Hackernoon logoCan Artificial Intelligence Claim To Be the Future of Account-Based Marketing? by@dmitry-chervonyi

Can Artificial Intelligence Claim To Be the Future of Account-Based Marketing?

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@dmitry-chervonyiDmitry Chervonyi

CMO with Belkins | Marketing Strategies That Grow Business | Growth Marketing & Lead Generation

To be honest, I hate phrases like “harness the power of AI” or “use AI to revolutionize your sales”.
Why?
First of all, everybody keeps repeating them like a mantra, regardless of the context. They make it sound like AI can fix pretty much anything: from sales to your B2B communications.
However, it’s not true. At least, you can’t install an AI-based solution and expect all your long-time constraints to fix themselves. Therefore, if we were to say that every business should rely on AI, we would be making a false statement. 
But why is the subject of AI so popular nowadays? And why are people talking about introducing AI technology to their account-based marketing campaigns? When does it make sense to use AI?
Well, it’s undeniable that AI can be very useful. But it’s important to know how it can help and whether it can help. After all, timing is everything

Artificial intelligence in marketing and sales

When you read about AI, the information is always a bit vague and doesn’t outline any particular programs or tools. So, let’s sort it out first. 
Virtual assistants 
When people talk about AI in sales, they mean AI-based sales assistants. These tools are designed for task automation and help sales reps with:
  • Pipeline management;
  • Lead qualification; 
  • Appointment scheduling;
  • Sales forecasting; 
  • Data processing. 
Basically, AI virtual assistants handle routine activities, allowing your sales teams to focus on more complicated tasks that cannot be solved with artificial intelligence
Content engines 
AI-based content engines document all the clicks on your website, keep track of subscriptions and monitor your conversion goals. They also make it easier to share customer data and synchronize all the processes within a website. 
Email marketing 
There are various AI-based programs designed specifically for accelerating B2B email communications. The most advanced types of automated lead engagement, lead nurturing and lead qualification. They are also used for building email conversations, scheduling follow-ups and tracking leads until they are converted into buyers. 

Benefits of artificial intelligence

Since data is the core of both account based marketing and AI, their synergy yields a positive outcome.  
  1. AI technologies can process all information about your current customers, your prospects, your campaigns, close rates, and performance. 
  2. This information is used for account based marketing campaigns, allowing marketing teams to improve content personalization and targeting. 
  3. Your sales teams gain a deeper insight into your target audience, your potential leads and the ways to deliver your sales message. 
AI programs that handle routine organization and scheduling tasks allow receiving clean, organized data for managing sales and exploring new opportunities.
For example, account based marketing relies on individual targeting, which, in turn, requires processing large volumes of data.
We’re talking about real-time data gathering and analysis as well as predictive insights.
As your account based marketing grows, you will ultimately have to rely on additional tools that are capable of working with unstructured data (videos, heavy volumes of texts, images, NO-SQL databases, etc.) 
This is the stage, where AI-based tools come into play. Depending on your goals, they can provide: 
  • Better data merging; 
  • Smooth transition into predictive analytics
  • Faster qualifier adjustment that allows gleaning more accurate and relevant data. 
What about content personalization and B2B relationships? 
Quite many reviews emphasize on the ability of AI to improve these two aspects of account based marketing. However, this statement often leads to two false assumptions: 
  1. You don’t need marketing teams or sales teams anymore. You only need an AI tool that will do 85% of the work.
  2. The future is amazing! Once you merge AI with your working processes, your content quality and customer trust will skyrocket. 
If any of those things were true, there would have been a lot more cases of AI usage than there currently are. Also, the demand for educated, experienced and qualified content writers would have been much lower. 
Even though there are AI-based tools for generating content or working with content, their purpose is to assist writers who work with large amounts of templates — the Gmail Canned Response feature is a great example.
Additionally, there are AI-based programs that provide advanced spell-check and make content suggestions based on real-time data analysis.
Basically, there is no AI that can craft an original template or communicate with prospects like a trained, certified sales representative. 
Another thing, omitted from the reviews about the potential of AI technology, is its dependence on centralized data.
If your data is scattered across multiple platforms, no AI-based super tool will help you.
How can you expect an accurate analysis of your performance if you provide access to your sales data while keeping your marketing data off-limits? 
This is quite a common issue for at least 70% of B2B marketers. Before they start using AI, they need to figure out the real opportunities, the conditions necessary for their AI-based solution to work and the goals they want to achieve.
So, in spite of all the talks about artificial intelligence conquering the market and replacing humans, the human factor is still the major force behind the potential of AI technologies. 
When is the right time to use AI in marketing and sales? 
So, we came to the conclusion that AI technology is neither a secret weapon nor a superpower.
It’s a very convenient, intuitive tool that can relieve you from certain tasks and let you dedicate more time to game-changing opportunities. Therefore, just like any other tool, AI comes in handy at the right moment. 

When should you use AI to leverage your account based marketing? 

1. When you need to process large amounts of unstructured data. Manual database research allows gleaning tons of exclusive technographic and firmographic data.
However, even the sharpest researcher needs help when extracting valuable information from image files, video documents or heavy documents. Using AI-tools allows them to get the work done in less time, without missing any crucial details. 
2. When you’re going through the growing pains. At some point, your account based marketing will enter the stage where it can only be scaled with the help of AI technology.
As your conversion rates grow and your average deal size increases, you need more data — and you need it now. AI-based tools meet that need, allowing you to keep advancing your account based marketing strategies and drive tangible results. 
3. When your data organization is on point.
Before you start introducing AI into your marketing, you have to be sure that you understand your data.
  • Are you using it to its full capacity?
  • Do you run data on your sales and marketing separately?
  • Do your sales teams and marketing teams look at the same metrics?
Remember, account based marketing is not about selling to a group of buyers. It’s focused on selling to an individual account.
Therefore, to create the best conditions for incorporating AI into your work pattern, you should ensure that your teams work in sync with each other, providing the most detailed, accurate and clear data-based image of each account. 
We hope this article gave you some food for thought regarding AI and how you can apply it to your account based marketing.
(Originally published here)
(Disclaimer: The author is the CMO at Belkins)
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@dmitry-chervonyiDmitry Chervonyi

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CMO with Belkins | Marketing Strategies That Grow Business | Growth Marketing & Lead Generation

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