Artificial intelligence is slowly entering the marketing and sales around really large deals. What are the most likely AI use cases for sales and marketing around large deals?
If there is one thing we've learned from science fiction, it's that yesterday's science fiction is today's science fact. Parts of the Will Smith film I-Robot, where a robot learns emotions, is here. In Minority Report with Tom Cruise from 2002 parts are now true. Recently the sci-fi thriller Ex Machina features a robot named "Ava" who responds so much like a human that it is nearly impossible to tell that she, or rather it, isn't one. It was only a matter of time before real-life technology caught up with the Artificial Intelligence of Science Fiction. Mark Zuckerberg's focus for 2016
is to build a simple AI to run his home and help him with his work. You can think of it kind of like Jarvis in Iron Man.
One real life example is Samantha West (an insurance broker robot) here in a dialogue with a journalist from Time Magazine
. Another example I just saw the other day is about the first beauty contest where robots are picking the winner
I believe in the law of accelerating returns. I think we can see this in the AI space. Below I have listed three AI-sophistication levels:
Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI):Sometimes referred to as Weak AI, Artificial Narrow Intelligence is AI that specializes in one area.
Artificial General Intelligence (AGI):Sometimes referred to as Strong AI, or Human-Level AI, Artificial General Intelligence refers to a computer that is as smart as a human across the board.
Artificial Superintelligence (ASI): "an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field. To reach the higher levels (2 and 3 above) more processor power is needed (Moore's law
One of the better applications of natural language processing and AI comes in the context of inbound lead follow-up for sales, where an interesting question has arisen: If customers engaged by email can't tell whether they're communicating with a computer or a human, would it ultimately affect their decision making?
It's not news that we are in the dawn of the machine intelligence era across all industries, all verticals. Artificial intelligence will disrupt every interaction, every industry, and will be at the heart of every advancement technology.
We went from the industrial age, where machines took over manpower to the information age, where every answer to every problem, question or connection was easily available. In the age of artificial intelligence we can both get answers to "all" questions, but also the supercomputers in our pockets will predict what we want and need in advance.
Maybe clear to all...but robots are not necessarily looking like this....
Most robots today and tomorrow are just code in a computer. (Like Watson from IBM
or Siri from Apple)
What are the most likely AI use cases for sales and marketing around large deals?
Since large deals often are expensive to sell (takes many months to years plus involves a lot of stakeholders) it is important to spend the time on the right accounts at the right time. How can we judge which accounts to sell to and which topic(s) to run?
- Today many of our clients are using our targeted advertising
not only to influence them but actually also to see which accounts that show the most interest and what ads/topics they are interested in. With this information the GAM/KAM-team knows better where they should invest their time (both which accounts and which departments plus which topics they should focus on).
- With more advanced AI this could be improved further with an email and phone based flow like Samantha West above where many people in each organisation are contacted and asked a set of qualifying and researching questions.
The best sales people doing the largest B2B deals are both very skillful and very expensive. What if we could make them outsource parts of their sales admin?
- I know a company who is offering sales admin staff as an outsourcing making the best sales people spend more time with clients and less time in front of the computer. Some companies hire these roles internally to offload the sales stars. Some of these tasks will remain with the sales person, the internal resource or the outsourcing company but more and more of these tasks will be run by IT with more and more AI such as getting all the information from a sales meeting into the CRM, drafting recommendations based on the customer data, drafting proposals based on the input from above and from the CRM-data, making sure data is handled by finance so invoicing is correct.
Trust is a big factor in large deals. How can we increase the trust (and lower the risk feeling)?
- Account Based Marketing
is today making an impact in increased trust in a buyer that is about to make a big and sometimes risky decision. I think calling many stakeholders also in the later part of the buying process makes sense. This AI-based call should be focused on summarising what the situation is in the buying organisation, what the pains are, what happens if they don't make a change and why they should act now. AI can ask for further feedback on the summary. AI should also go through the recommendation and how it compares with other options plus how the customer organisation is moving from decision to live.
If consensus around making a change is not reached a change will not happen (in most democratic countries). How can consensus increase using AI?
- Pipeline Acceleration
based on ABM is a current method for consensus creation (in combination with skillful sales people). The AI-based calls from above are also adding a consensus effect since AI speaks to many stakeholders synchronising their view on SPICE (Situation, Pain, Implication and Compelling Event, modified from Neil Rackham) plus the groups view of the solution and the recommended path forward.