A salesperson without credibility is not only at a competitive disadvantage today — they’re at risk of being replaced by AI tomorrow.
Sales teams are benefiting from using AI for their buyer trend analyses, prospecting, CRMs and email automation programs. By 2028, Gartner projects 60% of B2B seller work will be executed through conversational user interfaces via generative AI sales technologies, up from less than 5% in 2023.
Trends like this make many salespeople wonder whether AI will ultimately jeopardize their sales career?
Not if you use AI to your advantage.
B2B Buyers Won’t Avoid Your Salespeople
Fewer than one in four Americans believes that salespeople are credible in what they say and do, according to our State of Credibility in America Study (September 2023). That means three out of four buyers don’t believe what you say from the get-go.
And according to Gartner, 72% of B2B buyers prefer a rep- free experience — completing their purchase without speaking to a rep at any point — due to a perceived lack of seller relevance in achieving their specific objectives.
On the B2C side, for example, buyers flock to online shopping apps and ecommerce sites for the convenience — but also to avoid salespeople.
Staying Relevant In the Buying Process
One-third of B2B buyers say they avoid taking calls or meetings from salespeople who have no “demonstrable expertise in helping businesses in their industry” (Voice of the B2B Buyer, 2023). Asking a prospect, “Tell me about your business” gets you eliminated from consideration. So does launching into a sales pitch immediately after connecting on LinkedIn. Reps need to do their homework to make sure they are prepared to provide insight and value on every sales outreach.
Providing an answer to a question the buyer didn’t know to ask is a surefire way to build credibility, put yourself on equal footing with the buyer and eventually earn their trust. From there, closing becomes much easier.
Make AI Work for You Instead of Against You
59% of U.S. adults who have used AI say it is sometimes or rarely/never credible, according to our State of Credibility in America Study (September 2023).
In the Age of AI, salespeople must be able to vet what AI says for accuracy, analyze it for relevance to the buyer and apply it to solving their most pressing problems.
Salespeople also need to be mindful about what AI says about them. Fully 71% of B2B buyers will research not only your company, but you as the salesperson, before taking a call or meeting with you. What will a Google search say about you? What will AI say about you? You must demonstrate your expertise online before you ever get a chance to do it in-person.
If you work to form a long-term relationship by doing right by the customer, by serving them before yourself, that effort will help guard you against being replaced by a computer.
With greater credibility, you won’t have to work as hard to chase down leads. The buyer will seek you out instead.
Use AI Tools to Build Your Credibility
To avoid becoming an AI sales casualty, use the AI tools available to accelerate building your own credibility as a sales pro. Our AI solutions, for example, include industry-specific digital credibility scoring, real-time pre-sales research, on-demand competitive intelligence and sales coaching tools. They help B2B salespeople build credibility, achieve trusted advisor status faster and increase repeat sales.
To make AI work for you, instead of against you, get #SalesCred.
Avoid acting like the typical salesperson no one wants to talk to. Be well prepared, so you’re never intimidated by the buyer. Prove your value online and in person. And always build your sales credibility so you can be taken seriously.
Just as importantly, be authentic. Make a human connection. Show you care.
These are the things that AI can’t do. Yet.