I came across a quote from Wharton Professor Stewart D. Friedman recently that really caused me to pause and think. In his talks at organizations around the world, Friedman asks, "What kind of leadership do we need now?" The most common responses are "adaptable," "flexible," and "innovative."
This parallels findings from a recent report from Forrester, Unleash Your Growth Potential With Continuous Planning. The firm conducted an online survey of 352 B2B business leaders to explore this topic. They found that more than 85 percent of leaders are aware they must take a continuous, data-driven approach to sales planning, but most are not making the technology changes they need to do so. 90 percent said that making real-time decisions based on real-time insights is essential to be effective, but the lack of the right technology to do so is holding them back.
If leaders are being challenged with being more flexible and adaptable than ever—yet they are held back by their current solutions—it speaks to an urgent need for a “changing of the guard” when it comes to Intelligent Revenue Operations. For many in leadership roles, the intent is there, but the path to the goal is unclear.
To achieve a continuous approach to sales planning, organizations must invest in AI-enabled solutions that help bridge the technology gaps seen in sales forecasting and business planning today.
Four Ways to Use AI to Boost Enterprise Sales Efforts
1. Take Control of your Revenue Operations
Think about Revenue Ops in this way: it’s the glue that holds your business together and is constantly evolving to meet the needs of a growing business.
Revenue Operations play a vital role in your business's overall strategy. According to research done by SiriusDecision, companies that align all go-to-market functions outperform those that don't, seeing 15 percent more profits and 19 percent faster growth.
By eliminating inaccurate manual processes and replacing them with data-driven solutions, you can expect your entire organization to become more agile, accurate, and aligned.
2. Dig Into Decades of Data
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technology and algorithms aren't effective without the right data. But, with the right data, AI/ML gives organizations a strong competitive advantage when it comes to growth and sales potential.
Today's business environment is becoming increasingly competitive. As a result, sales organizations need deeper insights and access to data to stay ahead of the competition.
For example, with over 90% of our customers "opting-in" to be a part of our data insights within Xactly Benchmarking they are able to better understand how they are operating compared to industry trends in these ever-changing times. When organizations have access to comprehensive data sets, they receive the real-world insights they need to improve sales performance across the board.
3. Focusing on the Right Opportunities
With real-time performance insights, enterprises can drive rapid deployment of plan changes and targeted incentives to a broader audience in order to focus on immediate opportunities as soon as they surface. Intelligent, actionable alerts keep your salesforce laser-focused on hitting sales targets. This allows sales leadership to unite strategy and execution for increased quota attainment and top-line growth.
4. Manage Resource and Capacity Planning More Efficiently
Losing valuable employees is a concern for every sales organization. The ability of a sales team to reach its targets depends on having the right number of reps closing deals. But planning for sales churn - and preventing it - is impossible without drawing on data. By pulling data from an existing CRM system, AI applications for sales use pay and performance data to predict how likely an employee is to leave the organization.
Besides, AI-powered sales tools can highlight both high-performing and underperforming salespeople based on a variety of indicators. These applications can review CRM data automatically, checking for sales reps whose performance has dropped or who have been receiving low paychecks. That way, sales managers have the information they need at their fingertips to make changes to the team.
5. Increase Rep Performance
AI for sales empowers organizations to up-level their sales processes by increasing confidence in data consistency, accuracy, and reliability.
AI-Guided coaching motivates reps and constantly helps improve their performance to close the gap between commit & quota. But it’s not just the reps that benefit, sales leadership is also lent a hand when processes are automated. Predictive and prescriptive insights help reps and managers collaborate easily and ensure they are always in sync. AI allows sales organizations to consistently design plans that help their salesforce achieve sales goals and exceed sales performance.
Key Takeaway From Forrester Regarding AI
It’s no longer time to play the waiting game! According to Forrester, “It’s time for growth leaders to take a data-driven approach. Many organizations wish they had their data houses in order, but most do not. The days of gut-level decision making are well behind us. Growth leaders need to leverage best-in-class Sales AI tools that help them quickly ingest information and turn it into actionable business intelligence they can use to course correct or maximize upside.” If you’d like to learn more about Xactly’s AI capabilities and how to make the most of your enterprise’s data, register for our upcoming Virtual Revenue Summit on March 30th.