Gartner: AI-based guided selling improves sales execution
Sales leaders are facing unprecedented changes in B2B buying behaviours, customer expectations, technology and the talent needed to drive results. And many of these changes have been brought about by COVID-19 with traditional forms of guided selling having undergone considerable change.
“The pandemic exposed cracks in many organisation’s sales processes,” says Tad Travis, research VP at Gartner, and as a result, sales leaders have increasingly looked into how AI can enable improved sales results.
“Knowing that sales process discipline must be improved to increase the chances of closing new deals, sales leaders are investigating new data-driven, AI-based guided selling functions for improving sales execution.”
Gartner analysts say that traditional forms of guided selling, both as a sales process methodology and as technology, have proved to be limited. They lack a data-driven approach and do not provide statistically relevant recommendations that guide sellers to win deals.
AI-based guided selling has transformed guided selling capabilities
According to Gartner, B2B sales organisations should help sellers improve sales execution and increase the chances of closing new deals by adding AI-based guided selling to their sales technology stack.
AI-based guided selling has four main components and comes in two forms:
- Prescriptive – recommended next best actions that reveal statistically relevant indicators about sales process steps
- Predictive – insights that reveal statistically relevant indicators about sales process steps
Therefore, rather than requiring sellers to decide what to do next to move a relationship, deal or quote forward, sellers can instead rely on statistically derived analytics.
And while the “value proposition of AI-based guided selling is undeniable”, says Travis, “it is not an immediate solution for better sales execution, as organisations with data quality or process issues may not be able to take advantage immediately”.
Implementing AI-based guided selling
Before implementing AI-based guided selling, Gartner recommends that sales leaders follow the below four actions, with more guidance available in its report, Optimise Sales Execution with Artificial Intelligence for B2B Guided Selling
- Educate all sales partners on the foundational elements of AI-based guided selling, focusing on the importance of collecting the microlevel actions of engagement that sellers undertake within the span of an active deal.
- Identify sales process steps and business outcomes that are unique to the organization’s processes to find the best-fit solution.
- Update the sales technology roadmap by selecting the form of AI-based guided selling technology that is most relevant to the sales organization’s lead, opportunity, sales enablement and quote management use cases.
- Prioritize where AI-based guided selling functions would be most relevant by identifying the parts of the organization’s sales value chain that are prone to the highest amounts of human-educated guessing, or that require the most amount of business rule evaluation.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.