The AI Revolution: How AI is Disrupting B2B Marketing & Sales
Since the turn of the 21st century, scientists, mathematicians, and futurists have predicted dates when humanoid robots might one day take over the world through nefarious methods.Numerous think tanks were created for the philosophy of such advanced machines and their impact on society. Some have predicated doom and gloom like Skynet in the Terminator series while others believe a more harmonious experience awaits for our artificial intelligent cousins.
The AI Revolution for B2B Marketing & Sales is here. We’ve already started to embrace the benefits of artificial intelligence for B2B.
Today we’ll focus on 3 AI processes disrupting B2B Marketing and Sales:
- Predictive Analytics
- Personalized Data
- Natural Language Processing
Remember the Precogs from Minority Report? They have the physic ability to predict future human behavior, helping Tom Cruise save people from imminent death. Instead of predicting murders, however, companies can use their own Precogs to predict future company growth.
The history of predictive analytics is a rocky one. Predictive analytics started in the 1940s with governments leveraging computer models to predict future outcomes during WW2. An example is the US government building computer simulations to predict the fallout from an atomic bomb denotation.
Yes, predictive analytics does have a dark past!
On a more positive note, there are tangible benefits to using advanced prediction models.
Those benefits include:
- Sales Forecasting
- Removes Uncertainty
- Create better Marketing Campaigns
We are in the final quarter for 2019. Few things are as important as building a sales forecast for 2020. Your boss’s boss wants you to predict company revenue, growth, and sales for next year. How do provide these invaluable numbers with confidence?
Predictive analytics tools can help you mine patterns and trends hiding in plain sight. Assuming you have accurate data, these tools can leverage years of company data to help you build models for future years.
As mentioned above, you want to be as close to certain as possible when forecasting future company performance. In addition, you want ALL of your decisions to be as accurate as possible. If your company does X action, what kind of effect will it have on the rest of the business?
Predictive analytics can answer those tough questions we receive on our weekly conference call and Monday morning meetings, The Why. Additionally, businesses can make data driven decisions that remove opinions and feelings out of the equation.
Create Better Marketing Campaigns
How does your CRM build the lead scoring system your entire company adopts and trusts? Through predictive analytics of course!
Predictive analytics crunches years of behavioral actions to measure the value of a lead. Those leads considered hot expect to get a call from sales. Leads that remain cold will need more nurturing.
In addition, LTV (Lifetime Value) is a metric MOST businesses want to know. Predictive analytics can help send timely campaigns to increase the LTV or prevent churn from existing customers.
Did I mention that Data is now the world’s most important resource? If you skipped directly to this section, you now know!
Sales and Marketing can have access to thousands of data points on customers and leads. There’s equally a number of platforms and data companies out there to give you access to more personalized behavioral data events than you could ever want.
Intelligent Personalized Data Decisions
Swimming in a sea of data can lead to confusion and uncertainty on which “good” data to pay attention to. In addition, customers expect brands and businesses to personally connect with them on a 1:1 basis.
According to Accenture, 91% of customers are more likely to purchase from businesses who provide relevant content.
Discovering a customer or lead’s preferences can help you make intelligent sales and marketing decisions. When going after targeted accounts, consider the following behavioral activity:
- Website Activity
- Customize experiences based on browsing behavior
- Referring URL customization
- Lead users to relevant content CTAs, download, or resources
- Content Activity
- eBooks/whitepaper downloads
- Opening and clicking of marketing emails
- Purchase Activity
- Average Sales Cycle
- New Business vs Repeat
- Acquisition Cost
The Disruption of AI for Data Personalization
If the adoption of the world wide web was considered slow, the advancement of AI for data personalization is moving at warp speed!
The average American household has 3.23 connected devices as of 2018. It’s Sales and Marketing’s job to connect these devices to the same user, providing a seamless, personalized experience.
Artificial Intelligence can help:
- Identify which device the customer uses the most and send optimized relevant content
- Analyze all devices to identify the content gaps and opportunities
- Listen for commonly asked questions and provide automated real-time replies
- Discover the top performing segments of customer data
The goal for AI in data personalization is to create the simplest, frictionless experience for customers possible. As technology advances in 2020, the lines between AI and a real human experience will continue to blend.
Customers will be more wary of bots and automated experiences. The purpose of AI is to assist in making better marketing and sales decisions with personalized data.
Natural Language Processing
Speaking of robots taking over the world, we get to our last disruptive AI topic, Natural Language Processing (NLP).
What is Natural Language Processing?
We humans have no problem understanding various communication forms like slang, analogies, and context. Machines, on the other hand, have a hard time understanding communication outside of standard sentence structure.
NLP is the ability of a machine or computer to sort through millions of text to make sense of the essential information.
Sales & Marketing now have the ability to process thousands of real-time conversations at scale to provide impactful, relevant content.
Chatbots are a great example of leveraging the power of NLP for Sales & Marketing. Below I’ll breakdown how each channel can leverage NLP.
Marketing generates traffic to your website, but Sales is spending too much time talking to unqualified leads. Building a chatbot sequence that starts conversations once a user hits the website or landing page, can create Sales Qualification Conversations (SQL) real-time.
Instead of having to pick up the phone or sort through endless unqualified leads in the email inbox, NLP can help qualify these leads to bring about more efficiency and happier SDRs.
In addition, how many times in your company has sales complained about manual CRM entry?
According to Hubspot, Sales reps spend nearly 5.5 hours a week updating CRM information costing companies $13,200 per CRM user. I don’t know about you, but there's a zillion other activities I’d rather be doing than data entry.
Let’s start with one of those activities, automation.
NLP can extract data from email, website conversations, social media, support, and other MarTech platforms to AUTOMATICALLY update contact records in the CRM. You can remove human laziness or errors to have Sales focus on creating lasting relationships with prospects. Well, at least that’s what they SHOULD be doing with all the extra time!
I mentioned above NLP’s ability to sort through thousands of conversations. Marketing can leverage the data to be well, better marketers.
Knowing the most frequently asked questions by customers and prospects can help Marketing deliver timely nurturing content to address these questions up front.
Additionally, NLP can be used for personalized content at different stages of the funnel. For example, if you have a lead consistently browsing through your company’s case studies or pricing page, you can leverage NLP to start personalized conversations for the repeat website visitors.
Marketers can also use channels like Email Marketing and SMS to utilize the power of Natural Language Processing. The #1 key to success in email marketing starts and ends with engagement.
NLP can build dynamic hyper-targeted email segments and automatically reply to questions from customers. If you’re noticing a drop in deliverability to your email list, a real-time SMS reply can break through inbox clutter.
Note: Natural Language Processing isn’t a replacement for humans, yet! Your company still needs a human to answer complex inquires.
Artificial Intelligence is one of the greatest technologies ever created for our time. In 2019, AI adoption rates continue to increase while fundamentally transforming the way we do B2B Sales & Marketing.
Predictive Analytics, Personalized Data, and Natural Language Processing are three of the critical AI technologies positively disrupting businesses. The AI revolution isn’t in the future, it’s happening now!