Tapping into AI to Ignite Selling of Complex IT Solutions

By: Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx

Driving business outcomes is the goal of every CEO. Using technology to automate introduces new challenges, new opportunities, and many potential benefits. Even in the world of networking, where hard-wired systems are being transformed to be virtual, creating lakes of big data is the new norm. All that data is useless unless it delivers business value. Combined with Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), sophisticated data correlation techniques and Artificial Intelligence (AI) promise a new generation of capabilities that will bring dramatic business-oriented benefits.

Beyond Customer Experience Management

Much industry discussion and activity has focused on applying analytics to network and customer data to improve customer experience and increase loyalty.What other low-hanging fruit is ripe for AI and big data analytics? First think of where there is extensive reliance on manual, ad hoc processes, and challenges with highly complex solutions. Think of where there is detailed knowledge in the minds of a handful of experts and issues around one-off decision-making. When considering these factors, the low hanging fruit are the IT sales processes for enterprise accounts! AI, analytics, and automation can ignite the selling motion for complex IT solutions, resulting in more "won deals," as well as reduced sales expenses, with payoffs that go directly to the bottom line.

Manual Sales Processes Squeeze Profitability

Selling business outcomes via technology-enabled solutions to enterprises can be highly profitable and more lucrative than consumer services. But, too often, this potential is not realized because unlike the consumer market, enterprise-grade solutions are complex and based on unique and dynamic business requirements.

The reality is that to achieve business outcomes by creating accurate proposals and quotes, the sales team needs to stay up to date on the current solution portfolio, deployment options, incentives and promotions, and reference architectures — all of which continuously evolve.

Arduous Enterprise Deal and Business Management

Senior sales and procurement managers also face challenges. While opportunities are managed and tracked in customer relationship management (CRM) tools, design and proposal generation is typically not easily tracked and analyzed.

If any profitability analyses are done at all, they are manual processes that piece together ever-changing data from numerous data sources. The processes are arduous, time-consuming, unsystematic, and therefore error prone.

Automating the Sales Process

To beat the competition, solution providers must speed time-to-quote and ensure their solutions can be designed, delivered, and implemented quickly, accurately, and profitably.

Sales enablement tools such as CRM and Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions increase efficiency by automating specific parts of the sales process.


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