Earlier this month G2 Crowd released their Spring 2019 Grids showcasing the top AI Sales Assistant solutions. Vendors are ranked on the horizontal axis based on satisfaction (verified user reviews) and on the vertical axis by market presence (vendors with more funding and those that have been around longer are typically ranked higher here).
While AI Sales Assistant is one of the newer categories in salestech, it’s growing quickly. So much so that this single category currently includes different solutions that solve very different challenges at different stages of the funnel. It’s no wonder buyers are confused.
With that in mind, we wanted to breakdown this category based on common use cases and stages, and provide some key questions to ask vendors during your evaluation.
Types of AI Sales Assistants
- Top of funnel assistants - AI tools or bots used by inside sales organizations to schedule meetings, generate qualified leads, schedule meetings and personalize interactions at scale. Includes Drift, Conversica, x.ai, Saleswhale.
- Mid funnel-close-assistants - AI tools used by “high-value” sales reps who often work complex deals with many steps and players. These deals typically do not follow a workflow and require dynamic coaching. Includes Olono, Clari, Tact.
4 Must Haves in an AI Sales Assistant
One of the reasons AI Sales Assistants are so popular is they address many of the shortcomings of CRMs. Here are four key features to ask about your AI Sales Assistant vendors to improve sales outcomes and maximize rep adoption.
- Ease of use. CRMs are heavy and complex, which is why reps avoid them. AI Sales Assistants should be light-weight and easy to use. They should be built like consumer apps and require little to no training. Tip: Ask vendors about adoption rates inside their customer bases.
- Customizable. Automatic data entry is one thing, but the real value in an AI Assistant is real-time coaching, or delivering Next Best Actions for the rep to take. These can include best practices, machine learning, or serving as the vehicle to tech-enable your sales process. Essentially because your assistant has all the data, it should know what a rep should do next to keep them on your playbook. Tip: Find out how customizable the actions can be and how easy it is to create actions. The more valuable the actions, the more your reps will make their assistant the “go-to” app they look at first each day.
- UX flexibility. Each company and rep works differently. In order to drive adoption and usage, AI assistants can often be deployed a number of ways: within your CRM, as a standalone app, in mobile or through conversational interfaces. Tip: Understand how your reps work with their assistant and ensure those practices work for your team and organization. Reps often want the choice to work on a mobile device while on the go, with the ability to have a full-desktop experience while in the office.
- Personalized. Make sure your assistant offers that personalized experience. It should know each individual rep, your company's sales process, your accounts and keys to success. Tip: Ask vendors about personalization, including breaking up Actions and steps by teams, regions, roles and more.
"Automatic data entry is one thing, but the real value in an AI Assistant is real-time coaching, or delivering Next Best Actions for the rep to take."