Generative AI in the Chemical Industry: Transforming Sales for Paints and Coatings

Jacqueline Wasem
Generative AI for Paints & Coatings

The chemical industry is a realm of intricate processes, cutting-edge innovation, and stringent regulatory frameworks. Nowhere is this more evident than in the paints and coatings sector. This vibrant, ever-evolving market faces a unique set of challenges that can often feel like chameleon on a kaleidoscope.

Enter generative AI — a solution that can empower technical sales reps as they navigate an ever-changing landscape.

In this blog series, Nesh uncovers the transformative potential of generative AI within the chemical industry. In this post, we look at the challenges faced by sales teams in this sector and explore how generative AI — specifically tailored for the paints and coatings market — can empower sales reps to excel like never before.

Industry Challenges in Paints and Coatings

The paints and coatings industry, part of the broader CASE (Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants, and Elastomers) category, is a cornerstone of the specialty chemicals market. The industry is in a phase of change and evolution — driven by technological advancements, regulatory pressures, and shifting consumer and end-user demands. 

Yet, the path to industry success is riddled with challenges that can stymie even the most seasoned technical sales professionals. 

Regulatory and Environmental Concerns

From volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the paints and coatings landscape is a labyrinth of compliance requirements. Companies are under immense pressure to meet stringent standards while maintaining product efficacy. It requires a delicate balance of staying ahead of evolving regulations and continuously innovating to create environmentally friendly products.

Rising Raw Material Costs

The cost of raw materials is a perennial concern, especially because they account for up to 60% of coatings production. Fluctuating prices for essential components like resins, pigments, and solvents can squeeze profit margins and disrupt supply chains. This volatility makes it critical for companies to optimize their procurement strategies and seek out cost-effective alternatives without compromising on quality.

Product Commoditization

In a competitive market where product differentiation is increasingly challenging, commoditization looms. With so many CASE brands offering similar products, standing out from the crowd is more challenging than ever. Companies need to highlight their unique value propositions and build strong brand loyalty to win favor.

Increased Global Competition

The global paints and coatings market is fiercely competitive. New entrants — coupled with aggressive expansion from established companies — make it harder for businesses to maintain their market share. Companies need to be agile, innovative, and responsive to stay ahead of the competition.

Evolving Consumer Preferences

Today's consumers are more informed and discerning than ever. They demand high-quality products that are also affordable and environmentally sustainable. The end-user shift towards eco-friendly coatings and paints means companies must innovate to meet these new customer preferences while maintaining performance standards.

Turning Challenges into Opportunities With Generative AI

Despite present challenges, the paints and coatings industry is ripe with opportunities. Generative AI, a subset of artificial intelligence that generates new data based on existing patterns, can be a powerful ally in unlocking these possibilities.

Advance ESG Initiatives

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations are no longer just buzzwords; they are fundamental to business strategy. As R&D teams deliver new products and expand the product portfolio with sustainable product alternatives, technical sales teams can use Generative AI to discover, position, and sell new sustainable products for a customer or potential customer’s use case. Technical sales reps gain the tools and insights to help their customers meet regulatory requirements and the growing end-user demand for eco-friendly products.

Leverage Specialized and Innovative Product Portfolios

Innovation is the key to standing out in a complex, global market. Technical sales reps can use generative AI to quickly analyze vast datasets — simplifying the technical sales process of discovering and positioning individual products in an expanding portfolio with thousands of specialty products. Generative AI can take inputs of a customer’s requirements and suggest products from the vast product portfolio with new pigment combinations that offer superior durability or innovative coating solutions that enhance energy efficiency.

Enhance Customer Experience

In an industry where product quality is paramount, delivering an exceptional customer experience is equally critical. Generative AI provides chemical sales teams with deep insights into customer behavior and preferences, allowing for more personalized and effective sales interactions. This level of customization can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty as paints and coatings brands adapt.

Generative AI in the Chemical Industry: An Impetus for Sales

So, how can paints and coatings companies harness the power of generative AI to drive sales and outperform the competition?

Competitive Benchmarking and Product Positioning

In a market dominated by a few large players, it’s crucial to differentiate yourself. Generative AI in the chemical industry can analyze competitor products and market positioning, offering valuable insights into where your products stand and how they can be better positioned to meet customer needs. By leveraging AI, sales reps can tailor their outreach to highlight unique product benefits and outperform the competition.

Driving ESG Compliance and Innovation

Generative AI is pivotal in helping CASE companies meet ESG goals. Producers of paints and coatings have historically been some of the largest consumers of petrochemicals. By analyzing existing product data or customer applications, sales reps can use AI to find and sell alternate product formulations that are less harmful to the environment, aligning with the industry’s rising demand for more sustainable practices. Technical sales reps support their customer’s efforts to meet regulatory requirements and position their company as a leader in sustainable product offerings. 

Empowering Sales Reps With Expert Knowledge

Generative AI platforms like Nesh transform the way technical sales reps operate by providing access to comprehensive knowledge from subject matter experts about their product portfolio and market trends. AI-generated reports that combine expert knowledge with product data help sales reps understand customer needs better, adjust their sales strategies in real-time, and provide informed recommendations that resonate with potential buyers. 

Promoting Product Innovation

Staying ahead of the competition requires continuous innovation and tools to leverage that innovation across a customer base. Generative AI can help sales reps identify where customers could benefit from the new products they bring to market. Sales reps are positioned to act as a thoughtful partner, suggesting innovative product alternatives that are more likely to help a customer meet their goals.

Training and Engaging Talent

AI-driven tools offer new aspects to training and onboarding, delivering new ways of engaging sales teams. Sales reps can leverage Generative AI as their own customized training program that addresses their specific knowledge gaps, helping them develop the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in a competitive market. This is particularly powerful in improving ramp time, as AI taps into an organization’s product knowledge and expert knowledge to accelerate an employee’s learning curve. New sales reps gain the tools to be effective faster once the training wheels come off.

Embracing Generative AI In The Chemical Industry

Generative AI has the potential to be a transformative force in the chemical industry. Paints and coatings companies that implement AI technology will lead the industry in innovation, customer engagement, and business performance.

At Nesh, we’re committed to helping your sales teams harness the power of generative AI to overcome industry challenges and seize new opportunities. Stay tuned for more insights and success stories in this blog series as we continue to explore how generative AI is shaping the future of chemicals.

Ready to transform your sales strategy with generative AI? Contact Nesh today to learn more about the AI solutions that empower your sales team to thrive.

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