6 Top AI Tools Giving Industrial Sales Teams an Edge (Part 3)

Eric Severstad
Posted by Eric Severstad on December 20, 2023
chart of top ai tools for industrial sales teams

Welcome to the finale of our 3-part series on the top AI tools for industrial marketing and sales teams. In Part 1, we covered ways sales and marketing teams can get started using AI for businesses, and Part 2 covered marketing AI tools.

To close out the series, we’re focusing on tools for sales. Specifically, what AI can do to reduce the time that salespeople spend doing non-sales tasks. The Weidert Group team has tested different tools and evaluated them, and here are six of the top tools that sales teams can immediately put to use to help close more deals.

According to preliminary results of our ongoing survey, The State of Industrial Sales & Marketing (see details below to participate), a whopping 31% of respondents are currently NOT using any AI tools for sales.

Below we've organized the top uses of AI tools for industrial sales teams into these categories and have provided specific tools you can use for each: 

  • AI Sales Assistants
  • Call Transcription & Analysis
  • Automated Outreach Sequences 
  • Predictive Lead Scoring and Pipeline Analytics
  • Conversational Sales Coaching

EDITORS NOTE: This series on artificial intelligence is based on a talk Weidert Group president Greg Linnemanstons presented at Manufacturing First Expo & Conference in October, 2023, “Artificial Intelligence: How Industrial Sales & Marketing Teams Can Leverage its Power.” Greg addressed how industrial businesses can properly leverage AI to save time, improve quality, advance innovation, and enhance the human experience. AI was used to assist in writing this blog series, beginning with loading a PDF of Greg’s presentation into ChatGPT Plus. As you should do with all AI-generated content, a human edited AI’s results (in this case that was me, a Weidert Group writer).

AI Sales Assistants

You may have heard of “AI-powered sales chatbots,” which are one example of AI sales assistant uses. AI sales assistants help sales teams handle customer inquiries, respond to leads, and book meetings. These tools are valuable for businesses looking to automate routine tasks and provide consistent, personalized support to prospects and customers.

According to our survey, 35% of respondents use them, which is the most-used AI-powered sales tool in our findings. Here are two that we have tested successfully:

1. Microsoft 365 Copilot

Microsoft is changing the game for salespeople and… well, everyone! Microsoft 365 Copilot
builds on the ChatGPT large language model (LLM) and unites their various platforms: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams.

Nearly two months ago, Microsoft 365 Copilot was made available for enterprise customers, so it’s not long for the rest of you (summer of 2024 is the expected rollout). Expect to get much better at organizing email threads and drafting replies (Copilot in Outlook), summarizing discussion points of a meeting (Copilot in Teams), and automating repetitive tasks and creating chatbots (Copilot in Power Platform).

Copilot in Windows will be free via a Windows 11 update, but Copilot for Sales is priced at $50/month/user, a wise investment in a tool that will save hours and hours of time.

2. Claude by ANTHROP\C

There are, indeed, other worthy LLMs available in addition to ChatGPT. Claude.ai functions similar to ChatGPT, but it excels at handling complex, multi-step instructions over large amounts of content.  For example, with this tool you can upload files to have them analyzed and summarized. Input a PDF (or even an entire book), add a simple prompt, and get some helpful results.

Specifically for sales, Claude helps automate routine tasks, provide data-driven insights for better customer engagement, and enhance efficiency in sales operations. Sales pros can get more efficient at many time-sucking tasks: customer relationship management, lead prioritization, and evaluating predictive analytics.

claude.ai can simplify even the most complex tasks

The cost for Claude is $20/month/user. Well worth it in the time it saves you preparing even for a single prospect call.

Call Transcriptions

According to our survey, about 24% of sales teams now use AI for call transcriptions to save time, check accuracy, and extract valuable information from conversations.

That number should be much higher because these tools offer a more in-depth understanding of customer interactions/needs and drive sales efforts without much investment.

3. Avoma

Think of Avoma as a meeting assistant that summarizes, transcribes, and even analyzes what takes place so actionable items are determined. The tool knows when you’ve got calls scheduled, it takes notes automatically and, with a click on the transcript, it takes you to that timestamp in the recording.

