SMBs Think AI: They Are More Likely To Adopt The Technology Than Larger Firms

Smaller businesses are leading the way in adopting artificial intelligence (AI), judging by Pipedrive’s State of Sales and Marketing Report 2023/2024.  

The study shows that 42% of respondents at companies with 10 employees or less are using AI. In contrast, 37% at firms with 11-100 have adopted AI, versus 23% of those at firms with more than 100 employees. 

Moreover, AI is now as widely used as email marketing automation at small businesses:  

  • CRM software with automation capabilities — 81%
  • AI tools — 35%
  • Email marketing automation — 35% 
  • Activity-based workflow automation — 23%
  • Automated lead generation — 22%
  • Automated data aggregation (logging sales data and customer notes) — 19% 
  • Quote and proposal automation — 15%
  • Analytics and forecasting automation — 13% 



What’s more, marketing and sales professionals at all levels say AI could have the biggest positive impact on their work going forward:

  • AI tools — 38%
  • CRM software with automation capabilities — 34%
  • Automated lead generation — 33% 
  • Quote and proposal automation — 27% 
  • Email marketing automation — 27%
  • Activity-based workflow automation — 25%
  • Automated data aggregation (logging sales data and customer notes) — 24%
  • Analytics and forecasting automation — 22%
  • Not sure — 17%

Meanwhile, sales performance improved significantly last year, with 71% of salespeople regularly meeting their quotas, a 19% boost over the prior year. But working additional hours did not equate to better results — people who did this were 10% less likely to his their targets. 

"This past year has been unprecedented, marked by economic challenges and breakthroughs in AI technology,” says Dominic Allon, CEO of Pipedrive. “As we stand on the verge of a new era, we have already seen AI-driven innovations boosting business growth with remarkable accuracy and efficiency.”

But Allon adds: “Despite the rise of AI, the importance of human relationships, value-based selling, and other essential skills remains paramount in the industry.”

Pipedrive surveyed 948 sales and marketing professionals, business owners, and sales professionals from 85 countries in January-February 2024. 

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