For all the talk about artificial intelligence (AI) and chat bots, it's refreshing to speak with a company that has tangible results that nearly any business can put to work for their own company. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to sit down with Alex Terry, CEO of Conversica, who wants to encourage more businesses to leverage AI to help find their next customer.
The 4 P's of an Artificial Intelligence Sales Development Rep
Let's start with the basics. AI solves the classic problem between sales and marketing (see related articles: 10 Things Every Salesperson Needs to Know About Marketing and 10 Things Every Marketing Person Needs to Know About Sales). Specifically, most sales teams feel like the marketing team sends them unqualified sales leads and most marketing teams feel like the sales teams don't do a good enough job of following up on the opportunities marketing sends to sales.
With AI, you are able to reach out to all those Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and verify if they are truly Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). That's because Conversica's AI is (1) Prompt, (2) Personal, and (3) Persistent while optimizing for (4) Performance.
Performance: Because Conversica has maintained a 35% email engagement rate, they end up converting 40% of leads both qualifying them and then scheduling an appointment to speak with a sales person. Isn't that what all sales people would like? A kick-ass sales development rep who does all the work to pre-qualify and schedule meetings on your behalf so that your focus is entirely on closing deals. Let's dig deeper on this point as it's the crux of the whole valuable proposition.
Increasing Closing Rates By Instant Prioritizing of a Sales Person's Time
Ben Chaib, VP of Sales and Marketing at Los Angles Film school says, "[Our AI], we call her Stephanie, is the best employee we have and I don't know what our business would be like without Stephanie. She reaches out to everyone who has inquired; consistently. So that no one gets left behind. Stephanie engages with our customers. Without her being involved, I really believe that we would lose opportunities."
AI increases a sales person's closing rates in three ways, by (1) engaging leads, (2) qualifying those leads, and (3) elevating sales ready leads to a sales person.
Elevate to a Sales Person: Assuming you have a qualified lead who is ready to talk to a sales person, then the next most important step is to get the meeting scheduled as quickly as possible.
ROI of AI
At $3,000 per month, having advanced AI for your sales process costs about as much as hiring a junior sales development rep. The difference is, this AI has had the benefit of a decade of learning across more than 17,000 sales representatives worldwide and has helped create more than $10 billion in revenue.
To calculate the ROI of AI for your company, take your total unqualified leads in a given year and multiply by Conversica's 40% conversion from Marketing Qualified Leads to Sales Qualified Lead metric. Then calculate your average close rate by that number multiplied by your average lifetime customer value. Finally, divide that number by Conversica's annual cost to arrive at the ROI of AI for your company.
While AI may not be right for every business, you can see how we're quickly moving from theory to practice. When your prospects can't distinguish who's human and what is AI, you are empowered to outsource all the stuff that slows down your sales team and instead have them focus on closing deals and delivering results.
AI is by no means a "magic bullet", but it would seem to give you a lot of leverage to put your best foot forward in the sales process.