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Artificial Intelligence in Business-to-Business Sales Processes: The impact on the sales representatives and management implications
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: The sales representatives in B2B companies are experiencing several changes in their environment, which have already altered their performed activities. In order to meet the new customer needs, Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides an effective usage of the large amount of complex data that is available, defined as Big Data. AI is developing intelligence that is human-like and is expected to impact occupational roles while threating to automate tasks typically performed by humans. Previous technologies have already impacted sales representatives in the performance of their sales activities; however, it is still uncertain how AI will impact and benefit them. Previous empirical findings and the lack of studies centered on the individual impact of AI confirm the need for more academic reports.

Purpose: The aim of this research is to explore how the implementation of Artificial Intelligence and usage of Big Data in Business-to-Business selling processes are impacting sales representatives, in term of performed activities. Further, the aim is also to explore the management of individuals during the implementation of AI.

Methodology: This qualitative study is based on a realistic perspective with an inductive research approach. The empirical data has been collected through semi structured interviews with six AI-providers and two consulting firms that have proven experiences in working with AI and sales in B2B companies.

Conclusion: AI is characterized by its adapting capability as well as its ability to process and combine a large amount of real-time, online and historical data. As a result, the selling process is constantly provided with more accurate, faster and original insights. Through the analytical capacity of AI, the sales representatives are gaining extensive knowledge about the customer and the external world. Also, AI simplifies the creation and maintenance of long- lasting customer relationships by providing specific and valuable content. Administrative tasks and non-sales activities can also become automated through the usage of AI, which enables sales representatives to focus on their core tasks, for instance relationship building and value-adding activities. The threat of automation and elimination of jobs should be redefined into the possibility to augment human capabilities. By adopting this approach, the importance of the human-machine collaboration is strongly emphasized. In order to increase the willingness for changing working procedures at individual levels, the communication during the process of change should be centered on creating a positive perception and understanding of AI. It is also important to create trust for AI and promote a data-driven culture in order to ensure the systematic usage of the system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 82
Keywords [en]
AI, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, B2B sales, selling process, consultative selling, relational selling, change management
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-157988ISRN: LIU-IEI-FIL-A--19/03074--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-157988DiVA, id: diva2:1328720
Subject / course
Master Thesis in International Business and Economics Programme (Business Administration)
Presentation
2019-06-03, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-09-17 Created: 2019-06-22 Last updated: 2019-09-17Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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