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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Technology'>Technology</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales Management'>Sales Management</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=artificial intelligence'>artificial intelligence</a>
Marketing & Tech
Sep 5, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

According to a recent Forrester report, artificial intelligence (AI) will grow 300% this year alone. Why? Because the top performing sales teams and e-commerce-focused businesses are looking to AI to improve results.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of years you've most likely heard the term AI. Many sales professionals, however, may still be unclear as to what it is and how it ties into the world of sales and e-commerce.

Simply put, AI is not one single technology. Instead, it’s made up of several components that involve computer systems that perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.

Here are three key aspects of Artificial Intelligence with which sales and e-commerce-focused businesses should become familiar:

1. Natural Language Processing (NLP)

NLP is the process used to attribute meaning to human sentences. In essence, it provides computers with the ability to understand the languages that humans speak. For sales teams, this may look like email sentiment analysis, which is the capacity to detect patterns in emails which may signal a lost deal is coming. In the e-commerce space, NLP allows computers to understand the sentiment of text that customers may write on social channels and in emails. A better understanding of language patterns allows teams to tailor their communication efforts to clients and prospects in a more efficient way.

 2. Data Mining

This technology is often also referred to as Knowledge Discovery and includes software and computers for identifying useful and meaningful patterns in data. Sales teams can use this to detect patterns in their customer database and to identify trends for future recommendations when speaking to new prospects. On the other hand, e-commerce businesses can use this to help shape future product releases or to make product recommendations on checkout based on an analysis of past customers and large data sets.

 3. Machine Learning

Within AI, this technology refers to the science of self-learning algorithms. At its core, machine learning refers to the use of statistics to solve problems. The main goal of machine learning is to help humans think better. Both sales and e-commerce can use machine learning to learn how often and when customers and prospects prefer to be reached, increasing the likelihood of grabbing their attention.  Teams can better communicate with consumers in real time and understand when each customer will be most receptive to their offer.

Although AI encompasses a few more components, natural language processing, data mining and machine learning are most applicable in the world of sales and e-commerce at this time.

How to Get Started with AI for Sales and Ecommerce

Once you have a better understanding of how AI can help your sales team improve results and better serve your customers, you can begin to think of your goals and where AI can help you.

It’s important to keep in mind that AI takes time and the results will not be realized overnight. AI should be viewed as a long-term investment, since the technology needs to learn from successes and failures over time. For those that are ready to get started, now is an incredible chance to beat the competition who will be left behind in the future.  

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