AI in sales AI in sales Building relationship in the virtual space

AI in sales: Building relationships in the virtual space | Saad Khan

In this interview regarding AI in sales and building meaningful connections virtually, we conversed with Saad Khan, Business Development Manager at Dooly.  

Saad is passionate about sales and has helped build Dooly’s BDR team from scratch, aiding their transition from PLG to sales-assisted PLG and accelerating their progress. B2B selling has changed immensely over the years.

With the introduction of AI, it’s more promising today. In 2020-21, AI in sales witnessed a 76% rise in adoption over 2018. 

Let’s look at AI’s role in the B2B sales process and what’s coming next.

Impact of the Pandemic on B2B Sales 

The pandemic brought about a revolution in B2B lead generation services, resulting in 2 things:

  • With everything happening remotely, demand for technologies reached an entirely different level. Consequently, this demand created a need for more software sales jobs.
  • Having realized that they’re in a position of power, sellers are taking into consideration the sales organization’s tech stack and how it’ll benefit them in their job. As a result, B2B companies have shifted from buying for the business to buy for their members, thereby valuing sellers more.

Prospecting & Building Client Relationships

The most crucial aspect of selling is that customers want to do business with individuals they like and trust. AI in sales and social media plays an essential role in building this likeability and reliability through humor or relevance.

These days, negotiations are closed on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit instead of using research studies for establishing thought leadership. 

B2B marketing on social media has increased. Buyers are becoming increasingly interested in the social selling side of the business and connecting with sellers on a human level before moving into a transaction.

Aligning B2B Sales & Marketing 

Where sales and marketing converge is in trust. They must complement one another, and a brand’s personality, as set forth by marketing, should seamlessly transition from one to another for a consistent customer experience.

Sales must convert into marketing, and marketing must convert into sales.

“If Dooly’s website features a lot of pink, color, and fun, then the seller ought to be the same.”

– Saad Khan, Business Development Manager, Dooly.

Dooly also deploys content marketing to support employees  — recognizing that the job of content marketing has moved from establishing expertise to creating momentum for sales.

The Unaware Stage In The Buyer’s Journey

Typically, a buyer’s journey looks like

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Purchase

Awareness is typically the stage where people seek content and download blogs, webinars, and guides. However, Saad shares a different perspective.

To him, awareness is when the B2B customer understands not only what the software does, but also the solution it provides. In that vein, giving the sales team a lead, who has only read your blog, to convert from MQL to SQL isn’t right.

Consequently, Saad has modified this and added another stage — The Unaware Stage. This is where prospects come to you and download resources, hinting at a low level of intent.

So what do you do? Sell them your product? 

No, you use insights from AI in sales, understand where the interest lies, educate them, and move them along the ‘Unaware Stage > Awareness > Consideration > Purchase’ journey.

Content Creation & Approaching Prospects on LinkedIn 

The employees at Dooly post on LinkedIn frequently. It’s a strategic content creation process to share content that resonates with your prospects.

Approaching prospects on LinkedIn has to follow a connect-and-pitch technique. Instead of cold calling prospects for two to three weeks, sales reps are adding them on LinkedIn, creating content, and having prospects engage with them. When the B2B sales rep reaches out to the prospect, they already know the rep and are more willing to have a conversation.

Understandably, not all sales reps are confident on LinkedIn. But sales leaders are showing reps that the best thing to do is share learning experiences so they don’t come across as ‘salesy’ but personable.

Content Management & Repurposing 

At Dooly, everyone’s encouraged to write content willingly.

Camille, the head of content marketing, creates a social media kit for campaigns with multiple posts and shares it across the company. So, if it’s difficult for someone to write, all they have to do is use the post or take inspiration from their insights on AI in sales and create their own posts. 

The next step is algorithm hacking for B2B marketing on social media. The posts get shared on the company Slack channel, and everybody engages with it. This way, A’s network sees B’s network, starting a cascading effect of engagement.

