2020 was unpredictable – but what does that in turn mean for 2021? Digital B2B-sales relies much more on AI-based solutions to derive targeted predictions for the future from collected data. In 2021, key trends for the use of AI in B2B-sales are therefore expected.
Crisis boosts use of AI
It is clear that the Corona crisis will continue to promote the use of AI. Classic sales situations – as seen in face-to-face visits between customer and salesperson – will still not be possible in 2021. This in turn means that digital sales will not only temporarily replace the classic situation, but will become increasingly established and completely change the way companies sell their products and services to each other. If companies rely on AI-supported sales, relevant speed advantages and ultimately even new sources of revenue will result. But companies must first learn how to use AI, and that takes a lot of time and experience to anchor the new technology into established work structures.
Increasingly, B2B-sales are expected to support customers in their complex buying decision processes. At this point, AI delivers added value by providing the right products or service, the optimal price and suitable configuration options. Historical transactions and machine-learned experiences about the respective customer serve as the basis for this. Since AI can perform real-time analyses, it is able to evaluate conversations and interactions.
Due to the high number of sales channels and product options, sales teams are barely capable of performing rational evaluations. Therefore, AI is crucial to ensure the best customer buying experience and optimize the customer lifecycle. However, it is important that the technology delivers a high level of transparency in the decision-making process.
AI needs humans
While AI helps humans, it also needs human support. AI relies on data provided by humans and requires feedback on whether the data is being used wisely. Especially in current times of Corona, where the data foundation is not available, human influence on AI is therefore indispensable. Only through an expert assessment can meaningful courses of action be designed from the AI analysis. Humans and their intuition as well as qualified employees will not be made redundant by AI, but in pandemic times, judgment will be more important than ever for the year 2021.
Data will become more valuable
Moreover, data will become even more valuable in 2021. If target groups are unknown to companies and there is not enough information on, for example, key contacts or end consumers, attractive marketing activities cannot be launched. A good data basis in turn means a good AI solution.
Development of a digital strategy
Furthermore, a digital strategy will develop from the business strategy. AI solutions help to forecast the needs of the respective customers with pinpoint accuracy. This allows companies to think about launching new products and brands at ideal times, analyze the optimal price for them, and align the findings with their business strategy.
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