As the lines between sales, marketing, and technology blur at warp speed, it’s anyone’s guess what it ultimately means for consumers and marketers. What we do know, however, is that technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) have advanced marketing and sales strategies in remarkable ways. And the more commonplace it becomes, the more businesses will need to do to keep up with it.
AI as a Collaborator, Not a Replacement
You’ve probably read or heard that AI is changing the future of marketing and sales. Or that creatives will soon be replaced by AI-driven art and content programs. Most experts, however, see AI as a collaborative tool that helps expand creativity and unlock new opportunities.
Because AI frees sales agents to focus on closing the sale, companies using it are seeing a boost in sales, improved close rates, and enhanced sales performance. It should come as no surprise, then, that they expect their use of AI to grow faster than any other technology.
Still, AI is not replacing sales or marketing teams. Instead, it’s creating practical value by helping businesses:
- Better predict or forecast sales outcomes.
- Objectively prioritize prospects instead of relying on “gut instinct.”
- Leverage expert recommendations on everything from pricing deals to which customers to target first with cross-sells or upsells.
- Automate mundane or repetitive tasks.
Is there a chance AI will replace sales and marketing people in the near future? While it’s a valid concern, the consensus is that AI will transform how these teams work, but won’t be replacing them any time soon.
AI & Marketing
Marketing’s role in the sales process is understanding customer needs, matching them to relevant products and services, and persuading them to buy.
AI marketing uses tools and methods like data models, machine learning, and algorithms to produce customer insights marketing teams can use to optimize spending and customize the customer journey. Familiar AI marketing solutions include chatbots, personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, image recognition, and so on.
Various brands and industries use AI marketing to boost the performance and ROI of their digital marketing campaigns and to:
- Make advertising smarter by using big data analysis to create better and more targeted online ads.
- Improve searches by pinpointing key areas on which to focus marketing strategies.
- Create hyper-personalized content that focuses on customer preferences.
- Improve customer service with technologies like chatbots that let them connect to prospects quickly and automate responses to common queries.
Given AI’s enormous potential, companies must make it a priority to understand the types of AI marketing apps available today and how they might evolve.
AI is currently used primarily to handle narrow tasks, help with broad tasks, and augment human functions like customer service. It’s also used throughout the customer journey:
- In the awareness phase, AI tools mine customer data to build personas for targeted campaigns.
- Customers in the consideration phase receive targeted as that help guide their search.
- During the purchase/decision phase, auto-generated upsell and cross-sell offers might be offered.
- Once a customer reaches the retention phase, they’re sent personalized offers based on previous purchases and other activities.
- In the advocacy phase, brands can send personalized requests for reviews and recommendations and auto-generate requests for referrals.
One of the greatest advantages of using AI in marketing is the opportunities it gives your brand to meet and even exceed customer expectations. Because you have access to terabytes worth of real-time information, you can build more personal experiences which, in turn, inspire the loyalty that keeps customers coming back again and again.
AI & Sales
Artificial intelligence in sales is changing the selling process in ways few could predict just a few short years ago.
Today, AI programs guide companies on things like:
- Appropriate discount rates.
- Which current customers are most likely to want an improved version of what they already have.
- Which sales team members are likely to meet their quotas.
- Whether a deal has a good chance of being closed.
A Harvard Business Review study found that companies using AI for sales were able to increase their leads by more than 50 percent and reduce costs by 40 to 60 percent. Through the use of powerful algorithms and comprehensive analytics, AI-enabled sales solutions can enhance decision-making, increase productivity, and improve the overall sales process.
Some of the key ways AI is changing sales can be found in the following:
- Lead scoring
- Price optimization
- Performance management
- Upselling and cross-selling
- Customer improvement
- Best practice enhancement
- Easier lead prioritization
- Increased sales through greater human touch
- Decreased costs and time
For B2B sales businesses, three AI technologies offer particularly promising outcomes:
- Sales forecasting, which helps managers and sales team members evaluate the probability of a prospect becoming a customer or client.
- Prescriptive analytics that support guided selling.
- Natural language processing (NLP) that interprets and analyzes the context of a customer or client’s behavior or questions.
Optimizing your B2B sales process with AI is essential to remaining resilient and relevant in a constantly changing market. It also helps supercharge your company’s growth, providing significant additional value in marketing and sales.
The question is no longer whether your organization needs to invest in AI solutions for sales. Instead, you must focus on finding the best AI tools for your business and then leverage them to improve the customer experience and increase revenue.
How AI Can Boost Your Bottom Line
While many organizations still see AI as a future force, innovative sales and marketing teams are harnessing the technology’s power today. They’re freeing up their sales teams from boring administrative tasks and leveraging volumes of data to deliver business value and boost their bottom lines.
Key ways companies are tapping into AI’s immense value are:
- Unlocking new revenue streams through direct and indirect data monetization.
- Improving profits through increased operations efficiency.
- Enabling intelligent marketing and sales.
- Redefining customer experiences.
AI also helps organizations run more efficient businesses. For instance, it can help them create innovative and fail-safe ways to reduce manufacturing costs and cap their supply chain network outlay.
Ultimately, AI also drives better alignment between sales and marketing teams, which results in increased revenue and a healthier pipeline. Your organization can focus on creating world-class strategies that create more valuable customer experiences and support your teams in improving their methods and processes.
Where AI in Marketing and Sales is Headed
AI is opening exciting windows of opportunity for sales reps and marketing teams. The good news is there’s still plenty of time for your organization to get on board before your competition.
Are you ready to explore how AI can play a crucial role in your business’s sales and marketing strategies? 3D2B designs customized, fully-integrated solutions that use inside sales, appointment setting, and lead qualification services to help sales and marketing teams make high-quality prospect contacts, increase qualified sales opportunities, and provide a strong ROI.
Book a consultation today to learn more.