Investor Marc Andreessen wrote in 2011 that “software is eating the world.” Nearly 10 years later, the same can be said for artificial intelligence.
Gartner – among the world’s top research and advisory companies – has been beating this drum for years. Consider the Gartner Magic Quadrant, a methodology used by companies to understand the competing players in major tech markets.
Companies aspire to be in the top right quadrant, where leaders are graphed based on their completeness of vision (x-axis) and ability to execute (y-axis) relative to their competitors. For a company to be listed, Gartner has made clear that it must be utilizing AI in its business.
Recently, Gartner has gone further, saying that the future of B2B sales is inextricably linked to AI, according to their eBook, “The Future of Sales: Transformational Strategies For B2B Sales Organizations.”
Below we summarize some of the key insights from Gartner’s eBook.
The Move Away From High-Touch Selling
Even before the pandemic, there was a trend away from face-to-face selling. Buyers prefer to engage with suppliers through digital and self-service channels, and this is particularly true for millennials (ages 24-39 years old).
Per Gartner, 44 percent of millennials “prefer no sales rep interaction in a B2B purchase setting.” This demographic makes up roughly 22 percent of the U.S. population.
On the other hand, suppliers face increasing challenges, such as lower levels of engagement tied to fewer in-person meetings. This leads to less certainty and validation relative to pipeline predictions. The longer the pandemic stretches, the more this issue compounds.
What is certain is that sales has shifted more toward a buyer-centric process where engagement is happening predominantly via digital channels.
B2B Selling Is Moving Online
In Gartner’s report, they estimate that by 2025:
- 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will happen via digital channels.
- 60% of B2B sales organizations will transition from experience- and intuition-based selling to data-driven selling.
In this environment, what suppliers lack in face-to-face interactions with buyers, they gain in data. Companies must be prepared to collect information on customer behavior and their buying patterns. This includes unstructured data from social media platforms.
Having a system to collect, clean, and query that data – and using artificial intelligence and machine learning to make sense of it – will become a competitive advantage.
The advantages of integrating AI into your sales process include:
- Detecting buyer signals quicker
- Improving sales prediction models
- Smarter sales process steps (no more “educated guesses”)
- Faster measurement of business outcomes
We specialize in helping companies scale their AI resources. Contact us at sales@recruitAbility.ai for a free consultation.