When we think of sales, we picture friendly handshakes, lively chatter, and the spark of human connection. After all, it’s a people-driven business. It relies on human intuition, persuasion, and relationship-building.

At first glance, AI may seem out of place here. Yet, it can actually give us a better understanding of our prospects, making that human connection stronger.

HubSpot spoke with top sales leaders to learn how to AI to better understand your prospects, lead more effective conversations, and drive more results.

1. AI can measure buyer intent and motivation.

Not all leads are created equal. Knowing which ones to nurture relies on gut instinct — but that alone isn’t enough. This is where AI comes into play.

“Buyer intent looks at a constellation of activity, including website interactions, content engagement, and email activity,” Victor Antonio, author, speaker, and host of the Sales Influence Podcast, told me.

These objective actions — like a prospect signing up for a content offer — can signal positive intent. But AI takes it one step further with sentiment analysis.

“Now you can layer in sentiment analysis of all text, email, and voice exchanges to get an emotional temperature of the buyer. Buyer intent is a left brain function whereby the client is making a rational assessment. Sentiment analysis, on the other hand, measures the right brain’s level of motivation,” Antonio adds.

2. With a better understanding of buyer motivation, sales reps can refine their approach.

“By analyzing text and speech patterns, AI can detect the tone, mood, and emotions of prospects,” Rosemary Salem, AI expert, speaker, author, and founder of COE to CEO Agency, told me. “This allows sales professionals to tailor their approach and establish deeper connections with prospects.”

In practice, this might mean changing the tone of an email, the timing of a call, or the type of product or feature highlighted in a pitch. Ultimately, this type of insight can help sales reps resonate more deeply with prospects, enhance trust, and, consequently, increase the potential for a sale.

To take it one step further, sales reps can even role-play with AI-powered tools to perfect their pitch.

Salem tells me, “AI tools can provide real-time feedback to sales professionals on their communication skills, pointing out areas for improvement. This provides an opportunity for sales professionals to refine their approach and hone their skills.”

Consider a tool like PitchMonster. Using this tool, sales reps can role-play over 40 common sales scenarios. It then uses AI to analyze their performance, giving reps a detailed snapshot of their vocabulary, filler words, and methodology.

3. AI can drive more personalized outreach.

“As we leverage AI to better understand our prospects’ behavior, we move closer to a future where sales become a conversation tailored to the individual, rather than a one-size-fits-all proposition,” Leon Basin, Sales Executive at SlingShot ConnectionS, told me.

These days, personalization is everywhere. When we open Netflix, we see a list of movie recommendations inspired by our watch history. When we open an email, we are often greeted by name. It’s only logical for sales outreach to follow suit.

Of course, personalization at scale isn’t easy, but AI can help.

AI algorithms can compile historical data about a potential customer, including their purchase history, online interactions, and more. This provides sales professionals with actionable insights to drive more effective conversations.

For instance, Dan Tyre, Sales Director at HubSpot, uses ChatSpot to uncover key information about prospects before reaching out.

He told me, “I use ChatSpot four times an hour to access information that helps in the sales process. For example, before I email a prospect, I use it to find company news and what technology they use.”

4. AI can anticipate customer needs and help move deals along.

“AI is enabling B2B sales and marketing organizations to access and leverage data about their buyers that was previously unavailable. With this data, companies can better anticipate and exceed their customers’ needs,” Matthew Bowman, Global Growth VP & Marketing Executive at Teleperformance, told me.

He continues, “With this intel, AI-driven technology can provide a host of next-step options, offers, and communications to help guide prospective customers to the next step in the buyer journey.”

In order for this strategy to work, you need personalized content on the ready — which is another area where AI can help.

“The ability to generate personalized content with AI, showcasing exactly what they need at any given phase of their journey — it’s like having a personal shopper for every potential buyer,” Ed Ross, consultant, speaker, and CEO of CoreAI, told me.

Just like a personal shopper understands your style, size, preferences, and needs — and then recommends items accordingly — an AI can “understand” a potential buyer’s preferences, stage in the buying process, and needs, and present the right content at the right time.

Ross also points out that timing is important here. Approaching a potential customer too early might come off as aggressive or irrelevant. Approaching them too late might mean losing them to a competitor. AI helps sales reps strike at the right time.

In his own words: “With AI, understanding your prospect is about predicting not just who will buy, but when they’re most ready to make a purchase, and being prepared to deliver the appropriate assets so they can attain your product, solution, or service.”

The marriage of sales and AI offers the opportunity for deeper connections, sharper insights, and more personalized approaches. As the sales world continues to evolve, one thing remains clear – the most successful sales strategies will be those that harness the best of both worlds.

Read the full blog on our partner HubSpot’s website. Want to learn more about how Goose Digital can help you with your marketing and sales efforts?

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