How AI Is Re-Shaping Automated Scheduling Processes In B2B

Published: November 28, 2023

Inefficient scheduling is curbing productivity as one in four workers spend three to four hours a week — or half a workday — scheduling meetings alone, while HR professionals spend the equivalent of four weeks a year scheduling meetings.

The State Of Scheduling” — a survey report conducted by scheduling automation platform Calendly — analyzed how workers manage their time, their habits and attitudes toward meeting automation and the impact of automated scheduling on productivity, performance and relationships as AI and hybrid work become more widely adopted.

“We’re all incredibly intrigued about AI, but most professionals still haven’t used it,” said Jessica Gilmartin, CMO of Calendly, in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “Ninety-four percent of workers at large companies are curious about AI productivity tools and yet, 64% of them (57% in sales and marketing, specifically) haven’t used them. That discrepancy represents the future opportunity to reduce inefficient work if we can realize the benefits of AI.”

Practitioners Remain Bullish On AI Despite Apprehension

According to the survey report, workers haven’t had the chance to benefit from AI yet: 64% of workers at companies with more than 1,000 employees have never used AI-powered productivity tools, though 94% of them are curious.

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“Given the amount of skepticism and apprehension towards AI, I was pleasantly surprised to see people are generally excited about what the technology can do to help them be more productive, connected and efficient,” said Gilmartin. “Marketers see the possibilities but they’re unsure about how to structure and organize their work and team to take advantage of the opportunities while navigating the disruption of AI.”

The Findings

For organizations and individuals who are already leveraging AI for scheduling, employees across all areas of their organizations observed different scheduling and time-management behaviors. “The State Of Scheduling” report uncovered the following insights about successful teams:

  • 61% spend three to five hours per week in meetings that contribute to company goals, compared to just 41% of those on less successful teams;
  • More than half (56%) confirmed that they have enough time in their workday to build relationships with customers, prospects and team members, compared to 43% of those on less successful teams;
  • 52% said they’re very or extremely curious about trying new AI-powered tools, compared to only 28% of those on less successful teams; and
  • 61% regularly set aside dedicated time blocks for focused work, compared to 39% of those on less successful teams.

Harnessing AI To Increase Productivity

In general, workers are curious about AI’s ability to help them focus on meaningful work and re-invest in developing their skills. This is especially important as workers are becoming increasingly disconnected. In fact, a recent Gallup survey found only 32% of workers feel engaged in their work.

“I really believe AI will complement humans and the work we do as marketers,” said Gilmartin. “It’s not about AI for AI’s sake; instead, it’s looking for ways to incorporate AI so that it adds value to your overall meeting experience in a non-distracting way.”

The Findings

Still, practitioners remain enthusiastic about AI’s potential. Specifically:

  • 30% believe AI will provide them with more time to focus more on professional development and mentoring others, while 32% would use the time to do more strategic planning and creative projects;
  • 44% believe AI will complement — not replace — human connections;
  • The top two AI capabilities workers are most excited for and trust the most are automated scheduling (49%) and meeting notes capture (56%);
  • 31% of sales and marketing professionals are intrigued by AI’s ability to enhance decision-making with data-driven insights; and
  • The top three AI-powered solutions workers are currently using are ChatGPT, Google Assistant and Microsoft Azure.

“The report shows us that the most successful of teams really do believe meetings are essential, despite the negative headlines,” said Gilmartin. “When you think about meetings and when they’re essential versus not, it’s the meeting to close a deal, to hire a candidate, to hear a customer out on their business challenges, that really matter. We know there are ways AI can drive a more efficient, more effective meeting experience, but it’s in the early days and AI isn’t going to be a cure-all. There is a huge opportunity for workers to gain time back to focus on their work that matters, and the report proves that there is a real need.”

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