Sales managers wear a lot of hats and finding good ones is as hard as finding good salespeople. Maybe it is harder since so many companies take their best salespeople and make them sales managers. Whether that is a good idea or not is the subject of many other articles and discussions. This post is directed at those who want to help make all sales managers more productive.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a great tool which helps smart companies sell more through making their sales managers more effective. There is a real potential that AI lets companies manage their sales team more effectively with fewer sales managers. Few things are so disruptive to the sales team as having to adapting to a new manager as the new manager applies their own style towards managing their new team.
Most people think of AI as a large system which does something very specific and highly technical – like autonomous cars or monitoring an airplane’s operational sensors. In reality, business analytics offers many simpler and affordable uses for AI inside of companies. Executives need to think of AI for office operations to automate analysis and some business processes.
AI saves sales managers time and if applied correctly, lots of it. AI models examine the past, predict the future and have those prediction available for sales managers to work with salespeople. The foundation of prediction lets systems better monitor salesperson activity. Pouring over reports and examining CRM records consumes a lot of sales manager time. AI automates that analysis saving hours of the sales managers time each week, days each month, and weeks each year. Seeing a trend is a lot easier and less time consuming than looking for a trend in mountains of data. AI helps your manager see trends quickly and highlights exceptional patterns.
AI analysis of CRM contact events, sales activity, call volume and so on, provides insight into the effort and activity each salesperson puts into the job. The AI system standardizes analysis across sales managers which saves the executives time as well.
AI lets sales managers focus on helping salespeople improve their technique rather than spending time monitoring the salespersons activities. The AI system takes on the hard, and often awkward, part of the sales managers of job.
For example, AI reports predict the discounting trend for salespeople. Monitoring the trend versus plan is automated by AI. Problem trends are brought to the attention of the sales manager without requiring the sales manager to run report after report or assemble spreadsheets.
Likewise, an AI system can monitor a salesperson activity records to quickly determine which salespeople are possibly looking for a new job. Oftentimes, changes in the salesperson activity is seen by the AI system long before a sales manager can sense the changes.
AI systems for sales managers let companies get by with fewer sales managers over time by letting existing ones do more. It is not really putting more work on a sales manager. AI systems do the labor intensive work of analysis and prediction while letting the sales manager work with more salespeople on what really matters – selling.