Artificial intelligence is here to stay, and it’s already having huge impacts on business operations. This article by Mike Bernard, Chief Marketing Officer at Vendavo, explores the seemingly endless possible AI applications and use cases across the functions of sales, marketing, customer service, and customer support – particularly how organizations can drive more revenue with AI.
Opinions on artificial intelligence (AI) run the full spectrum today, ranging from valuable personal assistant to powerful business enabler to terrifying world conqueror. (For the record, we don’t think robots will take over the human race.)
New use cases make for fascinating stories, including how AI fully negotiated a NDA contract within minutes – without human intervention – and how one discrete manufacturer reduced its manufacturing time by 10 hours with AI, while retaining all its QA checks.
One of the more compelling questions on most business owners’ minds is how AI might be used to grow revenue. The opportunities seem endless when you consider possible AI use cases across the functions of sales, marketing, customer service, and support.
AI-Powered Sales and Marketing
According to Gartner’s recent Use AI to Grow B2B Sales Revenue and Optimize Costs report, AI facilitates a deeper understanding of customer inquiries while also capably managing innumerable conversations and personalizing targeted outreach.
The business value examples cited include:
- Increased cross-sell and upsell revenue opportunities
- Optimized pricing strategy
- Improved forecasting accuracy
AI insights can smooth the sales process and indicate if a change in sales activities might help the chances of closing a deal successfully. Read more on AI use cases in sales in AI’s Impact on Sales and Tips for Success.
A critical tool in a salesperson’s toolkit is the ability to deliver the right solution to the right customer for the right price and at the right time. Price optimization is a must-have strategy for revenue gains and profitability, and AI can be enormously helpful to:
- Analyze data
AI can analyze vast volumes of data quickly and accurately, removing the otherwise time-consuming, error-prone, manual processes pricers typically wade through to compile market trends, historical transactions, product preferences, and competitor actions.
- Predict customer behavior
AI algorithms can discover patterns across various data sets and help pricing teams create personalized discounts, promotions, or bundles.
- Monitor competitors’ pricing
AI-powered pricing continuously monitors competitors’ pricing and gives organizations an opportunity to respond to price strategies in real-time. If competitors are dropping their prices, you can analyze why. Then, your organization can make a thoughtful decision to match those low prices or stay the course because you’re going for a separate audience with a higher willingness-to-pay threshold.
Learn more about how AI is revolutionizing pricing strategies in Mastering the Art of Pricing with AI – Essential Tips for Pricers.
Using AI in your sales and pricing functions will help you grow revenue, but ensuring your stakeholders – including internal teams, customers, and partners – have visibility into both process and output is another critical piece to this puzzle.
In October 2023, President Biden announced an Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence that calls for the creation of new standards on how AI can be implemented safely, securely, and fairly in the US. As a recent article in Harvard Business Review points out, AI can be great for “knowledge work,” which involves cognitive processing for value-added output – but only if it’s used in the right way. Under the executive order, the “right way” means using AI in ways that don’t run counter to democratic beliefs.
At Vendavo, we agree AI must be used in the right way and that its origins are clear. In a B2B environment, AI outputs must also be explainable for it to truly work.
“Explainable AI” is guidance that builds confidence because all the stakeholders understand the inputs, or what went into arriving at the right price and timely sales guidance. Stakeholders can then trust the recommendations that AI-powered system provides.
When incorporating AI in sales and pricing processes, be sure to ask these questions:
- Which inputs were used so the technology could come to this realization?
- What can the sales team learn about these inputs to improve their level of trust in the recommendations?
- Any pricing optimization initiative is going to generate revenue, but what’s the quality of the improvement?
- How much human-led effort did it take to get to that improvement?
While the long list of possibilities for AI is exciting, there is an important caveat: Its use should be a blend of both human and machine intelligence for outputs to be explainable, controllable, ethical, responsible, unbiased and a list of other important principles.
AI: Your Co-Pilot in Growing Revenue
AI works best when it supports what humans do best. A hybrid approach is important – particularly in sales and pricing – where humans have unique insights and experience that machines simply cannot duplicate. For the best possible outcome, the key is to use AI as a co-pilot to sell, price products, and better serve customers.
For more information about how Vendavo can help your organization with data-driven insights, request a demo today.