Calling bullshit on AI in complex B2B sales


Every tool or platform every professional seller is using today, regardless of sophistication, will claim it is AI (Marketing teams riding the wave). Moreover a lot of B2B technology sales professionals trumpet the fact their own technologies are now "AI enabled".

I'm calling bullshit!

The simple reality is that since time immemorial tools, any tool, from the plough to the super computer, has been designed to make work easier, faster, simpler and more productive.

In recent times the ability for these tools to tackle activities that the sales profession did not have tools for, such as researching clients, collaborative ideation, financial analysis, prospecting content creation, automated follow up etc, has been impressive and significant.

But it does not change the simple fact that sales is the art of persuading and influencing a buyer, or in the case of complex B2B sales, many buyers to choose your offering over their other choices, which include "do nothing".

That choice is always led emotionally and justified with facts and logic.

How often have you seen the better product or service lose?

How often have you seen "no decision" the elected choice, even in the face of compelling reasons to invest?

In professional selling, how we sell is far more important than what we sell.

This is underpinned by outrageous successful selling is more about how we think, rather than what we do.

My observation is that sellers are using many many tools now, including many that are labelled as AI. ChatGPT for prospect email creation is a good example. The flaw in this is that sellers are using these tools in such a way that is reducing thinking. The tools are being used to speed up task completion, rather than being a catalyst to deeper more provocative thinking.

Successful sellers don't view these tools as artificial intelligence....i.e;

  • what can the tool tell me I don't already know

  • what can the tool create for me I can't create

  • what can the tool automate for me that would take me too long to do

And when every seller is using the same tools for the same thing does it create any level of meaningful differentiation?

Successful sellers use these tools for curiosity, ideas, spur imagination, explore different questions, role play, hypotheticals.

Successful sellers use these tools to evolve their selling mindsets. Rather than using them as task automators they use these tools to unlearn and relearn buyer psychology and the art of influence and persuasion.

Continued innovation in tools will be a constant, but the human condition...that is buying on emotion, requires sellers to focus less on task automation and far far more on what sellers are paid to do: Think for a living !

These so called AI tools can't think for us. Nor should we want them to. If a tool can think better and as a result influence and persuade better, then why do we need sales people?

Great sellers use tools, any tool, AI labeled or not, to elevate their thinking, curiosity, imagination and questioning.

Are you using them this way?

By Chris Luxford

Keywords: Generative AI, Leadership, Sales

Share this article