The 2024 Guide to Using AI in B2B Sales

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The Three Main Ways Leaders Use AI in B2B Sales

While AI offers many uses, sales leaders often zero in on three core areas for the biggest impact:

1. Automation for B2B Sales & Marketing Efficiency

This foundational layer of AI takes over repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as data entry, lead routing, and scheduling meetings.

AI automation retrieves data quicker than manual efforts and reduces human error, which speeds up processes and boosts overall productivity. This efficiency extends to cross-functional collaboration between your B2B sales team and marketers, ensuring consistent, timely, and relevant communication across all touchpoints.

B2B sales and marketing automation can identify where leads are in the buying process and automatically deliver tailored content at every stage of the customer journey.

This synergy ensures a smoother transition from lead generation to closing, with each potential customer receiving the right information at the right time.

The result?

The sales team can focus more on direct customer engagement and accelerate revenue generation by moving leads through your pipeline faster.

2. Data-Driven Insights to Improve Sales Processes

By analyzing vast amounts of customer data, AI algorithms can easily unearth patterns and trends that might otherwise go unnoticed. Sales teams can gain valuable insight into customer behavior and preferences at every pipeline stage.

Real-time performance insights not only fine-tune sales training but also make B2B selling strategies more targeted, adaptive, and dynamic.

For example, the marketing team can automatically adjust a marketing campaign based on sales team feedback to resonate more effectively with every potential customer. Simultaneously, reps gain instant insights into a lead’s engagement with marketing efforts, enabling tailored pitches based on interest levels. 

Leveraging AI for sales forecasting also empowers sales leaders to make well-informed decisions, prioritize resources, and forecast future sales with greater accuracy and confidence.

3. Personalization for Higher-Quality Content at Scale

AI technology enables sales teams to craft a personalized experience across multiple touchpoints, from customized email marketing campaigns to product recommendations.

This level of personalization enhances each customer relationship, improves engagement rates, and ultimately drives sales by making communications more relevant and impactful to each recipient.

In essence, each function has a distinct focus: efficiency, insight, and customer engagement, respectively. However, their capabilities can overlap.

Take generative AI: it combines the efficiency of automation with data-driven insights to create personalized messages en masse, showcasing the blend of these functions. Meanwhile, automation can aggregate and analyze data—a task that doesn’t require personalized interaction.

It’s helpful to think of it this way: AI personalization always involves some degree of automation, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true.

How Does AI Impact the B2B Sales Process?

Artificial intelligence, especially generative AI, has a well-documented ability to enhance efficiency, productivity, and overall pipeline management for sales teams.

Here’s what the research shows:

While AI in B2B sales and marketing strategies presents a promising avenue for businesses, embracing its full potential requires sales leaders to strategically manage risks and maintain operational vigilance.

Five Major Risks of Adopting AI for B2B Sales

While B2B AI solutions hold great promise for improving your sales process, they entail notable risks that sales leaders need to navigate carefully:

  • Single-use Case Limitations: When confined to specific, isolated applications, you risk underutilizing AI’s potential. A broad, strategic application across the sales process is essential to unlock its full value.
  • Impact on Trust and Expectations: Expecting an AI tool to perform tasks that it’s currently incapable of or promising outcomes that it can’t reliably deliver can erode trust among reps. It’s crucial to have realistic expectations about what AI can achieve.
  • Over Reliance on AI: Although AI enhances efficiency by generating call insights and personalizing messages, overusing it for tasks better suited to human judgment can depersonalize the customer experience. Furthermore, a lack of human oversight may risk valuable relationships, so reviewing AI’s work is vital for ensuring accuracy and relevance.
  • Risks of Overspending and Technical Complexity: The technical complexity of implementing and maintaining an AI system can get expensive, often requiring dedicated resources and expertise. Sales leaders must carefully plan and monitor AI investments, ensuring they align with strategic goals and operational capacities.
  • Poor Data Quality: The effectiveness of AI is only as good as the data it processes. Inaccurate data in systems like Salesforce can result in unreliable AI insights, making high data quality standards critical for trustworthy AI outputs.

If you’re beginning to think about and plan for implementing AI, you might be wondering if the reward is worth the risk.

Luckily, these challenges aren’t insurmountable.

Let's explore a few best practices to address these risks head-on.

Top Three Tips to Help You Build an AI-Powered B2B Sales Strategy

Let’s lay the foundation with three essential tips that every B2B sales team should know to set the stage for successful integration:

1. Emphasize Personalization in Your Approach

Leverage generative AI to elevate personalization in every customer interaction for customized outreach and tailored prospecting.

Crucially, ensure you review and refine AI-generated content before deployment. Accurate personalization fosters connection in half the time, but left unchecked, hands-off automated processes can risk disengagement.

Careful oversight is essential for maintaining the intended impact, so always review AI content and make edits if necessary.

2. Leverage AI-Powered Analytical Tools

AI technology can help you streamline data analysis, enrich CRM data, utilize predictive scoring for identifying quality leads, forecast outcomes, and refine sales training with conversational AI, thus making data-driven decisions more efficient.

3. Put People First, AI Second

While an AI tool can enhance sales processes and goal achievement, avoid over-relying on AI automation. Even advanced AI technology isn’t always error-free and may struggle with the nuances of social interactions.

Some level of human involvement is crucial for building each customer relationship and maintaining the quality of interactions.

Remember, every sales rep should actively evaluate and adjust AI-generated content, ensuring a balanced approach where AI efficiency complements rather than replaces a personalized experience.

Now you have a grasp on the groundwork for using AI in your B2B marketing and sales strategy.

With that said, let’s take things to the next level and delve deeper into strategies.

