Some say marketing is all about buzz. Well, maybe. But, selling is about results. Can artificial intelligence still make a difference in sales? These two sides of business are more closely linked than you might think.
Marketing and artificial intelligence.
The fusion of marketing and AI is the next step in the evolution of sales. By eliminating the bumpy transitions between the two sides of this specialized coin — sellers can capitalize fully on what marketing starts.
Let’s integrate the whole.
Every step of the sales and marketing life-cycle is now an integrated whole. Sales is part of a complex system. Sales and marketing have become a labyrinth of sophistication — holding enough power in its subset — that it can benefit from an AI boost.
The big mama — big data.
Using big data to pinpoint likely markets is the beginning stage of selling. Automation tools to lead prospects through the sales funnel efficiently — and smart CRM systems to optimize customer retention.
This revolution is your evolution.
When you evolve into something more powerful — it is a revolution. You have learned how to use the new developments in your business space. Now your marketing and sales team have become a duo-powered team — ready for the AI business.
Here’s a closer look at how sales reps and their managers are harnessing the power of AI to gain an edge over competitors and delight their customers.
AI-Assisted Selling for Speed
When you aren’t selling, you’re likely losing productive hours. Everything that contributes to developing and closing a sale is a step in the right direction. All other steps that you are currently using in your sales funnel — everything — puts you farther from your ultimate goal.
The information flows right to you.
An AI system that automatically coordinates incoming and outgoing data with your CRM saves you valuable time. By putting information at your fingertips instead — of forcing you to enter it by hand.
Automation will log activity, monitors traffic, prioritizes emails for you and track new contacts. This frees you from administrative tasks that currently soak up too much time.
Your new AI assistant.
With an AI assistant pulling prospect and customer data from marketing files — you’re also able to spend less time looking for information.
You don’t want that team sequestered in an entirely different part of your organization. AI integrated databases will give you access to the information you want while filtering out the details you don’t need to know.
Different departments to sift through.
No more elegantly thin client-facing dashboards — customized to different departments. No — with your new AI — you have this covered so much more quickly.
The Ultimate Prospecting Tool
Where are the most fertile fields for marketers to till if they want to harvest a bumper crop of highly qualified sales leads? AI systems in the form of marketing automation technology can tell them.
Where do I go? Now you know.
Once marketers know where to find leads — they’re able to do the work of guiding them along the buying journey to sales readiness. They can even explore new possibilities for you by looking at huge volumes of aggregate data and spotting trends that point toward emerging markets.
Marketing and sales AI can also take you where your markets haven’t reached yet. This reach is saving you time that might otherwise have been spent trying to develop leads. Many of these hand-gathered and primed leads — discouragingly — may go anywhere.
Nurturing your high-yield prospects.
Without wasting time nurturing non-leads, you’re able to focus more on the high-yield prospects your AI locates for you.
Sales resources are limited — so being able to allocate your spend where it will make the most impact has a dramatic effect on your bottom line.
AI Pinpoints Sales Readiness
One of the pivotal moments in a buying journey is when marketing makes the hand-off to sales.
The blind toss.
Traditionally, this has felt more like lobbing blind leads over a fence and hoping someone’s there to catch them. With a sales AI system coordinating the switch — a seamless course can be taken — and the handoff can happen with practiced ease. You’ll become more like a pair of Olympic relay runners handing off a baton at speed.
You can watch this pay-off — easily in your analytics.
Big data and extensive analytics allow you to see the signs of sales readiness in prospects — and make the transfer at the optimal time. Automated helpers make will make this transfer easy to connect with newly qualified leads.
Artificial intelligence isn’t so smart that it can precisely outline every potential customer’s buying habits. But, make no mistake, it will be able to. To be fair — AI can make educated guesses well enough to have real predictive power.
Which demographic is your best performer?
Big data and AI applications tell you which demographics are your likeliest customers. AI can spot signs of interest as soon as prospects show them. Your marketing team can then customize messages to would-be buyers.
How to integrate your database.
An integrated database then puts that information in the hands of sales reps who can build on the work marketers have done, motivating prospects with the approach that’s most likely to pay off in conversions.
What is happening to your AI capabilities?
Your AI’s predictive capabilities don’t end with closing a single sale either. Systems can now gauge a customer’s likely lifetime value so you can continue to invest in your most promising clients, prioritizing them with incentives geared to their needs.
It’s sometimes hard to calculate the relative lifetime values of a frequent but budget-sensitive bulk buyer and an infrequent and service-sensitive big-ticket client.
With your AI doing the math for you and then extrapolating expected LTV, you’re able to maximize revenue while keeping your best customers happy.
A Deeper Understanding of Sales History
There’s no better way to understand future sales than analyzing past ones. Tracking this data by hand can’t give you the nuanced and varied views that AI technology can. It’s easy enough to pull sales records — but your AI can also cross-reference that with demographic data.
Site-behavior, content downloads, customer service records and a host of other influencing factors to show you who might buy and when.
How can you find the patterns?
Using third-party data you can also gain access to information about a prospect’s past buying history outside your firm. Revealing patterns that may be hard to see with the naked eye but become clear when viewed through the lens of aggregate data.
You might see that your buyer bought a printer six weeks ago. If you sell printer ink and know the size of the cartridge that model takes — you’re able to send an offer precisely when it’s likely to be foremost in your prospect’s mind.
Retention for Life
Depending on your industry and the length of your sales cycle — you could spend seven times as money to develop a new lead as you do to retain an existing customer.
An equation that remains lopsided — but not for long.
Despite the lopsided equation above — most companies invest heavily in lead generation and tend to give customer retention short shrift. That’s a mistake in any business climate.
All industries are facing stiff competition for an increasingly fractured market. You can see this how this fissure can become lethal to profit margins. Data-driven insights show you that your customer service doesn’t stop with the sale — but continues to pay dividends.
How to keep those loyal to you — well — loyal.
Keep your buyers loyal with incentive programs and offers customized to meet their needs. An AI-assisted customer care program helps keep sales reps in tune with their customers in ways the buyers themselves may not even know.
You’ve seen a great example of this anytime you’ve visited a website that tracks when you might need replenishment of a favorite product. How about the offer or suggestion about what other buyers chose to go with the item you have just looked at?
You want to help your customers in they way they need and want.
It’s a boon to buyers too as AI systems learn more about their tastes and needs; instead of having to seek out information or place a new order, the offers come to them.
Early adopter of the AI systems may not realize their contribution.
Even early adopters of AI-enhanced systems tend to undervalue these systems as customer retention tools for sales teams.
Those adopters had it easy and didn’t even see it.
They fail to establish clear, firm links to the CRM. Many don’t fully integrate and sync the system with the marketing side of the software.
Get the best from your AI system.
Make sure your investment in artificial intelligence is a smart one by giving sales equal billing on your marketing automation platform. From finding sales-ready leads to facilitating the sale to following up with customer care, AI gives sellers an edge.