Exploring the Growing Role of AI in Sales and Marketing

If we consider the most influential technological trends of the past decade, artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly a strong contender for first place. AI has increasingly played a central role in driving efficiency gains across all industries, saving professionals precious time and money.

Statistics tell us that business leaders are lapping up the benefits that this modern technology brings – Gartner’s 2019 CIO Survey of more than 3,000 executives across 89 countries found that AI implementation grew a whopping 270% in the past four years, and 37% in the last year alone.

Sectors that rely heavily on repetitive, complicated or even time-consuming processes especially have been turning to AI-driven solutions to streamline their operations and achieve better results – whether that is in terms of profit, or simply the opportunity it offers for professionals to divert their attention to more creative and value-adding activities.

The Sales and Marketing (SaM) sector falls squarely within AI’s remit: while it is often considered a creative discipline, it rests on the ability to make sense of huge volumes of data and use insights within it to drive effective campaigns. A task that AI can manage effortlessly.

In saying this, however, there are still a significant number of businesses – particularly small to medium-sized organisations – who have yet to integrate AI into their long-term strategy. The reasons for this boil down to a lack of knowledge and awareness of what AI can do and how it can be seamlessly integrated into a business.

This is a knowledge gap that we are trying hard to fill here at Fountech, where we recently launched a white paper discussing the boundless potential of AI in the SaM sector. Below are some key insights.

Leaving automation to AI

Touching upon an earlier point, much of a SaM professional’s role is dependent on scanning data and using it to inform business strategies such as a marketing campaign. This is an area where AI really excels, namely empowering people to work faster and smarter.

AI algorithms have an unparalleled ability to process and analyse huge stores of data at a much faster rate than a human could, and much more accurately too. Beyond this, it can extract the most important information and effortlessly discard anything irrelevant. The importance here lies in the amount of money, time and energy that can be saved by employing data-based decisions in order to provide a worthwhile service.

The tangible benefits it provides aren’t difficult to discern. Marketing spend has to be worthwhile, so SaM professionals must work to return a constant dividend against their customers’ investments in their services. Having in-depth knowledge of the target audience is a powerful benefit that AI offers to ensure that marketing spend is used in the right way and is tailored to meet the needs of the right people.

Considering how much data is currently available to companies, it’s easy to think that knowing one’s target customers’ preferences might be a straightforward task. However, the opposite is the more likely scenario – it’s now more difficult to find nuggets of useful data amongst fool’s gold. Luckily, the needs of both SaM professionals and consumers can best be serviced by analysing Big Data well and using it to determine tangible actions that can deliver strong results. This is where AI is of incredible value, offering the power of data analytics and automation, leaving the creative work such as how best to utilise the data to the humans.

Offering a personal touch

It might seem counterintuitive, but AI has proven itself to be a powerful tool when offering personalisation and an enhanced customer experience. Indeed, over half (56.5%) of U.S. CMOs are using AI in marketing for the purpose of content personalisation while two in five are using this technology for customer segmentation according to Marketing Charts.

Creating an in-depth profile of customers is a cornerstone of an effective marketing campaign, and the ability of AI to pull and analyse data – from customers’ behavioural patterns to their previous interactions with the business – can offer teams detailed insights that would otherwise take many hours to compile. These insights can then be used to perform customer segmentation, whether it be providing customised offers that appeal to the specific interests of each individual client to hyper-personalising the overall customer journey.

This snapshot of what AI can do for your business should work to demonstrate its potential not only to better equip SaM teams to orchestrate coordinated and effective campaigns, but also highlight its ability to drive revenue and company growth through more meaningful customer engagement. And with this technology developing at speed, the solutions it offers to teams will only reach new horizons coming years.

Nick Kairinos, the CEO and co-founder of Prospex and Fountech wrote this article.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends.