70% of sales professionals agree that AI tools will make them more productive — but how do you make sure your team cashes in on that sales performance boost? AI sales assistants are increasingly playing an integral role in B2B sales teams: they can help find, research, and reach out to leads faster and in a more personalized way than ever.
Many of the repetitive and mundane tasks in sales can be automated with AI, whether that means automation, ChatGPT, an AI agent, or AI sales assistant software. With each new tool that enters the market, the configurations for your tech stack can seem more and more complicated.
In this blog post, we’ll share 11 easy, concrete ways that an AI sales assistant can accelerate your team's performance to maximize your growth.
What is an AI sales assistant?
From what you read on LinkedIn, you’d think AI sales assistant software is about to take over everything from sales coaching, and sales calls, to pipeline management and closing deals. This isn’t the case in our experience. Handing over your customer engagement to AI sales software with no human in the loop isn’t the best idea just yet.
AI, large language models, and natural language processing have come a long way, but their most powerful use cases are in removing mundane, time-consuming tasks that most sales reps prefer not to do anyway.
In this article, we’re going to define AI sales assistants as any sales software tool or data processing tool that can automate or accelerate part of your sales operations process.
How you can use AI sales assistants to uplevel your outbound workflow
1. Use AI to help define your ideal customer profile
For sales leaders, defining your ideal customer profile is the foundation of your sales process. Our article on defining an ICP and target audience shows you how to best target customers using AI and technology to quickly build filters and score leads.
When you’re defining your ICP, you want to think about all the signals that make a customer a great one for you.
Start broad by defining:
- Company size
And then get increasingly specific with:
- Open jobs
- Current tech stack
- Website key words
Before you even start filtering, you can use AI tools to identify trends about your existing customer base that may not be apparent (or even discernible) otherwise. Tools like people.ai or Symanto can help you understand your existing customer base, and recommend customer personas that are likely to fit your ideal customer profile.
Generating a lead list can be a mundane and expensive process for most sales teams. An AI assistant can be uniquely helpful for this step of the sales process.
2. Target companies that look like your existing customers with AI
Building lead lists based on companies that are similar (lookalikes) to your best existing customers helps sales and marketing teams identify and prioritize outreach to new accounts that resemble those likely to purchase. Until now, building such targeted lists has only been possible through slow and manual research methods.
As long as you have a few companies that fit your ideal customer profile, you can use AI sales assistant software to find company lookalikes.
In Clay, you can search for company lookalikes by feeding us a few companies in your tables. We’ll use an AI based LLM search to find similar companies.
This approach leverages AI to help you identify prospects that share both explicit and inferred characteristics with your existing customers, helping you reach the right folks faster.
4. Enrich customer profiles for deep targeting using AI
Once you have a lead list, it’s time to enrich it with detailed information and contact details. Finding prospects’ names, LinkedIn URLs, work emails, and phone numbers using broad company and employee criteria are a one-click process with Clay.
Clay’s sales assistant software features "waterfall" capability — meaning that it searches for your desired enrichment information from a series of data providers, one after the other. (Of course, once Clay finds the information you're looking for, it stops its search.)
What does that mean for you? Well, you can pull enrichment information directly from multiple (often expensive) data providers like LinkedIn, Apollo, Hunter, Datagma, People Data Labs, PredictLeads, Owler, or Builtwith, while minimizing your costs.
With an AI sales assistant, you also can move beyond basic search filters and use AI prompts to identify and enrich potential leads. Beyond headcount and industry, you can find less obvious features like…
- Keywords on a company's site
- Current tech stack
- Issues highlighted in online reviews
- Recently announced funding rounds
- Job openings hiring for the service you provide
You can use this information to supercharge the timeliness of your outreach with trigger-based targeting, so your email lands in their inbox at the perfect moment.
While this type of deep research usually takes a lot of time and energy, AI sales assistants like Claygent (which is currently in beta for Clay customers) let you pose questions like “When did this company last raise money?”, and then use AI to find and synthesize the answers for you.
5. Clean and format names and titles with an AI sales assistant
Datasets can be…messy. Especially when they’re pulling from unstructured data, like a LinkedIn job title.
We’ve all seen it before: a title like “CEO || World Changer” should probably appear as just CEO in your cold outreach email.
Rather than spending your sales team’s precious time fixing these minutiae, you can use some clever prompting to have your AI sales assistant clean large lists in no time to remove extra terms, emojis, and more.
6. Segment your sales team’s leads with an AI sales assistant
Sales teams often segment leads into broad groups like industry, company size, location, etc. These smaller, more manageable subsets can then be prioritized and routed to the appropriate sales reps for more personalized and effective outreach later in the sales cycle.
You can use AI to create segmented lists. Based on the information you’ve compiled, AI can make inferences about each company to group your customers. AI can use customer data to categorize companies as B2B or B2C, and see whether a company is SOC II compliant, or more.
Using this sales intelligence to personalize emails can massively increase your sales team's efficiency and sales performance — just ask Qrew's founder, Mehak Batra:
“What Clay does automatically, one person earlier did for 8 hours a day. Now, our remaining SDRs take leads and run them through Clay to enrich them—we have 2 SDRs and one AE. Clay has helped us be more efficient and increase margins,” Mehak said.
