AI for Sales
Updated: August 01, 2023
AI for sales is a powerful technology that transforms the way sales teams operate and optimize their processes. Leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics, AI for sales can analyze large volumes of customer data to identify patterns, predict customer behavior, and prioritize leads based on their likelihood to convert. This technology can provide sales teams with valuable insights into customer needs and preferences, enabling them to tailor their sales strategies and offers for each prospect. AI-powered sales tools can automate repetitive tasks, such as lead qualification and data entry, freeing up sales representatives to focus on building relationships and closing deals. Additionally, AI can help sales teams identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities by analyzing customer buying patterns and previous interactions. With AI's ability to analyze data in real-time and provide actionable recommendations, businesses can achieve higher sales conversion rates, improve customer engagement, and drive revenue growth through more efficient and personalized sales processes.
See also: Top 10 Online CRM software
See also: Top 10 Online CRM software
2023. Salesforce launches AI Cloud to bring models to the enterprise
Salesforce is introducing a new collection of products with the goal of strengthening its position in the highly competitive field of AI. This suite, known as AI Cloud, consists of tools that are designed to provide AI solutions that are suitable for enterprise use. It represents Salesforce's latest effort to enhance its product lineup with AI capabilities across different disciplines. The launch of AI Cloud builds upon the company's previous generative AI initiative, which was introduced in March, aiming to incorporate generative AI throughout the entire Salesforce platform. AI Cloud serves as a hosting and delivery platform for AI models, specifically those focused on generating text, from a variety of partners such as Amazon Web Services, Anthropic, Cohere, and OpenAI. Additionally, Salesforce's own AI research division offers first-party models that power features like code generation and business process automation. Customers also have the option to bring their own custom-trained models to the platform while storing their data on their own infrastructure.
2023. Personal CRM app Clay introduces an AI helper to help you navigate your relationships
Clay, a startup that serves as a personal CRM to assist individuals in managing various relationships, such as friends, family, colleagues, and industry peers, has introduced AI technology to enhance insights derived from one's contact network. With Clay's new AI navigator called Nexus, users can now inquire about specific details regarding their connections, such as who has visited a particular place, works at a specific company, or possesses expertise in a specific subject. While AI is commonly utilized today to aggregate information from the internet or answer general queries, Nexus leverages AI for a more practical and personal purpose while prioritizing user privacy. The newly implemented AI-powered Nexus feature empowers users to query their personal database, enabling them to gain deeper insights about their network and support them in nurturing their relationships.
2023. Microsoft brings an AI-powered Copilot to Dynamics 365
Microsoft is introducing a new AI tool called Copilot, which aims to automate repetitive tasks in sales and customer service. In applications such as Dynamics 365 Sales and Viva Sales, Copilot can assist in composing email responses to customers and generate an email summary of Teams meetings in Outlook. The meeting summary incorporates information from the seller's CRM, including product details and pricing, and combines them with insights gathered during the recorded Teams call. In Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Copilot can draft "contextual answers" for customer queries in chat or email formats. It also provides an interactive chat experience for customer service agents, drawing from knowledge bases and case history. Additionally, Microsoft's AI Builder tool features a new "GPT" model that enables organizations to integrate text-generation capabilities into their Power Automate and Power Apps solutions, complementing the conversation boosters provided by Copilot.
2023. Lavender lands $13.2M for its AI-powered email marketing engine
Lavender, a sales email coaching platform powered by AI, has recently raised $13.2 million in a Series A funding round. Lavender's product consists of three key components: a sales email coach, a "personalization assistant," and an email intelligence and coaching portal. The email tools provided by Lavender offer research materials such as news updates, funding statistics, job listings, events, tweets, and more about the recipients. These tools can automatically generate drafts based on the research, similar to ChatGPT, or generate bullet points to assist in an existing email thread. Throughout the writing process, Lavender provides real-time scoring and suggestions for improving specific areas of the email.
2022. Falkon closes $16M round to automate sales workflows and analyses
Falkon, a sales analytics platform that leverages AI to identify successful product sales within organizations, recently revealed a funding round of $16 million. The core offering of Falkon's platform revolves around consolidating and unifying a company's go-to-market data, including product usage metrics, customer relationship management, sales enablement data, and web traffic. By deduplicating this information, Falkon generates data-driven recommendations for sales and marketing teams, specifically catering to sales development representatives, account executives, and account managers. With the aid of algorithms and a suite of integrated applications, Falkon has the ability to uncover stagnant sales pipelines and uncover new opportunities for businesses. These tools can be utilized collectively or individually based on specific requirements.
