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Top Sales & Marketing Priorities For 2019: AI And Big Data, Revealed By Survey Of 600+ Sales Professionals

44% of Respondents Plan to Leverage AI in 2019 for Sales Productivity, Pipeline Building, and Revenue Growth; 90% Expect Significant Impact to Performance, the AI sales platform powered by Collective Intelligence, released the results of research into the technology adoption plans of over 600 sales professionals across all industries in 2019. The data shows respondents across the board are bullish on advanced technologies to drive above-market growth.

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When asked about the most important trends in B2B Sales right now, 21.5 percent named “Supporting Reps with Sales Automation,” followed by “Capturing Value from Big Data” at 21.3 percent and “Adopting Artificial Intelligence” at 15.6 percent, indicating a major emphasis on using technology to extract insights into prospects and increase sales efficiency.

“As pressure to grow intensifies, businesses are increasingly aware they need to take advantage of artificial intelligence and analytics technologies to drive higher sales performance,” said David Elkington, CEO and founder of “Our research shows AI has moved beyond the hype stage, with respondents representing companies of all sizes who expect to see significant benefits applying AI in the coming year.”

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More Than 90 Percent of Respondents Expect AI to Improve Sales Performance

More than 90 percent of respondents stated they expect AI to improve sales performance, however, only 30.6 percent of companies are currently using some form of AI for sales. Additional highlights of the survey into emerging B2B sales and marketing trends include:

  • AI is currently in use at 30.6 percent of companies and moving beyond the hype stage: 43.6 percent of respondents currently using AI in the sales process are leveraging it for scoring and prioritization, 33.1 percent for contacting and qualification, and 31.3 percent for social selling. 44.1 percent plan to adopt AI for sales in 2019.
  • Sales will benefit from AI the most: Sales was the clear frontrunner when asked about departments that will benefit most from AI, chosen by 51.6 percent, followed by marketing with 44.4 percent and customer service with 25.5 percent.
  • AI expected to drive increased sales performance: 85.4 percent predicted AI will improve sales performance between 1-50 percent and, on average, respondents expected a 33.8 percent increase. Almost half of the responses fell between 11-30 percent.
  • AI will most impact pipeline management and forecasting: 51.1 percent said pipeline management and forecasting would benefit from AI most, followed by account and contact research at 48.9 percent, prospecting with 43.2 percent, administrative tasks at 27.5 percent, and general follow-up at 26.9 percent.
  • Knowledge is the biggest roadblock to AI adoption: Respondents indicated the top challenge to using AI is they don’t understand it (25.7 percent), they don’t trust it (20.5 percent) and the technology is too expensive (19.4 percent)
  • AI will enable, not replace sales professionals: Only 9 percent firmly believe AI will replace sales reps in the next five years, but 58.5 percent of respondents think inside sales roles will be significantly impacted, closely followed by 58.4 percent who think sales operations will be the most impacted.

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