March 27, 2018


Written by

Angus Loten

The Morning Download: AI-Enabled Sales Tools Spotlight Data Needs

The rush to infuse artificial intelligence into cloud-powered sales platforms is shining a light on data quality, especially when it comes to intel on corporate buyers.

The rush to infuse artificial intelligence into cloud-powered sales platforms is shining a light on data quality, especially when it comes to intel on corporate buyers. That’s because the recommendations for sales reps generated by AI-enabled tools are only as good as the data sellers plug in, IT vendors and industry analysts tell CIO Journal. Both the volume and quality of sales-side data in customer relationship management platforms have improved in recent years, but many sellers are finding a need to dig deeper for buyer-side data, in order to identify who is purchasing what inside a company, or whether they respond better to email, phone calls or face-to-face meetings, said Gartner Inc. research director Julian Poulter.

Embedding AI into sales. Many large tech vendors are adding AI capabilities into existing cloud-based sales platforms. Salesforce.com Inc.’s intelligent app, Einstein, is now generating more than one billion predictions every day, as AI becomes a “critical part” of its CRM, chief executive Marc Benioff said in a recent earnings call.

Buyer data is out there. A lot of buyer-side data is scraped from available sources on the internet, including social media, news or public relations websites. Microsoft Corp. has started infusing AI-powered Office apps with data from professional networking site LinkedIn. Other sales platform vendors are providing pre-set links to D&B Hoovers, HG Data and other corporate information sites.

Wisdom of the crowd. Still other services, like Collective[i], are seeking to gather and provide buyer-side data from an online network of member sellers, who anonymously share info on their clients’ buying process and behavior, including the kinds of email pitches they respond to, what web pages they look at, or that a purchasing manager plays golf.

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