February 6, 2019 | By

Be Personal, Not Pushy: How AI is Transforming B2B Selling

Over the past twenty years, the internet has completely transformed the way consumers shop, but until recently, the business-to-business buying experience was still fairly old-school.  Sales reps were the main source of product information, guiding prospects toward a purchase via phone conversations and in-person meetings.

But all of that is changing…and quickly.

Today’s B2B buyers shop for business solutions just like they shop for personal products. They increasingly prefer to do their own research instead of leaning on sales reps they know are inherently biased. According to Forrester, 68% of B2B buyers in 2017 preferred to research online on their own, up from 53% in 2015.[1]

So, what’s a B2B company to do? Instead of trying to gain back control of the buying journey with data capture forms, intrusive pop-up chat windows, and gated content—all of which can be major turnoffs to prospects—B2B marketers need give buyers want they want: an easy, engaging self-service experience. They can do it using same self-service tools many B2C companies use, including FAQs, product demo videos, user forums, contextual search tools and AI chatbots.

What’s particularly powerful about chatbots is their ability to deliver personalized, relevant content to website visitors based on demographic and location data, browsing history, and pages they’re visiting on your site. Buyers are still in the driver’s seat, but they’re also being offered customized content that draws them further into their buying journey. It’s a tailored self-service experience that’s in sync with what today’s B2B buyers want: A personalized, but not pushy, buying experience.

Chatbots are helping companies deliver this kind of personalization at scale. Something that would be impossible for live reps to keep up with.  This also makes sales reps even more valuable in the later stages of the buying journey – when customers are educated and are ready for a more consultative experience. Savvy B2B companies are beginning to understand the power of chatbots to bring buyers to that point, converting them from anonymous browsers to actionable leads.

Learn more about how to use chatbots in B2B sales—including common mistakes to avoid—by downloading our new whitepaper:  Chatbots for B2B Lead Generation: Deliver Personalized Conversations at Scale.

[1] Forrester, The Birth of The B2B Consumer Landscape: The B2B Marketing Playbook, October 5, 2017

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