Unlike other AI tools that perform these tasks (Zoom AI assistant, Fireflies, Otter.ai), Avoma integrates with the HubSpot CRM on the contact/company’s records, so there’s no extra work to document the call in your CRM.

The cost for Avoma varies, but the level of functionality described here is available for $49/month/user.

Avoma AI meeting summarization tool providing key takeaways and decisions

Automated Outreach Sequences

AI tools can play a crucial role in enhancing and automating outreach sequences, which are used for sales prospecting, marketing campaigns, and customer engagement. The right AI tool can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates and improved prospect engagement … yet, only 22% (our survey) of sales teams are currently using automated outreach sequence tools.

4. Microsoft Sales Copilot

Yes, this one looks familiar (see #1 above). Microsoft Sales Copilot makes it easy to personalize sequenced communications, at scale. It’s now far easier to create an automated outreach sequence tool. A sales rep can log meetings and connect the tool to external data sources — a CRM, such as HubSpot or Dynamics 365, for instance — with 2-way integration using plug-ins.

The tool extracts relevant sales data from your CRM (product names, units, prices, etc.), and makes it accessible in your email inbox, saving time to manually search for the needed information. Then, it logs your email to the CRM and effortlessly tracks interactions.

microsoft sales copilot being used with crm integration to compose an email

Predictive Lead Scoring and Pipeline Analytics

Severely underutilized (only 16% of respondents in our survey use them), these AI tools can leverage data-driven insights to identify high-quality leads, prioritize sales efforts, and optimize the sales pipeline.

Work more efficiently, allocate resources effectively, close deals faster, and increase revenue while maintaining a customer-centric approach.

5. Propensity

Consistent deployment of account-based marketing (ABM) strategies pays off for industrial sales teams because it’s so efficient once the campaigns are set up.

You may recognize Propensity from Part 2 of this series, when we covered its front-to-back ABM campaign management: audience building, buyer intent signals, ad setup, predictive lead scoring, and analytics (deal/customer attribution when synced with a CRM such as HubSpot). Propensity can also be used for paid ad programs.

On the Sales side this translates to a pool of in-market prospects for reps to reach out to. The tool will automatically notify sales of leads who've interacted with your campaigns and flag them as "hot" priority for follow up. So reps can spend their time only on leads who are warm

propensity automatically indicates when leads are hot for sales team outreach 

Because Propensity is so robust, it is not a small price tag — upwards of $1,000/month — but in our experience it can vastly improve the results of your ABM and paid ads campaigns.

Conversational Sales Coach

We haven’t yet used this type of AI tool, but we’re intrigued. An AI sales coach provides real-time guidance and insights to reps during sales interactions, which could help elevate their skills quickly and to make them more effective.

With our survey showing that only 8% of sales teams currently use conversational sales training, it's an opportunity to get ahead of your competitors and upskill your sales teams at scale.

6. Second Nature

AI-powered sales coaching software like Second Nature is designed to onboard, coach, and train sales teams quickly, effectively, and at scale. A virtual version of a role playing partner uses conversational AI to have actual discussions with sales reps. They’re scored and given tips for improvement. Sales reps can get up to speed on new products, and new reps can learn all about existing products.

AI conversational sales coach and ways sales reps can improve their conversations

BONUS AI Tool: Gemini from Google

Although this AI-powered LLM wasn’t yet available when Greg gave his presentation, it definitely grabbed some attention recently, and it requires some exploration.

What got people talking was a video showing Gemini’s exceptional multimodal capabilities, so it can seamlessly understand and work with different types of inputs — text, images, code, video, audio — making Gemini wonderful at handling written and visual inputs.

This kind of power lends itself to numerous sales and marketing tasks, depending on need. Choose from three Gemini levels: Ultra is for the most complex tasks (not likely sales and marketing); Pro is for a broad range of tasks; and Nano is made to be efficient on devices such as smartphones.

Gemini’s capabilities are being progressively woven into existing Google products, making them accessible to a broader audience.

See How You Compare

The State of Industrial Sales & Marketing survey we created with our analytics dashboard partner, Databox. We’re asking marketing and sales professionals at industrial and manufacturing companies to participate. You’ll see how other industrials use AI tools and track sales and marketing performance. Click to take the 5-minute survey now!

Topics: Marketing Technology, Sales Enablement, Artificial Intelligence

click here to take the state of industrial sales and marketing survey