Even before COVID-19 flipped everyone’s lives upside down, the shift to digital became an obvious option for many businesses with the introduction of AI. What we once knew of direct human interaction has slowly decreased over the years, now replaced by digital alternatives. As time goes forward, we can only speculate what the world of B2B will look like. Can we exclusively expect AI to take over B2B sales interactions by 2031, or will the role of salesperson surpass all technological advancements?
The introduction of AI has changed the world of business without a doubt. Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, CEO of Sinovation Ventures, estimates that by 2033, AI and Automation will be able to do up to 50% of all work. After COVID-19 shifted business even more so to digital based technologies, the era of in person business is coming to an end. An estimated 30% of the US workforce is still in a work from home environment, pushing the attractiveness of a digital environment further. The newest addition to the workforce, younger millennials and Gen-Zer’s, brings a digital reliance into play for the future of B2B. The generations who grew up with evolving technology are more likely to embrace the change.
Of course, the introduction of AI in the B2B space can complicate things. How can AI help with complex purchases? How can a robot provide a level of customer service and expertise that a sales representative has? But that’s just the thing- AI will never be able to provide the level of customer engagement a human sales representative can. AI can also not provide the sense of Loyalty that a human can, which greatly affects the likelihood of a repeat purchaser.
So, what is the solution here? We are in an environment of rapid technological changes, but still in a society that appreciates human interaction and craves loyal relationships amongst their B2B partners. This is where the rise of the hybrid sales rep comes into play. According to the McKinsey Report, the Hybrid Sales Rep role will grow 85% by 2024. These Hybrid reps will take on all the high value tasks in the B2B industry, while the AI takes on the low value tasks.
The determining factor of B2B loyalty with the introduction of AI all depends on the buying experience you provide for your B2B partners. In a world of everchanging business, it is important to deeply engage customers and reduce churn. The best way to independently engage while increasing sales is through an enticing B2B Customer Loyalty program. Putting the focus on Communicating, Educating and Motivating your B2B partners with a Loyalty Program will make all the difference, especially during a time where AI can take away a sense of human interaction that was once a standard.
The Incentive Group has 30+ years as a leading agency focused on B2B Loyalty Programs. With our Best- in-Class inGauge platform, we continue to produce superior incremental revenue and margin results that delight clients and participants alike. Reach out to us to learn more about our turnkey program design, administration and fulfillment services.