Nathan Sykes
February 20, 2018

4 Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Impact The B2B Industry

How Artificial Intelligence Will Impact The B2B Industry

The artificial intelligence (AI) industry is growing at a rapid pace, with an expected value approaching $60 billion in 2025. Additionally, Gartner predicts that AI will be in almost every software product by 2020. The general public is already familiar with AI in the forms of personal assistants like Siri and Alexa. People reading this article will be aware that online customer service typically begins with chatbots. Most will have used navigation apps and be aware of how our future will include self-driving cars.

AI in the B2B Industry

AI is clearly on the rise. And like most industries, B2B will be impacted by its emergence. Ultimately, AI appears likely to personalize the consumer experience and enhance all sales channels, helping to maximize customer potential while aiding salespeople in their efforts to acquire leads.

Here are four ways businesses in the B2B industry can use AI:

1. Better Handling of Data

There are a variety of businesses in the B2B industry that have grown tremendously over the decades, their scale becoming massive and complex. Still, they utilize traditional methods and aren’t quick to upgrade technology. One of the reasons for the reluctance to upgrade is the transference of data from previous generations to a newer one, data that can be extremely vital and may have compatibility issues with present technology.

Traditionally, a chief data scientist can lead an effort to transfer data from different generations of technology. However, AI is likely to emerge as a more practical driver of such change. This is especially trues since data scientists may lack expertise in a business context despite their data-driven expertise.

Although present AI is not advanced enough to aid with data transference on its own, future AI is likely to integrate data assets, process integration, change management, executive support, incentive alignment and accountability. These elements will help utilize and transfer data existing both in storage from previous generations and the present.

2. Enhanced Customer Interaction

A thorough understanding of a client’s preferences and desires helps with satisfying the client and enticing them to return for additional purchases. A customer connection is traditionally nurtured by experienced salespeople who have the talent to connect. However, even an abundance of salespeople can present a challenge for larger businesses with extensive and diverse customer bases. Even a great salesperson is unlikely to connect equally well with every single demographic.

AI helps enhance customer relations by utilizing data relevant to past browsing history and purchasing habits within the B2B business’s website. This essentially provides a next-generation form of customer engagement. And it opens up a variety of expansion and cross-selling opportunities. Especially via online chatbots, customers also interact directly with AI 24/7, to answer any questions they may have.

Although AI will play a substantial role in customer interaction of the future, salespeople will remain integral. Salespeople will work alongside AI, which will help deliver relevant and timely information regarding the customer or lead, as well as providing market-aligned price guidance and contextual analytics. Overall, AI will play a prominent role in future customer interactions within the B2B industry, both as a solo communicator and an aid to salespeople.

3. Sales Channel Growth and Personalization

We’ve already established that AI can help with the handling, transference and analysis of data. It therefore makes sense that AI-driven intelligence will interact with e-commerce channels to deliver more personalized experiences than ever, tailored to each customer. With AI, both the customer and sales rep will receive intelligent guidance as they navigate their functions – whether it’s purchasing something or helping a customer fulfill their needs.

AI advancements are making customer-specific personalization more realistic than ever, helping to enhance the effectiveness of sales channels. AI is making strides in implementation across all types of sales channels. It’s utilizing relevant data to hone effective direct marketing strategies and sales outsourcing. And chatbots are guiding customers through B2B products and services.

AI accommodates both consumer preferences: the desire for self-service and the need to be guided by an expert at times. For the former, AI will help deliver a personalized experience by prioritizing items that align with buying history. The most obvious use of this is in making reordering more seamless. Considering that reordering is pivotal in the B2B industry and can enhance brand loyalty, AI can help sales growth make big strides. An AI-guided chatbot will be on call 24/7 to answer any specific questions or inquiries.

4. Search and Tracking Versatility

Many consumers are familiar with simplistic search functions that are entirely textural. Advances in text-to-speech tools and multimedia searches can help consumers find what they’re seeking more quickly. Combined with AI support, consumers will never need to leave a site having not found what they need. Text-to-speech search is already the norm on personal assistant AI functionality like Siri and Alexa. These voice assistants help enhance the perceived human likeness of AI and nudge public familiarity toward embracing it.

Voice-driven AI technology will only increase in sophistication in the coming years – something the B2B industry seems likely to embrace. AI applications for more accurate search methods and results can be implemented by B2B companies to help enhance the buyer experience. They can combine traditional text-driven search methods with more advanced options like text-to-speech and image recognition. This will be propelled by AI that remembers each user’s search preference upon each subsequent visit.

In addition to these beneficial uses of AI in the B2B industry, B2B companies can use it to help with a variety of complex functions. B2B companies can use AI to track physical inventory with automated stock monitoring, helping to save a massive amount of time. It can automatically inform you when inventory is too low or the product is simply not moving, which can influence a decision to cut the price or hold a sale.

In Closing

AI’s impact on the B2B industry is likely to be all-encompassing, especially since it is no longer a costly investment reserved for industry titans. The widespread use of AI from big-name companies like Google, Apple and Amazon combine with increasingly affordable technology to make the AI industry one that continues to become more accessible. In the B2B industry, AI can deliver personalization and ease-of-use better than before, while also utilizing real-time data and consumer history to enhance the purchase experience.

What Do You Think?

What do you see as the imapct of AI on the B2B Industry, your general work day and perhaps, your life in general? Please share your thoughts, excitement, and also fears, if any, with your fellow readers.

 

Nathan Sykes enjoys new technologies and the ways in which they can be used to enhance business strategies. Follow him on Twitter @nathansykestech to stay up to date with his latest articles.

 

Featured image: Copyright: ‘https://www.123rf.com/profile_Andreus‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

 

 

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