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Slack Bots, Artificial Intelligence
Blog / For Sales Pros / Oct 6, 2018 / Posted by Tony Hughes / 442 

Slack Bots, Artificial Intelligence

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Account Based Marketing & Outbound Automation – Oh My!

The Age of Artificial Intelligence is upon us! So will you lose your job in 2017? Not if you master the following whiz-bang platforms:

Man the photon torpedos and tune your dilithium crystals because sales 3.0 or even 4.0 is upon us. AI is steadily creeping into sales assistants that loop into Slack Bots to sync to Salesforce like Troops.ai. You can even deploy a virtual sales assistant that schedules meetings for you (x.ai)!

Do you want to leverage big data to crunch all your leads to optimize which ones are the hottest / have the highest propensity to close? (Lattice Engines)

You’re also seeing the rise of “Automation of Everything” from Outreach.io to Engagio.

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is all the rage. This is a new spin on a timeless classic. For simplicity and those new to the concept, ABM is simply going after targeted “Named” lists of executives, companies, and territories vs. spray and pray? Please comment if you see this trend as more nuanced than this. The main software concept is called a “cadence” which is a software that helps organize a blended prospecting approach across all the channels: social, email, phone, snail mail – you name it!

I recently polled my LinkedIn audience of 95,000+ for their opinions of tools, which many believe are crucial to use hardcore 24/7/365 to exceed Plan and Quota in 2017. The first volley in response: Wrong question! The Tools are the problem, cease and desist. What we need is some good old-fashioned sales training. I dunno, esoteric things like communicating value to clients, peeling the onion with open SPIN questions, how to run an effective sales call, impress a boardroom with active listening skills. That’s so old school!

It’s time for THE 2017 TOOLS LIST: Cue the fembot Tron girls and Daft Punk!

Supercilious Scintillating Sales Tools For Total Sales World Domination – please help me by adding any platforms I missed in the comments that you have actually used, and I’ll refresh this post:

  1. [SOCIAL Prospecting Software & CRMy Thingamajigs] LinkedIn Sales Navigator, KiteDesk, Nimble, Contactually, Altify | You can’t really live without LinkedIn Sales Navigator in 2017. Full stop! Here’s the business case for investing in Navigator subscriptions for your whole team.
  2. [DIRECT DIALS, Sales Intelligence & Trigger Events] DiscoverOrg, RainKing, ZoomInfo, Data.com | You’ve gotta be able to dial directly during your prospecting blocks or efficiency goes through the toilet.
  3. [AI] Seamless.ai, Troops.ai, x.ai (artificial sales intelligence, slackbot to automatically sync data to Salesforce, and virtual sales assistant that schedules meetings for you) | Super productive and frothy, the VC space is radiant white hot around this new-fangled tech. Wait and see! Here is a brilliant example called Complexica which uses AI software for optimising sales & marketing activities to drive field sales and marketing efficiencies.
  4. [Automation, Sales Productivity, & ABM] Outreach.io, Node.io, Octiv, DataFox, Engagio, SalesLoft | Outbound orchestration tools keep SDR teams engaged.
  5. [Email Tracking & Salesforce Sync] Cirrus Insight, YesWare, ZynBit (see when prospects open your email, how many times on what device) | Lethal for the perfectly timed follow-up or customer service issue. There exist a correlation and causation between opens and acceleration of stages in the funnel.
  6. [Meeting setters] Frontline Selling, Predictable Revenue | The genius Mike Scher or Aaron “Air” Ross – respectively – will deploy software and sellers on your behalf to land qualified meetings. So worth it!
  7. [Coaching Stack] xVoyant (creating world-class sales coaches!)
  8. [Predictive Modeling & Sales Intel] Lattice Engines, InsideSales.com | Which leads are most likely to convert and produce revenue based on AI and crunching big data algorithmically…
  9. [Internal Social Collaboration] Slack (the grandaddy of internal social productivity tools – I recommend you all use it this year!) At the very least, endeavor to move as many of your internal interactions off of email threads and into Salesforce Chatter, as possible.

This is some of the coolest, most cutting edge, downright sexiest tech that I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’ve crowdsourcing the search with your help. What did I miss? Why is it your COOL TOOL du jour? Is it really “crucial clutch-cargo, Kyle” to your mission of crushing revenue in 2017?

Domo arigato Mr. Roboto! I would do my audience a disservice not to issue the following Surgeon General’s Warning on these tools from global thought leaders who wrote into the show:

My sincere wish for 2017 is that serious sales leaders invest less in “tools” and more in “teaching” their Sales Reps and Sales Managers how to deliver value throughout the sales process. Once that is accomplished then, and only then, will you know how to support your efforts with technology. Call me crazy but it is my wish… – Trish Bertuzzi, The Bridge Group | Read her book: Sales Development Playbook.

Tools and fools… over the years I have seen tools used as an excuse to avoid the hard truths about why sales are ineffective or not productive or is not achieving results. Simply put, salespeople (and sales managers) are not equipped with the right skills and coaching needed for success. If we spent more time and effort on those fundamentals and less on tools and false methodologies, we would see a significantly improved performance and more consistent results. This is the responsibility of both leaders and reps alike and requires hard work, time, desire to improve, and a thoughtful approach. That is my wish for 2017 sales orgs. – Mark Birch | Hosts some of the top sales meetups in the world.

Working for a tool company, I’d agree with many of the sentiments expressed here about tool misuse and the need for teaching. The secret to real success is not that complex, though. It’s to create a sales ecosystem of tools that support the learning and behavior change you want to foster. Use tools that make the learning more efficient and effective, or support the use of skills (or the performance aids that help with reinforcement, transfer, application, and mastery). And don’t forget to enable and support your managers. I have a favorite set of sales performance ecosystem tools that I’d generally recommend, but what I think isn’t as important as picking the tools that support your company’s specific strategy, based on what your sales force and frontline managers need. – Mike Kunkle | Enablement Guru at Brainshark

The most powerful tool to solicit responses and engage with a buyer the way they want to engage is via video. That’s stupid easy to use for sales and easier to deploy and creates a differentiation between you and your competitors which is unmatched and rememberable. – Mario M. Martinez | Social Selling Thought Leader, Contributor to HuffPo

Pad and paper. – Noah Goldman, Enterprise Sales Podcast [Link, don’t miss it!]

About Author

A bestselling author, award-winning blogger and the most read LinkedIn Author globally on the topic of B2B sales leadership. Tony’s first book is a business bestseller with his second book, COMBO Prospecting, available on Amazon here. He can be found at TonyHughes.com.au and RSVPselling.com

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