How to Master AI Integration in Sales: Five Key Strategies

Integrating AI in B2B sales requires a careful approach so you can harness its full potential without completely overhauling your sales processes.

A general rule of thumb is to start small and build from there, steadily propelling your sales team toward significant, lasting improvements.

Here are five major strategies that will guide you through this process:

1. Define Clear Objectives

AI implementation isn’t one-size-fits-all for every B2B company. It requires a strategic approach that considers your unique business needs and goals. Begin by pinpointing where AI can deliver the most impact, such as lead scoring, automating email marketing campaigns, or enhancing content creation. 

Beyond just seeking quick wins, it’s crucial to set your sights on long-term goals, like leveraging predictive analytics to improve lead qualification and boost win rates.

Adopt an iterative approach: start with a broad vision of where AI can take your sales process and refine it through continuous learning.

Crucially, involve your sales team early in the process to gain valuable insight into their daily challenges and needs. This approach ensures the AI goals you establish are both relevant and directly aimed at solving real-world problems for reps.

2. Ensure Regulatory Compliance

Adhering to data compliance laws is crucial for any B2B company to maintain trust, credibility, and legal standing. Non-compliance risks not only reputation damage but also significant legal penalties, the aftermath of which may threaten the very survival of your business.

Make it a priority to ensure that any AI system or tool you integrate complies with GDPR and other applicable regulations. Remember, regulatory requirements can differ greatly depending on factors such as your industry or operational location. For example, sectors like healthcare and legal services deal with highly sensitive information, subjecting them to stricter privacy laws. 

Conduct regular audits and consult with legal experts to stay on top of evolving regulations and ensure continuous compliance.

3. Establish Testing Protocols

A systematic approach to testing new strategies and technologies is key.

Start with pilot testing B2B AI solutions so you can evaluate new software and ensure compatibility with existing systems on a smaller scale before full deployment. Additionally, implementing A/B testing is fundamental for the ongoing evaluation of new B2B selling strategies.

This approach isn’t about one-off examinations but a continuous review cycle to refine and improve.

Continuously monitor key performance metrics—such as conversion rates, lead response times, and average deal sizes—to gauge the effectiveness and speed-to-value of your AI investments. Such a rigorous and adaptive process ensures that your sales strategy remains agile, informed, and aligned with your business goals.

4. Start Small, Scale Gradually

Simple, manageable tasks, like automating email templates, provide a tangible entry point into AI usage without overwhelming your team or systems. It lays a solid foundation for future, more advanced uses.

As each sales rep becomes more comfortable and adept at leveraging artificial intelligence, you can gradually expand its application, moving towards more sophisticated tools and strategies. This methodical scaling ensures a sustainable path to achieving profound and enduring enhancements in your business operations.

5. Seamlessly Integrate Into Your CRM

Seeing as CRM systems are often the heart of B2B sales, it’s imperative to ensure seamless AI integration.

Artificial intelligence should enhance your CRM system’s functionality, making it a powerhouse for personalized interactions, insightful data analysis, and streamlined sales processes.

Yet, CRM systems often face bottlenecks, especially with manual updates in Salesforce, notes, and spreadsheets.

So, how do you keep these processes streamlined?

Luckily, there’s a promising solution on the horizon.

Leverage Scratchpad’s AI in Your B2B Sales Strategy For Maximum Efficiency

Transform your Salesforce experience into a streamlined powerhouse with Scratchpad!

It’s the ultimate AI-powered workspace for sales teams to improve collaboration and visibility. Scratchpad simplifies pipeline management and deal inspection without altering your existing workflow, eliminating the hassle of juggling multiple platforms or forcing reps to adopt foreign tools or processes.

Visualize your pipeline, track deal progression, and uncover the drivers behind any changes, all within Scratchpad’s intuitive interface. Updating critical data, automating forecasting, and gaining comprehensive insights into deals is effortless, ensuring your sales strategy consistently stays ahead of the curve.

Let’s dive into the details:

  • Capture every word of your calls instantly with Scratchpad’s AI Sales Assistant, which provides AI-generated transcripts, summaries, and even auto-populated Salesforce fields, ensuring no detail slips through.
  • Tailor your AI to highlight key moments that matter with call intelligence to optimize every customer interaction and coaching opportunity.
  • Keep critical customer data up-to-date with Scratchpad’s smart AI suggestions, which enable real-time updates to next steps, MEDDIC, or other Salesforce fields.
  • Enhance team collaboration, data quality, and visibility through effortless scaling of your operations, thanks to Scratchpad’s no-code automations.
  • Gain comprehensive oversight with advanced views for quick updates and valuable insight into your pipeline at a glance.
  • Identify and close pipeline gaps swiftly by using deal spotlights to illuminate your path to quota, ensuring forecasts align perfectly with reality.
  • Keep your team informed and aligned by editing, sharing, and syncing sales comments and notes directly with Salesforce.
  • Shift forecasting from guesswork to precision with Scratchpad’s Forecasting Rollups for clear oversight of team deals from multiple angles in just a few clicks.

Harness AI to Drive Unbelievable B2B Sales Success

Embracing AI in B2B sales isn’t just a trend. It’s a strategic transformation that elevates every facet of the sales process, from personalized customer interactions to predictive analytics that shape future strategies.

By strategically implementing AI, leaders not only mitigate risks but also forge a path to innovation, ensuring their teams are equipped to excel in an increasingly digital marketplace.

As you navigate this digital evolution, the right tools are crucial for turning insights into action and opportunities into successes.

Enter Scratchpad: the solution that propels your sales team ahead in an AI-driven world.

So why wait?

Try Scratchpad for free now to revolutionize your workflow and sales process!