AI is Killing B2B Sales

Does that title cause you to flinch, maybe call BS, to defend your belief that AI is awesome? Hear me out…with an open mind. Please tell me why I’m wrong…

Sure, AI can automate some sales functions. It can expedite manual processes. It can capture data. It can sort data. It can identify more like clients. It can communicate exponentially faster and can explode the numbers aspect of sales. AI can generate custom messaging and frequency, do faster A-B testing, and create a follow-up. Boy, is it powerful!

However, AI is removing the personal factor in sales. Let’s play out a scenario. AI generates a lead, and now the people factor comes into play. But wait… does it? If sales has AI, how long do you think before Prospects will have AI to keep sales AI at bay? So, when sales are using AI and prospects are using AI, which AI will exceed in helping to build trust, provide unseen value, and drive home compelling reasons to buy, which are personal? 

Even if AI vs. AI never happens, the people issues still exist. When the prospect’s AI develops an interest in the product or service and schedules a call, other important questions arise. Is it the DM? Is it an RFP? Is it real? Are there compelling reasons to fix the personal consequences of not solving the problem? Could this critical first call from person to person be a Catfish scenario?   Does the salesperson understand the business problems? Do they have the ability to build trust quickly? Will they ask enough questions, the right questions, the hard questions? Will they create value? Will they create URGENCY? Or will the company rely on the AI demo to sell the prospect? For low ticket, better mouse traps, AI to AI will work. How ‘bout complex high-ticket sales?

This is a lot like a BDR reaching out to the C-suite to set a first meeting. The prospect’s first question or object derails the pitch, and the go-to technique is to present and suggest a meeting with an AE. If the meeting is set and the prospect shows up, the AE does a product dump and suggests a free trial. The adoption rate is weak at best, even if the free trial is accepted. Again, a people problem is caused by the lack of business acumen, true sales skills, and a real understanding of the prospect’s business problems. Not to mention the necessary change management and top-down drive to execute the free trial for future adoption. Even more is lost in this situation, and that is the personal fundamental reason the C-suite prospect needed to fix. 

While sales will certainly not stop integrating AI in every aspect of sales that can be imagined. What should happen to integrate the people factor and assist sales with real sales skills and business acumen?

Four suggestions.

1. Focus as much time, energy, and resources on these three as you do on AI.

2. Create and mandate a weekly activity for the current salespeople to complete a client interview. Why did they buy it, and what problem did your company solve? Share the lessons in your weekly sales meetings.

  • Find out if you have the right people in the right roles and determine what skill gaps are missing in your sales, and more importantly, sales management re: Coaching, Motivating, and Accountability.
  • Stop the sales turnover and hire salespeople who will sell in your market, to your clients, and your market against your competition, and find a way to keep them longer than the average 18 months.

If sales hiring is on your radar, check this out:

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Author: Rocky LaGrone

Rocky LaGrone is a seasoned sales development expert with over 25 years in sales development and training working with well over 1,000 companies of all sizes in various industries.

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