The global study, carried out by Hanover Research on behalf of PROS, a provider of AI-powered solutions, reveals the expectations and digital initiatives of more than 700 companies. The respondents work for B2B organisations that sell to clients across a variety of sectors, including process manufacturing, discrete manufacturing, wholesale distributors and services.
The report reveals that respondents think that the ability of AI to predict customer needs is the most significant way that it will impact sales, followed by automating orders and optimising pricing for buying scenarios. As a result of its impact, 73% of respondents believe AI will be a high priority for marketing and sales activities within two years, compared to 48% today. While 62% of businesses think more than half of their sales will come from eCommerce within the next five years, tripling the 20% achieved at present.
Despite the significant opportunities that eCommerce is creating, many business leaders worry that they will struggle to adapt. According to the study, maintaining competitive pricing and protecting price attainment are the top two concerns for organisations. This ties in with another common pain point for businesses: managing customer experiences and coordinating pricing across channels.
“The digital economy has created a changing marketplace that’s put more power into buyers’ hands,” said PROS Chief Marketing Officer Celia Fleischaker. “Customers now have greater expectations of their vendors, including transparency and frictionless buying experiences.”
“As part of the digital transformation initiatives that 58% of organisations have already started, eCommerce and artificial intelligence (AI) are driving significant changes in how organisations operate,” Fleischaker noted.
“Although the majority see these technologies as advantageous, mastering personalised customer experiences and offering real-time dynamic pricing across channels will be key to unlock their revenue-generating potential.”
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