On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us about your role and how you got here? What inspired you to be a part of a customer intelligence platform?
Artesian Solutions was conceived over dinner with my co-founders Mike Blackadder and Steve Borthwick. Dreaming big, we believed we could create a software company that would have a meaningful impact on the B2B universe.
We saw that businesses had transformed the way they buy, but that sellers had not adapted. This mismatch led us to create a vision of better B2B sales engagement that is customer-centric at its heart, and to develop the world’s most powerful customer intelligence application to support it.
In terms of my background, I’ve been in the software industry for over 20 years. I was there at the birth of Business Intelligence, and this sowed the seed for Artesian. I work in tech because it’s this industry, above all others, that’s the biggest disruptive force in the world. Likewise, I’m an entrepreneur because I’m driven by a desire to disrupt the status quo, solve problems, remove complexity and make a difference. Artesian is a disruptive force for good in our sector, providing engagement smarts for companies and markets in the same way that LinkedIn has done for people insights.
MTS: What would it take for enterprises to be truly data-enabled organizations without putting additional pressure on the existing IT infrastructure?
Managing and interpreting the flood of data can easily consume an organization’s resources. The key is to select the tools and technologies that can streamline the analytics process, discover efficiencies within a business, and a cost-effective capacity to derive meaning and insight from data.
Investing in any new technology will have pros and cons in terms of pressure on infrastructure and resources, so the key is to have a clear understanding from the outset of the expected ROI both in terms of hard facts, such as bottom line revenue growth, exceeding targets and reduced customer churn, as well as how it will encourage the adoption of new behaviours and a stronger customer-focused approach – will it ultimately give you the competitive edge you desire?
There is no doubt that many businesses leaders remain skeptical that AI systems will deliver a return on the substantial infrastructure and software investment required for true disruptive business transformation, but insight-driven businesses using more advanced technologies are predicted to steal $1.2 trillion per annum from their less-informed peers over the next 5 years. Perhaps the question is not what would it take for enterprises to be truly data-enabled organizations without putting additional pressure on the existing IT infrastructure, but what are the costs of not investing?
MTS: What according to you are the perennial challenges for B2B companies in delivering truly-personalized customer experience and engagement?
A lot of businesses still put their faith in the assumption that implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools is all it takes to create a customer-centric business. Conventional CRM is designed to capture critical data about accounts. So it’s not surprising that many businesses have invested heavily in the technology, and as a result expect their salespeople to know everything there is to know about their customers and prospects. When results are not achieved they start to question the returns on this investment. CRM tools are a start, but they won’t enable the behaviors that ultimately help businesses deliver truly personalized customer experience and engagement.
Here is the crux of the problem. CRM solutions are only ever as good as the data that’s entered into them – largely manually, by time-pressured sales and marketing professionals. The data is static, rather than dynamic, and decays quickly. Compounding this issue further is the sheer volume of data businesses need to grapple with. Often unstructured, this data is increasingly hard to find, rationalize and interpret. Inaccurate or out-of-date data has several inevitable consequences. Take-up and enthusiasm for CRM input wanes as the volume of data increases, and time spent just keeping up-to-date with existing customer data impacts negatively on time spent researching and acquiring new ones. Opportunities to respond to real-time customer news and market insight are missed, and customers looking for instant action and results are left disappointed. Likewise, deals are lost through mistakes, and errors in messaging and targeting become more frequent. Forecasting accuracy diminishes as emerging trends go unnoticed.
To deliver truly personalized customer experiences businesses need a 360° view of the business’s ecosystem. They need to:
- Augment static CRM data with real-time, contextualized customer insight
- Monitor and filter latest news sources, social media and corporate data based on a wide range of attributes, individual preferences and relevancy for accurate targeting
- Deliver a single view of all points of contacts, with their social profiles, opinions, and expectations
- Deliver the functionality to respond immediately to live customer dynamics
- Monitor market trends and customer sentiment, then rationalize and plug this into open opportunities
By augmenting CRM opportunities with real-time news, social media and people insights, businesses instantly have the opportunity to maximise the value of their CRM solution – sales leaders gain an in-depth understanding of their pipeline, allowing them to uncover risks, act quickly on opportunities, anticipate needs and engage proactively in more sophisticated ways, and marketing teams can segment and target audiences based on a real understanding of trends, sentiments, and needs. In addition, the collaboration between sales and marketing improves as they both start to align activities toward the customer agenda, and productivity improves as manual input is replaced with automated insight and data, saving research time and keeping teams up to date on their accounts.