2021. Ocurate raises $3.5M to show customer lifetime value for B2C companies
Ocurate, a startup leveraging artificial intelligence to forecast customer lifetime value for e-commerce businesses, recently secured an oversubscribed seed round of $3.5 million. Through Ocurate's technology, companies can confidently make informed decisions regarding lifetime value at every stage of the customer lifecycle, leading to a significant positive impact on their overall business. This can potentially result in a gross profit increase of over 15% for Ocurate's customers. Initially built using voter rolls, Ocurate's database has expanded to encompass data from over 300,000 Americans. The platform also integrates data from clients, such as Netflix subscribers, which includes information such as login data, telemetry data, and past purchase history.
2021. Connect the Dots collects $15M to help companies graph connections
Salespeople are constantly seeking an advantage when it comes to reaching out to potential customers. The ability to leverage existing connections for introductions greatly increases the chances of establishing meaningful contacts. Addressing this need, a former Salesforce executive is developing Connect the Dots, a startup dedicated to constructing a personalized, professional relationship graph. The concept behind it is simple: upon signing up, the platform scans your email accounts to identify connections within various companies. It then gathers and analyzes this data, enabling you to view individuals you know who are acquainted with someone at a specific company. The strength of your connection is represented by three colored dots, with all green dots indicating a strong connection, making it possible for you to request an email introduction.
2021. Introhive raises $100M for AI-powered sales tools
Introhive, a startup that has developed an AI engine capable of processing extensive data from various applications, has secured $100 million in funding. The primary goal of Introhive's AI engine is to assist companies, particularly their sales teams, in establishing enhanced "relationship graphs" for target organizations. This service bears some resemblance to platforms like LinkedIn or ZoomInfo, which you may be familiar with in your own professional endeavors or when conducting online research on individuals. These platforms provide databases or organizational charts that showcase connections within a business. However, it is crucial to note that Introhive's data remains exclusively with the customer who utilizes their services and is not shared elsewhere. The focus is on empowering organizations to leverage their own data effectively and cultivate meaningful relationships within their target market.
2021. Dooly closes $20M for AI-based tools to help salespeople with their busywork
Dooly, a startup based in Vancouver, Canada, has secured $20 million in funding. Dooly has developed a suite of AI-powered tools that automate the tedious task of updating data in sales software, particularly Salesforce. The concept behind Dooly is simple: users activate the platform, integrate it with their existing tools (starting with Salesforce), and then leverage its note-taking capabilities. Dooly organizes and places the notes in the appropriate sections across other applications. Currently, the product offers seamless integration with Slack, G-Cal, and G-Drive.
2021. SetSail nabs $26M Series A to rethink sales compensation
SetSail, the startup aiming to revolutionize salespeople's compensation structure by providing continuous pay throughout the sales cycle instead of a single commission after the sale is finalized, has successfully raised $26 million in a Series A funding round. SetSail integrates with various systems including CRM, email, and calendar, which provide insights into the advancement of specific sales. By utilizing machine learning, SetSail identifies key milestones within the sales cycle where it is appropriate to reward salespeople for their progress. Through the power of machine learning, SetSail analyzes customer interactions and uncovers the factors that contribute to the advancement of deals.
2021. SalesLoft raises $100M for its AI-based sales platform
SalesLoft, a sales platform that offers AI-powered tools to enable salespeople to effectively manage their sales processes virtually, has successfully secured $100 million in funding. The platform assists sales teams in various aspects, including lead generation and follow-up, virtual coaching tools for selling, and post-sales support. While initially focused on serving the mid-market segment, SalesLoft has expanded its reach to include larger enterprises as well. Notable customers of SalesLoft include Google, LinkedIn (which not only backs SalesLoft but also maintains a strategic partnership with the company), Cisco, Dell, and IBM. In a competitive landscape that includes Clari, Chorus.ai, Gong, Conversica, Afiniti, Outreach, and major players like Salesforce, SalesLoft continues to carve out its position in the market.
2020. Sales productivity platform Nektar raises $2.15M
The Singapore-based startup Nektar.ai has successfully raised $2.15 million in seed funding. Nektar.ai offers a productivity platform specifically designed for sales teams. Its key functionality revolves around integrating various workplace tools, such as Slack, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Exchange, and WhatsApp, with popular CRM platforms like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and HubSpot. This integration empowers sales teams by streamlining administrative tasks and facilitating the seamless flow of data from multiple software sources into analytics tools and automated to-do lists. Among Nektar's notable features are "playbooks," which encompass a collection of best practices, goals, and alerts that encourage collaboration and serve as a valuable reference for sales, customer support, and marketing teams. Nektar.ai aims to enhance sales team productivity and enable efficient cross-functional collaboration within organizations.
