Microsoft plans to start using AI tech to write emails for salespeople, and it's not hard to see why
Insider tested ChatGPT to see how it deals with emails from inquiring customers and angry clients, and asked the AI to write a sales proposal.
- Microsoft plans to use artificial intelligence from ChatGPT maker OpenAI to write emails for people.
- The company says its research shows that 66% of a seller's day is spent managing emails.
- Insider tested ChatGPT to see how it deals with several scenarios salespeople may deal with.
Microsoft is working on using artificial intelligence similar to ChatGPT to write professional emails for people, the company said on Thursday.
The tech giant is using text-based software from OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, to help people draft emails with personalized details for their recipients, such as pricing, promotions, and deadlines.
This new tech is to be deployed in Viva Sales, Microsoft's sales app launched in October, that manages customer information and uses AI to scan calls and emails with clients.
The app writes the email by first sifting through data it has on the customer, then prompting salespeople with suggestions like: "make a proposal," "reply to an inquiry," or "suggest your own," said Microsoft.
After making their choice, the salesperson can review and edit the AI-generated email before hitting send.
"For sales teams, the adage 'time is money' is more relevant than ever before," wrote Lori Lamkin, a corporate vice president in Microsoft's Dynamics 365 department.
Citing Microsoft's own commissioned research, Lamkin said a typical seller spends 66% of their day managing emails.
While Insider doesn't have access to Viva Sales' new AI, we tested ChatGPT to see how it deals with several situations that salespeople and customer relations workers may find themselves in. We simulated three common scenarios:
- How does Chat GPT respond to sales inquires?
- How does Chat GPT respond to irate customers?
- How does Chat GPT respond to sales proposals?
ChatGPT generated most of its responses below in 10 seconds or less.
We gave the AI a few basic details before prompting it with a query from a potential (and of course, non-existent) client:
My name is Mike Wazowski. I work for Dumble Muffin, where I sell paper by the ream to large companies. Could you help me draft a professional email response to this question?
"Hi Dumble Muffin,
I'm interested in ordering some paper from your firm. My company needs 20,000 reams next month, and we have a budget of $100,000. Can we work something out?
Sincerely, Jerry Smith."
ChatGPT responded like so:
Thank you for your interest in ordering paper from Dumble Muffin. We'd be happy to assist you in fulfilling your order of 20,000 reams next month.
We would need to review your specific requirements to ensure we can provide you with the best solution within your budget of $100,000. Can you please provide us with a little more information about your specific needs for the paper, such as the type of paper, size, and any other specifications you have?
We look forward to the opportunity to work with you and meet your company's needs.
Best regards, Mike Wazowski
Sales Representative, Dumble Muffin
We had "Jerry" respond by adding a few more details and a request for a suggestion.
Continuing the conversation above, Jerry replies with this:
We need to print 50,000 colored pamphlets advertising our new event, Monty Smith's Heist Symposium. Our team is open to your suggestions. Could you please advise?
Please note that our budget is non-negotiable.
ChatGPT furnished this reply, although it cryptically re-thanked Jerry for reaching out in his first inquiry.
Thank you for reaching out with your printing needs. I'm glad to hear that you are open to our suggestions.
For your requirement of 50,000 colored pamphlets advertising Monty Smith's Heist Symposium, I would recommend using our high-quality glossy paper stock that will provide excellent color vibrancy and sharpness for your printing needs. Our production team can also assist you with customizing the design to ensure it meets your expectations.
Please note that our pricing for this quantity and paper stock would come in just under your budget of $100,000, and we can provide you with a detailed quote as soon as we have your design specifications and printing requirements.
If you have any further questions or would like to proceed with the order, please let me know. I'm here to help!
Sales Representative, Dumble Muffin
Next, we tested how ChatGPT could help a salesperson handle an angry client.
Continuing the conversation above, Jerry Smith responds:
I find it completely unacceptable that you've suggested we use high-quality glossy paper stock. It goes against everything that our company stands for.
I demand an apology from you and your company. Otherwise, you'll be hearing from our lawyers.
Could you draft a professional email response to this?
ChatGPT wrote this:
I apologize for the confusion and frustration caused by my previous email. I understand that the high-quality glossy paper stock may not align with your company's values, and I apologize for suggesting it without fully understanding your needs and preferences.
Please allow me to clarify that my suggestion was made in good faith and with the goal of providing you with the best possible solution for your printing needs. I understand the importance of maintaining your company's values and I would be happy to work with you to find a suitable alternative.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any further questions or concerns. I am here to ensure that you receive the best possible service from Dumble Muffin.
Sales Representative, Dumble Mifflin
We also asked ChatGPT to write us a sales proposal to unknown clients with this prompt:
My name is Woody Rex.
I am a senior salesperson at Lightyear's Bussin' Buzzes, a lawnmowing company that uses heavy duty equipment for big lawns. We also offer monthly packages to homeowning individuals for suburban lawns.
I need to write a 100-word email proposal to potential customers, featuring our 20% discount promotion lasting until the end of February. Could you craft one for me?
Within 15 seconds, ChatGPT crafted this:
Dear [Potential Customer],
Greetings from Lightyear's Bussin' Buzzes! I hope this email finds you well.
We specialize in providing high-quality lawn maintenance services using heavy-duty equipment, making us the perfect choice for big lawns. We also offer monthly packages for suburban lawns, ensuring your lawn stays in top condition all year round.
Take advantage of our current promotion - a 20% discount on all of our monthly packages, available until the end of February. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to providing top-notch service and making your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.
If you're interested in learning more, please don't hesitate to reach out. We would be happy to schedule a consultation and provide you with a free quote.
Senior Salesperson, Lightyear's Bussin' Buzzes
From this brief experiment, we found that while it can't make critical decisions for salespeople or companies, OpenAI's tech is sophisticated enough to independently strike up a personable sales conversation and help users communicate with professionalism.
That's a worthwhile skill that needs to be trained in many humans, and it's not hard to see why companies might start outsourcing part of sales conversations — or at least the first step — to a machine.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.