B2B selling is the lifeblood of so many companies. Like with SEO, the B2B sales arena changes every year. What customers want and what they expect alters constantly. It’s up to businesses to stay up to date. I spoke to the CEO of LeadCrunch, Olin Hyde, to speak about the importance of B2B selling in 2016. I discussed with him how to generate leads and what’s ahead in this industry.

AJ: Thank you for joining me. I understand that you are running a company in the B2B sales arena, but for the benefit of people who don’t yet know, could you explain what LeadCrunch does?

Hyde: LeadCrunch finds high-precision B2B leads using Artificial Intelligence (AI). It enables you to repeat your past successes by finding new customers that are just like your best customers. Getting high-quality sales leads is a big problem in the B2B business world. Finding them is often the hardest part of the process. LeadCrunch makes it easy to find the right businesses to target.

AJ: With that in mind, just how does LeadCrunch work?

Hyde: Our customer simply comes to our website and upload their 25 best clients. Then LeadCrunch does the rest. It data mines those clients to find patterns and then uses high quality data sources and sophisticated algorithms to provide back high precision B2B leads to our customer.

What we are doing falls under a hot new trend called Predictive Analytics (PA). Some people simple refer to our process as “Moneyball for B2B Lead Generation.” Whatever you call it, we are simply utilizing data to make lead gen much more precise than it has been in the past. By starting with the best leads, you get huge gains in your sales funnel in the form of more sales, larger sales, and faster sales.

AJ: How would you say the B2B industry is changing?

Hyde: The exponential growth of data and the accelerating pace of business make it very difficult to get the attention of B2B buyers. Executives are so busy and overwhelmed with information that they just shut down. They call screen slick-talking salespeople. They unsubscribe from emails. They use ad blockers.

Instead, busy executives focus on accomplishing their most important objectives. So to get their attention, we must deliver messages that are relevant to their precise concerns. B2B sales must deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. The only way to do this is to find harness data and use the most powerful SaaS tools we can to customize our message to each company and personalize the message to each prospect.

The good news is that personalization is easier with AI-driven tools. These tools are becoming especially important given the growing morass of data. In fact, More than 2.5 exabytes of data is added to the internet everyday. That’s the equivalent of 1 million copies of every book in the Library of Congress. So it is far beyond the ability of humans to makes sense of it. Only machines can make sense of this much data. Until now, only big enterprises could afford sophisticated AI technologies. Now AI-driven lead technology is available to upper mid-market and SMBs. Rather than marketing to everyone, LeadCrunch enables marketers to focus their effort on leads that have the best chance of closing.

We are in the middle of a massive transformation in sales and marketing. AI will change everything–even more than email did 20 years ago. And AI will change sales far faster than most people can imagine.

AJ: What does this say about the quality of human relationships, though?

Hyde: Human relationships are more important than ever. In this context, AI helps you get to the right customer relationships much faster than before. Some say that the best technologies simply extend what humans already do or make it more efficient.

Think about Match.com, for example-does it eliminate human relationships or simply help you optimize and accelerate the search for the next great relationship? It widens your pool, provides you the ability to search based on facets that are important to you, and allows you to save time by vetting people by email and phone before a date zero. Or consider Yelp-it helps you find your new favorite restaurant faster. And I definitely have close relationships with the people that work at the favorite restaurants I’ve discovered through Yelp.

Also, many prognosticators claimed that the Internet would harm relationships but did it? Not only do I socialize just as much as I used to but now I enjoy relationships online as well. Social media has allowed me to keep in touch with people from my childhood and other parts of the world that I never would have otherwise.

Relationships are a fundamental human need. I see all good technologies as ones that enable, empower, optimize, and accelerate good relationships rather than try to replace them. Our technology is not about replacing people and it’s not even about selling. Even selling is not about selling anymore.

AJ: What do you mean that selling is not about selling anymore?

Hyde: The statistics say that these days, selling is less about “selling” and much more about helping. We help you get to the right companies faster not so that you can lob them a cold pitch but so rather so that you can find their pain and offer personalized solutions. If they are not ready for a solution, perhaps you can offer them some sorely needed education customized to their need and then check in with them throughout their buyer journey. When they are ready to buy, whom will they call? They will call the company that best understands their needs and has built a relationship from the beginning. They will call you.

It’s all about building those foundational relationships to increase the chances of getting to your ultimate end goal.

AJ: I’d like to thank you for joining me today to talk about B2B sales and its future.