The Evolution of B2B Sales and Marketing: Is AI part of your strategy?
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, staying ahead of the competition requires constant innovation.
One such adoption is Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, which refers to the ability of machines, particularly computer systems, to imitate and perform tasks that typically require human intelligence.
This technology includes a wide range of applications such as expert systems, natural language processing, speech recognition, and machine vision. Apple FaceID, Netflix and Amazon recommendations have already seamlessly integrated into our everyday lives. As Wired Magazine remarked this year, “[AI] is here…and it’s only going to extend its reach.”
A 2022 State of AI report from McKinsey said business use of AI has doubled since 2017, with 50 to 60% of organizations using it. In this blog, we’ll explore the evolving role of AI in the B2B sector and discuss its potential benefits and implications.
THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF B2B
The B2B sales and marketing landscape was already undergoing a significant transformation, influenced by advancements in technology and the pandemic. COVID-19 not only accelerated a shift towards e-commerce but also disrupted traditional face-to-face sales methods, pushing businesses to seek alternative strategies.
This pivot to digital marketing techniques puts even more of a spotlight on emerging technologies. AI, with its ability to analyze massive amounts of data and generate valuable insights, is becoming a go-to tool for business.
In a dynamic B2B landscape, success is driven by a deep understanding of the customer. AI can help companies with this customer knowledge in a way that a one-on-one interaction never could.
AI: PERSONALIZED MARKETING AND SALES
AI technologies allow businesses to glean valuable insights into customer behavior, which then helps a business optimize their marketing campaign, and deliver a more personalized appeal to their customer.
Consider a B2B company that offers software solutions to various industries. By using tools like HubSpot CRM and Salesforce Einstein which employ AI machine learning algorithms, the company can analyze all available customer data, including purchase history, browsing patterns, and engagement metrics. Now the business can see trends, preferences, and patterns in customer behavior.
With these new insights, the company can segment the target audience for highly personalized marketing messages, increasing the chances of customer conversion. The software company’s website can also utilize AI-driven recommendation engines to suggest relevant products or services based on previous purchases or browsing history.
AI: ENHANCED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
In any business, there are numerous repetitive tasks that can be automated. Many of these fall under the customer service umbrella. Companies increasingly are using AI-powered chatbots to handle routine customer inquiries and provide support.
With the chatbots efficiently managing initial customer inquiries, sales teams can dedicate their expertise and energy to more strategic, high-value endeavors, like nurturing relationships and closing deals.
The data analysis that AI offers can often improve the customer experience in ways that a human cannot. The AI tool looks at a customer’s interactions and customer behavior to gain near instant insight into their preferences and needs. It can also do this 24/7.
This level of responsiveness is most appreciated when a customer has a problem. By analyzing customer inquiries and complaints, businesses can even anticipate problems and resolve them before customers need to voice their concerns. That’s a sure way to build trust and loyalty.
AI: DATA DRIVEN DECISION MAKING
AI algorithms are faster and more accurate than our brains when analyzing data. The patterns and correlations AI finds are not as readily apparent to human analysts.
As a recent HubSpot article explains, AI is revolutionizing Customer relationship management (CRM) systems in a number of ways, enhancing both functionality and effectiveness. Just as AI can help develop marketing messaging and customer-centric content, it also plays a role in enhanced reporting, data management, and optimization of the sales funnel.
- AI integration makes report generation easier using Natural Language Processing (NLP), which improves CRM adoption and reduces the need for extensive training.
- AI helps identify duplicate data, making it simple to merge records and ensure a single view of each customer.
- AI-driven insights offer a better understanding of customer behavior, allowing businesses to make informed decisions based on data analysis and identify promising prospects.
It’s important to note that while AI algorithms have remarkable capabilities in identifying anomalies and correlations, humans are still part of the equation. We provide input data and apply our expertise and understanding in specific fields or industries. AI is a partner, not an overlord.
Leveraging AI applications can empower B2B companies to stay ahead, drive customer engagement, and achieve better sales outcomes.
It offers businesses the potential to optimize resources and improve operational efficiency, often leading to cost savings. However, the actual savings may vary and it’s important to consider both short-term and long-term impacts, when evaluating a strategy.
The onus is also on B2B to ensure that their use of AI complies with any applicable laws and regulations around data privacy, intellectual property, and liability. The McKinsey report noted that while AI use is growing, it was a concern that there are no real increases in reported mitigation of AI-related risks.
For more information on how AI adoption might be part of your overall strategy, contact Craig Group.