The Dooly Playbook  

Saad designed the Dooly Playbook for his BDR team, in which he confidently goes against generic industry standards for B2B selling:

  • Someone trying to break into SaaS shouldn’t go to startups or 50% B2B companies with big targets. They should go to a company with 100 people that can support them.
  • Those in sales believe you don’t need a degree, but Saad disagrees. Degrees teach discipline, which is paramount to sales success. That’s what he looks for in his reps, too. His team needs disciplined people who can consistently keep going despite setbacks.
  • The last thing in his playbook is that he’s an actual sales coach. He wasn’t that great to start with. It’s the difficulties he faced that helped him coach reps to overcome challenges. 

He also differentiates between training and coaching. Training shows people what they can do with tools at their disposal, and coaching shows how they can use the tools.

Saad’s Sales Onboarding Process  

Onboarding into SaaS businesses needs in-depth software and AI in sales knowledge and willingness to research, among other things.

As for Saad’s sales onboarding process at Dooly, here’s what happens:

  1. In the first week, he gives newly onboarded sales reps a chance to understand the business and B2B sales process, make friends, start conversations, and relax. The reason? That’s what you need to settle in at a new place — feeling like you belong. 
  2. At the end of the week, he lets reps make calls. This is earlier than conventional sales practices allow because he doesn’t want the reps to fall down an analysis paralysis hole. He prefers using AI in sales to put them out in the field, understand how good, or bad they are, and build a process that works on those weaknesses to help them succeed.
  3. The first calls that new reps make are closed or lost opportunities. Closed or lost B2B customers are the prospects who came to Dooly but didn’t make a purchase because either the timing, need, or pricing was off.

Most times, it’s the timing, and these opportunities can be circled back to in 6-7 months. Reps already have their information in the system; all they need to do is get the timing right. Closed and lost opportunities are easy wins, giving new reps a vast, much-needed confidence boost.

  1. Lastly, he makes new reps write their own sequences instead of following those set by the organization. It ensures that their conversation with leads across channels — phone or email — sounds natural, fostering an organic selling process for buyers.

Top B2B Sales Challenges 

Although sellers have become more powerful, specific challenges in B2B selling still exist, which can be tackled with the help of AI in sales. The top three are: 

Inconsistent buying cycles 

Power shifts in leadership need to be tackled with multithreading early on in the sales process. This is now more important than ever before.

Remote communication

Remote work doesn’t mean effective communication and collaboration among teams. Reps still face difficulties in connecting with several stakeholders, particularly while multithreading.

The new playbook

The conventional way of sales is gone. But no one in the industry has a good idea of the new playbook for B2B lead generation services.

So, what is the new playbook?

Social selling will be an essential chapter in the new sales playbook. But sellers need to ensure they don’t connect and pitch right away.

For example, connecting with a prospect on LinkedIn and then two days later reaching out to sell to them.

It’s a growing challenge with an increasing number of sellers who haven’t been coached. So without guidance from AI in sales, more and more sellers make the same mistakes for social selling.

Attending Trade Shows in the Post-Pandemic World

Trade Shows have come a long way from the pre-pandemic period. They’re now a gathering of minds. People know each other from LinkedIn and meet others personally at these shows.

Put this way, trade shows are no longer for prospecting. They’re for networking and building a community.

Biggest B2B Sales Mistakes 

Perhaps the biggest B2B sales mistakes are also some of the most general ones, such as:

  1. Lack of research on prospects and the industry
  2. Selling products versus providing solutions for problems
  3. Mistaking trade shows as prospecting, rather than networking, opportunities 

Using AI in Sales for Guided Selling 

AI sales tools empower sellers by driving better decision-making, processes, and, ultimately, better sales. Good software doesn’t do the work for reps. It just aims to make the rep better at their job.

Dooly is the part of a seller’s day-to-day routine that they didn’t automate. It does everything all at once — deal management, note tracking, or moving deals along the Salesforce page. And not just that. It helps you on calls and tells you what to say based on internal data. 

In Conclusion

A quality software program will improve your ability to perform your work rather than doing it for you. And that’s what AI in sales is getting at. They are improving workflows by absorbing sales intelligence. These tools grow and learn from themselves to help you and give you a boost.

Sales reps still have much to learn. But this is much easier to do with the right set of tools and coaching by their side.

Find out more about AI in eCommerce with ewiz commerce’s solutions. Sign up for a free consultation today.

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