AI and Machine Learning Are the Key to Accelerating Sales and Marketing

By Monica Sullivan, Chief Marketing Officer of DemandScience

With supply chain challenges and the ongoing global pandemic regularly introducing new obstacles, sales and marketing professionals must continue to move at the speed of business regardless of where they currently work. According to McKinsey, our new way of working during the pandemic inspired ten years of digital innovation in three months. To ensure no opportunities are missed in this rapidly changing landscape, sales and marketing teams need data to unearth new, actionable insights that they can use to identify in-market prospects and customers at scale.

No more guesswork or assumptions

Over three-fourths of CEOs say that marketing leaders are the key to driving future growth. But they can’t do it alone – technology will be an essential component fostering that progression. While creative relationship-building and out-of-the-box thinking remain, sales and marketing professionals rely on the latest technology now more than ever to perform their very best. Through technology, marketers and salespeople can now more accurately pinpoint who is genuinely interested in buying their products and services before making contact, which is a powerful, data-driven upgrade over the old model of guesswork and assumptions.

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For example, conferences have traditionally been a way of life for many sales and marketing professionals, providing an opportunity to meet, mingle and network with potential clients. This has obviously changed in the current climate, with far fewer events being scheduled due to Covid-19 concerns. But with the right tools and insights, this is no longer an issue. Sales and marketing execs can take another path instead of spending thousands of dollars attending conferences – and engage in relevant ways with both who is expected to attend versus those who actually show up.

The right tools make all the difference

Data is an integral part of any sales and marketing strategy. However, data is, after all, just information – and simply knowing that a needle is hiding in a haystack is not enough to ensure it is actually found. According to a report by IDC, businesses use less than one-third (32%) of the data available to them. Businesses need great tools to actually put that data to use.

No individual sales or marketing professional can do it alone, and it would be extremely costly for an entire team to invest their working hours in manual lead generation. While this may have once been the only way to accomplish the task, manual work is slow, inefficient and takes valuable resources away from other objectives. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML, a subset of AI) offer a way forward, providing sales and marketing leaders with the power to dig deeper, uncover new information, and gain invaluable market insights. But they can only cut through the clutter of data and differentiate between leads by relying on technology capable of automating the process.

AI and ML are essential innovations

Businesses can instantly gain a competitive edge by deploying technology that relies on both AI and ML models to advance sales and marketing initiatives. They then can act on invaluable insights – into what people have been looking at, such as targeted advertising or a thought leadership article – and deliver superior results. This results in a higher chance of converting the lead. And with automation in tow, marketers can automatically follow up with targets that have yet to respond within a set amount of time.

As the people tasked with driving future growth, sales leaders need tools that make data simple to use and understand – technology that allows them to generate real value from the available information and prioritize their time toward the prospect they can reach and who are more likely to be in-market for their solutions. According to our most recent research, sales professionals say that AI technologies are essential to their day-to-day success, with 70% of sales reps who use AI sales tools saying they’re unsure whether they could meet quotas without them. Data also exists today with leading providers to help sales understand communication preferences and actual engagement, including whether prospects recently answered outbound sales calls or responded to emails.

With AI use on the rise among businesses worldwide, it has quickly become an indispensable tool for sales teams seeking to boost quality lead volume, conversions, and revenue. In today’s noisy digital marketplace with each business vying for a bigger piece of the pie, businesses need the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to ensure they are targeting the right leads every time. With this technology in hand, they can succeed whether working on-site or from home.

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