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Exploring the Power of AI in Sales

Aug 25, 2023
4 min read

With its ability to leverage data, chat interactions, and AI models, generative AI (GenAI) has the potential to revolutionize the sales industry. Recently, Xactly’s VP of Sales Ryan Maggio sat down with Xactly's Founder and CEO, Chris Cabrera, for an episode of Sales Hacks with Xactly to talk about just that. In the episode, The Power of AI in Sales: A Vision of the Future of Work with Generative AI, Ryan and Chris discussed the latest use cases for advanced AI in sales and their vision for the future of work. Check out the key takeaways from the session to see which ones you can start implementing today!

A 14% Gain in Sales Productivity

During the episode, a recent MIT and Stanford survey was spotlighted that found workers at software firms who had access to GenAI tools increased productivity by 14%. Which ignited conversation about what this can mean for sales teams:

Ryan: “14% more time in their day was spent doing more productive work. And it gets you thinking about—what can salespeople be doing? If they had that much more, 14% more productivity in a day, what’s the material impact across a sales team of 200 people?”

Chris: “The problem has been getting the data to be actionable. Look at reps when they're creating their territories, or they're saying, who am I going to call today—it's a painful process. With generative AI, they can literally ask, look at my territory and pull out all of the accounts that have the same profile as ones we’ve closed in the past. Then write me an introduction letter.”

Key Takeaway: GenAI can streamline workflows and fuel revenue teams with actionable insights that make reps more productive. And in a world with a “do more with less” mentality, that means everything.

Additionally, from Ryan’s perspective, when talking about targeting accounts, everybody has subjectivity to which accounts are the best for reps to target. "With generative AI, sellers can say, hey, here's my list of accounts. I want to target people that have been at their company for more than two years and director and above titles. They're publicly traded and they said this on their recent earnings call. Generative AI can then give a list of the contacts to hit."

Another great example of this is being able to motivate sales reps with performance insights and guidance to speed up their deal cycle. For instance, a rep could ask, “Show me my top five deals sorted by opportunity health. Include estimated commissions and amounts.” With GenAI, they’d receive their top five opportunities in seconds.

And on the topic of prospecting, Ryan knows all his reps hate it. “That’s because it's not the fun part. The fun part is actually talking to people that are the right people that might have an interest in what you have to sell or talk about. The amount of research and time it takes just to make one call and to find the right person, it takes forever. Generative AI can help get that part of the job done."

Key Takeaway: GenAI can assist reps in their day-to-day, mundane tasks by automating routine processes, freeing up their time to refocus on the people, activities, and insights that make the biggest impact.

Every Little Thing Matters

For Chris, every little thing matters. During the episode (and for all of the F1 fans out there) he gave this example, “these guys [the pit crew] are changing the wing on the back of the car to get tenths of a second improvement. And that's where businesses are going—how do I get my sales fine tuned? And I think it's the AI models, this ability to ask questions of this vast data set and have it be very easy to ask questions and get intuitive responses. That's what's going to be the game changer.”

When considering what data would be important to a sales leader, being able to monitor their sales' team health is a big one. GenAI allows leaders to ask questions like “is there currently any attrition risk that could jeopardize my team’s performance?” and then identify any individuals at risk of leaving and summarize why they are at risk. Having that explanation gives managers a leg up so they proactively address whatever risk factors are causing someone to be more likely to leave.

Key Takeaway: GenAI is going to make it easy to ask questions of the data, and allow data to become actionable information.

Eliminate the Minutia

Chris said it best, "there's almost nothing that we do in our lives where there isn't some level of minutia that I think these types of systems will be able to eliminate, and make us more productive. Not replace us, not replace the job that we do. But make it so that the mundane parts of the job just get done. And the most exciting part of the job is what people spend their time on.”

Key takeaway: GenAI will not replace jobs, but can motivate reps with performance insights and guidance to close deals faster.

A CEO’s Final Take

When asked what CEOs are thinking about the technology, Chris was candid in his response: “CEOs are in a tough spot because their boards are asking them to make money, they don't want them to be burning cash and losing money.” A way CEOs are cutting down on spend is taking a look at their techstack. “There's a SaaS app for everything. There's all these siloed, singular apps. A lot of the CEOs I talk to say they’re going through with a fine tooth comb, do we need this one? Can we combine these ones? And so we're seeing CEOs go to less vendors, and saving money that way. The difficulty for the CEO is to figure out which ones really do change the business.”

Key Takeaway: Incorporating GenAI powered SaaS applications into your techstack can create the change your business needs.

Xactly recently introduced its new AI engine, Xactly AI Copilot™, which is designed to empower revenue teams one conversation at a time using GenAI. Visit our website to learn more about how Xactly AI Copilot can transform your revenue processes and create the change your business needs.

Listen to the full episode, The Power of AI in Sales: A Vision of the Future of Work with Generative AI.

Kelly Arellano, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Xactly
Kelly Arellano
Senior Content Marketing Manager

Kelly has over 10 years of marketing experience in demand generation and content marketing. She was born and raised in the Bay Area and enjoys sports, going to the beach, golfing, lifting weights, and playing with her three littles.