Two heads are better than one, as long as one is a machine
Whether you believe it or not, there are certain things machines can do with artificial intelligence (AI) far more efficiently and effectively than humans. And if you haven’t noticed, AI is actually already part of our everyday lives. For example:
Deciding what to watch on tv. When was the last time you picked up a TV Guide? Now, Netflix and Hulu provide recommendations “based on what you’ve seen” – all of this is driven by AI and machine learning. They gain insights by monitoring and learning from your activity and engagement to recommend other programs that may be of interest to you. This makes it easier, and faster, to find the next best binge-worthy show.
Looking for true love, or maybe just a weekend date? Sites like eHarmony and Match.com are also AI-driven. By simply entering your profile information along with a few data points on the type of person you’re looking to meet, you are quickly presented with a list of bachelors and bachelorettes to check out, ordered by priority. And all you have to do is wink or swipe to express your interest.
Do you have a compulsive couponing habit? Take a look at the retailer coupons printed with your receipt next time you leave the grocery store. Over time you’ll see offers become more and more relevant as your lifestyle changes. When I had my son, I got baby wipe and diaper offers all the time. About six months later, it was coupons for baby food, protein bars, and nutritional shakes, too. All of this is also AI-driven! By monitoring buying behaviors and learning from purchases, offers are recommended based on where you are in your life’s journey.
PS. Just in case you go to the grocery store and try to find these so called “machines”, you should probably know that they’re just computer applications using algorithms, data science and advanced analytics. So, you won’t find an artificial being that looks like Rosie the robot maid from the Jetsons under the cash register.
You can’t avoid AI, either. Even when an unfamiliar number calls your phone, AI is applied to predict who it could be. And in 2019 and years beyond, machine learning and AI will continue to get smarter in helping us make decisions.
2019 is the year B2Bs will adopt AI to build data-driven revenue plans
B2Bs have already started welcoming AI in to their marketing and sales organizations to drive revenue and accelerate growth, but 2019 is the year adoption will sky rocket!
The key areas where businesses can drive revenue probably won’t change much and strategies will be developed to focus on:
- Selling more products and services
- Introducing new products to the market
- Expanding into new markets
- Increasing average deal size of opportunities
- Reducing churn and increasing retention rates
But, they will rely on AI to help make business decisions and apply it in their strategies and plans . Don’t worry though! Human intelligence is still required because businesses need employees to get the work done. And if you’re in marketing and sales, AI will provide more insights to make your life a bit easier.
The key role of AI in a B2B organization’s growth strategy is to provide a deeper level of insights on their ideal customer profile (ICP) for a desired outcome (e.g., likelihood of buying, being upsold/cross-sold, etc). This intelligence will allow you, the human, to make data-driven decisions on who to target, when to target, and what message to use to engage.
Many B2Bs already have existing ICPs that have been developed using human intelligence. This was probably done by your data science or business intelligence teams. Or maybe you paid big bucks to hire a research firm that analyzed demographic and firmographic information, along with some first party data, and then performed an analysis to see where you had the most success.
Just like human intelligence, machines also need to learn from a set of data which they analyze to identify common traits, patterns, and trends. But with AI, businesses are further defining ICP by adding thousands of additional data points—typically third party, like company growth, hiring trends, technographics, and engagement levels.
More importantly, AI not only provides B2Bs a higher definition ICP but they also do it a lot faster (like within minutes) and with a lot more accuracy. And by applying AI in both your business strategy as well as your automated processes, you’ll be able to reach your revenue goals faster and with a much higher success rate.
Here are 5 benefits of applying AI to your B2B strategy
1. Developing target account lists.
When selling solutions to new logos, or even to existing customers, AI and machine learning can help make recommendations on who to target based on their propensity to buy. This technology can analyze thousands of characteristics and traits about your current customers and then recommend additional accounts to target (just like Netflix does with movie recommendations). If you’re looking to increase average deal size, you can apply AI to accounts that have spent over a certain dollar value and find accounts that match that ICP. Even with customer retention, machines can learn from data points like product usage and consumption to provide a list of accounts with a high risk of churning. Just like Netflix, B2Bs can provide just a few data points for a machine to learn from—like company name and website—and apply AI to quickly develop a list of accounts to target.
2. Discovering new markets or audiences.
If you’re looking to expand into new markets or industries, AI can tell you which ones are worth exploring based on their propensity to buy. The way this works is that machines analyze your historical win rates for each market in your database, and then they apply AI to dig deeper into the ICP. And, just like online dating sites, AI will look at ICP and propensity to buy in order to guide you toward the market that’s worth targeting – the one with the highest propensity to wink back.
3. Intelligence for personalization.
Having transparency into the data points that make up your ICP gives marketing and sales insights that help them engage. For example, insights on technologies owned and installed can help identify accounts that use tools that compliment your product or indicate when they’re using your competitor’s solution. Data points focused on a buyer’s intent are the biggest trend for businesses today. This data can provide context around what accounts are researching and the types of projects they may be working on. For marketing, this data can be used to build segments and create compelling content. For sellers, it saves time on research and allows you to use AI to craft your pitch. Just like manufacturer coupon offers, you can use both profile fit data and buyers intent to offer your products at the right time.
4. Scoring and prioritization.
If you apply AI in targeting and personalization, you should expect higher quality leads to respond and enter your funnel. And you need to be able to quickly identify who they are and how to prioritize based on their ICP and propensity to buy. Incorporating AI to prioritize both leads and accounts for inbound and outbound channels will help ensure that the right targets are on the top of the list, others are nurtured, and the pure crappy ones get disqualified and filtered out. The best part of using AI to prioritize is that it takes the guesswork out scoring!
5. Automating processes with accuracy and speed.
By incorporating AI into business processes in real-time, businesses can turn their marketing investments into dollars faster. Successful B2Bs will need the ability to action AI before the competitor beats them to the punch! You don’t want to lose deals simply because you just didn’t know something at the right time. Remember, machines are smarter and think faster than any human being. And 2019 is the year to put AI to work for your business.
Mintigo provides B2B organizations an AI platform that’s easy to use and integrate with your systems, requiring no support from a data scientist. If you’re looking to adopt AI or interested in learning more, contact us and let’s chat about the benefits of applying AI powered by Mintigo and how it can help drive revenue for your business.