At the end of 2018, Salesforce reported that adoption of AI by marketers had grown by 44% last year, and that adoption rate is unlikely to slow anytime soon. With marketers showing "extensive interest" in exploiting AI for their roles, more and more tools are becoming available to support companies on their journey to smarter marketing. AI is transforming the way companies market their products and services to other businesses, streamlining processes at all levels of the sales funnel.
Product recommendations in the form of upsells, emails and targeted advertising are becoming ubiquitous, and are helping B2B marketers focus their budgets on the people most likely to want what they offer. Content marketers also use AI-powered content recommendation engines to keep interested parties on their websites for longer, engaging with content they actually want to read. The world of retail has applied such techniques very effectively.
Taking personalisation a step further, B2B Marketing describe a case study in which a company adopts IBM's Campaign Automation platform - now beefed up by IBM's Watson AI - to segment their broad and complex audience and serve each segment with dynamic content that addressed their individual pain points. The platform allowed them to cut down on time spent generating and distributing content whilst addressing all of their leads with more personalised messaging.
Machine learning algorithms can recognise minute differences between the potential leads who will convert, and those who won't. These predictions give your sales team the confidence to chase appropriate leads, and help you to identify the point at which qualifiable leads are prematurely exiting your marketing funnel.
Anyone operating a subscription business model knows that customer acquisition is only half of the struggle. Keeping customers on board when their teams are in flux is an essential part of the marketing strategy for a subscription product. Predictive analytics can identify customers who are most likely to abandon subscription products, allowing companies to reach out at the most important moment.
Automated sales calls
AI assistants developed for marketing, like Conversica's, can initiate and hold conversations with potential leads until they suggest an intent to buy. Conversica's assistant can measure the quality of the lead and pass it onto the sales team at critical times, which the company claims leads to tighter coordination between marketing and sales. Conversica's software operates through email, but chatbots can serve a similar function building relationships with potential leads and guiding them through the marketing funnel. For the crucial moments when a lead is passed from an AI to an operator, even more tools exist to train those operators in sales pitches than resonate best with minutely segmented audiences.
AI is enhancing marketing processes for B2B companies, whether by reducing time spent on unqualifiable leads or engaging those most likely to convert at the earliest opportunity. What connects all of the processes above is an enhanced understanding of the customer base gained from analysis of customer and sales data, and acting on this enhanced understanding with timely conversation, engaging content, and personalised communications.