How to Use AI for Sales to Improve Your Prospecting

Anand Venkatraman
January 19, 2024
min read

Prospecting in the digital world is turning out to be like finding a needle in a haystack. There's so much noise that finding the right data points is often overwhelming.

Ever got a random call from a number you don't recognize — and when you picked it up, it turned out to be a sales pitch? That's the problem. Cold calling isn't as hot as it used to be. Buyers are tired of it.

It’s why 80% of cold calls end up in the voicemail well of no return.

Today, for a salesperson, standing out in today’s crowded market is tougher than finding a quiet corner in a busy coffee shop.

Understanding AI in Sales Prospecting

Now imagine hiring a super-smart assistant for your sales team.

They are fast and accurate. They have the innate ability to analyze huge datasets, spot leads, predict prospect behavior, and cut down outreach time. You can train them to act as your virtual assistant.

An AI assistant for sales does exactly this for your prospecting. It quickly adapts to your existing processes and helps you from drowning in redundant data just to engage with one prospect.

With AI’s ability to personalize your sales pitch and recommend the best outreach time, you can work smarter and prospect better. Take cold email performance, for instance. When you use generative AI to craft prospecting emails, open rates improve by a whopping 40%!

Stats showing the impact of generative ai on emails

In general, an AI tool takes just five steps to simplify your prospecting process:

1. Data Collection

AI without data is a dud. Some AI tools, like ChatGPT, need data spoon-fed to them before they can start working. Advanced AI software can gather and consolidate huge amounts of data from multiple sources — at a blazing-fast speed. The more data, the more enriching information AI can collect.

2. Data Processing

Data is noise unless you string them together to tell a story. AI for sales apps cleans and processes gathered data to remove inaccuracies. This step ensures that the data offers actionable insights.

3. Lead Scoring

Not all leads are created equal. AI assigns scores to leads based on their likelihood to convert. The automated lead scoring system helps you prioritize your sales efforts — letting you focus on the most promising opportunities.

4. Automated Outreach

This is where AI kicks into action. It generates automated outreach, including personalized emails and follow-ups, to ensure timely communication with potential leads. This saves you time and improves the chances of a positive response.

5. Predictive Analytics

AI closes the loop perfectly by leveraging historical data and analyzing customer behavior. Based on its findings, AI offers you predictions and personalized recommendations that you can use to tailor your outreach or follow-ups. This lets you stay ahead of your prospects and engage with them proactively.

It’s a far-reaching reality from the old ways of doing sales prospecting. If you’re still stuck to the old-school ways of sales prospecting, we have some bad news for you.

Spend more time selling & less time researching.

Traditional Sales Prospecting Is Broken

Sales prospecting is hard. You are always on a time crunch to convince a completely new stranger to listen to you.

Statistically speaking, 60% of prospects say no four times before saying yes. It’s like the door slammed on your face whenever you try to say “hello” to a stranger.

Add to that the noisy environment your prospects live in. Their email inboxes and phones are constantly overflowing with intros, promos, and discounts.

Today, buyers also have more information available at the tap of their fingers. They don’t need to talk to salespeople to make a buying decision. In fact, most prospects make 60–70% of their buying decision before contacting sales.

These growing challenges make prospecting more complicated — and time-consuming. No wonder why most sales reps spend up to 40% of their time looking for prospects to call.

But the #1 enemy in salespeople is not time. It’s the lack right of signals in their outreach. The prospecting process is broken because reps must rely on six different tools to manage their entire sales process.

Just look at this data to understand the sad state of B2B sales today.

Stats showing State of B2B Sales 2024

With outdated tools and one-size-fits-all approaches, the landscape of traditional sales prospecting is riddled with challenges. Modern prospecting needs a smarter, more effective solution.

How AI Is Changing B2B Sales

2023 was the year AI stopped becoming a lab mouse and became an everyday reality. Starting with ChatGPT, we saw several generative AI tools revolutionize business workflows.

And it’s already creating waves in the B2B landscape.

A Deloitte survey found that 82% of companies that adopted AI are experiencing better returns on investment. This is true for high-growth organizations that are invested in drafting better marketing and sales automation strategies than their rivals.

Stats showing benefits of AI in Sales

So, AI is starting to become a must-have sales technology in the coming years. The opportunity cost of not adopting AI for sales is huge if your business fails to join the bandwagon.

Here’s how AI helps improve your B2B sales.

6 Benefits Companies Get With AI Sales Prospecting

From better productivity to increased revenue potential, AI helps you across all stages of your sales journey.

1. Improved Productivity

AI handles repetitive tasks, freeing up your time for more meaningful work. Automated lead scoring lets you focus on engaging with the right prospects instead of slogging through endless data.

