Artificial Intelligence Business Opportiunities

Three Principles for Success in Deploying AI

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Artificial intelligence gives businesses a significant competitive advantage. Amazon has an artificial intelligence-powered recommendation system that makes it possible for the company to make tens of billions of dollars in sales.

When studying the impact of artificial intelligence on business results, McKinsey & Company found that high performers are three times likelier to report revenue gains of more than other companies.

The right Artificial Intelligence solution can help distributors better understand their customers, make more effective upsell and cross-sell recommendations, know when items are due to be reordered, and improve lifetime customer value. The case for artificial intelligence is so compelling that more than 85% of chief sales officers are considering investing in it.

Businesses that have always done things the same way can be challenging to implement new technologies. Executives are concerned about wasting money on an unsuccessful deployment, while employees are hesitant to adopt new workflows. A lack of funding, poor change management, and low employee buy-in are some of the factors that contribute to a lackluster implementation.

Without taking the proper steps to implement this technology, your business could fail to see the largest possible return on investment.

Taking the right steps will help you avoid common pitfalls. Redefining workflows, adopting new operational practices, using change management, and implementing an enterprise-wide artificial intelligence strategy are some of the things that can make it more successful.

Follow these three principles to ensure that your investment is successful.

Think Big, Start Small

It can be tempting to deploy new technology to your entire organization right from the start, especially if it presents an opportunity for highROI and productivity improvements. Adoption challenges can be caused by introducing technology too quickly, such as increased costs and lower buy-in. It is best to start small in order to avoid this.

Our team at Proton recently worked with a multi-billion dollar distributor to make their counter and inside salespeople more productive and proactive in order to sell more to each customer.

We wondered what a company-wide deployment would look like. What would this mean for the business in terms of revenue increase? How would the sales reps use the solution to differentiate themselves in the market?

The implementation would be more effective if we started small. About 150 of the company’s inside and branch salespeople were worked with before we expanded. We could train a small number of salespeople first so that they were comfortable with their new tools.

We wanted to show that it works for these reps to build the rest of the company up. The results were strong when we deployed with the reps. The reps using Proton grew faster than the other reps. We had a meeting with the executive team, including the CEO, and by the end of the meeting, the CEO asked why they weren’t using this on every customer interaction.

Benco Dental, the largest privately owned and fastest growing U.S. dental supplies distributor, found success with a phased integration approach. Benco Dental adopted artificial intelligence in one sales channel. They continued to add sales channels one at a time after they mastered that channel. They were able to improve customer service and grow their revenue dramatically.

Set Measurable Targets

Defining and setting measurable metrics for success as you begin your implementation of artificial intelligence.

The number of pitches, site visits and how many people log on to the site are some of the metrics that can be input.

Sales revenue, profit numbers, and expenses are examples of output metrics.

If you want to know how effective your salespeople are at cross-selling, look at how effective they are at upselling. What is the average revenue generated per pitch? Determine what you want to see from your new technology after you understand where you are.

Setting goals and metrics will allow you to measure the effectiveness of your integration and give you insight into areas that may need improvement. Without targets, you won’t know how much progress you’re making.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t just a set and forget process. Your teams need to monitor key performance indicators to identify fluctuations in performance because technology, workflows, business goals and metrics are constantly evolving

According to the most recent State of Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise report, businesses that struggle to implement artificial intelligence are three times more likely to be transformed by them.

According to the same report, organizations should develop dynamic ways of assessing their strategy to ensure it remains responsive to ever-changing market and technology developments. As the organization’s core business strategy and artificial intelligence capabilities mature over time, leaders should continually sharpen their goals, moving beyond staying competitive to increasingly using artificial intelligence as a competitive differentiator.

Track metrics when youDeploy your Artificial Intelligence solution.

  • How many pitches are being made now vs. before implementation?
  • How successful are upsell and cross-sell efforts?
  • Is customer satisfaction improving?
  • How many users are logging in regularly?
  • In what areas could results be improved?

Track performance with measurable results and communicate goals. You will be able to make critical adjustments with this data.

Align the Why

It is time to introduce your solution to your teams after you have a plan and set measurable targets. Proper change management is crucial to success. Most salespersons and customer service reps are hesitant to change their routines because they are afraid that new technology will make their jobs harder or that it will replace them.

When it comes to technology, you only have one chance to impress the sales reps. Explain how the new workflows will help them. Each team member’s role should be aligned with the “why”. A sales rep may be more interested in raising their commission, while a CSR may need a more streamlined way to help their customers

One of Proton’s clients wanted to use Artificial Intelligence to raise sales. No one seemed interested in training the customer service team for the goal. After spending a lot of time training their team, we noticed that no one in the department was using the new tools.

We were trying to find out what we missed. We trained them and told them how to sell more. Through conversations with their managers, we learned that their team cares about the customer experience more than selling more. They weren’t paid commission, so that’s not what they were focused on

The customer service team was retrained after the team realized that they weren’t driven by making sales. We focused on aligning the technology to the team’s why.

We said, instead of saying, “this is a software that can help you sell more stuff,” we said, “this is a software that can help you help your customers.” That changed the game in a big way. They ended up selling more than they had bargained for. We aligned the “Why” with their “Why”.

How to Ensure Ongoing Success

Artificial intelligence will make your organization more profitable and productive by enhancing the customer experience.

To make sure your business enjoys a successful deployment of artificial intelligence, be careful not to overwhelm your systems with too much artificial intelligence at once. If you want to implement new workflows in different departments, have a plan. Set measurable targets, offer incentives, and align your culture with a unified reason.

Benj Cohen is the founder of

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