2020. Vivun announces $18M for its AI pre-sales platform
Vivun, a company that specializes in developing an AI-based pre-sales platform, has recently announced a successful Series A funding round of $18 million. Vivun has garnered significant investor interest due to the uniqueness of its product category and the high demand it has generated. It appears that businesses of all sizes, ranging from startups to enterprises, have been eagerly seeking a dedicated pre-sales solution like Vivun. The company has experienced substantial growth this year, attracting notable clients such as Okta, Autodesk, and Dell Secureworks. Additionally, Vivun's product aligns particularly well with the needs of larger enterprise organizations.
2020. Tone raises $4M to help e-commerce brands text with their customers
While many companies are embracing chatbots and automation to handle customer communication, Tone takes a different approach by recognizing the enduring value of human interaction, augmented by AI. Tone has assembled a dedicated team of human agents who engage in texting conversations, supported by software tools that assist them in retrieving relevant information. Each agent is assigned to specific brands, ensuring that customers consistently communicate with the same person whenever they have inquiries about a particular business. Tone seamlessly integrates with popular e-commerce systems such as Shopify and Magento. Currently, Tone collaborates with over 1,000 brands, including ThirdLove, Peak Design, and Usual Wines, who have reported remarkable results such as a 26% increase in revenue and a 15% boost in order size.
2020. SugarCRM acquires Node to gain predictive customer intelligence
SugarCRM made an announcement today about its acquisition of Node, a customer intelligence startup. This strategic move not only brings valuable AI expertise to SugarCRM but also introduces a customer prediction component to its platform. This means that SugarCRM will now have the capability to identify customers who are most likely to convert or churn. As a result, SugarCRM enters into direct competition with industry players like Adobe and Salesforce, who have long offered predictive intelligence layers. Established in 2014 and having raised over $43 million, Node fills a significant gap for SugarCRM by enhancing engagement analytics and enabling action across various stages of the business. Simultaneously, it serves as a unique market differentiator for the company.
2020. iKala, an AI-based customer engagement platform, raises $17M
Taiwanese startup iKala has secured $17 million in Series B funding and plans to expand its operations into new Southeast Asian markets. iKala specializes in offering an artificial intelligence-based platform for customer acquisition and engagement. Its range of products caters specifically to e-commerce companies, including KOL Radar for influencer marketing and Shoplus, a social commerce service that focuses on Southeast Asian markets. iKala differentiates itself by implementing a cutting-edge DAA flywheel (Digitalization, Analytics, and Application flywheel) framework, which provides a clear roadmap and strategy for the adoption of AI technologies. This funding round will enable iKala to further its growth and extend its reach into new markets.
2020. Gong.io nabs $200M to enhance CRM with voice recognition
Gong has successfully raised a substantial amount of $200 million, resulting in a valuation of $2.2 billion. Gong aims to establish a unique category known as "revenue intelligence." In the current sales landscape, customer interactions are typically stored in CRM databases, relying on salesperson or customer service representative descriptions. Gong endeavors to revolutionize this process by capturing and analyzing both sides of these interactions using artificial intelligence. By transcribing and analyzing the conversations, Gong extracts significant insights to enhance the performance of customer-facing individuals and provide management with valuable information about staff performance. Going beyond, Gong offers strategic input, such as trends among competitors or customer responses to your products, enabling businesses to make informed decisions.
2019. Sales assistant software Vymo raised $18M
Vymo, the startup behind a mobile-first service designed to assist salespeople in effectively managing their leads and optimizing productivity, has successfully raised $18 million in a recent funding round. The funds will be utilized to expand Vymo's presence in the United States and other global markets. Vymo functions as a customer relationship management (CRM) solution and seamlessly integrates with popular CRMs such as Salesforce. The service enables salespeople to automatically capture essential details of their business interactions, including calls, visits, messages, emails, calendar events, and engagement levels. This comprehensive tracking and management system allows for efficient lead management. With a workforce of approximately 100 employees, Vymo has attracted over 40 enterprise customers across seven countries, including prominent life insurance firms such as AIA Group and AXA. Notably, Vymo's service is utilized by more than 100,000 salespeople worldwide.
