Generative AI is taking the world by storm, so it’s natural for sellers to think about all the ways that it could help improve their performance. The gap between the hype and reality, however, is significant. The reality, while still amazing, is a little more practical.

The Hype

Watching a generative AI tool such as ChatGPT provide accurate responses to questions, generate blogs from a couple bullets, and do things like pass the Wharton MBA exam gets salespeople dreaming about what they can do with a tool like this. If the system can see everything happening on the internet, then it can tell me which companies are in a buying cycle and which buying group members I need to engage with. Since these tools are so good at generating content, there is no point in me doing it. I’ll just tell the system to create emails and talking points to cover with my buyers. Knowing what the buyer is searching for online will also tell me what they are looking to buy, so I can just have the system create the quote for me in advance and hand it to them when I finish the meeting. In thinking about it, I’m not sure if I should be involved at all. Since ChatGPT provides the best answer to the buyers’ questions, it can tell them the best product to purchase when they ask. We have the best product, so I’ll just configure the system to give the buyer all the details and the quote when they submit the request. The money will just flow in, and I can take a vacation. Life as a seller just got a lot easier …

The Reality

While generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can do many things, it is just an algorithm providing answers using a very large data set. ChatGPT’s data set is from 2021 and so is not updated in real time. Also, tools like this need extensive training to be used accurately; the key to getting the best answer from these tools is in how you ask the question. This is much harder than it sounds and is not something many people know how to do well. The reality is that these tools are not ready to handle the complex conversations required to sell B2B products. The value of generative AI today is in its ability to co-create content. This is a problem that has challenged sellers for years and is greatly improved with this technology. Using generative AI to create the first draft of an email eliminates the hardest part of writing content and allows the user to do the much easier job of editing and enhancing it. This increases the quality of the content sent to prospects while also improving the efficiency of the seller. That’s a pretty big value-add for such new technology.

While the true innovation of generative AI is still a year or more out, there is a lot of value available right now, but it is for specific use cases such as content generation and research on products or services. One thing is for sure: You will hear all sales technology vendors talk about their approach to this in the coming months. Like with all technology, push past the hype and make sure that there is real value you can get from the technology before you invest in it.

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