For a lot of salespeople out there, artificial intelligence (AI) just isn’t on their radar.
Sure, they’ve heard of it. But the way you hear AI being talked about these days … it just sounds like a bunch of hype.
You’ve got some people who claim that AI has the power to do anything and everything, while others argue “the technology just isn’t there yet.”
And then there’s Elon Musk, who recently stated that “AI is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization.”
So here’s an idea. Let’s put all of that aside for a second and focus on answering one simple question:
What can AI do for me today?
As a salesperson, the short answer is: it can help you automate your BDR process (a.k.a. lead qualification process) and take care of scheduling meetings for you, which frees you up to focus 100% on closing deals.
The long answer? Just keep reading…
Artificial Intelligence in Action
At Drift, we use our fleet of intelligent bots to qualify leads in real-time via live chat.
When a lead ends up being a good fit, one of our sales reps gets added to the conversation automatically, and that lead can then schedule a time for a demo directly on that rep’s calendar — all from within the chat window.
Sounds great, right? But what does that actually look like in practice?
Rather than me explaining how all of this works using only words, our CTO Elias had a brilliant suggestion:
Let’s highlight an actual conversation that took place between one of our leads and one of our bots so we can break down all of the different elements that go into the qualifying process.
Using AI the Right Way
At Drift, we think the popular “bots versus humans” narrative is misleading.
Because when used correctly, AI has the power to take care of all of the mundane, repetitive tasks that used to bog salespeople down.
From having to manually enter information into Salesforce, to going back-and-forth with a lead a dozen times in order to set up a time for a demo, to having to ask the same qualifying questions over and over and over…
By letting a bot take care of those tedious tasks, salespeople can re-invest their time in activities that require a human touch (like answering complex product questions and building lasting business relationships).
The goal of using AI for sales isn’t to remove people from the sales process, it’s to add the right people into the process at the right time so they can provide the best experience possible.
Using the traditional approach, we’d force leads to fill out forms and then we’d make them wait hours, days, weeks, or even longer for a follow-up from sales.
Using AI, we can engage with those leads as soon as they land on our site, and if they’re interested in talking to sales, we can books demo for them in real-time.
As a result, we’ve seen our sales cycle shrink from months and weeks, to days and hours.
The Power of Conversations
The Harvard Business Review recently published an article that explores how AI is streamlining marketing and sales.
In that article, the author explains how RapidMiner CEO Tom Wentworth uses Drift’s AI to qualify leads (without lead capture forms) and how the resulting conversations are treasure troves of customer knowledge.
Here’s a quote:
Every day, Wentworth reviews conversations people have had with Drift. “I’ve learned things about my visitors that no other analytics system would show,” said Wentworth. “We’ve learned about new use cases, and we’ve learned about product problems.”
This is the strength of an AI agent that can elicit information like a person, rather than an analytics tool that simply finds patterns in the data it collects, like a machine.
So in addition to improving customer experience and speeding up your sales cycle, taking a conversational approach to lead qualification can end up uncovering customer insights that really matter to your business.
Why did someone decide to buy? What problem where they hoping to address by using our product? Those are questions that conversations do a much better job of answering than lead forms.
And that’s why earlier this week we introduced the concept of the conversation-qualified lead, or CQL™.
It’s how we measure our lead qualification efforts in today’s real-time, on-demand world.
Whether you believe the hype about AI or don’t believe the hype about AI, here’s the deal: Sales and marketing teams are already benefitting from it.
Perfecto Mobile used AI to grow their website’s conversion rate from 6% to 20% in just a few months.
RewardStream, meanwhile, was booking 30% of their sales demos via AI within 45 days of implementing it.
An for Segment, AI is their #1 source of qualified opportunities.
Ready to see how AI can help streamline your sales and marketing efforts?
Clink the link below to schedule a demo with us