Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming one of the most popular buzzwords in the world.
It's also one of the hottest topics in the business world, with many companies looking to AI to drive their sales and marketing efforts.
But what does AI in sales really mean for B2B companies?
How will it impact the way we sell to other businesses?
And how can you use it to your advantage?
AI has already made its way into many aspects of our lives, from personal assistants like Siri and Alexa to self-driving cars.
While there are still some questions about whether artificial intelligence will replace humans in the workplace, there’s no doubt that AI will continue to play a huge role in our work lives.
We’re going to explore some of these changes and how B2B salespeople and owners can utilize them for their benefit.
What does B2B mean in sales?
The term B2B (business-to-business) typically refers to the sale of goods or services between two companies.
For example, if Company A produces equipment for Company B, Company A would sell to Company B rather than to customers directly. This is what is meant by "business-to-business."
Traditionally, marketing and sales has been done one-way: from the company's marketing or sales team to consumers.
The internet age has shifted that dynamic and created a two-way street of communication. Now marketing and sales can also be seen as company to customer, customer to company, and company to customer.
In this new era of digital marketing and sales, artificial intelligence stands out as a technology that could help maintain competitive advantage for B2B sales teams.
It can do tasks like scheduling appointments and setting up meetings on behalf of sales reps who are too busy with other work—or just don't have the time for some of these activities themselves.
AI can also help with lead qualification and lead scoring by scanning social media accounts and webpages for information about potential leads.
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science that focuses on using machines to simulate human intelligence.
It's used to make things like self-driving cars and automated customer service possible.
Artificial intelligence is everywhere, and it's becoming more and more important in the business world.
One of the most interesting parts about artificial intelligence is how it can be applied to something humans do all the time: make decisions.
AI allows for complex tasks like image recognition and natural language processing to be performed quickly and without error.
AI removes humans from these decision-making processes and instead uses algorithms to solve problems where we might need human intelligence.
One of the best examples of this is how IBM Watson has been used as a marketing and sales tool by companies such as Nike and Unilever.
The power of AI allows marketers at these companies to better understand their customers' needs so they can provide tailored content for them online or on social media platforms.
That makes it easier for B2B salespeople to, you know, sell more.
How does artificial intelligence work?
Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems that are capable of performing tasks that would normally require human intelligence.
But it doesn't just mean computers that can think like humans.
AI also includes algorithms, machine learning systems, and natural language processing systems that make predictions based on what they've learned from previous data.
In B2B sales, these systems can be used to predict the future demand for a product or service based on past sales or what someone will buy next based on past purchases.
Why should B2B sales teams care about AI?
AI is a hot topic in the B2B space, with many companies looking to AI to drive their sales and marketing efforts. And it's for good reason: AI offers a lot of benefits for businesses, including increased efficiency and better customer service.
Many B2B brands are already utilizing AI as a sales tool, as it allows them to answer questions more quickly.
For example, customers could be using chatbots for basic information or tapping into natural language processing software to ask complex questions about products or services.
All this means that sales teams should be prepared for the rise of AI-powered sales tools. These tools can help you find prospects faster and better engage with them before they've reached out to you—and all without human interference!
The benefits of AI for B2B sales
AI can help your B2B business grow in a variety of ways.
One of the most important benefits for a B2B company is how it can enhance your team’s productivity. An AI chatbot can provide 24/7 customer service, freeing up time for your staff to focus on other projects or tasks that need attention.
AI will also play an important role in sales as it becomes more sophisticated, with predictive analytics capable of providing valuable insights into what your customers want and how they want to interact with you.
B2B sales techniques using AI
B2B sales techniques are evolving thanks to AI.
Sales professionals are already using AI to find new customers via social media, email, and other channels. This can be in the form of an automated chatbot or a more sophisticated solution that analyzes data to identify potential buyers.
AI has also been used in marketing campaigns for years now, but it’s only recently that B2B marketers have started to see its benefits. You can use AI to increase your brand's visibility by targeting potential leads with relevant content based on their interests and needs.
B2B sales examples of AI
Take a look at the following example of how AI can be used in B2B sales.
You are the owner of a small company that sells office supplies. At the end of each day, your sales team sends you an email with their top-performing items for that day.
You then have to log into Excel or another spreadsheet program to find out what these top-selling products were, which was time-consuming and hard to track in real time.
Using artificial intelligence in this scenario would allow you to get all your sales information in real time so you know exactly when your best performing products are at any given moment.
This would save you hours of data entry every week, freeing up more time for other tasks so you could focus on growing your business even further!
How can you make the most out of AI in B2B sales?
There are many ways you can make the most out of AI in B2B sales.
The first thing to do is understand what role AI can play in your business and how it will help. For instance, if you're a small company that needs data analysis or customer segmentation, machine learning can be a powerful tool for you.
Once you have an idea of what role AI can play in your business, start by finding out more about the needs of your customers. This way, when you're deciding on which AI tools to implement, they'll be relevant to the people who buy from your company.
AI has a number of benefits for businesses: It makes data more accessible and understandable for all employees and it offers a fresh perspective on old problems.
But whatever ROI it might offer, don't forget that AI is still only as good as the data it uses to learn from—so make sure that any new data is as accurate as possible!
To get started with AI for B2B sales in just 30 minutes, take our Intro to AI for Marketers free online class.
In it, Marketing AI Institute founder and CEO Paul Roetzer will teach you exactly how to understand and get started with AI. During the class, you’ll learn:
- What AI is, and why it matters to marketers.
- How to identify AI use cases.
- How to find and evaluate AI technology vendors.
- How to classify AI applications within the five levels of the Marketer-to-Machine ScaleTM.
- What business outcomes AI can help you achieve.
- How to measure the value of AI tools on your company’s efficiency and performance.
- How to prepare your team for piloting and scaling AI.
In just 30 minutes, you can lay the foundation to transform your career and business for the better using AI.
Space is limited! Click below to reserve your spot for the next class.
As Chief Content Officer, Mike Kaput uses content marketing, marketing strategy, and marketing technology to grow and scale traffic, leads, and revenue for Marketing AI Institute. An avid writer, Mike has published hundreds of articles on how to use AI in marketing to increase revenue and reduce costs. Mike is the co-author of Marketing Artificial Intelligence: AI, Marketing and the Future of Business (Matt Holt Books, 2022). He is also the author of Bitcoin in Plain English, a beginner’s guide to the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.