• September 21, 2023
  • By Adnan Zijadic, director analyst, Gartner’s Sales Practice

3 Ways Generative AI Will Transform Sales Force Automation Platforms

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Generative AI is poised to transform the way organizations operate, particularly in the sales function. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 35 percent of chief revenue officers will resource a centralized “GenAI Operations” team as part of their GTM organization.

One of the biggest areas where generative AI will make an impact is sales force automation (SFA) platforms.

A cornerstone of the RevTech stack, SFA platforms have grown to enable the creation and extension of sales processes tailored to the organization’s go-to-market strategy. Generative AI is supercharging the SFA platform, with sales leaders already taking advantage of the opportunity it presents.

Let’s go through the major impacts, and what sales leaders should do about them.

Impact 1: Generative AI enables sales leaders to unlock the power of data.

The potent combination of SFA and generative AI is enabling CSOs to capture, understand, and utilize a complex array of data sources to better understand their customers. Before generative AI, sellers would review disparate data sources in order to inform their sales tactics, but using generative AI, they can discover new insights and streamline the whole process.

By combining existing data sources such as company data with generative AI’s sources (i.e. the internet as a whole), sellers can unlock the power of data and gain a more comprehensive understanding of their customer.

How should sales leaders respond?

To seize this opportunity, sales leaders should investigate the adaptability of generative AI in SFA vendors, understanding their strategies toward prompting techniques. They should also collaborate with data and analytics, IT, and legal teams to stay up-to-date with AI regulations, taking extra steps to mitigate the risks involved with using external data sources. Ask SFA vendors to provide approved data plug-ins, partnerships, or written disclosure of their methods for sourcing web data.

Impact 2: Generative AI enables new ways to sell via process automation.

Generative AI presents an opportunity for expanded automation, particularly when it comes to creating messaging. By combining AI with a human seller and buyer data, it can elevate the quality and the ease of producing high-quality content, reducing the burden on sellers. Generative AI can be used to conduct account research, summarize conversations, and even generate personalized communications via email.

AI can also automate processes carried out through mobile devices and bots. It will act as a personal sales assistant through desktop, a chatbot on mobile, and a virtual assistant through smart devices. Sellers will be able to communicate with SFA platforms in a more natural way, and they’ll be able to extract information about accounts and opportunities while being able to prompt the assistant to execute daily tasks.

In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2028, approximately 60 percent of a sales user’s day-to-day work will be executed via a conversational user interface due to generative AI integration with CRM/SFA platforms.

How should sales leaders respond?

Sales leaders should ensure they’re investing in AI readiness and data maturity, building a robust data infrastructure that will be able to support the AI-led synthesis of large amounts of data. They should also embrace mobile devices and bots as mediums for sales activities. As SFA and AI integration matures, these mediums will be increasingly important as primary interfaces for SFA activities.

Impact 3: Generative AI will reinvent deal strategy.

According to Gartner research, the most significant impacts of generative AI on SFA platforms for planning purposes will materialize in the areas of guided selling, forecast management, visualization and analytics, integration and platform composability, and collaboration. By integrating AI into these processes, sales operations leaders can augment the platform’s native intelligence to offer sophisticated data analysis, predictive capabilities and predictive suggestions—driving increased efficiency, accuracy and profitability.

How should sales leaders respond?

Sales leaders should focus on building generative AI literacy learning and skill enhancement into their learning and development programs. Sales professionals in the organization must upskill to utilize AI-enabled SFA platforms and grasp the opportunities presented by AI. Sales operations leaders should work on designing AI road maps and adoption strategies that account for potential challenges, such as the maturity, cost, and speed of AI technologies.

Ensure that these strategies encompass the key areas listed above, from guided selling to analytics. By planning ahead and moving swiftly, sales operations leaders can prepare for the transformation that generative AI will bring.

Adnan Zijadic is a director analyst in Gartner’s Sales Practice, focusing on sales force automation platforms (SFA/CRM) technologies, evaluations, and strategy.

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