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Data-Driven Sales and AI: Navigating The Shift Towards Digital Selling

April 12, 2022

AI Guided Selling

Data-Driven Sales and AI: Navigating The Shift Towards Digital Selling

The sales landscape is changing - and rapidly. How do sales organizations competitively adapt to the new conditions of data-driven B2B sales? Sales teams will need to embrace new skills, new technologies and a digital mindset.

AI Guided Selling Software, Customer Journey, Data, Customer Data, Data Management, Sales Intelligence, Data b2b, AI Sales Intelligence

The sales landscape is changing - and rapidly. Marked by an unprecedented shift towards digital processes in sales and beyond, the events of the past two years have served as a catalyst for profound transformations in how we conduct business. Remote first, digital selling and data-driven sales are all key terms we have come to closely associate with the new way of work in the B2B world.

It’s also become quite clear that the pivotal changes we are experiencing now will continue on into the future. Industry experts predict that by 2025, 80% of all B2B sales interactions will take place along digital channels. In order for B2B sales organizations to successfully adapt to the digitized, data-driven B2B landscape of the post-pandemic era, teams will need to embrace new skills, new technologies and a digital mindset.

Data-driven Sales and The Digital B2B Buyer: Independent, Agile and Active Across All Channels

data-driven sales
In response to changing B2B buyer preferences, data-driven sales solutions are in demand now more than ever.

The widespread shift towards digital selling may come as less of a surprise to many modern sales teams - in particular those in high-tech and agile industries such as SaaS. However perceptive to change the industry may be, today’s decision-makers increasingly belong to a generation for whom completely digitalized sales processes have long been the norm - including in SaaS and B2B sales.

Today’s digitally active B2B buyers - or digital natives - are more autonomous than ever before and remain constantly informed through a wide variety of communication channels. For sales organizations, this further underscores the need for well-executed multi- and omni-channel management in sales processes optimized for digital buying.

Recent paradigm shifts in the transition towards remote selling have led customers to expect an increasingly customer-friendly experience throughout the entire buying process. Sales organizations and B2B sales managers across the globe are now tasked with adapting their existing models to ensure an increasingly customer-centric sales process in response to profound changes in buyer behavior. However, effectively engaging increasingly well-informed customers only represents one facet of successfully navigating the shift towards digital selling.

How Does The Transition to Automated, Data-driven Sales Processes Succeed?

changes in buyer behavior require data-driven sales solutions
B2B sales organizations will need to adapt in order to stay competitive amidst changes in buyer behavior.

According to Gartner’s Future of Sales Report, B2B sales of tomorrow is not limited to the continuous adaptation of sales strategies with greater customer orientation. The future of B2B sales will also entail a shift away from analog sales processes to automated ones - including a digital-first mindset.

How do sales teams successfully master the transformation of their own sales processes? How do sales organizations competitively adapt to the new conditions of data-driven B2B sales?

Gartner’s report states that B2B sales organizations will need to embrace the following paradigmatic changes in order to continue to succeed into the future:

  • Hyper Automation
  • Digital Scalability
  • Artificial Intelligence

Successfully navigating the digitized, hyper-automated B2B landscape of tomorrow will require teams to embrace new technologies, tools and skills.

Technology as a Competitive Advantage in Digitalized B2B Sales

According to Gartner and other leading market research companies, successfully navigating the shift towards digitalized selling and data-driven sales calls for implementing new technologies. However, the use of the latest tools alone does not serve as a guarantee for success. Individual technologies must also be effectively and intelligently integrated into everyday B2B sales operations in order to achieve meaningful results. Only then can each tool have a positive impact on the sales process.

At the core of this endeavor is powerful CRM software. It is the lifeblood of every data-supported B2B sales system. In order to optimize sales processes, it is first essential that new technical applications be compatible with the CRM in use.

CRM Software: The Customer Journey in Full View

The essential role CRMs play is also reflected in the market. Since 2020, CRM software has had the largest share of the overall software market. According to the Hubspot Research Global Sales Enablement Survey, most sales executives rank CRM as one of the most important tools for remote selling.

While CRMs are among the most important tools in a sales rep’s toolbox, how these tools are used varies. According to our Sales Reps’ Productivity Survey, not all sales reps admit to using CRMs to their full potential, such as in automating sales processes, for example. Utilizing CRMs in this manner provides sales reps a clear advantage, according to Hubspot.

If CRM software is optimally utilized and maintained, sales teams always have a 360° view of their potential customers.

Data-driven Sales Analytics and Intelligence Tools Improve B2B Sales

Market research shows that sales organizations that tend to scale better utilize technologies such as analytics and intelligence tools. According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales Report 2020, top sales performers are more likely to use sales intelligence tools, email tracking tools and productivity apps.

User assessment also shows that 76% of B2B sellers who use sales intelligence tools consider them crucial for closing deals. For experienced sellers and industry experts, it is clear that the future of B2B sales will be driven decisively by the use of artificial intelligence.

AI-Driven Sales Process Serves as a Roadmap for Success in B2B and SaaS Sales

In the age of Sales 4.0, data-driven sales through AI technology can be the game-changer your team needs to get ahead.

According to Gartner's Future of Sales Report, artificial intelligence will replace the separation of sales processes, applications, data and their analysis in B2B sales in less than five years. AI-powered solutions can be integrated into any CRM and may already represent the most decisive factor in successfully scaling digital SaaS sales.

What is possible for SaaS and B2B sales through AI-guided selling?

AI Applications Increase Scalability

AI-powered selling software, also called AI Guided Selling Software, helps teams make the right decisions in the increasingly complex day-to-day sales environment. AI Guided Selling Software works like a navigation system for sales. It navigates sales teams along the shortest and fastest paths to close the next deal. Sales technologies like AI Guided Selling Software also help sales teams create a personalized customer experience at all touchpoints along the customer journey.

AI applications interpret customer master data as well as complete communication histories of sales cycles from different channels. AI Guided Selling Software then provides concrete recommendations for individual steps in the sales cycle based on its analyses. In another step, it recognizes and analyzes statistically relevant success patterns in the entire sales process and thus identifies general strengths and weaknesses of the sales cycle.

As a result, management has a better overview of performance and pipeline health and can restructure as needed. Sales organizations that already optimize their sales processes with the help of AI are a decisive step ahead of the competition in the direction of high-tech, “future-proof” data-driven B2B sales. They also continually extend their lead with each passing day as AI-based sales software delivers better predictions the longer it has been integrated into a CRM.

Used sensibly, AI permanently facilitates the greatest possible scaling of the sales team and revenue in the digitalized B2B landscape.

Read more about the possibilities of AI Guided Selling Software for B2B sales in our new eBook "Successful to the Next Deal with AI Guided Selling Software".

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