Marketing teams have traditionally been celebrated for the pure volume of leads they brought in, leaving the sales team to sift through and whittle down to the higher quality leads. We know now that this is hardly an efficient use of the sales team’s time, nor is lead volume an accurate KPI for the marketing team.
Striving for lead quality over quantity makes the marketing process more accurate and the sales funnel more effective. Pushing qualified leads into the sales funnel allows sales representatives to focus on closing deals rather than filtering leads, which has proven to lead to an overall increase in sales. In fact, 67% of lost sales are due to sales reps not properly qualifying prospects before taking them through the entire sales funnel — a major time waster.
Many smart organizations have already realized that alignment of marketing and sales goals leads to an overall sales and revenue boost. The best way to implement this change is through lead qualification, or lead nurturing, which is essentially inserting an extra step in the sales funnel. Lead nurturing is an essential step in beginning a relationship and establishing trust with a potential customer. However, this process is tedious and slow, not to mention susceptible to errors. According to several recent studies, the likelihood of pushing leads further down the sales funnel decreases exponentially within just minutes of the lead being generated.
While studies like these are abundant and it’s not hard to see the benefit of quick and accurate lead qualification, actually implementing a solution at a reasonable cost that allows marketing and sales goals to align can be difficult. Having the sales representatives do it themselves means scaling the sales team to make the emails and calls necessary to follow up every lead quickly — this is quite inefficient in practice, and still leads to missed sales opportunities and wasted time and resources.
“Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.”
(Source: Forrester Research)
Implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) into the sales funnel is drastically changing the efficiency of the lead qualification process and is allowing marketing and sales teams to focus on what they do best, rather than chasing after unqualified leads. New innovations in machine learning and conversational AI power technology can actually replace the tedious work previously necessary for lead qualification.
An AI sales assistant will:
Follow up with leads immediately
Greatly increasing the chance of a lead converting into a customer
Facilitate a conversation in natural language that generates information needed to determine a leads’ quality
Removing the need for sales teams to waste time talking to irrelevant leads
Integrate directly into a company’s CRM
Removing the need for manual data entry and allowing smooth transition throughout the marketing and sales funnel
Humans have quickly adjusted to interacting with computers and machines on a regular basis, and as the use of conversational AI has risen, people have become incredibly comfortable speaking with non human agents. Vonage AI's technology allows us to create a custom AI sales assistant with a custom human voice, and many people won't detect the difference. We also often utilize a more robotic voice, and have found it advantageous in certain situations, though we leave it up to each organization to decide which voice suits them best.
Below is a demo we've created for a travel agency, in which the agent calls a potential customer who has just left his contact information for the agency. In this recording, a Vonage AI AI sales assistant conducts a conversation to get key information, such as desired dates of travel. This shows a salesman that the lead is interested in travel, knows what he wants, as is likely already close to a sale — rather than an unsure lead with no motivation. Confirming that leads fit the sales teams' criteria before any human representative needs to pick up the phone or type out an email is exactly the type of difference that can make a drastic improvement in the efficiency of the sales team. Take a listen:
Though AI sales assistants are powered by cutting edge AI software and machine learning algorithms, incorporating an AI sales assistant into your sales funnel couldn’t be easier. After discussing your business needs with a Vonage AI account manager, our team will create a scalable, fully customized AI sales assistant that is suited to your company, your customers, and your business goals. Your cloud-based AI sales assistant quickly and easily integrates into your business phone lines and CRM.
Alignment of marketing and sales goals undoubtedly leads to an overall increase in sales, and lead nurturing is certainly the best way to make that happen. Many organizations have already realized that the most time and cost efficient to qualify leads is by harnessing AI technology and implementing AI sales assistants into their teams — and they’re already seeing the results. Contact us to automate your sales funnel and get your own AI sales assistant on your team.
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