A Guide to Streamlining Sales and Marketing with Artificial Intelligence

A Guide to Streamlining Sales and Marketing with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is a growing concept in the modern age. AI has become essential for businesses all around

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a growing concept in the modern age. AI has become essential for businesses all around the globe. The technology has grown so significantly in the last few years that it now affects our daily lives in one way or the other. A key application of Artificial Intelligence for businesses is in sales and marketing. In this article, we look at how you can make use of Artificial Intelligence to streamline sales and marketing.

Currently, businesses of all scales use Αrtificial Ιntelligence for assisting their sales and marketing team. A few applications of ΑΙ include filtering out sales leads, boosting conversion rates, and enhancing their marketing campaigns. Not just this, but Αrtificial Ιntelligence can even improve customer service by helping businesses answer simple emails, messages, and questions. For instance, from a sales perspective, AI assistants can reply to and interpret a user’s interest based on their response. After this, the system can give control to a salesperson who can take the lead conversion process from there.

Often a times, the marketing and sales department of a business can be at odds with one another. They might have different characteristics to classify a sales lead or have different goals altogether. Artificial Ιntelligence can help bring sales and marketing teams on the same page by aligning their goals.

We will now look at how to use AI to streamline the sales and marketing processes of a business.

Finding Prospects

AI is useful when you want to collect data, validate your prospects, and make impactful decisions for qualified leads. Artificial Intelligence uses big data technologies to search through social media and the web for any prospects who might be searching for your service or product already. Artificial Intelligence collects accurate data from multiple channels and sources in the initial stage of prospecting. Through this method, future success becomes more likely.

The sales reps tend to make more conversions when they have good knowledge about the prospects. It is through AI that they are confident about receiving vetted prospects and accurate information. Sales teams often hit the ground running as often the chatbots have already done the initial conversation with the prospect.

Boosting Productivity

Your AI system is capable of sending messages to thousands of leads 24 hours a day; it doesn’t need lunch breaks, rest time, or a day off. Of course, it cannot be a great alternative to true relationship building. But, it can assist in generating and verifying leads. This allows your marketing and sales teams to focus on other important things. This means that the overall productivity of your company will improve. Only the leads that qualify are passed on, along with sufficient information about them to allow sales rep convert. The marketing department doesn’t have to answer simple questions and filter through leads. At the same time, the sales team will be able to focus instead of wasting time in emailing to old lists and chasing the unsuitable prospects.

Automated, but Natural Responses

There is nothing new about automated marketing. Yes. However, AI gives a more human touch as compared to a typical chat response or automated email. Artificial Intelligence makes sure that the prospects receive marketing messages according to their needs and interests. This tailoring of messages increases conversion to a great level.

Artificial Intelligence uses available data to determine which service or product would a lead most likely respond to. Using this knowledge, the system then sends messages that match the findings. Since the responses of the AI system are based on interest, AI bots sound more human as compared to strict and predefined automated messages. At present, sales teams either create personalized emails based on insufficient insight or send generic automated messages. On the other hand, AI is capable of using the efficiency of automation to generate customized messages based on data.

Identifying the Right Opportunities

A qualified sales lead requires up to six to eight touches. The important key to conversion is a quick response with the right information. Sales teams may not always have the time and capacity to get back to single prospect multiple times. Humans also tend to lose motivation and confidence as things drag on, but AI is always ready for this job. It is able to make instant follow-ups to answer simple questions and collect new information before forwarding the lead to a sales representative, so the team could make more sales. This means that your process will be streamlined to avoid leads from falling through the cracks. Moreover, leads may not always be working on your schedule. In this case, Artificial Intelligence can answer them immediately to quickly capture their interest, rather than a sales rep waiting to check their email.

How Artificial Intelligence can help in Finding Marketing and Sales Leads

Information Collection

As the AI-powered chatbots evolve, the process of interacting with them has become more seamless than ever. After being integrated into websites, they have now become popular on social media platforms. Facebook introduced Messenger bots in April 2016, which allowed brands to have their own custom chatbots for their pages. This means that now the customers don’t have to download and use another app to carry out simple business interactions.

