How to Find the Right AI Platform for B2B Marketing and Sales Success

Guest post Deborah Holstein

EverStringHow to find the right AI platform for B2B marketing and sales success

A report by technology research firm Nucleus Research provides compelling new evidence of the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-assisted marketing. The study showed that in their first 30 days of using AI for advanced analytics and predictive functionality, the B2B sales and marketing teams at a commerce service provider increased business from the company’s top-tier accounts by 5% and created 25-35 new sales opportunities. Overall, the unique competitive edge provided by AI boosted the company’s sales by $150,000 that month.

AI has a significant impact on strategic marketing tasks including assessing total addressable market (TAM) analysis, selecting target accounts, enriching databases with key insights and informing demand generation strategies and tactics. It also allows marketing and sales teams to align and coordinate all their activities more effectively.

By doing the heavy lifting of identifying the right prospects and how to target them, AI can drastically reduce the current average of 128 minutes that sales reps spend identifying and researching leads. Freeing your sales team to spend more time selling, with enhanced intelligence and agility, will boost sales velocity and sales attainment.

With revenue growth targets always increasing, your sales and marketing teams are crying out for AI assistance. To get the most out of AI and ensure a high return on your investment, the right platform is critical.  

Here are the 4 things to look for when evaluating an AI platform for your B2B sales and marketing teams.

1)   Comprehensive, in-depth, up-to-date company profiles

If you put garbage in, you’ll get garbage out. According to distinguished Gartner analyst, Whit Andrews “high quality data is essential” and without a large volume of parameters and consistent content, strategies based on AI will face insurmountable problems.

An AI platform for B2B sales and marketing must be powered by a comprehensive, continuously updating database comprising best-in-class company-level data and tens of millions AI-derived insights and signals. Given the always-changing nature of B2B, data platforms need their input sources to be automated so the data science is always being applied to the most up-to-date company data.

Basic firmographics alone cannot reveal the best target accounts for your products and services. AI-derived insights, including detailed industry classifications, company stability, revenue and hiring growth metrics, will truly differentiate companies that are a high fit target for your product or service from those that are not. This rich data source will ensure your teams do not waste time fruitlessly engaging with low-fit accounts or miss critical opportunities with high-fit companies.

2)   Self service for new and updated models and lists in minutes

Many AI providers take a managed services approach to AI where the process to develop new models and target audience lists can take weeks or months, slowing sales momentum and growth. In contrast, a self-service AI platform allows your own team to quickly build new and update existing models in minutes, enhancing strategy outcomes and boosting execution agility.

Many organizations are using an AI platform to identify valuable new Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs). When applied to enriched, complete profiles on their existing customer base during onboarding, AI helps teams discover previously unknown ICPs and expand their target base.

An intuitive AI platform also keeps your teams agile. When they see a promising new market or vertical, they can immediately create new models using company URLs or even just keywords. Instead of momentum being checked by the wait for managed services to deliver, your team will have fresh target account lists ready for action in minutes.

3)   Instantly actionable by sales team

Reps can waste hours researching for company and buyer insights on Google, LinkedIn, social networks and news sites. This leaves little time for truly value-driving activities, like making calls.

It’s not enough to simply use AI to identify target accounts. You also want your AI platform’s high quality, credible company-level data and insights to power outreach.

When the most critical insights about each company and its decision makers are right at their fingertips, your reps will save hours of research time.

Highly actionable insights on target accounts also helps achieve that elusive alignment between sales and marketing, which is a hallmark of the highest performing teams.

4)   Seamless integration with existing workflows and technologies

All sales people dream of being inundated with warm, inbound leads. But the harsh reality of achieving quota depends on them actively doing outbound prospecting. After a great call or closed deal, how many times have you heard a rep say, “I wish I had 10 more accounts just like this one”?

An AI platform can help fulfill this wish by surfacing those “10 more” right in their CRM tool. Seamless integration with Salesforce and other popular CRMs supports momentum and drives real-time, focused prospecting, while hiding the AI’s more complex features from the rep.

Your AI platform must also power your demand generation team by seamlessly integrating with Marketo and other popular marketing automation apps. As new audiences are identified by the AI, it’s critical that everyone on the go-to-market team is able to immediately take action.

According to Salesforce’s 2017 State of Marketing, the best performing teams are twice as likely to use AI as everyone else. It is now the fastest growing technology investment for marketers and “is raising the bar for efficiency”.

Selecting the right AI solution for B2B sales and marketing will determine how fast you get a return on your investment. You need to compare different providers on critical features like high quality and credible data, self-service, actionable insights and seamless integration with existing workflows, so you can be confident that your final choice will reduce time spent on data sourcing, synthesis and research. By freeing your team to develop better strategies and outcomes, you’ll keep your business ahead of the competition.

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