AI: a short acronym with a big payoff

For some, artificial intelligence means self-driving cars. For others it means virtual reality video games. For marketing and sales, AI means the technology needed to personalize the buying experience to each customer. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that use AI in sales see significant value, including more than 50% increase in leads and appointments, 40% to 60% of cost reductions, and 60% to 70% reduction in call time. For a group that cares about the bottom line, AI can help close deals faster.

Big wins for marketing

A survey by Demandbase and Wakefield Research revealed that 80% of marketing leaders believe AI will revolutionize marketing by the year 2020. Already AI helps predict and automate marketing efforts, taking a lot of the manual labor out of the practice.

We know that to be most effective, marketers should create personalized content for each customer at every stage of the funnel. For years technology has helped identify what content works when, but humans still had to generate that content.

Let’s take a look at IBM’s Watson. The world met Watson in 2011 when it competed on Jeopardy! against former winners Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings –a highly visible showdown of machine versus man. In the following years, marketing teams have adopted this technology not as an enemy but as a resource. Watson’s sophisticated design can understand complex data, including unstructured text and images, and can provide suggestions based on human qualities, such as tone and personality.

Watson will even help home chefs be better arbiters of flavor profiles and ingredient combinations when they’re cooking, allowing for more successful creative meals. This might seem tangential to marketing, but it’s not. It’s an example of a personalized user experience at its finest, and that’s what marketers should be striving for.

With technology like Watson, marketing can take the insights they’ve been gathering for years and use them in an entirely new way. Machines can synthesize that data and generate things like personas, personalized content, and recommendations, freeing up marketers’ time to focus on other priorities.

And bigger wins for sales

Similar to marketing, AI can help sales by making intelligent recommendations for dealing with potential customers. We’ve previously written about how buyers are more informed by the time they talk to a salesperson. Because they’ve already done preliminary research prior to talking to a sales rep, that rep needs to craft a strategic plan to close deals. The best reps will incorporate AI in that strategy.

Think about how your initial sales call could change if you had the technology to identify your ideal customers and find prospects that match your personas. Everything could be personalized from the first outreach, which you can scale and use throughout campaigns.

AI can identify customer pain points and recommend solutions, taking a lot of the guesswork out of your prospect interactions. Your conversation will be more meaningful when you know exactly when and where and how to delight your customer.

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Leigh Shevchik

Dynamic marketing communications professional and strategist with over ten years experience creating and implementing content plans, social media programs and lead generation initiatives. Outstanding writer, editor and oral communicator who has held project manager and lead editorial roles. Passion for building and leading cross-function teams, project management and market research.

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