Can Artificial Intelligence Help Improve B2B Sales?

Artificial intelligence has great potential in marketing, especially in the domain of B2B sales. Here’s how you can use AI to your advantage.

Over the years businesses have employed different technologies that allow them to reach to exponential possibilities. Among these emerging technologies is artificial intelligence (AI). As AI has great potential in marketing, particularly in the domain of B2B sales, it can revolutionize the way business interact with one another about services and products.

At present, it is clear that Al has set the mode of marketing of the B2B world. Majority of the business giants fear the unprecedented role of AI in their operations, as they believe that this technology will eliminate the need for human effort. So, in the light of such intimidations, let us now see the role of AI in playing in transforming the marketing strategy of the businesses and, more importantly, where humans stand in the midst of it all.

Digital marketing in today’s world

In today’s era of digital marketing, many businesses find billboard advertising, distributing pamphlets, radio ads and print median highly inefficient in this competitive B2B world.

In recent times, businesses that are employing digital marketing methods are climbing the success ladder at a faster rate as their sales are intensifying and doubling from the last few years. Many individuals prefer to shop for products and services online. In this respect, the sales revenue that the businesses generate through online ads is greater than those made from print media ads.

AI and its impacts on B2B sales and marketing

Here are a few ways AI can dramatically change the model of B2B sales:

Al keeps your sales team up to date.

Your B2B customers likely get their information about your service or products online and not through sales representatives. AI platforms pull up to date information from breaking news and social media news such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and CRM and earlier exchanges on email, so you know exactly what your customers are seeing.

AI reduces time spend on low-value sales tasks.

With the implementation of AI in the B2B marketing, instead of a sales rep, there is a personal automated assistant. The role of this assistant is to optimize the face-to-face meetings between the sellers and the buyers. With such automation, there will be no need to skim through the messages that lead to one-way communication only. With Al, business-related conversations become mechanized just through human touch.

AI helps with lead conversion.

Getting a lead, following up and convert that lead into a customer can be a complicated process. The right tools and corporate partners can simplify the process using AI automation tools. The tool is an automated sales assistant which create engaging conversations so that you can reach your sales goals. The entire process of contact, engagement and email is via artificial intelligence in two-way communication. Other AI-powered tools can help you score leads using analytical techniques from sales data.

Although the B2B sales landscape is changing due to AI, its nature is still fragmented. Thus, if businesses need to update their marketing and communications with other companies, they should increase their reliance on the AI-powered tools that set the pace of digital marketing.

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Don’t Worry, Be H(AI)ppy

Can we trust artificial intelligence now that some AIs are getting so sophisticated it’s beyond human capacity to understand them? Can we rely on AI programmers to be responsible enough to create AIs that won’t accidentally do something horrible? Will AIs take over not just some jobs, but most of them? There are a lot of stories to be told about the many valid reasons to fear AI – but this is not one of them. This is a story about AIs doing such a kick-ass great job expanding employment for humans that some of their meat-based co-workers have given their virtual colleagues their own honorary cubicles.

The term “artificial intelligence” encompasses so very many different things. When we’ve focused on AI lately, we’ve often been talking about a chip that can learn with a minimum of data input, or the systems that enable an autonomous vehicle to consistently identify obstacles, or a program that can analyze impossibly vast amounts of data in real-time to discern subtle patterns that might reveal a financial trading opportunity or detect the activity of a malicious hacker. That’s not what we’re talking about here.

This is a story about the type of AI that hasn’t got much press lately, the kind of AI that can interact with humans as if they were human themselves. These AIs can be plenty sophisticated, but the technology they rely on is hardly new, let alone bleeding edge.

Conversica’s flagship is an AI sales assistant that corresponds with humans via email or text. Think of Siri or Alexa, but if you were corresponding with them instead of speaking to them.

These assistants are designed to initiate contact with people who have been identified as leads, evaluate the responses, and continue to interact until the lead either severs contact or indicates a desire for a more complex interaction that requires a human to complete.

Conversica’s corporate antecedent was a company that helped commercial clients with lead generation. The clients all shared a common shortcoming: none of them were very good at pursuing the leads that were generated for them.

“Our research showed that with most companies there is no follow-up on 30 to 40 percent of inbound leads,” said Conversica CEO Alex Terry. “This is someone saying ‘Hey, cable company, I want to subscribe,’ or ‘Hey, I want to buy a time-share’ – or whatever. That’s 30 to 40 percent with zero follow-up. With another 30 to 40 percent, there’s follow up only one or two times. And this is when people are asking for information.”

Companies were leaving money on the table. But what if there was a way to follow up on those leads? Well, there could be. Someone could develop AI assistants that could make initial contact and qualify leads.

Conversica's AI assistants, which get assigned names and even titles, make the initial contacts with potential customers.
Conversica’s AI assistants, which get assigned names and even titles, make the initial contacts with potential customers.

Since no one else seemed to be doing it, however, the company decided to do it itself. AI assistants soon became its main business, and the company renamed itself Conversica.

Over the last three or four years the company has created five different AI assistants (there are more in development), trained for different applications, and fluent in a half-dozen languages. The idea is to have them do entry-level stuff, for example making the three, four, or five contacts necessary just to qualify a lead. Clients set up the AIs, giving them not just names but often also titles.

Which really sounds like replacing humans. So much so that even Conversica thinks it sounds like replacing humans.

So Conversica got into the habit of polling every single customer after four months. The vast majority that adopt Conversica AIs report that they had to hire people to handle the additional sales that result from the AIs qualifying more leads – the ratio of those that hire more people to those who don’t is 5:1, Terry said. Conversica AIs are being set to do the drudge work that people hate doing and which consequently rarely gets done. Some of Conversica’a AIs have even been voted Employee of the Month by their human compatriots.

Conversica partners with a number of companies that sell customer relations management (CRM) systems. Terry said that one of those (which he declined to name) independently verified Conversica’s results. Why would the CRM company go through the trouble? It sells software seats, and if Conversica’s AIs were replacing humans, the CRM company would end up losing seat licenses. The opposite is the case, Terry said, and this particular CRM company remains a business partner.

Conversica now integrates with at least 50 different CRMs and marketing automation platforms, Terry said, with more added every month.

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