Author – Michael Blair —
My career has been centered around selling to corporations. I owe much of my success to what I call instincts. These instincts were based on my own trial and error resulting in many hours of time wasted.
Now I am a partner in a company that helps its customers use artificial intelligence (AI) as a competitive weapon. I have learned so much from the other partners about how looking at historical data with futuristic eyes can predict results and in turn prescribe actions.
My old self would have taken the previous data, laid a ruler on my chart and extend the line to show a likely future. Boy, was I wrong! If the meteorologist did that to predict the path of hurricanes they would almost always misinform their customers. What good analysts do, is plot multiple likely results, sometimes known as advanced analytics, like the lines in a hurricane prediction and then average them out for the most likely results. This improves their accuracy multifold. Now that we know the most likely results we put the computer back to work to prescribe a solution to accelerate the good results or minimize the negative results.
Just imagine if I had known then, what I know now? I could have wasted a lot less time chasing prospects who were highly unlikely to buy what I was selling. I met a lot of nice, well-intentioned people who were never able to pull the trigger. Nice people don’t fill the bank account. Imagine with machine learning I could have known that I did not have to offer those aggressive discounts to earn the business. Patterns in previous transactions would have helped me know the most likely discount to offer based on insight driven information to win the business without giving away the ranch.
Who would have ever guessed that I could have increased both revenue and profit by expanding my proposal with the most likely additional products that would most likely be bought by the same great prospects who were going to pay a fair price? Yes, AI can also tell you what else to sell even if it not so obvious to the salesperson who depends on their own trial and error based experiences.
Finally, my eyes were opened to the affordability of these AI tools and the wizards (I sometimes call analytic doctors) who help you master them. Our systems are so much stronger, the software we are running already has stored years of data to learn from, and the formulas and computing power is readily available to companies who do not have infinitely deep pockets.
Now that I know what I know, I will be doing business a whole lot differently. What about you?