How do we engage with consumers throughout their entire buying experience, and keep them coming back? This tantalizing, age-old question is what has kept executives up at night.
With so many avenues for consumer interaction in the modern world – from brand content to social media, email, web search and so forth – today’s marketing and sales professionals are more challenged than they have ever been to work hand-in-hand and engage with customers on a multitude of platforms. Increasingly these jointly engineered, end-to-end strategies are more personally tailored to the individual consumer, beginning with development and concluding at the point of sale.
Remember, it was not too long ago that marketing and sales functions were extremely compartmentalized and rarely engaged at the level we are seeing today. Previously, marketing would develop a campaign, which included themed e-books, whitepages, webinars, and blog posts. From there, sales would then passively respond to new leads generated from these campaigns and target customers with unsolicited emails, much to their chagrin.
In order to overcome the many challenges faced modern consumer engagement, many B2B companies are investing in marketing automation to understand target markets and potential buyers. Most recently, companies are enabling their marketing and sales professionals to work with artificial intelligence (AI) tools to predictively interact with prospective customers and grow revenue.
Take, for example, Stanley Black & Decker, who no longer uses sales teams to make decisions based on chance. Instead, sales representatives can see whether content captured a potential consumers attention. For instance, if the target opened an email, clicked through it, or skipped it, a member of the sales team will know how to respond. If someone clicked through but only spend a short time on their website, it could mean that the email content was interesting enough to draw a consumer in, but the brand is not industry relevant enough.
While artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, AI is already improving cross-team collaboration due to its ability to see the entire scope of a business, from an individualized team to its targeted customers. When customers scroll through an email, they send important read data back to the original sender. The AI then interprets those signals and prioritizes which leads are most likely to generate new or recurring business. These leads are then processed by the digital sales rep, who is also given critical customer insights such as prospect location, past purchase history, and job description.
AI provides a tremendous advantage in enabling companies to connect with consumers just when they are thinking about a brand.
As a result of the more widespread use of artificial intelligence, companies are now predicting sales results with greater accuracy. They are also helping sales and marketing departments to better understand future customer demands. But, at the end of the day, the need for a highly motivated and effective sales team remains preeminent.
With today’s use of AI, marketing teams can now develop extremely personalized campaigns, and this technology enables the Sales team to pick up right where marketing left off. Sales leads are more accurate and unsolicited calls are now a thing of the past. Sales reps are also given more information on their customer so that they can better tailor their sale. The number one reason to opt for marketing automation is to increase revenue (79% of CMOs polled) and generate higher quality leads (76%) according to a survey of CMOs at top-performing companies. Overall, the proliferation of artificial intelligence is enabling marketing and sales teams to unify their strategy, which leads to more sales and ultimately more happy customers.