Why Distributors are Now Adopting A.I.
Artificial Intelligence is one of the most talked about topics lately, and for good reason. While AI can seem overwhelming, confusing, or intimidating to those who are new to it, it can actually be quite simple – and useful!
You may not realize that AI is already a part of our day-to-day lives, and it’s making its way into more and more businesses, too. Despite skepticism and concerns around AI, it doesn’t have to mean plagiarism or self-driving cars; it is often as simple as a data analytics or a suggestion generator.
Most AI tools being used in the workplace are simply software programs that complete tasks that would take much longer for a human to do. In fact, the SaaS and other systems you have right now are probably already using it.
In 2022, more than one in three businesses worldwide used AI (IBM), and that number is only set to increase. AI is becoming one of the most powerful tools a business can use, and adopting the technology early on will allow businesses to meet changing demands and stay ahead of the curve.
Getting started with AI isn’t about just keeping up with technology trends. It’s how you can increase profit, employee satisfaction and customer experience, amongst many other benefits.
So, it’s time to embrace AI. With sales-boosting and cost-cutting capabilities, there’s no good reason not to!
But, with so much AI software to choose from, where should you start? Having so many options is a great thing, but it can also be overwhelming. Luckily, there are just as many resources to help with your research and narrowing down your search down to solutions that are specifically tailored to your type of business. A distributor’s needs won’t be the same as a B2C company, for example.
Here’s some information on what AI-powered tools are capable of doing for your business, take a look to see what the most useful aspects would be for you:
Employee Efficiency, Productivity, and Satisfaction
One of the most significant benefits of AI is its ability to automate redundant tasks, allowing employees to focus on higher-value tasks that require their expertise.
With AI’s high computational power, it can solve complex problems and recognize patterns faster and with more accurately than humans. This frees up employees to work on tasks that require their unique skills, creativity, and knowledge, making them more productive and satisfied with their work.
Is there a sales rep out there that wouldn’t be happier without having to do time-consuming, tedious things like data entry or sorting Excel sheets?
Statistics show that 61 percent of workers say that their adoption of AI within the workplace has led to a boost in productivity (SnapLogic, 2021). Workers are more productive, and happier for it.
Research has shown that AI also benefits workplace culture. In a survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and BCG, more than half of the respondents who had implemented AI agreed that it improved efficiency and decision-making among teams. Of the same group, 78% reported improved collaboration within teams.
When AI takes care of mundane tasks, it’s no surprise it leads to a more engaged and fulfilled workforce.
Automated workflows are one example of a commonly utilized AI tool. You will often see it used in ERPs or CRMs for various purposes, in different depths and complexities. Workflow automation can help employees complete repetitive and time-intensive tasks which would otherwise consume several hours.
Reducing this kind of work for your teams and allowing them more time for the rest of their work can even mean improved sales.
Speed Up Processes and Reduce Human Error
Saving your team’s time for higher-value tasks is great, but AI can also increase accuracy and allow for more detail in rules-based tasks. By taking the work out of human hands, we remove the risk of human error and bias.
Eliminating errors can also, of course, save you the money those errors could cost. Plus, the time AI saves is substantial, seeing that it can do tasks that would typically take hours in just seconds. AI can put large sets of data in a more digestible format so that your teams can still use that information creatively and diversely, but in a much more efficient way.
Businesses are already moving fast these days, but they can move even faster – and for many, they already are. Who would say no to a tool that could result a faster and increased ROI?
AI can collect all the information you need on customers, products, pricing, and more, then lay it all out in an easily accessed and utilized manner. It’s simple to improve your customer service when you have the means for a more customized and personalized interaction
s with each individual customer.
More traditional solutions will often show and recommend the same products for large groups of customers, even if the customers in that group have significantly different needs and interests. AI algorithms can go further, predicting more nuanced sales opportunities. Typical “popular” product suggestions would risk lowering customer satisfaction by repeatedly offering products that aren’t a fit, and by not appearing to understand their individual needs.
AI can help you achieve the opposite, showing your customers items that are genuinely personalized to them, and profitable for you. This adds up to an all-around more pleasant customer experience, which can lead not only to more sales in the short term, but improved customer retention in the long term.
Increasing Sales with AI
It can sometimes be unclear how exactly AI helps businesses to increase their revenue, but the connections become obvious if you know what to look for.
By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI algorithms can identify trends and patterns in consumer behavior which humans might miss. This can help businesses make better-informed decisions, like easily identifying highly-qualified leads that are most likely to become profitable. As is the nature of AI, lead qualification happens instantly, whereas sales teams could spend hours researching and analyzing customer information to do this job with less accuracy.
On top of high-quality lead generation, AI can also supply personalized product recommendations to sales teams, or even directly to customers in an online shop. What is particularly great about this usage of AI is that it can be applied and utilized immediately, resulting in increased revenues right away.
If you adopt this technology, you can almost immediately start seeing results from orders containing more unique items. This is just one example of the many ways AI can help increase revenue.
In last year’s survey by NewVantage Partners, 92% of large companies reported returns on their data and AI investments, which is nearly double the number from five years ago. Thanks to that success, the same 92% said that they are increasing these investments. Numbers like these make AI seem like the obvious choice.
AI and Top Companies
Many major companies take advantage of AI’s ability to analyze customer data and personalize recommended products. You are almost certainly familiar with Amazon’s usage of this technology (which generates 35% of their revenue), and how it learns more about what to suggest to you next as you keep buying more products from them.
This has proved to increase sales and customer satisfaction for Amazon. But it’s not just Amazon and other online retailers. This same type of AI that suggests things based on user preferences appears in many types of businesses. Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services use it to suggest what to watch next, keeping people interested and satisfied so they don’t lose subscriptions.
Some businesses, such as General Electric, use AI to predict when to schedule maintenance before there is a failure in order to avoid downtime. AI is even being used by UPS to plan delivery routes for drivers. The use of AI in targeted advertisements is pivotal for Facebook, as it makes 98% of its revenue from these ads.
If there’s a company that’s a household name, the odds are that they’re currently using AI in their business model. In fact, according to NewVantage, more than 91% of top businesses surveyed report having an ongoing investment in AI.
While not all tactics these large companies use will work for smaller ones, many of them will when it comes to AI. Start with AI that can grow with your business.
It’s time to start adopting AI
AI becoming increasingly essential and is rapidly transforming the way we do business. There’s no stopping technology’s advancement, so businesses should take advantage of the incredible tools that pop up… before they get left in the dust.
Since investing in AI and keeping up with the headway other businesses are making generally comes with significant benefits, there’s all the more reason to consider making the shift.