I’m planning a family ski trip to Hokkaido, Japan. It’s going to be great, but it’s also going to involve quite a bit of planning. Two decades ago, I would have gone to the library and taken out a travel guide. Two years ago, I would have used a search engine to find a few dozen travel articles, blogs, and reports and started a spreadsheet. Today, I asked a generative AI-enabled information aggregator half a dozen increasingly specific questions and zeroed in on a handful of onsens in Furano and Asahidake that are off the beaten path but still accommodating for English speakers.

How Many Of Your Buyers Are Using GenAI Today?

While it’s hard to predict the future, there’s nothing more certain in B2B than that buying behaviors migrate from B2C to B2B. B2B companies have not yet felt the seismic impact of genAI on buying, but they will soon. B2B companies I’ve spoken with are seeing 1–3% of their referred traffic coming from generative AI (genAI) services like Google Gemini, Microsoft Copilot, and Perplexity. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but for every 1% of traffic that’s referred, there are likely an equal or greater number of users who are getting the answers they need from these services’ summaries. Some online publishers anticipate that genAI-powered content aggregators will result in a 20–40% reduction in traffic in the coming years.

GenAI Will Impact More Than Search

Replacing scrolling through links with digging through summaries is just one of the ways buyers will use genAI to reshape their experiences. After talking with a number of B2B buyers and ecosystem providers, we see buyers adopting genAI across every stage of the buying process. Buyers are:

  • Discovering new solutions more quickly. Buyers are learning about new solutions from information aggregators that are not only reintermediating the relationship between buyers and sellers but also educating buyers on what criteria their peers have found important.
  • Evaluating alternatives more efficiently. With the help of procurement technology, buyers can field RFPs and analyze them in record time. Expect to see buyers using bots to attend and record webinars and demos or to query your website bot in the near future.
  • Managing the diverse buying group to a more rational commitment. Meeting management tools are good at noticing who’s speaking up and calling on those who are not. Especially in compliance-governed procurement processes, auditable deliberations may help discourage natural familiarity and recency biases.

What Can You Do About It?

I encourage you to start planning a vacation. You’ll need it to get refreshed for the days to come … and it’s also a good way to start experiencing how buyers are engaging differently with this new way of sourcing information. Then, attend the webinar hosted by my colleague Jessie Johnson and me, Have Your Bot Call My Bot: Buying In The Age Of GenAI. We look into how buyers are adopting genAI and how marketers should think about implementing genAI in their marketing ecosystem in response.