is over $400 billion, an estimated 15%-25% of its global revenue, at $2.2 trillion.The TDWI reports that in 1996, the Fleet Bank (at present a part of Bank of America) set out to deploy a CRM project of $38 million. Consecutively for three years the project failed to generate the expected outcome as per the objectives, and as a consequence led to a complete failure.
  • A large insurance firm had to suffer an annual loss of thousands of dollars during a campaign due to duplicate records in list of mail contacts.
  • Erroneous data entry cost a major telecommunications company $8 million in one month, by preventing bills from being sent out.
  • A major Information services firm suffer an annual loss of over $500,000 due to inaccurate data. This caused reports to be recalled over and over, which were sent to out subscribers and as a result led to a loss of a significant amount of customers.
  • A well known bank discovered that 62 percent of its home equity loans were being miscalculated leading to a higher principal every month.
  • A global chemical company unearthed the root cause of millions of lost dollars in volume discounts in the procurement of supplies. The organization had failed to identify and reconcile with suppliers globally.

The average cost of fixing and cleaning a single, neglected data entry is $100. Per IBM, in the US, average yearly expense of dirty data is in excess of $3.1 trillion.

What is Data Quality Management (DQM)?

The image above tells us that most organizations don’t have a strategy in place to manage data quality. A minimum amount of planning would enable these organizations to design a suitable data quality management plan. The concept of data quality management is a standard that sees the information gathered within a developed long-term business strategy able to efficiently and successfully handle day-to-day operations is correctly maintained. The following key aspects are essential in achieving a certain level of quality:

  • Accuracy: Is the information right and can it be validated?
  • Integrity: Does there exist a coherent, logical structure?
  • Consistency: Is the data consistent and easily understood?
  • Completeness: Does it provide all the information required?
  • Validity: Is it within the acceptable parameters required by the business?
  • Timeliness: Is it available whenever required?
  • Accessibility: Can the data be easily accessed and exported to other applications?
  • Compliance: Does it comply with regulatory and industry standards?

How dirty is your CRM data? It’s time to clean

It’s said that data decays at an average rate of 2% per month, that can add up to as much as 25-30% of your data every year.

Every 8 out of 10 companies surveyed reported that their lead generation campaigns were negatively impacted by bad CRM data, and approximately 6 out of 10 expressed concerns regarding compromised marketing efforts due to inaccurate databases and dirty data. To marketers, losing any data is bad and usually results in damaged opportunities. Cleaning up this data lets your marketing efforts reach prospects faster, helps target the right audience, increases revenue from campaigns, and eliminates wasted time and labor.

So how can we achieve this? What are some ways that we can prevent dirty data?

  • Updating Complete Customer Information: The sales and marketing staff need to be trained to gather all essential data during their contact with customers. Integrating other systems with the CRM solution in your organization helps to update purchase order details such as invoices, and payment status for customers, allowing complete customer details to be obtained automatically.
  • Maintaining Up-to-Date Records: The information in the database can go obsolete if it has not been used for a while or the administrators have not managed it actively. One way to deal with this is by confirming customer information whenever in contact. In case the customer email address has changed for example, you would now update that accordingly. There is even the option of hiring professionals to perform database cleaning services helping to keep your CRM data up-to-date.
  • Setting the Data Quality: You can seek assistance from your management team, requesting them to conduct training sessions on the management of data in CRM solution. Alternatively, the administration can take initiatives to prepare a comprehensive policy on data management, making it a continuous commitment for the staff. This will guide employees in meeting data standards day after day.
  • Implementing Automation Procedure: Wherever possible, automate data entry to avoid incorrect data insertion and duplication. Use software that can automatically capture and log data. In cases when manual entry may be the only option, put forth your best efforts to avoid typos or misspells. Get it right on the first attempt!
  • Analyzing and Getting New Prospects: While you can contact your existing customers with CRM data , it cannot get you new prospects to boost your sales. The marketing team needs to put more effort in finding potential leads to include them into the sales pipeline. As you find new prospects, keep on updating their details in the CRM solution.

Clean CRM data – Success stories

It’s very easy to ignore the data in your CRM allowing it to cause severe damage to your business, but with a little planning and by having the right processes in place to follow, you can turn your CRM into your organization’s financial heartbeat. Businesses of any size can benefit from keeping clean data, as the following examples show:

  • The home service of well-known Schwan Food Company was greatly impacted by invalid customer records which were leading to delays in delivery and the efforts of customer service representatives to satisfy complaints were going wasted. The company placed a concentrated effort on eliminating the duplicate CRM data. The solution was a quality data management solution that improved their customer service by removing duplicate customer records and establishing a 360-degree view of the customer.
  • Following a merger, MSC Industrial Direct Co. – a Forbes Platinum 400 company – discovered that its business workflow was being affected due to duplicate customer record entries. This brought about compensation issues within sales. To resolve this, the organization implemented a business-insight driven data management solution that allowed them to minimize their credit risk exposure by removing duplicate customer records from the system.

Key Takeaways – Move Forward Plan

  • You may have been using your CRM with little thought to the data that was going into it. You think you’ll just put some lead information here, and a contact’s information there, and you’ll feel good for doing your job. Three years later you’ve got literally thousands of garbage leads and contacts in your CRM and there’s no way to quickly fix it, no way to run campaigns, and a mountain of work ahead to attempt to salvage as much data as you can.
  • You may think it’s impossible to keep your CRM solution entirely free of dirty data, but it CAN be done – with a little work and the right processes in place the amount of dirty data in your system can be minimized, allowing your sales and marketing teams to take advantage of an immensely valuable technology.
  • Even though cleaning dirty data is a time-consuming affair, don’t ignore it. The effort you spend on cleaning your CRM is a worthwhile investment, and the effort you spend maintaining clean data in your systems can lead to major growth and a positive change in your day-to-day operations.

Get Free Consultation For all Your Business Needs

Get Started Now

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com