From industry to finance, via medicine and cybersecurity: Artificial Intelligence (AI) now penetrates practically all sectors of activity. According to a recent study, AI adoption has exploded during the Covid crisis, particularly in the financial services and retail sectors, where its rate increased by 37% and 29%, respectively. According to McKinsey, 61% of top-performing companies have also increased their investments in AI during the pandemic.
AI is also making its way into industries where you don’t necessarily expect to find it, such as b2b selling. Its various applications help salespeople who face increasingly complex sales environments. AI-guided selling, which combines human intelligence with machine learning, has great potential in optimizing and personalizing sales journeys and the customer experience. In a highly competitive and digital environment, how can its adoption guarantee the long-term success of companies?
Upset by the changes induced by the pandemic, the entire sales cycle is now mainly digital. B2B sales processes have become more complex for both buyers and sellers. On the one hand, competition on digital channels has increased: users are constantly bombarded with promotional content, and brands must redouble their efforts to differentiate themselves. On the other hand, customers now have more control over their journey.
They rely on the content that circulates online and can research, compare, and make a buying decision long before interacting directly with a seller. In this context of increased competition, sales teams are also under constant pressure to optimize their strategies. Go to the market to achieve their goals. More than half (51%) of companies have increased their revenue targets for 2021, while 81% see growing their business as a top priority.
In the face of this, dirty teams have no choice but to adapt. They must become advisers, facilitators with a deep understanding of the expectations and needs of their potential clients. It is also essential for them to have access to a wide range of personalized content that guides customers and directly meets their expectations – and this is where AI comes in.
In the all-digital age, AI has the potential to underpin the complexity of sales cycles and help sales and go-to-market teams achieve increasingly demanding goals. Companies must, therefore, absolutely take advantage of technological innovations linked to AI if they wish to optimize the productivity of their teams and guarantee their effectiveness in the long term.
The potential of AI in the context of b2b selling lies in data analytics. Every interaction or action of a potential customer generates data, which provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of a brand’s sales strategies. If this contextual data is collected and analyzed on a large scale, it is possible to identify patterns and typical behaviors on which new business strategies can be based.
AI-driven selling isn’t meant to replace sales teams but to truly support them at every stage of the sales journey while providing them with insights and recommendations from analyzing customer data. While the sales cycle cannot be without the people skills and empathy of teams, AI support enables them to leverage proactive guidance to make the most effective decisions possible – those that will be most likely. Optimize their interactions with their potential customers.
Taking financial services as an example, AI has a key role in improving the relationships financial advisors and wealth managers have with their clients. In an increasingly competitive industry marked by growing reliance on online services, AI systems allow financial advisors to optimize every interaction to deliver personalized and consistent customer experiences. The goal is to guide financial advisors with recommendations based on the analysis of real-time customer data and content performance across different interaction channels. AI can also take over tasks such as writing, adapting or converting this content for specific channels,
Is the future of selling in AI? The answer is clear as the potential of AI-driven selling in terms of optimizing sales cycles is vast. In a context dominated by online interactions and the upsurge of ever more active competitors, companies must do everything possible to support their teams. With AI at their side, b2b vendors across all industries will focus on building stronger relationships with their customers and thus driving their business growth over the long term.
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