In a recent post, I wrote about how high technology such as virtual reality might be used in marketing or sales. Today, I will focus on artificial intelligence and the effect it has and will have on businesses in the future as it advances.
In a similar fashion, I will give a brief definition of the term, its uses and a verdict. It is then up to you to decide whether artificial intelligence is something that your business could benefit from. Here comes the future.
Definition: the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. (courtesy of https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/artificial_intelligence)
It sounds very much like Sci-Fi, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, there already are certain AI technologies in place that are helping both sales and marketing departments. Here is a quick list that summarizes just a few aspects where AI is applied in business:
- - Optimizing follow-up process
- - Sorting high quality leads from marketing efforts to pass to leads (eg. sorting through emails, understanding email responses, doing chat conversations,…)
- - Streamline sales activity so they focus on leads that matter and not waste time on those that don’t
- - Allowing business to respond to their prospects 24/7 if they have a question in the middle of the night (ie time difference)
- - Able to suggest the right message for the right person at the right time during the lead generation process
- - Freeing up time for sales representatives by executing administrative and routine tasks (ie scheduling meetings, sending calendar invites,…)
- - Training sales reps by identifying when and why they are struggling, identifying potential weaknesses; observing high performing reps and providing guidance for lower performing reps
- - Managing subscriptions, renewals to happen, upselling opportunities
- - Personalization for meeting - suggesting right content to bring to conversation, meeting,…
That is pretty cool, isn’t it? Conversica or Drift are just two of those AI systems. AI, simply put, takes the guesswork out of day to day activities. It makes administrative decisions for us and automates our everyday life so we can focus on things that matter - like relationship building in sales, or contact and working with prospects rather than filing reports. It also helps marketers by tracking prospect’s interest and moving them down the sales funnel. It would process large amounts of data, saving us hours of labour. It helps marketing department time their marketing strategies better as well precisely by analysing the aforementioned data and delivering interpretations.
The potential downside is that salespeople will need to evolve with the landscape as well. They will need to be able to navigate it and understand it. However, an article on Salesforce by Peter Schwartz suggests the possibility of salespeople having an intelligent assistant that will support their activities.
While today’s sales assistant is a device, such as a smartphone or a laptop, within 10 years it will become something you can talk to, similar to the Amazon Echo. Intelligence will be embedded into a system that lives in the office. You’ll come into your work environment and say, “Show me my prospects. Is this a good day to call company X? How is their stock doing today?” It will be as if you have someone whispering real-time sales intelligence in your ear.
Verdict: AI in sales and marketing seems to be the tool to optimizing processes on both sides and bridge the gap between the two departments. It will add another layer of an intelligent filter in the process that will make salespeople and marketers life easier.
So what do you think? Is it a yay or nay for your business?