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Marketing & Tech
Why Artificial Intelligence (AI) is Shaking Up B2B Sales
Aug 14, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Once merely the stuff of science fiction, today Artificial Intelligence is very much a part of the real world and its prevalence is only set to increase.  AI can now be found in your home (think “smart” lighting and heating units that learn your behaviour and adjust accordingly) and it won’t be long until it’s in your sales workplace too.  If your organization does not already make use of AI, it is certainly on the horizon and when it arrives, it will shake up B2B Sales.

Coming soon to a sales team near you are AI systems that will help you better understand your data and your customer and that will mean a complete overhaul of your B2B sales processes. Let’s take a closer look…

AI and Targeting Customers

AI is changing the way B2B sales teams research, target and approach their customers. Artificial Intelligence already exists that can show you which key-decision makers in which of your accounts are actually ready to buy.  For example, Demandbase’s DemandGraph uses AI to analyse the digital footprint of businesses across the web. Using this data, it identifies business behaviour and relationships and gives you insights about which businesses are in the market for your particular solution, right now! Imagine the time you would save knowing which of your accounts are actually the best fit for your product, which are already close to making a purchase, and which person at the company is the one to approach to close the deal? 

AI and Social Selling

As the above illustrates, there is an enormous amount of data being collected about all of us on the internet. B2B sales teams can use Artificial Intelligence to collect, collate and analyse this information to increase sales through social selling. For example, Klout is an online AI tool that can be used for social selling by helping you understand what content to share to increase your impact online. It does this by collecting data about what your prospects have read and interacted with on the web and then recommending content you should share to appeal to that audience. Scoop-It, another tool, also uses predictive insights to show you content that will likely be of interest to your buyer.

Similarly, Ceralytics uses AI-powered content intelligence to show you which of your own content has performed well in the past as well as that from your competitors. You can use this data to help you decide not only the types of content to go forward with in terms of appealing to your customers but also product/services selling points to highlight in meetings with prospects.

AI and Personalization

Today in B2B sales, personalization is all important in closing that sale. If you can tailor your approach to speak directly to a customer’s particular pain point, then you are far more likely to close than if you were to stick to a standard pitch.  And it’s within this element of personalization that AI is really making waves. Take Salesforce’s Einstein, this new software takes your data and learns from it to give you predictive insights that you might never have found from a manual data analysis. Sales teams can then use these insights to tailor a customer’s experience to their likes and needs. IBM’s Watson Commerce is another AI powered platform that is all about personalization, this time for online sales. Watson Commerce gives you real-time customer and business insights that allow your business’ online channels to deliver seamless, personalized experiences. The platform gets “smarter” with every interaction to create an increasingly personalized experience for your customers.

All the above AI technologies are already in existence and are being utilized by major companies to glean powerful predictive customer insights to grow sales.  Whether or not your organization is ready to embrace AI right now, rest assured, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay and it’s shaking up B2B sales.

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