How to optimise your sales funnel with AI tools

Between understanding your customers, developing an effective marketing strategy and streamlining the buyer journey, a lot of effort is involved in driving potential customers down the sales funnel.

But what if you could offer your team a mechanical advantage, rather than relying entirely on them to put their shoulders to the wheel? Artificial intelligence can provide that mechanical (and ultimately, competitive) advantage.

The use of AI has exploded in recent times, with the technology now at a point where it has the potential to change every aspect of your business. In this article we look at the concept of an AI-powered sales funnel: what it is, how it works and the best AI tools for sales funnel improvement.

What is the sales funnel?

The sales funnel is a concept used in marketing to describe the buyer journey that customers take with your business, beginning with the awareness stage of discovering your brand and ending with a transactional purchase (or better yet, an ongoing relationship with multiple purchases throughout the lifetime of that relationship).

At Growth Partners we describe the sales funnel as comprising three distinct stages, represented by the acronym ‘ACT’:


This is the entry point at the top of the sales funnel when potential customers first become aware of your brand and/or offers. Your challenge at this stage of the sales funnel is to maximise the audience you reach and your relevance to that audience, which you can do through advertising, SEO (search engine optimisation) and social media marketing—to name just a few digital marketing channels.


Once a prospective customer is aware of your brand, you need to convince them that you are relevant to their needs and indeed the right choice. The consideration stage of the sales funnel is all about positioning yourself as the customer’s number one option – this can be achieved through a number of means, including targeted content designed to build the reputation of your brand or to frame your offering as the best option available.


When the time comes to buy, one good tip is to enable customers to purchase your product in the way they want (in-store, through your website or a third-party platform, with their preferred payment method), therefore reducing any barriers to sales. You also need to ensure your purchase process is perfectly streamlined to minimise abandoned carts or “cold feet” and maximise the likelihood of repeat business.

There are a wealth of other ways to picture the sales funnel that may be more applicable to your business. “Lead generation, conversion, retention” may resonate more with organisations that offer high value services, for example. But ultimately the broad strokes of every sales funnel are the same.

Why is AI essential in the modern sales process?

AI is fast becoming a non-negotiable within the modern sales process. Powered by the success of ChatGPT (and to a lesser degree Google Bard), AI has transformed from a niche pursuit to a widespread and widely understood set of technologies. Businesses are implementing AI tools at an unprecedented rate – and your competitors are most likely among them.

AI can be used to automate and enhance a vast array of sales processes. Chatbots can offer instant answers to the most common customer questions and can even secure contact information from leads. Predictive analytics can reveal the individual and collective preferences of your customers and the marketing and sales strategies that will work best on them.

AI will take care of a lot of you and your team’s most laborious, low value work and allow you to focus on making sales. Ultimately it will drive higher conversion rates and more sales.

How to leverage AI for targeted lead generation

Lead generation encapsulates both the awareness and consideration stages of the sales funnel, as you need to make potential customers aware of your brand and you need to be considered worthy of their contact information.

There are a wealth of ways AI tools can assist with lead generation, including:

  • Chatbots to drive engagement and capture leads: Chatbots are excellent at driving engagement and establishing brand authority and trust and they can also be programmed to capture leads by asking for the information of anyone who interacts with them.
  • Personalised content: You can use AI to customise content and ads to ensure they resonate with whoever they are presented to.
  • Customised emails: You can also use generative AI like ChatGPT to instantly craft hyper-personalised emails that are designed to convert. AI can also analyse open rates, click-through rates and other data to better segment your email list based on customer behaviours.
  • More targeted ads: AI’s ability to process huge amounts of information makes it super valuable in your paid advertising efforts – it can identify the exact audience you should target for maximum impact, so you don’t waste money getting in front of irrelevant eyes.

Enhance lead quality with AI-powered lead scoring

Lead scoring is a sales strategy designed to clarify which of your leads are primed to become customers and which need a little more attention before they convert.

Traditional lead scoring methods are very manual and create scores from basic information like job title or company size. AI-powered lead scoring tools, meanwhile, ingest and analyse vast amounts of data to come up with a far more accurate and insightful, yet still easy to understand, lead score for a salesperson to act upon.

AI-powered lead scoring not only allows you to focus on genuinely high quality leads, it also helps your salespeople to capitalise on these leads faster, as these tools can generate a lead score in a matter of moments. This mixture of accuracy and efficiency means you can enjoy far more conversions and far better conversion rates.

How AI can be used to optimise the sales funnel 

Lead scoring tools are just one small way in which AI can enhance your sales processes. To get a more complete sense of the extensive capabilities of AI, let’s take a look at an expanded version of the ACT sales funnel and look at how sales AI tools might enhance each stage.

