Managing a sales team in the age of AI

Artificial intelligence is shaking up the practise of commercial management. Algorithms are entering the daily lives of sales teams, promising to increase their productivity and performance. The Holy Grail for all sales management ? Not that easy. Because AI can also destabilise the troops if it is poorly implemented. Therefore, it’s successful integration requires in-depth managerial support. How to prepare your salespeople for the AI ​​era, without stripping them of their business expertise ? How can we make them allies rather than opponents of digital transformation ? Elements of response for managing the sales force in the age of algorithms.

The challenges of developing AI in sales

The integration of AI is profoundly transforming the daily life of salespeople. No more long hours manually combing through customer data or painfully segmenting the prospect base. AI automates these tedious tasks to allow the seller to concentrate on his core business: customer relations.

Thanks to machine learning algorithms, salespeople now have ultra-personalised recommendations for their customers. No more sending generic marketing campaigns hoping to hit the mark. AI finely analyses purchasing data, deciphers customer journeys and suggests the most relevant offers for each profile.

Artificial intelligence also optimises the processing of incoming leads. The most promising prospects are automatically qualified and routed to the appropriate salesperson. Enough to increase conversions, by systematically addressing the right people to the right potential customers.

Finally, AI transforms CRM as a true digital co-pilot of the seller. Gone is the frustration of under-exploited software, from which we cannot extract the essential marrow. AI enriches the CRM with functionalities according to field needs, to make it a true everyday ally.

In short, AI is revolutionising the sales profession. However, such upheavals can also destabilise existing teams. Hence the vital importance of in-depth managerial support.

The main advantages of AI in marketing intelligence

AI applied to marketing and sales offers spectacular opportunities for optimising sales performance. Concretely, what innovations does AI enable ?

Ultra personalised marketing automation

AI allows to create fully dynamic and personalised marketing campaigns thanks to the machine learning algorithm. Concretely, the latter will analyse in real time all available customer data (age, location, purchase history, interactions on the website, etc.). It will then determine for each customer the most relevant message, the right sending timing, the preferred channel (email, SMS, mobile notification).

Each prospect and customer is thus offered a tailor-made journey, instead of receiving generic campaigns. This mass customisation results in an explosion in engagement rates.

The customer receives the right content, at the right time, on the right channel.

Automatic CRM enrichment

The new generation CRM is no longer satisfied with information entered manually by the salesperson. Thanks to web scraping and the integration of social network APIs, each customer file is automatically enriched with relevant data gleaned online.

The salesperson thus has a 360° vision of his prospects and customers. Changes within the company, appointments, industry news, verbatim on the networks… so much valuable information to personalise your approach and your arguments.

No more silo vision, make way for increased customer knowledge.

Automatic lead qualification

AI makes it possible to instantly qualify each incoming lead thanks to predictive scoring. In practice, an algorithm will evaluate each prospect in real time according to predefined criteria: activity on the website, socio-demographic data, level of engagement, etc.

Each lead is automatically assigned a score reflecting its commercial potential. Only prospects deemed very promising are routed to the sales representative, avoiding any waste of time on lukewarm leads.

Machine learning even makes it possible to refine this scoring over time. The more the prospect interacts, the more the algorithm improves to better evaluate the probability of conversion.

Ultra fine targeting of prospects

The algorithm of look alike profiling identifies prospects within a database with profiles similar to the company’s best current customers.

By analysing a large number of data (age, location, interests, web searches, etc.), the AI ​​identifies the prospects with the most common traits with loyal and high-potential customers.

Objective: address these profiles as a priority to maximise the chances of conversion. It’s Tailor-made on a large scale.

Tailor-made product recommendations

AI carefully analyses each customer journey to determine the most relevant products and services to recommend to each person.

Using machine learning, the algorithm identifies correlations between past purchases, site interactions, socio-demographic profile, etc., and deduces the suggestions most likely to interest each customer.

Result: ultra personalised recommendations at scale, for maximised additional sales.

Enough to considerably boost commercial productivity, provided that the teams are involved in the transformation.

How to prepare sales teams for the use of AI ?

Booster l’efficacité des équipes de vente en 2024

The arrival of AI in the daily lives of sales teams represents a small revolution. To avoid any rejection, it is essential to carefully prepare salespeople for the use of these new tools. How to do it ? Follow the guide for smooth adoption of AI by your sellers.

Involve salespeople through participatory workshops

Engaging salespeople is key to successful AI adoption. Rather than imposing turnkey solutions, it is essential to co-build this transformation with the sales teams.

With this in mind, the first step consists of bringing together salespeople to jointly identify the most relevant use cases of AI in relation to their daily lives.

Via participatory workshops, sellers are encouraged to express their irritants and their needs. What time-consuming tasks could AI relieve them of? What personalised recommendations would they need ? What new features would make them more productive ?

This bottom-up approach makes it possible to prioritise technological solutions which will be developed tailor-made, as close as possible to the expectations of the field. It also promotes the support of salespeople,who become actors and no longer just recipients of AI.

These workshops are led by sales managers and IT/digital teams. They enable a fruitful dialogue between the two populations, streamlining the future adoption of co-constructed tools.

Train salespeople in new AI tools

The pitfall to absolutely avoid: deploying sophisticated AI solutions which remain under-exploited in the field due to lack of team training.

Once the tools have been developed, it is essential to plan to increase the skills of salespeople. The objective: to enable them to take full advantage of the potential of AI on a daily basis.

Ideally, this training alternates between theoretical contributions and practical applications directly on the tools concerned. Exercises and practical cases allow salespeople to familiarise themselves with the new interfaces.