7. Use an AI sales assistant to help score leads
Lead scoring is one of the first — and most important — steps in lead qualification.
But manually scoring your leads can be labor intensive, especially if you want to consider several sales data factors in your scoring process. To speed things up (and make sure you’re capturing everything that’s important to you), you can create scoring criteria that an AI sales assistant uses to score your leads for you!
Quickly scoring large volumes of leads is critical to your team's sales productivity. See how Pylon scores and sorts through thousands of leads by using Clay to search through keywords on the companies' websites.
8. Use AI to help forecast sales
Sales forecasting is the process of estimating future sales based on historical data, current pipeline trends, and predictions of market conditions. Accurate forecasts help businesses set realistic targets, allocate resources efficiently, and make better strategic decisions.
If sales forecasting is an important part of your workflow, AI sales forecasting tools like those offered by Hubspot or Salesforce can help you analyze large datasets to provide actionable insights into market trends, customer behavior, and sales patterns.
With this information, you and your sales managers can make informed predictions and projections, enabling more accurate sales forecasting and better resource allocation.
9. Design intelligent, responsive campaigns with AI
AI lets you leverage your pipeline data and sales analytics to derive insights on your best-performing campaigns.
AI sales tools like Gong.io and Smartlead.ai can help you find and apply those learnings to new campaigns for each customer segment. Once your campaigns are already underway, you can use AI to evaluate in real-time how your campaigns are doing, amplifying tactics that work and pivoting away from those that don’t.
10. Personalize your emails with AI
At Clay, we believe strongly that the best way to write high-performing emails is to start with a template and use AI to personalize parts of the template for each lead.
But you're not on your own when you're drafting your first template. GPT in Clay, ChatGPT, Claude, and Lex can all help you generate a first draft of your cold outreach email, which you can use careful, crafted copywriting to perfect. Check out our blog post to see our best strategies about how to do this.
Personalization is one of the most important steps you can take in cold outreach, and enriched customer profiles can translate to highly personalized outreach messages.
Use an AI sales assistant to further enrich your prospects’ profiles with personal touches. For example, you can have AI find, summarize, and create snippets for:
- Recent needs expressed on LinkedIn
- New jobs posted on their websites
- Product launches featured in articles
Once you summarize salient findings with AI, you can automatically insert those personalizations into the body of your outreach emails. At Clay, we believe we do this best — because higher quality enrichment translates directly to higher quality personalization.
11. Use AI to automate most mundane sales tasks
There are a lot of capabilities that AI has that can make any job easier and more efficient. Though these tools aren’t uniquely positioned to help sales teams, it’s worth looking into how AI can help you and your sales reps automate tasks like scheduling meetings, note-taking, and manual data entry.
Our AI sales assistant in action
It's obvious that there are a lot of ways for AI software solutions to accelerate your sales processes and help you meet your sales goals. At Clay, our approach is to create a simple, integrated tool that cuts through the confusion.
This doesn’t just save you and your sales team the headache of managing and integrating several AI sales software tools (not to mention countless data providers). We believe it fundamentally improves the outcomes that you’ll see.
Quality and quantity in lead generation
At Clay, we use AI lead generation to automate the process of finding leads and qualifying leads This ensures that you get a large volume of customers that are targeted to fit your ICP. It's not just something our customers use — it's something we rely on internally at Clay too. Using AI in our B2B lead generation process has helped 2-3x response rates and conversions across the 800k+ cold emails we sent each month.
“Clay solves one of the biggest problems in outbound sales that has been around for the last ten years… before Clay, you would either have a giant list of leads that are not targeted whatsoever, or you would do a really good job of prospecting but only get around 10 leads.”
– Jacob Tuwiner, ServiceBell
AI-powered enrichment with access to 50+ data providers
By directly pulling from 50+ of data sources, Clay ensures that you can build the best, most complete lead lists possible. AI allows us to quickly collect and compile valuable insights from unstructured data from all these sources. These highly targeted outputs ensure that your time is dedicated to the customers that are most likely to be delighted by and eager to use your product.
"On Clay, we use multiple sources of information to put together a composite picture about our prospects and craft the right message for them. We no longer rely on any single database provider. We use numerous integrations, including web scraping, OpenAI with ChatGPT, etc., to pull and analyze information that doesn’t exist in data sets in the first place. It has completely transformed how we think about list building."
– Harris Kenny, IntroCRM
When it comes to personalization, your emails are only as good as the research you've done on your customers. That's why one of our core features is the ability to turn your enrichment research into personalized messaging that converts.
"I get the best responses that I’ve ever gotten as a salesperson to the emails I send with Clay. Several people have told me 'This is the best cold email that I’ve ever seen'"
– Kyle Rasmussen, ChatMetrics
The next generation of AI assistants
The frontier of AI capabilities continues to expand every day, and our team is dedicated to that same continuous improvement.
Every new feature that we test and deploy — like our lookalikes capability or Claygent— is designed to accelerate your sales processes, save time for your sales team, and increase your reach with your target customers.
As artificial intelligence (and our tools!) become more powerful, we'll be sharing new ways to accelerate your sales team on our blog, or our community Slack. Or, if you're ready to see how this cutting edge technology can supercharge your team, you can try Clay here!