2019. Microsoft PowerPoint adds AI presentation coach
During recent years, Microsoft has been incorporating its AI capabilities into PowerPoint to assist users in designing visually appealing slides. Today, Microsoft is introducing several updates and new features that further simplify this process. However, even the most well-designed presentation may not have a significant impact if the presenter lacks public speaking skills. Developing this skill requires extensive practice, and to aid users in their improvement, Microsoft has introduced Presenter Coach for PowerPoint—a new AI tool that provides feedback while practicing presentations in front of a computer. For instance, the tool evaluates the use of inclusive language and identifies the frequency of filler words. It also ensures that presenters avoid the common mistake of simply reading the slides. Following the rehearsal session, PowerPoint presents a dashboard summarizing the performance and offers guidance on areas to focus on for skill enhancement.
2019. Oracle adds more AI features to its suite of sales tools
Oracle is enhancing its suite of sales tools with a range of AI-driven features. Firstly, the company aims to assist sales managers and representatives in gaining a deeper understanding of the market, enabling them to identify the most promising prospects in the sales pipeline. To achieve this, Oracle has announced the integration of DataFox, a company it acquired in the previous year. This integration empowers Oracle's Customer Experience Cloud with comprehensive company profiles, incorporating details such as SEC filings, job postings, news articles, and other pertinent data. Additionally, Oracle has unveiled an AI-based sales planning tool developed in collaboration with its ERP team. By leveraging machine learning, this tool aims to facilitate more accurate performance predictions based on internal data, ultimately assisting finance professionals in making informed decisions.
2018. Salesforce allows to enter data to CRM via voice
Sales managers are renowned for their verbal prowess, as talking is an integral part of their job. However, when it comes to entering customer data into a CRM system, they are faced with the arduous task of typing. Salesforce aims to alleviate this cognitive dissonance by introducing a new feature called Einstein Voice. This feature enables users to input data into the system effortlessly using natural speech. Just imagine, you hop into your car, open the mobile app, and have a conversation with a virtual assistant. You might say, "I just had a meeting with John Smith. He expressed interest in making a purchase but requested a follow-up call in a week...". The virtual assistant then dutifully adds a note to the customer's history in the CRM system. However, Salesforce might need to address the personality of their virtual assistant. It seems incongruous to task Einstein with such mundane responsibilities.
2018. Microsoft launches new AI applications for Dynamics 365 CRM
A year ago, Microsoft made its debut in the field of AI solutions with its first offering in the Dynamics 365 portfolio. Today, Microsoft is expanding this portfolio by introducing three new products: Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, Customer Service, and Market Insights. Dynamics 365 AI for Sales is designed to empower sales teams by providing them with deeper insights into their prospects through sentiment analysis. While sentiment analysis may be considered a fundamental application of machine learning, AI for Sales goes beyond by assisting salespeople in determining the appropriate actions to take and prioritizing prospects effectively. Similarly, the Customer Service application employs natural language understanding to comprehend and predict customer service issues, leveraging virtual agents to reduce costs. Lastly, Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights fulfills its name by equipping teams with valuable data on social sentiment, but it goes a step further by offering more comprehensive insights.
2018. Salesforce added automated query building feature in Einstein Analytics
Salesforce has introduced a new feature called Einstein Analytics Conversational Queries, which enhances the user experience by recognizing commonly used phrases as they are being typed. This automated functionality simplifies the process of building queries and accessing data. With Conversational Queries, users can effortlessly type phrases related to their data, such as "show me top accounts by annual revenue" or "rank accounts decreasing by annual revenue and billing country," and instantly visualize the results in dynamically configured charts. By enabling queries in plain language, automatically assisting in query construction, and generating charts based on the recognized phrases, this feature expands the accessibility of analytics to a broader user base.
2017. Zoho CRM got AI assistant
Zoho has introduced Zia, an Artificial Intelligence-powered Sales Assistant for Zoho CRM. With Zia, users can receive notifications when something exceptional or problematic occurs within their sales operations. This intelligent assistant understands users' intentions and assists in accomplishing tasks more efficiently, eliminating the need for prolonged voicemails and unread emails. Over time, Zia learns the most frequent actions performed by individual users on Zoho CRM. Additionally, Zoho has introduced Blueprint, a platform for automating sales processes, and has enhanced two existing features: Zoho PhoneBridge, which integrates a customer's PBX system with Zoho CRM, and SalesSignals, which delivers real-time information about customer and prospect activities.