Is AI the Future of Account-Based Marketing?

To be honest, we hate phrases like “harness the power of AI” or “use AI to revolutionize your sales”. Why? First of all, everybody keeps repeating them like a mantra, regardless of the context. They make it sound like AI can fix pretty much anything: from sales to your B2B communications. However, it’s not true. At least, you can’t install an AI-based solution and expect all your long-time constraints to fix themselves. Therefore, if we were to say that every business should rely on AI, we would be making a false statement.

But why is the subject of AI so popular nowadays? And why are people talking about introducing AI technology to their account-based marketing campaigns? When does it make sense to use AI?

Well, it’s undeniable that AI can be very useful. But it’s important to know how it can help and whether it can help. After all, timing is everything.

Artificial intelligence in marketing and sales

When you read about AI, the information is always a bit vague and doesn’t outline any particular programs or tools. So, let’s sort it out first.

Virtual assistants 

When people talk about AI in sales, they mean AI-based sales assistants. These tools are designed for task automation and help sales reps with:

  • Pipeline management;
  • Lead qualification;
  • Appointment scheduling;
  • Sales forecasting;
  • Data processing.

Basically, AI virtual assistants handle routine activities, allowing your sales teams to focus on more complicated tasks that cannot be solved with artificial intelligence.

Content engines 

AI-based content engines document all the clicks on your website, keep track of subscriptions and monitor your conversion goals. They also make it easier to share customer data and synchronize all the processes within a website.

Email marketing 

There are various AI-based programs designed specifically for accelerating B2B email communications. The most advanced types of automated lead engagement, lead nurturing and lead qualification. They are also used for building email conversations, scheduling follow-ups and tracking leads until they are converted into buyers.

Benefits of artificial intelligence

Since data is the core of both account-based marketing and AI, their synergy yields a positive outcome.

  1. AI technologies can process all information about your current customers, your prospects, your campaigns, close rates, and performance.
  2. This information is used for account-based marketing campaigns, allowing marketing teams to improve content personalization and targeting.
  3. Your sales teams gain a deeper insight into your target audience, your potential leads and the ways to deliver your sales message.

AI programs that handle routine organization and scheduling tasks allow receiving clean, organized data for managing sales and exploring new opportunities. For example, account-based marketing relies on individual targeting, which, in turn, requires processing large volumes of data. We’re talking about real-time data gathering and analysis as well as predictive insights. As your account-based marketing grows, you will ultimately have to rely on additional tools that are capable of working with unstructured data (videos, heavy volumes of texts, images, NO-SQL databases, etc.)

This is the stage, where AI-based tools come into play. Depending on your goals, they can provide:

  • Better data merging;
  • Smooth transition into predictive analytics;
  • Faster qualifier adjustment that allows gleaning more accurate and relevant data.

What about content personalization and B2B relationships? 

Quite many reviews emphasize on the ability of AI to improve these two aspects of account-based marketing. However, this statement often leads to two false assumptions:

  1. You don’t need marketing teams or sales teams anymore. You only need an AI tool that will do 85% of the work. The future is amazing!
  2. Once you merge AI with your working processes, your content quality and customer trust will skyrocket.

If any of those things were true, there would have been a lot more cases of AI usage than there currently are. Also, the demand for educated, experienced and qualified content writers would have been much lower.

Even though there are AI-based tools for generating content or working with content, their purpose is to assist writers who work with large amounts of templates — the Gmail Canned Response feature is a great example. Additionally, there are AI-based programs that provide advanced spell-check and make content suggestions based on real-time data analysis. Basically, there is no AI that can craft an original template or communicate with prospects like a trained, certified sales representative.

Another thing, omitted from the reviews about the potential of AI technology, is its dependence on centralized data. If your data is scattered across multiple platforms, no AI-based super tool will help you. How can you expect an accurate analysis of your performance if you provide access to your sales data while keeping your marketing data off-limits?

This is quite a common issue for at least 70% of B2B marketers. Before they start using AI, they need to figure out the real opportunities, the conditions necessary for their AI-based solution to work and the goals they want to achieve.

So, in spite of all the talks about artificial intelligence conquering the market and replacing humans, the human factor is still the major force behind the potential of AI technologies.

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