AI in B2B marketing - is it beneficial?

Contrary to popular belief, the use of AI in marketing is not a new and revolutionary concept. In fact, Artificially intelligent systems form the basis of how we interact with our everyday products and services such as Netflix, Amazon, and, naturally, Google. AI algorithms are baked into almost every social media platform to allow advertisers to intelligently target their audience with personalised ads. The need for AI in Marketing was in fact born out of the success of personalisation and micro experiences between brands and their customers. But how has this been implemented in the B2B world? Have B2B organisations been slow to reap the efficiency benefits of AI? 

As stated on Forbes, "AI marketing is a method of leveraging technology to improve the customer journey." Not only is AI helping marketers to better serve customers directly (through communications such as email or chatbots), it has practical applications in campaigns and analytics too - allowing key marketing tasks to be performed more efficiently. Read on to find out how AI is changing the way we generate business through B2B marketing.

AI in B2B marketing - is it beneficial?

Bridging the gap between customers and sales

Traditionally, marketers have to sift data or websites manually to find leads and address the customers' needs. However, this can be lengthy and time-consuming and is often unproductive. For example, a sales prospector may spend time browsing LinkedIn for the perfect contacts that may or may not be a good fit. They also spend time browsing the internet and websites to find the contact details as they qualitatively assess prospects. 

AI can capture larger quantities of data from multiple platforms. The potential to collate lead data from multiple sources and pull it together to identify the best B2B targets - or those who are more likely to express interest can be invaluable to companies of any size.

Take Growbots AI for example. Growthbots is a lead generation tool and sales prospecting tool that uses AI to help organisations create a ‘high quality’ contact list, allowing sales people to “target specific companies, or use our extensive targeting criteria to get a list of all companies matching your profile” as well as “Cherry-pick your prospects and pay only for the good-fit leads.” 

Once AI is integrated into the sales process, it can reduce the number of hours spent finding and chasing leads manually. This is the main reason for AI - to make processes quicker and easier, allowing staff to spend their time more intelligently and productively. 

 
The need for AI was in fact born out of the success of personalisation and micro experiences between brands and their customers. But how has this been implemented in the B2B world? ”

Faster lead qualification

So what happens after this data is collated? According to reports, sales representatives spend 80 percent of their time cultivating and qualifying leads with repetitive activities through emails and phone calls, leaving just 20% of their time closing the lead. AI can be programmed to help with the lead qualification process by assimilating intent based on conversations at the point of contact. 

For example, if you have a sales lead come through your B2B website via a chatbot, this can be qualified using AI and the information automatically added to your CRM system. 

One other application is improved communications when reaching out to existing leads. One such example is Conversica. According to the website “The assistant works just like a human sales assistant, reaching out to every single one of your leads and engaging each of them in a human conversation.” The virtual assistant effectively qualifies the lead and ensures that each lead is followed up. 

Day-to-day activities can be quickly automated with AI embedded in CRM databases, Salesforce automation tools, and other B2B applications, allowing salespeople to focus their efforts on those leads that have a higher chance of converting. 

As AI becomes more data-driven and less intuitive, it will aid salespeople in making more accurate prospecting decisions, resulting in better results and conversions.

Personalised B2B Marketing

The hyper-personalisation of marketing strategies is possibly one of the most exciting benefits of AI in B2B marketing. Since most people ignore unwanted emails and tweets, AI-driven ads can help to eradicate the problem.

Customers often have very specific needs when it comes to their products and services; they want brands to pay close attention to their unique requirements. If a sales person was to tailor every single approach, this can be very time consuming. Therefore, anything that AI can do to allow for more efficient personalisation should result in better outcomes and a more efficient sales process. 

AI allows B2B organisations to create very highly personalised messages based on the knowledge of the consumer profile, past needs, expressed desires, consumer behaviour and potential future needs. Sales prospectors are likely to get more favorable responses to their marketing messages by speaking ‘one to one’ with the target audience. 

AI-generated hyper-personalised messages can include pop-up messages, ads, emails and text messages which are individually crafted and resonate with pre-identified buyer's needs. We may even see website experiences and customisation - customers could see a modified version of the same website content depending on the individual site visitor.

Broader Shopping Experiences

Whilst voice search is yet to take over traditional searches, marketers are already experimenting with voice activated AI devices to offer fresh and diverse experiences to their customers.

As AI has improved its comprehension of spoken words and the ability to recognise voices, e-commerce retailers have moved to accommodate voice-based searches. One recent example is Amazon's Echo. 

In addition to voice-based searches, AI is expected to allow for a more personalised shopping experience in future - which could have applications for B2B sales. Like a personal shopping experience, AI can integrate emerging online shopping patterns to provide consumers with robust voice-based and personalised virtual shopping experiences.

SEO - doing the heavy lifting

AI has been a key driver in determining user intent and serving highly relevant search results in Google and other search engines. The reality is SEO campaigns necessitate a significant amount of time and manual labor which makes B2B SEO ripe for AI applications to help automate many of the processes.

Powerful AI tools have emerged recently to help search engine marketers to determine key aspects of SEO such as keywords that you should be targeting, or potential link building opportunities. 

Perhaps one day, AI will be used to generate highly relevant and search engine friendly content, although we are perhaps some way off this. In fact, leading SEO consultants are currently performing experiments to see whether AI generated content can perform just as well, if not better than user generated content. 

Is AI here to help or replace?

As long as there are long-winded, manual tasks that reduce productivity, there will be a need for AI - and this is no different in the world of B2B marketing. As AI becomes more mainstream in our marketing practices, it could be argued (or even feared) that AI will reduce jobs once carried out by marketers - potentially leading to a slowdown in employment. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. AI isn’t designed to replace personnel, it’s designed to help individuals to perform their jobs more efficiently and become even more productive, increasing their output and in turn, the success of the business. 

Is AI right for your B2B business? Only time will tell, but it’s worth considering how AI can help to make your business more efficient and whether there are any processes that could be automated to free up your valuable staff resource.

Looking for a leading B2B marketing agency? Get in contact with Tiga UK today.