Somewhat reluctantly I must admit that AI is becoming increasingly important in the process of strategy-development and scenario-planning for B2B sales negotiations.
During our corporate negotiation coaching engagements we have observed the following positive benefits and critical limitations of the use of AI. On the positive side:
AI can analyze vast amounts of data to provide valuable insights into customer behaviors, preferences and market trends, enabling more informed negotiation strategies.
AI can help tailor negotiation approaches to fit individual customer profiles, their needs, motives, priorities and historical interactions, enhancing the customer experience and increasing the chances of successful negotiation results.
Efficiency & Speed:
AI-powered tools can automate routine tasks, such as gathering information, drafting proposals, and scheduling meetings, allowing sales teams to focus on higher-value aspects of negotiation planning.
AI algorithms combined with game theory can help to better predict potential outcomes and to develop optimal negotiation strategies.
However, we have also observed some critical limitations and shortfalls of AI in sales and business negotiations, including:
The Lack Of Emotional Intelligence:
AI often seems to lack the ability to perceive and respond to emotional cues, which are crucial in sales negotiations that involve building long-term relationships and trust.
Dealing With Complex, Unpredictable Situations:
AI algorithms may struggle to navigate highly dynamic, unpredictable negotiation scenarios that require quick, creative, transformational problem-solving and unprecedented solutions (e.g. transcending win-win).
AI-based strategies may not always align with human values and ethical standards, potentially leading to unintended, detrimental consequences in negotiations.
AI-Dependency May Lead To Serious Skill- Erosion:
Over-reliance on AI tools may lead to a decline in negotiation skills among sales professionals, diminishing their ability to plan, prepare, strategize, rehearse and negotiate effectively without automation.
Furthermore, AI may actually decrease the ability of the negotiators to deal with cognitive tension, conflict, crisis situations and unexpected curve-balls effectively, reducing their creative solution development capacities.
Giving priority to historical, data-driven AI-generated analysis may cement the default thought patterns, beliefs and subconscious paradigms, as well as the resulting blind spot of the stakeholders involved in such negotiations.
In conclusion, we have found that AI can add real value in B2B sales negotiations.
And yet it is just a tool.
It is up to us to make sure that we use it wisely and to the best effect.