B2B Dips Into AI: A Small Number Of Firms Try 2 Or More Use Cases

AI is catching on in B2B in a fitful way. Only 11% of brands are using AI for more than two use cases, and 38% are trying it for one, according to a new study from Bain & Company, titled “How B2B Sales and Marketing Leaders Are Getting The Most From Generative AI.” 

Firms with high revenue growth were twice as likely as laggards to deploy multiple use cases, by a margin of 11% to 5%. 

And, 21% of high-growth brands gained cost savings of more than 10%, versus only 10% of low-growth companies.  

But it depends on the industry: Software is the leader, with 17% of its firms applying two use cases. 

Hardware is next, at 15%, followed by pharma and biopharma (13%), chemicals (13%) and information services (13%).  

In contrast, these types of firms are in the single digits: aerospace and defense (8%), construction and building materials (8%), wholesale banking (7%) and logistics (3%). 



The three main use cases in B2B sales and marketing are creating recurring customers, automating documentation and automating marketing. Email marketing would benefit into all three uses. 

Now you may scoff. But please recall that Bain is where resident genius and Fellow Fred Reichheld devised the Net Promoter Score.   

What to do if you’re one of the laggards? Bain advises (and we quote):

  • Think both strategically and ambitiously — The time for ad hoc testing is over, and you should strive for scale and 20% productivity gains.  
  • Don’t lag — A first-move position helps you to more quickly gain value. 
  • Don’t optimize existing processes — Redesign them so that AI is at the center.  
  • Balance build with buy — There are many robust solutions being offered by vendors. Build internally only where you have a clear competitive advantage. 

The Bain article was written by Jamie Cleghorn and Jens Friis Hjortegaard.

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