Artificial Intelligence in Sales? Not interested! – Say almost a fifth of sales executives.
Our survey about the application of Artificial Intelligence for Predictive Analytics in international B2B sales
Qymatix Solutions GmbH, together with the International School of Management, researched last year the application of Artificial Intelligence for predictive analytics in international B2B sales.
Our goal was to research the general understanding that decision-makers in B2B sales have about of artificial intelligence.
The survey was completed by approx. 70 managing directors and department heads of medium-sized companies in B2B Retail, medical components, information technology and manufacturing from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The practical input came from Lucas Pedretti, General Manager of Qymatix Solutions GmbH. Prof. Neubert, PhD from the ISM International School of Management supported the study as a scientific partner.
Here we present you the most interesting facts and statistics from our research. We use the term “sales” or “B2B sales” as international B2B sales.
Artificial intelligence will radically alter B2B sales.
Never before have sales data been so fast and widely available, but so rarely used. Almost every company employs an ERP, CRM and maybe already a web-shop. They still left most of the data unused. They ignore how precisely they can use Artificial Intelligence software solutions to maximise customer lifetime value.
Nowadays there is the infrastructure to implement cost-effective applications of machine learning methods and artificial intelligence for predictive analytics and forecasting.
Independent research has shown that the use of artificial intelligence for predictive analytics, especially in the field of decision support, will enable double-digit percentage productivity and profitability growth.
We are nevertheless only at the beginning of this trend, regarding both the number of users and the possible applications. Although managers are interested in AI, they did not have the time to get started.
Ironically, 63 % of the participants were interested in the topic “Application of Artificial Intelligence in B2B Sales”. However, two-thirds did not yet have time to deal with it.
A fifth of all managers are already well informed about applications of artificial intelligence, and they can imagine how to apply it.
[bctt tweet=”Nowadays there is the infrastructure to implement cost-effective applications of machine learning methods and artificial intelligence for predictive analytics and forecasting.”]
Interestingly, 18 % of the respondents say they are not interested in the topic. They see no possible tangible application of AI in B2B sales. This proportion is higher than the 16 % of companies already using or planning to introduce predictive analytics using artificial intelligence for its international sales.
How high are the managers’ expectations of artificial intelligence in B2B sales? Very high.
It has become clear to us that business-to-business managers expect a very higher benefit from AI. Companies leaders anticipate significant monetary benefits of artificial intelligence primarily by increasing the efficiency of sales activities.
To the question: what benefits do you expect by using artificial intelligence in B2B sales? Answered 82 % of participants “Higher efficiency of sales activities”.
[bctt tweet=”Ironically, 63 % of the managers are interested in artificial intelligence for B2B Sales. However, two-thirds did not yet have time to get started.”]
Similar, using a multiple-choice question, we asked the participants in which application areas do they saw the most significant economic benefit in the short term.
82 % of the participants responded that artificial intelligence would offer the uppermost advantage in customer development, including cross- and up-selling -70 % named sales planning and controlling. Lastly, 63 % called churn risk analysis as the field where they see the highest economic benefit of artificial intelligence in B2B sales.
Respondents not only pointed to the monetary benefits of artificial intelligence in sales, but they also answered which predictive analytics methods the highest improvements offer.
On the multiple-choice question: “According to current research the application of artificial intelligence in B2B sales results in productivity and profitability improvements of more than 10 %. Which predictive analytics applications would best achieve sustainable increases in productivity?” 82 % of the respondents answered: “customer demand forecasts and cross-selling potential, whereas 63 % chose churn risk and attrition.
Use of artificial intelligence in sales – the challenges.
In the eyes of business leaders, artificial intelligence comes not without predicaments. The obstacles most mentioned include data quality, lack of understanding and transparency, price and integration from ERP and CRM systems.
To the multiple-choice question “What are the most important issues for you when choosing an AI-based forecasting software in international B2B sales?” 45 % of the respondents answered, “Unclear data selection and data preparation (including interfaces)” whereas a 40 % chose: “AI is like a Backbox – offers incomprehensible evaluations”.
What are the most important requirements that business leaders expect from an AI software or its suppliers when making a purchase decision? 71 % of the answers mentioned an attractive value for money whereas 65 % cited the flexibility and integration of the AI application.
To these challenges, there are solutions already. Artificial Intelligence for B2B sales offers nowadays handsome returns. Companies can integrate AI into their ERP and CRM effortlessly.
[bctt tweet=”Application areas of AI for Sales with the most significant economic benefit in the short term? Customer development, cross- and up-selling, planning and controlling.”]
Our survey about the application of Artificial Intelligence for Predictive Analytics in international B2B sales – Summary.
Together with the Parisian International School of Management, Qymatix investigated last year the application of Artificial Intelligence in B2B sales.
Two-thirds of all participants were interested in the topic but had no time to get started yet. 82 % of the managers surveyed expect a higher efficiency of sales activities by implementing artificial intelligence in B2B sales.
The lion’s share of the contributors replied that artificial intelligence would offer the highest benefit in customer development, including cross- and up-selling.
To the challenges that the application of AI in sales would present, 45 % of the participants mentioned data selection and data preparation while a 40 % picked the in incomprehensibility of AI calculations.
Write us if you want the complete results.
About Prof. Dr Michael Neubert
Dr Michael Neubert teaches Strategic Management, Strategic Marketing, Corporate Entrepreneurship, and (International) Finance in the MBA programs at ISM. He also lectures International Entrepreneurship and Intercultural Management at other universities like the University of Vorarlberg, the University of Liechtenstein, and the German-Paraguayan University to name a few.