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7 ways small businesses are using AI for sales

Ai for sales

Imagine a world where the sales process is not just streamlined but enriched with precision, efficiency and a level of personalization that was previously unimaginable. That's not dreaming; that’s the real promise of using AI for sales.

Using AI doesn’t mean removing the human element from your sales efforts. In fact, putting AI tools in the hands of your sales team (or yourself, if you’re a solopreneur) makes those human efforts all the more impactful. With AI handling time consuming or menial tasks, you can devote more resources to the real purpose of sales—actually selling.

As we navigate the evolving landscape of modern business, one thing is abundantly clear: those who embrace change are the ones shaping the future of sales. It's a brave new world out there, and AI stands at the forefront. Let's explore it together.

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How is AI being used for sales?

AI is being used to transform content creation, lead generation and data analysis in the sales space—and that’s only the beginning.

Managing sales means wearing many hats, and those many hats can take up a lot of resources. According to Salesforce, sales reps spend roughly a third of their time actively selling, with the rest spent on administrative and other non-sales-related tasks. Meanwhile, HubSpot's 2023 Smarter Selling with AI survey reported that 80% of sales pros say AI and automation help them do their jobs by allowing them to spend less time on tasks like data entry and meeting scheduling.

Using AI for sales allows you to concentrate on high-return activities like engaging with prospects, attending sales meetings or refining your products or services to better resonate with your target audience. In particular, there are seven main ways AI can replace or streamline some of your day-to-day tasks.

See more: How to create a website with Wix.

7 ways you can use AI for sales

We love diving into the weeds and keeping a pulse on where we are in the AI revolution, which is why we've compiled a list of seven ways a small business owner can immediately use AI for sales.

01. Analyze sales data in a snap

We live in a data-rich world and that can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re about to start a business, launch a marketing campaign or plan effective ways to sell to your target audience. Luckily AI is extremely good—and efficient—at analytics.

AI slices through layers of data like a sharp knife through a multi-layered cake. It frees you from pulling data, combining it into a messy spreadsheet and trying to make sense of it. This means you can spend more time being human—and selling—to other humans. Some of the data you’re likely dealing with includes:

  • Prospect information in customer relationship management systems (CRMs), sales platforms, spreadsheets and email

  • Recorded calls and meetings

  • Customer sales information

  • Marketing campaign results

  • Industry sales trends

  • Social media interactions

  • Customer behavior data

  • Customer service interactions

Seventy-three percent of respondents in HubSpot’s Smarter Selling with AI survey said that AI helped them get meaning from all this data by surfacing insights they wouldn’t otherwise have discovered on their own. Predictive AI can help sales professionals and business owners more accurately predict future sales by analyzing historical buying behavior (that’s its own use case which we’ll get to in a minute). AI can also help you create more informed sales and marketing strategies which is an excellent and informed approach to fueling business growth.

analyzing return on investment

02. Create sales content with a single click

According to recent Salesforce data, 61% of sales pros surveyed feel that GenAI will help them sell more efficiently and provide better service. AI tools for business include generative AI applications like ChatGPT, which uses large language models (LLM) to generate text, or DALL-E, which generates images from text-based prompts. If you’re an overworked and pressed-for-time small business owner, you can and should use artificial intelligence to complement human creativity by generating ideas and streamlining mundane content creation tasks.

For example, Wix’s AI product description generator allows users to auto-generate content for product descriptions, such as in an online store. You can also generate email newsletter copy via the AI text generator with a few simple clicks.

Generative AI helps small businesses do more with less, but we’re still in the early stages of adoption. In a FreshBooks survey of 1,000 U.S. small businesses, only 25% of respondents said they use or test various generative AI tools.

03. Become a lead-scoring superstar

According to McKinsey, a fifth of sales functions can be automated and that’s likely a conservative estimate. Tracking leads, managing prospects and organizing all of that information are necessary—but time consuming—sales tasks. AI tools excel at helping small business owners manage the sales process by automating mundane, repetitive and error-prone manual tasks. Here are some specific examples of how AI helps manage prospects:

  • Data collection: Manual data entry is one of the necessary evils of sales management and this is truly a place where AI can help. Use AI to auto-populate CRM systems with lead information from various sources like web forms, email and live chat messages.

  • Lead scoring: AI-powered tools can rank the most promising leads from high to low based on criteria you establish or that the system assigns. Then, you can focus on the prospects most likely to convert.

  • Lead segmentation: Many AI-powered CRM and sales tools have an audience segmentation feature that automatically buckets leads into different segments based on pre-established parameters like demographics, behavior and purchase history.

  • Lead nurturing: AI can follow up with a prospect after they’ve reached out, for example, by sending personalized, automated emails with additional information that keeps them interested. You can also use AI to set reminders to follow up with prospects and create content customized for various personas or business sectors.

  • Split testing: AI makes it easy to test different sales messages, campaigns and creative assets for different audiences. This helps you hone your sales approach and can provide extremely important data about what resonates (or not) with your customers.

04. Predict the future

Well, sort of. Besides automating tasks, AI provides accurate sales forecasting by analyzing historical customer data, market conditions and external information such as small business trends and rapid shifts in customer demand. It digs deep into customer behavior, predicting future interactions by analyzing past engagements.

