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Natural Language Processing Is Re-Writing The Sales Book

Learn More From Your Leads Than Ever Before

Imagine you’re sitting at your desk, typing out emails to leads.

Suddenly, you get a message from your AI saying that one of your leads who recently became a customer posted an extremely positive review for your company on social media.

Seizing this opportunity, you share the review on your company’s social media profiles, and email or call your new customer to thank them for the review. 

Now you have a great relationship that is even stronger thanks to your quick reaction. Your reaction which was made possible through AI using Natural Language Processing.

What is NLP?

Have you heard about Natural Language Processing (NLP)? It may sound complex, but the idea behind it is quite simple. Breaking it down, we have “natural,” referring to how humans interact with each other; “language,” which is text-based in this case; and “processing,” which brings it all together.

Humans are complicated animals and we don’t usually communicate in the most straightforward manner. There are lots of nuances, context and colloquialisms in language that, up until now, needed a human to understand properly. New NLP software is able to understand what’s happening at a human level , by analyzing keywords for tone and context.  

This is incredibly important because text is a daily part of every business. Emails, reports, archives or reviews all come in text form. Previously, companies needed people to read, digest and report what information was important.

So, what does this mean, and how will it help businesses?

NLP is able to understand the content of messages or the general sentiment of online content to help simplify our lives and discover hidden trends and messages in text.

Being able to understand the content of each message is amazingly powerful and has far-reaching implications. However, at its most basic level, there are examples and technologies that we all interact with on a daily basis. 

Google is a great example that uses NLP across several of its services. The simplest example is autocompletion, occurring on your phone while texting or performing a Google search. Both of these examples are just guessing at what you want based on previous searches and don’t necessarily understand the meaning of the words. (Source)Google_auto_complete.png

Revealing Patterns (Source)

trends.jpgBusinesses already use tools to find meaning from data - primarily using numbers in spreadsheets. Anyone who regularly uses programs like Excel can speak about the power of it to find hidden trends and make sense of complex data. NLP is the natural progression to making sense of and finding trends in text-based data.

Data can be anything, numbers or text, and most data (80%) is categorized as unstructured or text. (Source) The data can be in the form of Microsoft Word files, PDFs, social media posts, text messages, audio recordings or even search queries. The key to understanding it is NLP software.

Think about what hidden trends you could uncover by going through the social media posts about your company or a specific hashtag. Is the message positive? Negative? Now, think about what you could uncover by using it with your CRM. Are there ways to accelerate prospects into sales? 

Here are a few other examples of how to use NLP to your benefit.

Applications

For any business, the better you can understand your customer, the better your company will perform. At its core NLP, will help determine customer wants and needs.

As with any new technology, it may take a while for people to understand how best to use it. Heck, everyone hated the iPad when it first came out, but now there are close to 80 million units across the United States.

 

To help you gain a bit of clarity, here are 6 ways NLP can improve your business:

  • Search Engine Insights

    As any sales rep knows, being able to speak your customers’ language is crucially important. Using NLP, your company can find the keywords and phrases that customers use to search for your company in Google and other search engines.

  • Social Media

    NLP is able to understand the context of messages and analyze tone. This can help give companies a broad idea of the overall trend of the platform. Is it positive, negative or neutral? Are the tweets they’re putting out connecting with their audience? Are they well received?

  • Reviews (App Store, Google Play)

    Review sites are another great place to unleash NLP. Usually, you can find positive reviews or get an idea of what people are asking. Often, you see a 1-star review with a specific complaint. If you were able to aggregate the data, it could give you amazing insights on how to improve your product.

  • Email (Source)

    A great example of this is how Gmail separates emails into 3 categories - main, social, and promotions. You can take it one step further and continue to subdivide your messages to make you more efficient.

  • CRM

    A CRM houses the information about your leads and customers. By understanding what a lead is thinking and expressing, based on the conversations and actions, NLP can develop profiles for how best to move leads through a funnel.

    It can also be paired with sales triggers to send hot prospects to sales reps.

  • Phone Calls

    All phone calls can be transcribed into text and then analyzed for trends. If you have one rep that kills it every month, it could be worth looking for trends to determine what makes them successful. Scripts can then be given to all reps to try and replicate the results.

Now that we’ve gone over how NLP can improve your business, let’s get a bit more specific and go over how NLP works in practice in different industries:

B2C: With B2C, imagine if you could find hidden trends of how customers talk about your product benefits. You could easily adapt your marketing to reflect how people actually talk about it. Additionally, your strategies could evolve to take advantage of trends that may not be currently apparent, resulting in an increased bottom line without any additional advertising.

NLP can also be used to extrapolate data to find trends for e-commerce business, analyzing the top search results and providing more detail. (Source)

No matter how much keyword analysis you do for your site, someone will think of something you haven’t or use terms to search for your business that never occurred to you. By seeing what search terms people are using, and understanding what they are looking for, NLP can give companies an edge in their SEO to ensure their site is on the first page of Google.

Best of all, the insights provided for each example happen in real-time.

B2B: With B2B, the sales cycle is typically longer than with B2C. Reps generally juggle numerous accounts at once and include hundreds or thousands of email correspondence or phone calls.

NLP could help a rep better assess which leads deserve their attention by finding patterns and trends of those who are more likely to convert. Even the most skilled rep can miss details and let leads fall through the cracks, but a robust NLP solution will keep reps focused on the most valuable leads.

Wall Street + Big Banks: Both of these examples thrive by being able to anticipate market changes, and both have staffed departments researching data and looking for trends.

Imagine, as a Wall Street broker, you could put your data analysis on autopilot, working 24/7, monitoring social media and news outlets with more detail than an army of interns.

This insight would undoubtedly give you an edge over someone using conventional methods, and you would be able to make a move before anyone else. The same goes for banks and understanding potential risks. 

Recap of NLP benefits

  • Anticipate problems

  • Identify hot leads

  • Find trends in the media

  • Real-time analysis

  • Improve site search

Conclusion

Though NLP may appear scary and a bit too much like “big brother” for some, it is the natural progression of being able to process and understand everything around us. We are no longer limited to numbers - we can now make the most of text-based data.

This will help nearly every business looking to grow. All aspects of the sales process will benefit: from giving leads the information they’re looking for, to reps that better understand unique customer needs, to stock traders looking for the next big thing. When paired with AI, NLP can go beyond - and even anticipate - actions before they occur.

How is your company planning to use NLP? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Posted by: Cognism

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