The Top 3 Challenges in Implementing AI for Sales Teams

4 minutes
Apr 21, 2022
Data Management

Gartner projects that 75% of B2B sales organizations will use AI-based selling by 2025. Sales teams have always been early adopters of new technologies, so it’s no surprise that many...

Gartner projects that 75% of B2B sales organizations will use AI-based selling by 2025. Sales teams have always been early adopters of new technologies, so it’s no surprise that many are turning to artificial intelligence to boost performance. 

Unfortunately, over 90% of companies anticipate significant hurdles to full adoption and integration of AI for sales teams. Common challenges include:

  • Data is incomplete, siloed, and difficult to integrate
  • There is a lack of tech skills in the sales team
  • Decision-makers do not always see the value in AI for sales teams

Let’s take a closer look at these challenges … and ways to overcome them.

1. Accurate and Comprehensive Data

The Challenge

Brass tacks: AI systems need accurate and comprehensive data.

An AI trained on bad data can lead you down unproductive paths. B2B organizations typically have large volumes of data, much of which is incomplete and sometimes inconsistent. Cleaning and consolidating this data is the first challenge. 

In addition, the data generated by (and within) various sales tools often sits underutilized in silos, preventing teams from having a full picture of their customers’ activities. 

The Solution

AI solutions should feature a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that collects data from many sources, including:

  • Social media
  • Surveys
  • Customer service interactions
  • Website analytics
  • Digital ad platforms
  • Chat bots
  • And more

Think of the CDP as an orchestra conductor. It collects the intelligence generated in your platform silos, brings it together, and helps various tools perform in sync to the same messaging “rhythm.”

Without this vital role, marketers and sales professionals often hit their target audience with a muddle of mistimed messages. They come off more like a middle-school band than a world-class symphony.

In addition to keeping your messages aligned and informed by buyer behavior, a CDP helps you set up intelligent customer segments to target prospects with specific sales and marketing messages. These messages are usually based on firmographics, technographics, and online activity.

Using AI to collect and analyze customer data in this way can help you improve your sales processes and increase conversions. 6sense integrates with leading marketing tools to make data integration easy.

2. Training

The Challenge

Implementing AI for sales teams can be a challenge, especially when it comes to training. Sales team members often lack the technical skills needed to use AI effectively, which leads to frustration and lower adoption rates.

Also, implementing AI often demands changes to existing processes and workflows. These changes can be difficult to manage and track. Besides, sales team members may resist change, making it hard to get buy-in for new AI-based tools and processes.

Finally, there may be resistance from sales team members who are worried about being replaced by AI “robots.” 

Organizations must address these challenges to properly implement AI within a sales team.

The Solution

Here’s a quick rule of thumb: Technology is only as valuable as the clarity and simplicity it provides. 

Dashboards that are easy to understand and use are essential; they allow sales team members to focus their efforts in the right areas. Similarly, reports that accurately forecast revenue give sales managers the ability to see the impact of AI on their business.  

In addition, organizations should look for ways to make AI implementation as easy and smooth as possible. Invest in training that helps sales team members develop their skills so they learn how to use AI to save time and make more money. 

Everyone should understand that the goal of AI is to reduce the number of mundane tasks so sales can spend more time building relationships with future buyers. If AI looks like just another task on a deep pile of to-do’s, you’ll be fighting your own team. 

3. Executive Buy-In

The Challenge

Getting sufficient executive buy-in is yet another top challenge in implementing AI for sales teams. Many decision-makers worry about the upfront investment. 

Executives also have concerns about the unknown. Because AI is still relatively new, there’s uncertainty about how it will impact people’s jobs, established processes, and what ROI it will deliver.

The Solution

When implementing AI for a B2B sales team, it’s essential to develop a phased approach that enables you to demonstrate early wins. This will help you gain buy-in from executives and other decision-makers:

  • The first phase of implementation should focus on getting the AI solution up and running
  • The second phase should focus on training the sales team to use the AI solution
  • The third and final phase should focus on measuring the sales team’s results using the AI solution

By demonstrating the success that’s possible at each stage, you’ll gain the executive buy-in needed to implement the AI solution fully.

Also, by doing your research and working with an AI vendor with a strong track record of customer success, you can help resolve executives’ concerns and ensure a successful implementation.