How Sales Departments in the Printing Industry Benefit From Artificial Intelligence

In sectors such as the printing industry, digital change is part of the daily schedule. As more and more data is generated and customers increasingly expect individuality, companies need to find suitable technologies for optimal processes even in areas where they might not expect it at first glance – for example, artificial intelligence in sales and distribution.

The development towards individualized services requires new ways of analyzing and evaluating customer data – this is also true for the printing industry. Artificial Intelligence can help out here and leverage sales to a new level. But how can print industry sales move away from mass marketing and towards personalized customer contact with Artificial Intelligence?

The oldest German-language trade journal for the printing industry, called „Deutscher Drucker“, explores this in its online edition print.de (German only). We have summarized the most important facts for you and expanded them with our own knowledge.

The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence can find potential prospects, generate leads, identify customer needs, and calculate purchase probabilities much faster and more accurately. With the help of predictive analytics, user preferences can be better understood. Based on these, AI can make appropriate recommendations for print products that fit the customer’s wishes. For a long time, sales staff did this time-consuming task of analysis personally. They relied on their own experience, subjective intuitions, and prescribed corporate strategies. AI can process much more data and thus identify and utilize up- and cross-selling potentials significantly better. In addition to analyzing and identifying customer needs, constant communication between the company and its customers is also essential. AI can improve this as well.

What Task Can AI Help Salespersons With?

Of course, in all areas where Artificial Intelligence is used, there are concerns that it could replace the human workforce in the long run, and salespeople will also share this worry. According to Michael Becker, who was interviewed for the article on print.de and is Head of the Print+Media Academy of the VDM North-West and supporter of the „BigContentData“ project for the print and media industry in North Rhine-Westphalia, this can be ruled out:

„The current state of technology and optimistic forecasts for the future do not suggest that the salesperson will be replaced. The human component in B2B sales cannot be completely replaced; creativity, empathy, charisma, humor, and communicative skills can currently only be replicated to a limited extent, let alone adequately replaced, even by advanced AI tools!“

He sees AI much more as an assistant for sales staff that can optimize processes and reduce employees‘ own workloads. He has defined five areas of support to give a better idea of what AI support can look like in sales:

  1. Automation of work processes that people do not like to do
  2. Automation of work processes that humans cannot do
  3. Increasing lead quality and shortening sales processes
  4. Prediction of cross- and up-selling opportunities
  5. Predicting sales forecasts to specific customer types

Current use of AI in sales

In fact, AI is already being used successfully in some areas of sales by companies in the printing industry. As a personal assistant, AI automates administrative and error-intensive tasks. Furthermore, chatbots or social bots are also AI that autonomously execute tasks defined on web-based on pre-programmed behavior patterns. Tasks such as flexible price adjustments, predictive lead scoring, and forecasting are also performed by AI.

When it comes to dynamic pricing, AI is not guided by costs but by the price acceptance of customers and the supply and demand on the market. Predictive machine learning algorithms analyze existing customers to determine the likelihood of winning a lead as a customer and thus perform very accurate predictive lead scoring. AI and predictive analytics increase the quality of sales forecasts and revenue projections.

Even before cross-selling, AI can create detailed shopping cart analyses and thereby calculate and predict probabilities for successful cross-selling. Based on various data, such as stand location allocations or social media activities, AI selects suitable target groups. Plus, customer satisfaction is also improved by AI – for example, in the form of a Customer Empathy Advisor.

With a look to the future, Artificial Intelligence is an indispensable part of sales in the printing industry, so companies can’t afford to ignore it. Anyone who would like more details on this topic should read the print.de article „Sales optimization in the printing industry with artificial intelligence“ (German only). What do you think about the use of Artificial Intelligence in sales? Do you already use AI? 

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