Interview: AI in sales and marketing

Rolf Fellmann is a sales expert with a wide range of experience in the areas of quality management, sales management and as a business angel. He knows how to build customer relationships, develop sales strategies and successfully conclude negotiations. And that's why we asked him how AI can and will reshape sales.
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An interview with Rolf Fellmann

What exactly do you do for a living?

I am the managing director of dSales plus in Meerbusch and have a wide range of experience in the areas of quality management and sales management.

What experiences have you already had with AI?

My personal first and important experience in dealing with AI tools was learning that machines are simply better than humans. And in many ways. But what matters most is how you communicate with her. If you as a person give an incorrect or unsatisfactory answer, your counterpart will assume that you are incompetent. If the result of the AI is not satisfactory, it is important to ask yourself whether you may have asked the question incorrectly at the beginning. The better and clearer you communicate with the machines, the better and clearer the result will be. And at this point, machines are just superior to humans, you could say.

Communication is a huge challenge and its value should not be underestimated. But it has always been a special aspect, because unambiguous communication is the be-all and end-all, especially in the B2B sector. Especially with regard to products that require explanation, it is all the more difficult to understand the facts if communication is unclear.

How can AI support the sales process?

Acquisition is an example here. Regardless of whether you are cold, warm or half-warm, you don't necessarily end up with the person you actually wanted to talk to, but usually also with the assistant. And here summaries have to be written again and again after the conversation in order to record the results and inquiries. It takes an hour each time to collect and formulate everything properly.

The AI can now be told to prepare an elevator pitch or to compile the essential points of communication. In the end, you have completed exactly the letter that is needed and without any additional time investment on the part of the salesperson. In the past you had to think about exactly who should be sent what, then new phone calls intervened and you didn't get around to it until the following day. As a result, the process dragged on and on. Thanks to automation, you can now hang up after the initial contact by telephone, wait the agreed 15 or 20 minutes and then press the send symbol.

What potential does AI offer for sales and marketing in the future?

The biggest challenge and at the same time the potential benefit for salespeople will be working with AI itself. Especially in B2B, the salesperson should be creative and be able to respond to certain individualities. Dealing with the machines or the AI will be the biggest hurdle, as this has a strong influence on your own sales process and process.

Many salespeople have previously said that they can't sell right now because they have to maintain the CRM first. However, if such recurring activities are already removed so that more time can be spent with the customer, that represents a gain. At the same time, however, you also have to think more about how you want to design the sales process without redundancy.

Here too, communication with the salesperson is important. Where does he need help and support in the process? What would have to happen for the degree to be completed in three months instead of six? Where do we need to remove or automate things within the process so that the sales person can concentrate on the essentials? With these questions we also get closer to the customer's interest: he reaches his results more quickly and at the same time the company is happy because it makes sales faster. So people have an incredibly strong partner in AI and automation who supports them. Many tasks that previously took a lot of time can now be handed over, such as personalized communication.


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