Answered: The 4 Biggest Questions About AI for Sales Teams

Steph SmithLast updated on January 2, 2024
5 min

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Sales teams are used to working at pace, and under pressure. Hitting targets, closing deals, and those magic moments as the team makes it over the line at the end of a quarter are the ingredients that make it one of the most engaging roles around. But, let’s be honest—it can also be tough. 

While the biggest part of sales success comes down to the team—their skills, drive, and passion—they also need to be backed up by the best tools in the business. That’s why, today, sales teams are increasingly exploring how AI can supercharge their efforts, simplify time-consuming tasks, and help them build even stronger connections with customers. 

Yet with AI evolving at lightspeed, sales teams naturally have a few questions before getting their hands dirty with this evolving technology. At Aircall, we’ve undertaken research into how 3,500 employees at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are deploying AI, the business value they gain from it, and the challenges that have arisen around its implementation. Here are the top questions we uncovered from sales teams around using AI. 

The 4 Biggest Questions About AI for Sales Teams

1. What’s stopping us from using AI in our sales team? 

There’s currently a lot of enthusiasm surrounding AI in the workplace, and 64% of employees feel optimistic about it overall. So for those sales teams that are hungry to deploy the latest tech, one of the biggest questions is "Well, why aren't we using AI yet?"

There are a few reasons that can lead to a gap between recognizing AI’s value and taking action to implement it. Some of these are good—for example, taking the time to understand how a new tool works and where it can be best deployed in your team. 

However, some barriers to implementation are due to common misconceptions about AI. For example, 56% of employees at SMBs say that they lack the proper technology infrastructure for AI. While AI may commonly be thought of as a highly-technical tool, it is now more accessible and user-friendly than ever. Deploying AI doesn’t require specialist skills or big budgets. In fact, an increasing number of sales tools now come with AI baked-in, from Aircall’s AI call transcription to HubSpot’s ChatSpot assistant

2. Will using AI lead to a lack of human input that will harm sales? 

For salespeople who feel a little more wary about the prospect of using AI, one of their biggest concerns is that it could harm, rather than help their efforts. Almost two-thirds (63%) of sales reps highlight that they’re concerned a lack of human input could impact the quality of the work they deliver. 

This is a natural concern—particularly for sales folks who thrive on the personal connections essential to closing deals. It also raises an important point for businesses more broadly: AI implementation should be designed to support teams, not replace them. 

At Aircall, we firmly believe that close customer connections are essential for businesses to flourish—and AI won’t be a replacement for those any time soon. However, deployed in the right way, AI can actually help strengthen those bonds. By using AI to easily identify customer insights, create customer notes, and even score leads, it can give salespeople time back to do what they do best—connect with customers and drive revenue. 

3. What parts of the sales workflow could be streamlined with AI? 

Before getting started with AI, it’s important to understand exactly where it can add value to your sales team. While there are many different AI applications designed for salespeople, with more hitting the market on a regular basis, there are some key uses worth prioritizing—including recording customer insights and accelerating lead scoring.  

The average worker at an SMB spends 2.2 hours per week on transcription and writing notes, alongside another two hours on listening back to calls. By automating transcription with AI, sales teams can get that time back, while still having a clear record of their customer interactions. Those recordings and transcriptions can also be used to better coach or train other members of the team or new hires—adding even more value to the business.

Features like HubSpot’s Predictive Lead Scoring meanwhile use machine learning (a form of AI) to understand thousands of data points and identify strong leads. This takes away the pain of what can be a long manual process, while also offering salespeople data-backed insights to guide their priorities. 

While these are just two typical elements of sales work that can be streamlined with AI, there are many more. The most important thing is identifying where your team is losing precious time, or facing specific challenges, and then finding the solutions that solve them.  

4. Will AI replace me in the business?

Half of all salespeople at SMBs raised concerns that AI could replace them. Though just as the moon landing didn’t lead to flying cars, AI isn’t set to replace salespeople. 

Instead, as with other technological innovations, AI is set to create productivity gains that will benefit individuals, teams, and organizations as a whole. However, to start unlocking those benefits, businesses need to consider where AI fits in their overall strategy. Technology (even AI) isn’t a magic wand: it can’t solve all your challenges with a single wave, and it certainly won’t make the people who power every business disappear. 

In short, AI should be understood as an enabler of better ways of working, rather than a fix-all solution. But as with any tool, to get the most from it, you’ll need to understand how it works, what sales challenges you’re trying to solve, and where it fits in with your existing toolsets. 

Getting Started With AI for Sales 

As new AI solutions continue to hit the market, sales teams will discover a range of new ways to accelerate their workflows, reduce manual or repetitive tasks, and better serve customers. However, despite AI’s many potentially transformative applications, it’s important not to lose sight of what makes great sales teams, well, great. 

If you’re ready to take the next step on your AI journey, we’ve got you covered—check out Aircall’s AI Index, packed with new data, advice, and insights that will provide you with everything you need to understand AI and start implementing it in your teams. 

Alternatively, why not schedule a personalized demo with our team so we can show you how Aircall can take your sales teams to the next level with our new AI-supported call and voicemail transcription feature?

Published on May 17, 2023.

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