What Will It Take for B2B Businesses to Accept AI?

b2b businesses AI

We’ve been talking about artificial intelligence (AI) a lot lately, and that’s because we’re invested in helping your business perform better.

Although AI is poised to help B2B businesses grow, many decision makers are still reluctant to invest in and implement AI technology. That’s because many people have a misconceived notion that AI will replace the very people it will, in reality, benefit.

Recently, Zilliant Senior Vice President of Products and Science Pete Eppele shared three “critical inflection points [that] will precipitate the widespread acceptance of AI in B2B”. Here’s what you can expect to happen in order for businesses to finally get on board the AI train.

Build vs. Buy Gap Grows

Your average manufacturer or distributor has grown to a massively complex scale, yet lag in tech adoption and still employ traditional go-to-market methods.

Instead of having their IT teams continue to spend most of their time updating 20+ year-old internal systems, they need to begin pulling and leveraging the data in those systems to better optimize processes.

But rather than simply hiring a Chief Data Scientist who has little to no knowledge about your business history and objectives, Eppele recommends you create partnerships with experts in AI-driven business impact. These partnerships, along with system modernization in order to drive “measurable, predictable and repeatable business value”, will ensure your AI implementation is a success.

The Customer Becomes More Central

With evidence of the positive correlation between a focus on the customer and commercial success starting to emerge, more decision makers are taking note.

The accessibility and abundance of data has made understanding the range of customer desires, pain points, and opportunities more realistic. But even if you have access to all this data, milling through it—and understanding it—can be quite the undertaking. That’s where AI comes in.

AI can help take customer data and make it more actionable by providing insights into:

  • Customer churn
  • Customer potential
  • Contextual analytics
  • Cross-sell, up-sell, and expansion opportunities
  • Market-aligned pricing guidance

Which products make sense to introduce to the customer at this point in the buying stage? Which customers need immediate attention? What’s the market-aligned price for this deal? AI can help answer these questions quickly and efficiently, taking the guesswork out of the equation for salespeople.

Sales Channels Need to Be More Consistent

Today’s empowered buyers expect a consistent experience regardless of sales channel. AI can make that cohesion and consistency a reality.

Plugged into an online ecommerce channel, AI can ensure customers have personal buying experiences that cater to what they need and want. On the other side of the transaction, salespeople will be able to access insights into these same needs and desires, better servicing the customer at hand.

Regardless of sales channel, AI makes sure customers have the same consumer-like buying experience at every touchpoint, whether they need to self-serve or talk to an expert.

To Wrap Things Up

As Eppele puts it “real, practical AI is much more than a few plug-and-play algorithms”; it takes a sound strategy to see real results. But those results can take your B2B business to the next level, offering more relevant customer interactions, profitable account growth, and an improved bottom line.

Mark Bartlett

Mark Bartlett

Mark Bartlett is a practitioner of eCommerce and digital transformation, with more than 20 years of experience. With his blend of industry and commerce category expertise, Mr. Bartlett helps FPX continue to modernize the way businesses buy and sell across all channels through FPX’s enterprise CPQ solution.

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