AI can also help you identify potential issues that lead to customer churn, which means you can be proactive about retooling your sales approach. In eCommerce, AI-powered product recommendations level up the shopping experience by suggesting items based on user history—basically, AI knows what a shopper wants before the shopper knows. Predictive AI helps small businesses compete with much larger companies since it helps them anticipate market trends and remain agile even when resources are scarce and budgets tight.

Tip: Through Wix Analytics, you have access to the AI-powered Benchmarks report from your site dashboard. This report compares your website's performance against other similar-sized sites in your industry. It breaks the data down into easy-to-ready charts and graphs so you can pinpoint exactly where your site needs improvement.

analyzing sales data

05. Supercharge your sales strategy

One of the biggest small business challenges faced by both startups and existing businesses is creating a sales strategy that’s up-to-date and truly resonates with customers. Let’s face it, revisiting your sales approach year after year is time consuming. AI can be a game-changer here by helping you:

  • Understand customer preferences: We’ve already waxed poetic about AI’s ability to analyze data, but it bears repeating. AI helps you understand your customers by analyzing the piles of data that can become overwhelming to overworked small business owners—things like customer feedback, product reviews and social media interactions. AI helps you grasp what messages resonate with people, allowing you to create products, design elements and craft messaging that aligns with customer demand.

  • Become more competitive: AI-driven insights highlight market gaps and opportunities, allowing you to stay one step ahead of that competitor burger place or soap vendor up the street. If your competitor gains traction from incorporating snail slime—a hot skincare trend—into their face cream, AI can alert you about the increase in demand so you can create your own snail slime face cream and capitalize on the trend.

  • Optimize pricing: Fine-tune your pricing strategies with AI’s help by analyzing market fluctuations and customer purchase patterns. This not only helps you remain competitive, but it’s a bit of intel that can help you create your sales strategy since it impacts how you position your product or service with prospects, leads and potential customers.

06. Build the ideal audience personas

Selling effectively requires you to have a deep understanding of who you’re selling to, which is why creating buyer personas is so important. AI can help you create informed data-driven audience personas by sifting through vast amounts of data from different sources like social media interactions, purchase histories and website visits. It can then identify patterns and behaviors and assign them to different customer segments (e.g., high-value shoppers, tire kickers, sports fans, etc.)

AI also makes it easy to keep your audience personas current by continuously updating your intel to reflect evolving market conditions, real-time customer behaviors and emerging or declining trends.

Predictive AI can provide insight about future behaviors and preferences that impact your audience personas—foresight that allows you to keep your sales approach relevant to your audience. When audience segmentation is paired with marketing campaigns, businesses can craft messages that deeply resonate with each persona.

07. “Eavesdrop” on consumer sentiment

AI is great at “eavesdropping” on consumers by scanning and interpreting customer feedback, reviews and social media comments. It gauges the emotional tone of words and phrases (e.g., great product, runs small, really upset, etc.) and provides reports and insights about how your products, brand or business is perceived.

This isn't just about positive or negative feedback—it’s about understanding nuances, from excitement and satisfaction to frustration and disappointment. Beyond sentiment analysis, AI-powered consumer listening tools continuously monitor online conversations, not just around a brand, but also around industry trends, competitors and more.

They capture the pulse of the market, in real time, and are another powerful tool for tracking emerging trends, identifying potential pain points and surfacing new opportunities. If there's a growing chatter about a particular feature that consumers want (snail slime, anyone?) you can quickly adapt to incorporate it into your product offerings.

customer contact form

Benefits of AI for sales

Artificial intelligence has undeniably changed the selling landscape in ways that only Star Trek fans and guys like AI-pioneer Ray Kurzweil could’ve envisioned a decade ago. AI gives small business owners many advantages that make it possible to compete in highly competitive markets and with much bigger companies.

The tangible benefits of AI for sales include:

Wrangling data

By sifting through the vast reservoirs of sales data, from prospect information in CRM systems to industry sales trends, AI prepares you to act quickly. So, instead of being a data wrangler, you can be a sales superstar.

Doing more with less

Automation is the busy business owner’s secret weapon. As McKinsey pointed out, a large chunk of sales functions like lead scoring, audience segmentation and appointment scheduling can be automated, leaving you with more time to do the fun stuff—selling. Automation allows you to prioritize building relationships with prospects, refine your sales pitches and ultimately drive more sales with your brilliant conversational skills.

Creating something from nothing

Generative AI, with its ability to manifest sales scripts, playbooks and just about any type of copy, is a boon for small businesses. Instead of spending hours crafting the perfect pitch, you can use generative tools to create compelling content, campaigns, insights and even entire websites quickly, then use all the extra time you have to take forest baths and make your competitors jealous.

Dropping less balls

Managing prospects, a crucial yet time-consuming aspect of sales, is much more manageable with AI. From automating data collection to segmenting leads based on specific parameters, AI is the ultimate cure for distraction. It multitasks so you don’t have to, enabling you to get back to people quickly and manage leads more effectively.

Peering into the future

The predictive capabilities of AI are an incredibly powerful sales tool. AI uses historical data to forecast future sales patterns. This foresight allows you to be as proactive as your mother always wanted you to be by addressing potential challenges, optimizing your sales strategy and antagonizing your competitors with your ability to predict what customers want before they do.

Reading people’s minds

Understanding consumer sentiment is kind of like a sales superpower. AI listening tools and sentiment analysis gauge the emotional undertones of customer feedback to provide a clear picture of consumer brand perception. People are fickle. By continuously monitoring online conversations, AI also helps you discover emerging trends and adapt your sales approach.

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