AI chatbots are helpful because they are now able to solve most of the customer inquiries, without needing breaks. They provide a better experience for users and save the time of your customer representatives. It was even estimated that in the future, only one-third of customer queries will need human representatives to be solved.

It was even estimated that in the future, only one-third of customer queries will need human representatives to be solved. Click To Tweet

They are also capable of collecting information about visitors that may not always be possible manually. Since they interact like humans, they can produce more nuanced data as compared to a landing page, for example. “I’ve learned things about my visitors that no other analytics system would show. We’ve learned about new use cases, and we’ve learned about product problems”, said a CMO about the effectiveness of a bot for their company. Such deeper insights bring marketing and sales team on the same page on what really makes a qualified lead and how to improve buyer journey for visitors.

Elevating Brand Experience

Along with creating helpful chatbots for queries, Artificial Intelligence has also taken the responsibility of improving brand experiences by customizing content for each user. Liftigniter and Boomtrain are just two of the companies that are using technologies that tailor the content according to the previous engagements of the visitor with the website including clicks and purchases.

When visitors find the content they are looking for, the engagement and click-through rates are improved, driving the customers through the sales funnel. This improves the quality of leads and increases the conversion rate eventually.

Better Lead Conversion

AI-powered chatbots collect data, interact with visitors, and give them the information they are searching for in order to qualify and convert leads. The sales representatives no longer have to conduct hundred and thousands of chat sessions in search of qualified leads; chatbots are able to learn to recognize a qualified lead and forward it to the most relevant sales rep.

Similarly, AI sales assistant can assist in sending out thousands of emails a month, approaching potential leads with tailored emails to engage them. It understands and interprets the responses to ask relevant questions, qualify the lead, and then connect them to an appropriate representative.

Hence, the company would no longer have to worry about losing a lead only because of not contacting them on time, or because of non-punctual sales reps. This also means that marketing people won’t be frustrated because all the hard work they put into leads is going to waste only because the sales team isn’t efficient enough. Overall, the results are beneficial for everyone as according to a company, every dollar they spent on an AI sales assistant system yielded an ROI of $20 in new contracts.

Predictive analytics has also gained a lot of popularity recently, providing a data-driven guideline for the marketing and sales teams. Predictive analysis is helpful in:

  • Scoring leads according to visitor behavior
  • Identifying typical/preferred customer profiles
  • Supporting and strengthening account-based marketing strategies
  • Automating administrative jobs like updating the CRM.

When a decision-making framework is based on intelligence, it’s easier for sales and marketing to think and work along the same lines in terms of strategies and definitions.

Business Intelligence and Real-Time Analysis of Data

Online marketing professionals often use the term ‘real-time’ for evaluating the performance of pre-sales tasks and customer service. However, with the use of machine learning in the name of intelligent marketing, it is no more impossible. Artificial Intelligence in B2B marketing has been able to remove all barriers between the businesses and their prospects. It enables users to see new offers and promotions just as they are announced. The machine just processes the online data produced by the customer’s behavioral pattern, to send out appropriate and customer-specific solutions.

Most companies have huge collections of customer data, which needs to be sorted out, cleaned, transformed, leveraged, and analyzed to make some meaning out of it. Artificial Intelligence does all of this. A Harvard Business Review article elaborated on how AI would go through hundreds and thousands of client leads, pick out the most useful ones, and reach out to them.

The technology is helpful in analyzing a business’ data, in order to convert it into actionable information so that the top hierarchy of the business can make more effective decisions. Most businesses intelligence tasks are automated, quick, and efficient.

Enhanced Personalization

The biggest advantage of Artificial Intelligence systems is undoubtedly their ability to create highly personalized emails or messages. These messages are based on good knowledge of the customer behavior, hence it helps you to anticipate the exact wants and needs of your customers.

