How Activity Data Fuels Sales Effectiveness
The Corpus of Enterprise Content & Sales Activity Data is Key to Successful Artificial Intelligence for Sales
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Sales Productivity ecosystem is growing by the day and recent announcements, acquisitions (i.e. Microsoft-LinkedIn), rumors and releases (ie. Cortana Intelligence Suite) from Oracle, SugarCRM, Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM, OpenText has the Internet abuzz.
While today’s mainstream AI consists of cute reminders and suggestions for busy salespeople, à la Clippy, derived from combing through dialing lists, email and calendar, the Panacea of AI for Sales is a smarter, personalized and more predictive customer experience. In such a world, sales reps would have true one-on-one interactions and would be confident knowing that what they say and show is proven and tailored for their client. In order for such a world to become reality the corpus of enterprise content and sales activity data must be part of the provider’s solution.
Less than 10% of activity takes place in CRM.
It’s common to hear about reps just spending 5 minutes a day making sure their pipeline is updated – often right before a meeting with their manager. However we spend hours in email and hours reading and editing material for our prospects.
Everybody talks about the shifts in how companies buy, how educated buyers are, and the complexity of today’s sales process but in the midst of all these changes sales leaders still struggle with same old questions:
- Capture Winning Behaviors: How can I clone my top reps?
- Predictive: How can I better predict pipeline?
- Consistency: How can I drive consistent revenue?
$26.3 billion is spent annually on CRM, but despite these investments over 90% of sales activities happen outside of CRM: meetings, presentations, emails, attachments, phone calls, follow-ups, more meetings, thousands/day. And all these live in different places: email, laptops, drives, portals, CMS, learning systems, departments…all silos.
Bridging Structured And Unstructured Data
Address book apps are easy to build and Social Media is still sexy hence the attention to date. But for AI not to get stuck in a “Trough of Disillusionment” and instead deliver on its hype, AI platforms need to hook into the core of business and absorb what’s going on across the entire corpus of enterprise data.
Most sales AI available today just touches the tip of the iceberg when it comes to leveraging an enterprise’s data. We need to start understanding the relationships between people, information, time, outcome, actions, etc… All of this data should then be married with CRM data to get your answers. This deeply embedded type of AI, bridging structured and unstructured data, consuming ALL sales activities ,across a heterogeneous network, is the sort of intelligence that could automatically discover relevant insights, predict future behavior, and proactively recommend best next actions.
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