1. Awareness stage

During the awareness stage you can employ AI-powered algorithms to identify the most relevant audiences for your brand and offerings. You can then segment those audiences to develop and distribute more targeted and effective marketing. 

2. Consideration stage

After awareness comes consideration, at which point a potential customer will most likely visit your website. By employing AI-powered sales chatbots and virtual assistants on your site, you can offer assistance and instant answers to visitors, which can help to frame your brand as the right choice.

Chatbots can also be effective lead generation machines, as they can solicit contact information from visitors, perhaps in exchange for a free download, like a more human and proactive form of a lead magnet.

We’ve already mentioned the power of AI-driven lead scoring in terms of segmenting leads, which can help your salespeople identify which leads might currently be considering you and your offering.

3. Transaction stage part 1: Decision time

Considerations made, the potential customer will decide whether to choose your brand or offering. At this point you can capitalise on what will be quite a warm lead through AI sales prediction tools, which can reveal individual preferences to help you craft marketing materials and sales strategies that will guide them to a purchase. Automated email tools powered by AI can help you craft personalised marketing materials at scale.

4. Transaction stage part 2: Sales action

The culmination of the Transaction stage is where the customer has decided to choose you, now it’s time for them to act on that decision. By employing AI-powered dynamic pricing – a popular strategy in hotels – your prices are automatically set according to factors like market demand and inventory levels. Dynamic pricing helps you to maximise revenue and ensures you don’t undercharge for your products/services.

Another way to maximise revenue is with suggestion/recommendation engines. This is where associated products and services are offered up as extras and add-ons within the purchase process. Sticking with our hotel example, a business might offer up an airport pickup, day spa voucher or room upgrade.

5. Post sales stage part 1: Retention

With a prospect transformed into a customer, the challenge now is to retain them, as acquiring a new customer can be four to five times more expensive than keeping a current one. You can use AI to analyse customer feedback on a macro scale and enhance the customer and purchase experience you deliver.

AI-powered CRM tools, meanwhile, can help you segment your customers in deeper and more effective ways than ever before, based on everything from the items they buy to the behaviours they display when they buy them. You can then more precisely target each segment with deals and marketing materials that resonate specifically with them.

6. Post sales part 2: Advocacy

What’s better than a loyal customer? A customer so loyal and convinced by the quality of your service or product and their experience with you will then become a brand advocate. This is when a customer becomes an (unpaid) ambassador for your brand, sharing their positive views with their personal networks.

You can use AI tools to conduct a user-generated content analysis, which can highlight people who have spoken about your brand or offering in glowing terms online. Once potential advocates have been identified, you can then use AI to craft more effective referral programs that further encourage customers to share the good word about your brand.

Best AI tools for sales

Now that we know some of the general capabilities of AI in the sales process, what are the specific tools that you might consider implementing? Here are a few of the very best.

1. Chatbots and virtual assistants

The right chatbot can become your organisation’s best salesperson, not least because it will work 24/7 without needing to be paid a wage. A few of the best examples of sales-focused chatbot tools include MobileMonkey, Engati, Tidio and Drift.

2. AI-powered CRMs

Home to all key customer information, your CRM is the most important tool at your sales team’s disposal. Handed the role of organising all this information and making it actionable, AI-powered CRMs are becoming a must-have. Salesforce Einstein, Zoho CRM, Pipedrive and HubSpot are amongst the best.

3. Conversion-boosting AI tools

There are a wide array of ways to boost your sales conversions, so there are a wide array of AI sales tools that can help.

Mailchimp uses AI to up your email marketing game, Semrush can maximise your ability to attract leads through SEO and Tableau is a business intelligence tool that can sift through mountains of customer data to find sales conversion opportunities that you may otherwise miss.

4. AI tools to streamline sales operations

A number of tools are designed to help your sales team with a lot of the time-consuming labour and legwork that eats into their selling time. The best AI-powered examples include, Prime AI and Enterprise Bot.

By harnessing the incredible power of AI, you can streamline your sales processes, enhance the customer experience, focus your sales team on the highest value work and drive clear, data-driven decision-making throughout the entire sales funnel.

Ultimately AI-powered sales tools are built to get you selling more to more people. They represent the future and should form a strategic imperative for any businesses seeking to gain a competitive advantage.

Growth Partners: Your AI sales funnel specialists

At Growth Partners we have built a reputation for helping businesses grow by solving real-world business problems with targeted data analysis, strategic marketing thinking and best-in-class digital implementation – and in today’s digital environment, that includes AI.

To achieve the results we are known for and provide a blueprint for success, we’ve developed DigitalArchitect – a proprietary system that uses deep data to highlight online expansion opportunities and determine the strength of your business case for digital marketing investment, laying the foundation for continuous, sustainable growth.

If you’re ready to transform your business with AI sales tools, we’re ready to help. Contact us today to kickstart your growth journey.


Jack Papworth

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