Your users don’t want to read those impersonal, generic emails anymore. For buyers like B2B customers, if a company is not able to make the communication about their business, then it’s not worth the effort.

The hyper-personalization of messages is not only limited to chats or emails. It applies to all kinds of content, landing pages, and dynamic websites.

Everything that reaches your customer should make them feel like it’s about them, catering to exactly what they need. This is when they believe your product or service is the best choice for them.

Improved Organization of Processes

Artificial Intelligence can automate processes that are redundant and mechanical. Through this, AI can effectively free up a lot of time for the sales and marketing teams. This enables these teams to spend more time understanding the customers and hence, do their job effectively.

For instance, when the sales team has to respond to and analyze the response from individual prospects, it can be a very time-consuming task. However, through Artificial Intelligence, the sales team can leave the response and analysis to an automated system while they can focus on other important tasks such as closing the deal with leads.

Similarly, collecting data from customers and developing meaningful insights is a laborious task for the marketing team. This task can be automated and even made more efficient through AI. Artificial Intelligence based systems can monitor, collect, and analyze data at a granular level for delivering improved insights. With such a system in place, marketers can work smarter instead of harder and focus on producing effective campaigns that resonate with the audience.

In short, Artificial Intelligence enables both the sales team and the marketing team to focus more on their goals. This includes developing creative campaigns for the marketing team and building meaningful relations with the customers for the sales team. Not just this, but with the extra time on their hands, both teams can focus on aligning with each other to reach their common goals.

Successful Brand Examples

We have discussed how Artificial Intelligence can be used for streamlining sales and marketing in the section above. In this section, we look at two successful examples of how renowned brands such as Levi’s and Hotel Hilton have made use of AI for sales and marketing.

Levi’s Virtual Stylist:

Levi’s makes use of Artificial Intelligence to create an incredible interactive experience for their customers through Virtual Stylist. The program makes use of a chatbot that assists Levi’s customers and prospects with their choice of clothing. Since it is a chatbot, it is available from anywhere at any time to facilitate the customer’s purchasing decision.

The intelligent bot is programmed to ask questions to the customer such as how they like their jeans to fit their thighs and hips. By asking these questions, the system collects information such about the customer’s leg stretch, shape, size, and rise to provide the best recommendations. The virtual stylist essentially helps users find jeans that look great, feel great, and fit great on the customer. For the marketing team, this is an excellent mechanism for campaigning their products while for the sales team, this leads to improved customer satisfaction and reduced returns.

The Levi’s virtual stylist service is available through a mobile app, Facebook Messenger, and on their websites. The diversity in platforms ensures that the customers always have access to the tool when shopping online.

Levi's - Marketing with artificial intelligence

Source: GoGirl

Connie – Hotel Hilton:

Hotel Hilton has developed its own Artificial Intelligence-based robot named Connie through a partnered program with the IBM Watson. The automaton or concierge robot aims to simplify and improve the experience of guests arriving at Hilton’s chain of hotels. The humanoid bot is powered with the IBM Watson software so it is capable of processing natural language to understand what guests are saying. With the help of WayBlazer and Watson, Connie can answer questions from guests about tourist attractions, hotel information, room information, and nearby restaurants. In the future, we might even see Connie checking in guests on its own, as well.

Hotel Hilton - Marketing with Artificial Intelligence

Source: WT Vox

To Sum Up

Artificial Intelligence is becoming essential for businesses nowadays. It is a technology of the future that is perhaps the next step forward for companies of all scales. There are a number of use cases that suggest how Artificial Intelligence can help improve (and automate) a number of sales and marketing processes. Through concepts of AI and machine learning, businesses can improve their analysis of data, develop real-time models for prediction, enhance customer engagement, and gain a competitive advantage over others. Sales and marketing with Artificial Intelligence push the boundaries even further by boosting creativity, increasing interaction with customers, and eventually, increasing revenue.

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About John Kopanakis

John is a co-founder of Mentionlytics supervising Business Development and Business Processes. He is a Professor of Business Intelligence with interests in Data Analytics and Innovation.