An e-learning system can usefully complement this system to strengthen the autonomy of employees. Salespeople gain the necessary knowledge at their own pace before using the tools in a real situation.

This investment in training is a necessary condition to avoid any under-use or rejection of the solutions deployed. And Guarantee return on investment of these costly innovations.

Explain the contribution of AI to reassure the troop

The arrival of AI may raise legitimate fears among salespeople, including the fear of being replaced by technology.

To defuse this reluctance, the manager must explain educationally the objective of AI : reinforce the employee’s performance, and not supplant him.

It is crucial to explain how AI will concretely assist salespeople on a daily basis. How it will help him gain in productivity, in the quality of customer advice and, ultimately, in job satisfaction.

Sharing feedback from companies that have successfully deployed AI is also enlightening. Testimonials from salespeople won over by the benefits obtained are likely to reassure the most sceptical.

Humans retain their place in customer relations. AI provides support to free up time for advising and listening to customers. This message must be hammered home to allay concerns.

Take inspiration from the pioneers of AI in sales

To realise the benefits of AI and reassure the troops, nothing beats inspiring examples.

The manager can thus present feedback from pioneering companies that have already implemented AI in their sales teams.

These success stories make it possible to :

  • Demonstrate for example the gains obtained thanks to AI: commercial productivity. boosted, better customer targeting, explosion of additional sales, etc.
  • Share testimonials from salespeople convinced of the benefits of AI in their daily lives. Enough to reassure sceptical employees.
  • Inspire sales teams by providing them with role models to follow.
  • Identify good practices to reproduce but also pitfalls to avoid.

This concrete feedback is worth all the long speeches. They prove that yes, AI does indeed improve the daily life of salespeople, provided it is supported correctly.

Continuously collect user feedback

The deployment of AI must be part of an agile and iterative approach. The tools must be constantly adjusted to the real needs of the field.

With this in mind, it is essential to regularly collect feedback from salespeople on their use of AI solutions. What irritants do they encounter ? What improvements would they need ?

Several levers can be activated :

  • Flash surveys to quickly survey users at regular intervals.
  • Log analysis of using tools to detect neglected functionalities.
  • The organisation of focus groups to raise the needs of the teams.
  • The designation of “AI Ambassadors” responsible for continuously collecting the opinions of their colleagues.
  • The establishment of exchange rituals informal meetings between salespeople and digital/IT teams.

By adjusting the AI ​​as closely as possible according to this field feedback, we ensure its full adoption by salespeople, a guarantee of ROI.

Supporting managerial change

In the deployment of AI, the sales manager has a key role to play in supporting change. Their posture and speech should help teams calmly navigate this digital transformation.

Concretely, the manager is called upon to:

  • Give meaning to this transformation, explaining its necessity and the expected benefits.
  • Reassure employees on the contribution of AI to complement their business expertise.
  • Promote membership through transparent communication and active listening to reluctance.
  • Manage skills development teams on new tools.
  • Promote successes individual and collective linked to AI.
  • Establish rituals promoting dialogue with salespeople on the advancement of digital transformation.
  • Adjust continuously its support strategy based on feedback from the field.

Its positive and mobilising posture is decisive for getting the troops on board. The manager himself becomes an ambassador for change towards AI.

Promote relational skills

If AI optimises a number of transactional tasks, humans retain their place in the advice dimension and the quality of relationships with customers.

As a result, the manager must continually develop these key skills, which remain the prerogative of the salesperson. When presenting AI tools, he hammers that they support the employee, and not replace them.

The manager notably recalls the business expertise of salespeople, which the algorithms illuminate through their predictive analyses. It also highlights salespeople’s qualities of active listening and empathy, which are essential for fully understanding customer needs.

Furthermore, the manager highlights the ability of salespeople to build a relationship of trust over time with customers, a guarantee of lasting loyalty. It also values ​​their mastery of the subtle art of commercial negotiation, which remains irreplaceable, even in the age of algorithms.

Finally, the manager salutes the salespeople’s flair for detecting additional sales opportunities. This human insight making the difference remains inimitable by AI.

Celebrating AI successes

To motivate the troops, nothing beats collectively celebrating the first successes achieved thanks to AI.

The manager can set up celebration rituals to share concrete examples of gains obtained using AI tools in the field. The objective is twofold: to inspire salespeople by promoting their peers who have been able to take advantage of AI, and to disseminate proof of the tangible benefits brought by technological innovations.

These celebrations make it possible to publicly recognise the contribution of salespeople to the success of the project. They thus generate a healthy emulation between teams to quickly adopt new tools.

By regularly celebrating successes, the manager spreads a feeling of pride and positive collective dynamic around AI. Powerful engagement levers for the sales force.

Recruit profiles with dual skills

To acculturate sales teams more quickly to AI, a powerful lever consists of recruiting profiles with dual skills.

These new employees have both field commercial expertise and an appetite for technological innovations. They act as bridges between the sales force and the IT/digital teams.

They can take on the role of facilitator in the deployment of AI :

  • Evangelise their sales colleagues about the benefits of the new tools.
  • Train them more effectively thanks to their pedagogy and peer credibility.
  • Raise the needs from the field and streamline collaboration with technical experts.
  • Accelerate tool integration in business practices.

To attract these tech-savvy sales profiles, HR can highlight the company’s culture of innovation and the perspectives offered by AI during recruitment.

We observe that this internal support from “Mr. or Madam IA” proves to be very effective in getting the teams on board.


Artificial intelligence is revolutionising the daily lives of sales teams by offering prospects for spectacular productivity gains. But its full success depends above all on the support of salespeople for the new tools.

Thanks to deployment carried out with tact and education, AI becomes a major asset for commercial performance. Technology at the service of customer relational excellence.

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