6 Facts from Studies on Artificial Intelligence in B2B Sales

AI in B2B Sales Studies
August 31, 2021|In Uncategorized|By Svenja Szillat
In this post, you’ll learn about six interesting findings from various studies on artificial intelligence in B2B sales.

According to a recent survey by Bundesverband Industrie Kommunikation e.V (bvik), almost all decision-makers (95%) are open to both new technologies and their organization’s digital transformation, even after the crisis. Are you too?

If you’ve landed in this post, you may be considering how you can use artificial intelligence for your sales. You probably have a few basic questions first because just because you’re open to technology doesn’t mean you should rush into it, right?

So, what’s the real benefit of using artificial intelligence in B2B sales? Can you sell more and more efficiently with the help of AI software? We reveal here some results from various studies on this topic.

Artificial intelligence is a vast field, and there are numerous scientific studies and papers on it. However, things look different regarding the “artificial intelligence (specifically) in B2B sales” niche topic. But “few papers” does not mean “no papers”. Especially in the last two to three years, there have been some exciting publications.

1. Improved customer retention and more efficient sales through AI.

In a Forbes Magazine article, Tony Colon reports that he sees AI as one of four important trends for B2B sales.

He bases this on a study by PwC that surveyed 2,500 U.S. consumers and corporate decision-makers about their use of and attitudes toward AI. Thus, they divided the results into “enterprise” and “consumer.”

80% of sales teams using AI report a positive impact on customer engagement. 72% of executives say there is an added benefit because AI reduces administrative overhead. That allows their salespeople to focus on building and maintaining customer relationships.
Source: Colon, T (2018): Eight Tips For Boosting Sales In Your Digital Sales Transformation. Ed.: Forbes Magazine

2. The effort pays off faster than expected!

The current Lufthansa study shows that those who initiates AI and machine learning projects naturally want to know “from when is it worthwhile?”

The study reveals that 62% of companies benefited from AI technology after a maximum of three months. Overall, 84% were able to record a noticeable added value after one year at the latest.

It also mentions the following positive changes due to AI and machine learning: Increased productivity (49%), reduced costs (47%) and increased efficiency (43%).
Source: Folgestudie 2021: Die neue IDG-Studie „Machine Learning 2021“ – Wie Maschinelles Lernen auch in Krisenzeiten zum Unternehmenserfolg beiträgt. Ed.: Lufthansa (German language)

3. More accurate sales predictions: machine learning versus traditional methods.

The following study shows whether procedures that use machine learning (a subfield of AI) provide better prediction results than traditional prediction procedures.

They used sales data from companies for the forecasts. The AI-based models provided higher accuracy and better temporal adaptability to trends.

According to the experts, they achieved the study’s goal. Still, they cite one point of criticism: a small amount of data for artificial intelligence, which is considered a limiting factor.

Nevertheless, the researchers’ conclusion is as follows:

“Machine Learning and Big Data are leading to a paradigm shift in developing a better forecasting model. They have the potential to analyze massive amounts of data and provide instant insights that can significantly improve business performance.”

Source: Mehendale, A. & H. R., Nadheera Sherin (2018): Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for effective and adaptive Sales Forecasting. Journal of Contemporary Management Research. Sep2018, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p17-35. 19p.

4. Companies that use AI outperform their competitors that don’t.

A new study by Forbes Insights and EY shows that many decision-makers in B2B companies are still underutilizing insights from data. The reason given is that executives prefer to rely on gut instinct rather than data analytics.

But at the same time, according to Jayne Landry, Global VP and GM of business intelligence at SAP, the study confirms that companies that use analytics to make business decisions outperform their competitors. And they do so in terms of revenue generation, profits and market valuation.
Source: Think Globally, Act Locally: The Formula for Analytics Success. Ed.: Forbes Insights.

5. B2B companies that successfully use AI report margins & revenue improvement.

The Forbes Insights & EY study reveals another interesting fact:

Companies that successfully use AI to analyze data report increases in operating margins and revenue of 15% or more. At the same time, they experience a significant improvement in their risk profile.

In contrast, companies with less mature data analytics experience more business process breakdowns:

– Business opportunities are missed,
– results are mismeasured and costly,
– data-driven strategy is unreliable and expensive.
Source: Think Globally, Act Locally: The Formula for Analytics Success. Ed.: Forbes Insights.


6. Man and machine achieve the best results together.

Experts have different opinions on this point. Some predict that the demand for a salesperson’s job in the job market to be declining because new technologies are being introduced.

Others believe that the function of the salesperson is shifting from simple order processing to consulting, such as Thull, J. (2010).

The shift of the sales peron´s function is a much more realistic scenario, in our opinion.

But what is the fear behind this? The fear that artificial intelligence will do a better job than humans. There is an exciting experiment from 2020 on this very subject.

In a series of field experiments, experts compared a pure AI-based sales coach with human consultants. The aim was to train salespeople and improve their professional skills.

The pure AI coach was better at identifying deficits and suggesting learning methods from the salespeoples results alone. On the other hand, acceptance problems, and the lack of interpersonal skills led to misunderstandings.

Thus, it shows that the combination of AI and human coaches performs better than the AI or human coaches alone.

This combination can make the best use of the AI coach’s hard data skills and the consultants’ soft interpersonal skills.

We find this result can be transferred 1:1 to the field of existing customer support in B2B sales. An AI-based algorithm delivers data-driven recommendations, and the experienced salesperson decides on the action.

The research paper “Use of AI in B2B Sales” in 2021 reached the same conclusion: “The biggest opportunity for AI is to complement rather than replace the work of humans, while AI can automate some of the most repetitive and rule-based tasks.”


Thull, J. (2010): Mastering the Complex Sale: How to Compete and Win When the Stakes are High!

Xueming Luo et. al. (2020): Artificial Intelligence Coaches for Sales Agents: Caveats and Solutions. Ed.: Journal of Marketing. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022242920956676.

Pöntinen, Aki (2021): Utilization of AI in B2B sales: multi-case study with B2B sales organisations and sales technology providers

Six Facts from Studies on Artificial Intelligence in B2B Sales – Summary.

We hope you are not overwhelmed by all the studies, facts and figures.

The purpose of this compilation is to show that we are not the only ones who see and experience a significant benefit in AI-based data analysis for B2B sales.

Of course, our use cases and customer examples are individual examples and, therefore, not representative. Nevertheless, they also reveal the points mentioned above that the studies have uncovered.

What is certain is that properly deployed AI adds significant value in B2B sales. We’re not saying there aren’t hurdles to overcome. Just dealing with the algorithms’ suggestions correctly is essential and needs to be trained.

Our tip: Don’t shy away from investing in artificial intelligence. The consequences of not doing so will cost you more.

Are you interested in artificial intelligence applications for B2B sales now? Then, we recommend the book by Livia Rainsberger: “AI – the new intelligence in sales”(German language). You will find all terminology well explained; you will get vivid practical examples and concrete recommendations for software products depending on your goal — an understandable guide to the implementation of AI in B2B sales.

You can contact us directly.


Further Read:

Rainsberger, L. (2021): KI – die neue Intelligenz im Vertrieb. (German)

Gentsch, P. (2018): Künstliche Intelligenz für Sales, Marketing und Service. (German)