MTS: At Artesian, how do you eternalize the ‘human touch’ within your customer community to make the entire sales process easier?
The doomsayers predict that in the ‘new world’ Artificial Intelligence order, the scale of disruption will see much of the role of sellers and marketers replaced by bots.
But far from taking away that all important ‘personal touch’ as sales and marketing becomes more automated, we believe that our technology actually enhances personalization. Implementing a cognitive-based AI solution that utilizes machine interaction and learning, natural language processing and chatbots, will accelerate the process for key activities such as:
- Gathering information and insight to know the customer better
- Understanding spending and trading behaviors to determine product needs and deliver automated recommendations
- Predicting trends, and identifying patterns and connections from unstructured data, that a human can’t easily decipher
- Analysing risk profiles, conducting due diligence and detecting fraud
- Answering customer questions in real time
- Customizing marketing, and personalizing communications
Such automation means that day-to-day decisions can be made faster and more accurately, leaving the seller/marketer free to undertake more strategic decision making and human-touch relationship building tasks with an even greater level of clarity and a more proactive and personalized customer experience approach.
MTS: How do you help sales teams leverage machine intelligence and predictive analytics to improve productivity?
Artesian is making it possible to take advantage of pioneering Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technology, helping relationship managers and salespeople uncover new opportunities and exploit endless possibilities through the power of data.
The culmination of months of behind-the-scenes R&D activity, based on an incredibly rich understanding of the enterprise B2B landscape through the eyes of some of the biggest and most influential companies in the world, we believe that there are five key ways our technology will improve productivity within sales teams:
- Natural Interaction
When humans find a natural way of interacting with machines, suddenly everything gets easier. For commercial teams, this means instant access to the highest-value information – golden insights that improve understanding of the customer or prospect and their drivers at any given moment, delivered in the most humane way possible for swift, empathetic and direct action.
Machine learning will enable businesses to construct predictive models based on patterns of event types and customer attributes that correlate more or less with eventual success. When we know exactly what our next steps are, we can better predict success and avoid failure, resulting in more sophisticated sales strategies, campaigns, and product or service development. As time goes by and the volume of data improves precision and predictive capacity, these models will advance, enabling faster and more accurate predictions of customer needs, pain, market challenges and opportunities – before customers themselves even realize what lies ahead.
Advances in the performance and accuracy of AI technologies present many new opportunities to augment real-world activities with virtual sophistication. It will help to navigate the big-data swamp by automatically locating the most relevant content and ranking and triaging it based on where that particular customer is in the sales cycle, as well as the people involved. It will use past learnings from previous engagements and take into account the fiscal, educational or motivational goals of the meeting itself.
- Active Segmentation
AI models will seamlessly augment static, cold data with real-time insights and real-world events, ensure firmographic data is bang up to date and help to uncover previously missed opportunities and new revenue streams. Using AI to gain an understanding of experiential factors from the news, views, and opinions the company has been generating will deliver a valuable 360-degree view of their ecosystem. The result is a much more targeted and accurate set of measures and triggers that can be used to perfect segmentation, lead generation, and execution.
- Active Engagement
A shift from business applications that simply record the qualitative and quantitative facts of a sales engagement, to AI-grounded applications that constantly analyze action or inaction will mark a huge advance in engagement capability over the coming years. AI and MBL techniques correlating patterns of sharing with customers and prospects, and actual open rates to predict how likely it is an individual will be interested in receiving content then automatically sharing it with the most relevant prospects, partners and customers to become a pivotal part of the sales process – maintaining a touch point with the client and ensuring a level of attentiveness across an entire portfolio of people and businesses that would be very difficult to do manually.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
There are so many to choose from, but DarkTrace is one that has caught my eye with its use of machine learning to spot cyber criminals. Echobox, in the publishing world, is using AI to understand the meaning of content. And Status Today, who are applying machine learning to spot behavior patterns that can improve employee productivity.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
Our marketing stack reflects our organizational focus on building better relationships and fostering a customer-centric culture. As you would expect, we utilize Marketing Automation and CRM platforms, as well as a range of tools to support the delivery of our website and digital content, SEO, digital advertising and social engagement campaigns.
But beyond the basics, we also encourage e-learning via Litmos, and practice what we preach by using Artesian’s suite of tools to establish and develop deeply personal relationships with our customers. More recently we developed an Artificial Intelligence chat bot called Arti, powered by IBM Watson, to modernize the prospect experience by replacing clicks with sustained conversations and personalized interactions.
