New research from sales-focused artificial intelligence firm Cien provides new insight on how AI is set to impact the sales profession. While sales leaders are 31 percent more likely than sales reps to view AI as an added source of complexity, millennials and Salesforce.com users tend to be more relaxed about how AI will impact their future.
The firm’s new report, Global Study on the Future of Sales, offers analysis of B2B sales professionals and their attitudes towards artificial intelligence.
The study also suggests a shift in sales leaders’ priorities, from accurate reporting and CRM adoption to measuring productivity and sales effectiveness. Sixty-six percent of respondents identified “sales productivity improvements” as their biggest concern for 2017-2018, ahead of “better forecasting” or “greater automation.”
“AI is poised to help B2B sales teams find the low-hanging fruit [that] can drastically improve their sales productivity,” said Rob Käll, Cien’s CEO, in a news release.
Participants of the study also highlighted “empathy” and “product knowledge” as the two most important skills required for a successful sales career in an AI-powered world.
“Our research suggests that sales leaders are actively looking at implementing AI to outsmart their competitors,” said Damien Acheson, Cien’s head of marketing, in the release. “With the rise of AI-based platforms like Salesforce Einstein and IBM Watson, an increasing number of data-driven companies are applying deep learning techniques across their customer touch points to improve their customer acquisition metrics.”
The study is based on an extensive survey of B2B sales professionals between June 1st 2017 and July 1st 2017.