2. Time and Cost Efficient

AI trims down the hours spent on manual tasks, like sorting through heaps of email responses or CRM data. This saves time and helps you cut costs. Imagine the money saved on resources that you can now invest elsewhere.

3. Personalization at Scale

Ever received a marketing email that felt like it was written just for you? A stellar copywriter may be behind the copy, or the personalization may result from the perfect synergy between the sending company’s marketing and sales teams. Or, it simply could be AI in action. 

AI analyzes tons of data to understand individual preferences, enabling personalized communication and helping you personalize the outreach for each prospect at scale.

4. Real-Time Data

AI is like having a sales scout on its toes 24/7. It continuously monitors various platforms for real-time updates on your prospects. For example, it can instantly alert your team when a potential lead engages with your sales email, providing timely insights for tailored follow-ups.

5. Improved Job Satisfaction

A productive team is a happy team. AI takes away the grunt work that drags down your team’s morale. Job satisfaction naturally increases when reps engage more with prospects and less time on data entry.

6. Better Close Rates

Closing deals is the ultimate goal for every rep — even outbound BDRs. AI increases the odds by helping you focus on the most promising leads. You can zero in on the most promising deals with accurate predictions and targeted outreach.

But wait, there’s a caveat.

AI is as good as the information that you feed it. Bill Gates famously said that automation applied to an efficient process magnifies the efficiency. When applied to an inefficient process, it magnifies the inefficiency.

To make the most out of AI, you need to know the best practices for using AI in sales prospecting.

Win back 1000+ hours spent on prospecting research.

AI Prospecting Best Practices

Think of using AI as hiring a new recruit to your sales team. Follow these best practices to set it up for success.

1. Train AI With Insights About Your ICP

Provide AI with a clear understanding of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Integrating AI with your current sales tech stack is a big part of this.

Granting access to customer data allows AI to identify potential pain points in the customer journey, patterns, and customer preferences.

At this point, you should also set goals for implementing AI in your sales process and align them to the broader business goals. It will help you measure the success of using AI for sales prospecting later.

2. Use AI to Find and Verify Prospects

This is the data-gathering phase that we discussed earlier. After integrating AI with other tools in your tech stack, let AI scan online sources like websites, social media, blogs, and news articles.

Unlike humans, AI assistants are pretty good at collecting data from multiple sources in a short time. The result is high-quality lead data and enough ammunition to make your prospecting work.

3. Personalize Your Outreach with AI

Next, leverage AI’s capabilities to craft personalized messages tailored to each prospect. Optimize subject lines, call-to-actions (CTAs), and follow-ups.

It’s important to note that you’ll not get satisfying outcomes at the get-go. Test AI’s capabilities to fine-tune your communication unless you get it right.

4. Monitor and Improvise

Make it a point to measure the outcomes of AI-driven sales efforts. If AI fails to reach the benchmarks you set for it, recalibrate the goals. And if it meets or exceeds the expectations, move the goalposts further for better outcomes.

If the AI fails in certain areas, invest time training it to improve on those fronts. Similarly, double down on the things that AI is good at.

This training allows you to refine the AI’s capabilities and achieve better results. With time, the AI performs like an independent member of your sales team. the AI-Powered Sales Intelligence Platform

Unlike other point solutions that fail the rep, Happysales consolidates the sales stack so that sales teams can manage their everyday challenges within a single dashboard.

Used well, Happysales’ generative AI-based capabilities can evolve as a growth operating system for B2B sales orgs.

Here’s how your reps can personalize their outreach with Happysales AI:

1. Identify and prioritize leads and accounts with the hot intent to buy.

2. Extract prospect insights from various sources like the company website, LinkedIn, annual reports, CRM, etc.

3. Craft personalized messages based on prospect data, followed by next-step recommendations for reps.

4. Reduce the prospect research time from several hours to less than 30 seconds.

The Happysales AI sales assistant can execute well on these fronts because of the data it’s fed in the backend. Behind the curtains, it’s the Happysales sales intelligence platform grinding away in silence.

Here’s how the Happysales sales intelligence works in the background: 

  1. Happysales has a data layer that is useful for B2B sales across multiple functions — not just limited to sales.
  2. Happysales aggregates data that’s generally unmineable. This can come from sources like company websites, review platforms, social media, news and media, CRM data, and RFP docs.
  3. Happysales also has an Action Layer that offers predictions, recommendations, and insights to prioritize leads and follow-ups.
  4. You can access Happysales within your email agent, calendar, Zoom, CRM, or as a Chrome Extension.

Happysales is the sidekick you need to excel in your sales prospecting. Using AI for sales prospecting is like getting a backstage pass to your customer’s needs. It helps you close the gaps with prospects and shorten the sales cycle.

Want to see how Happysales can improve your prosecting game? Join our private beta group to get an insider look at the platform.

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