MTS: Would you tell us about your standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success?)
The development of Arti, our AI digital assistant, was part of an integrated campaign designed to target client-facing teams (sales, business development, relationship management) and engage them in an innovative way, whilst educating them on an AI-enabled future.
The multi-touch campaign consisted of highly topical thought leadership content and other collateral which was distributed via a “digibook” microsite, Arti and other more traditional digital channels.
Our target audience can engage with the campaign on multiple levels – from sharing our infographic directly on social media, to downloading gated content, or setting up a meeting with a sales rep via Arti. So success is also measured on multiple levels, monitoring engagement with the various components of the campaign and ultimately, how many opportunities the campaign generated.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
Machines haven’t taken over yet. It’s up to humans to make the big strategic decisions and set the course for how AI and related technologies will help deliver profitable growth and transformational change. Business leaders that wish to be part of the AI evolution need to invest now, not just financially, but in helping to shape the future by sharing feedback on lessons learned and what will make the biggest difference in their world.
When it comes to investment my advice is don’t jump too quickly. We have seen many software vendors repackage their solutions and claim them to be AI-powered, but in reality, the evolution of AI is still very much in its infancy. Choosing a solution must not just be about the short term gains that can be made, but also about how the solution will evolve in the coming 3-5 years and beyond.
The best AI solutions of the future will not be built on algorithms alone, but on a rich understanding of the B2B landscape – what sales and marketing teams need now, where the biggest gains can be made, what the future looks like through the user’s eyes, and how predictive analytics, MBL, Natural Language Processing and AI bots will improve their decisions, business processes and interaction with their customer.
Choose a trusted partner that has the right pedigree in data mining, the most advanced business intelligence delivery platform, and background of working with innovative market leaders. Look at what they have learned from their journey so far. Ask questions of how they see the AI world evolving in the coming months and years, how they are embracing the latest technology advances, and investing in R&D and integrations that will have the biggest impact in your world.
The potential return on investment is huge, but before making a move business leaders must be sure they’ve invested in a solution that will evolve with their enterprise.
This is How I Work
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
At Artesian, I challenge others to venture beyond what they know they’re capable of, and I also apply this to myself. All lessons learned, whether good or bad, and all skills and traits acquired, can be sources of motivation. Don’t limit your horizons – have big plans and the courage to try.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Artesian (of course) as well as LinkedIn and my social apps – Facebook, Whatsapp, Telegram, YouTube, SkyNews and Navitime.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
I hate to blow my own trumpet but in all seriousness, using Artesian to prep for an important meeting has become a vital tool for me – being prepared and confident ahead of a meeting now takes 3 mins instead of 30.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
I am listening to The Wisdom of Sunday’s by Oprah Winfrey.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Successful entrepreneurs don’t succeed alone.
Great leadership means bringing together a strong and cohesive team and inspiring them to be passionate about what they do. Learn from others and accept advice. Having strong mentors and drawing on their experience will help you to avoid mistakes, fill gaps in your knowledge and skill set, and assist you with decision making and developing strategies to move your business forward.
MTS: Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Marc Benioff – SFDC
MTS: Thank you Andrew! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
As CEO and Founder of Artesian we want to make sellers more effective at engaging with buyers using smart data and new techniques to create the right impact. I have been involved in sales and marketing for 25 years and want to make a difference to people by creating software companies who will make a meaningful dent in the universe. At Artesian we want to change peoples ability to do their job more effectively and for the better forever. I have been privileged to have worked with some great teams at Misys, Cognos, Eyretel, Then-Solutions, Aprimo and now Artesian. I enjoy guiding hyper-growth businesses working to create repeatable, robust and scalable process to deliver lasting customer happiness and share-holder value.
Artesian is a powerful AI driven service that equips client facing teams with the resources they need to succeed in a modern commercial environment.
Apps that drive action. MI that measures impact. A service that inspires and coaches. Artesian provides the data, real-time insight and context needed to find customers, create meaningful engagements, sell more and create long-lasting business relationships.
With the use of AI technology layered on top of company information, data and news, Artesian helps you uncover opportunities, build relationships and accelerate deals.
Artesian continually scans millions of online sources for data on markets, organisations, individuals and topics, and uses sophisticated algorithms to filter and transform that information into commercially valuable insights.
With Artesian, you can track your customers, prospects, competitors and partners; spot and capitalise on business opportunities; and manage risks in your pipeline.
Artesian helps drive customer alignment, credibility, competitiveness and client satisfaction.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.