Why AI-Based Selling is No Longer Optional

Like all new innovations, artificial intelligence has been met with both wariness and hope. This has been true in the B2B selling space as well.

Why AI-Based Selling Is No Longer Optional

The fear is that it will take decision making away from reps and managers. The hope is it will help boost sales.

Lately though, the hope of AI is turning into more of an urgent necessity as the sales environment becomes increasingly turbulent.

The changes roiling the B2B sales space are driven by rising customer expectations, spurred by the improved buying experience in the consumer world. Customers want speed and the best price, and they are prone to switch vendors if they don’t get what they want.

Sales forces are also undergoing a lot of churn. According to Forbes, there is a 34% annual turnover and the average sales rep tenure is now under two years. At the same time, onboarding reps is taking up to six months.

Clearly, something has to give.

That’s why businesses are casting aside their fears and looking to AI as a solution.

CPQ and AI

In the area of Configure Price Quote (CPQ), artificial intelligence -- or more accurately, augmented intelligence -- has a particularly large role to play in helping sales reps keep up.

Here are some of the AI capabilities in CPQ to help meet these urgent needs.

  • AI-powered guided selling so the right bundle or configuration can be assembled and the number of clicks it takes for a rep to accurately assemble the right configuration or bundle is reduced.

  • AI pricing: With machine learning applied to pricing, the price is optimized for the customer and situation. The price can be suggested, not imposed, leaving some room for sales rep/manager discretion.

  • AI-powered discount discipline that suggests pricing within acceptable limits for maintaining company profitability/margins.

  • AI configuration provides suggested optimal configurations of products and services to win a deal.

These innovations can help cut down on the time needed to get quotes to the customer and allow revisions to be calculated quickly. It can also help get the customer the best price possible within the confines of the company’s business model.

Finally, it can shorten the ramp up time of new reps and speed the ability to sell new products.

Find out more in our webinar  Maximize Revenue with AI-Powered Selling on Thursday, Oct. 25 at  2 p.m. EST.

By Matt McEnerney | October 22nd, 2018 | CPQ

About the Author: Matt McEnerney

Matt McEnerney

Matt McEnerney is a Product Marketing Manager at CallidusCloud with over 10 years experience in sales and marketing. Using an analytical approach to assess the direction of the market, he is responsible for guiding product messaging. Find him studying cloud formations, woodworking, or enjoying the outdoors in his free time.