• Artificial Intelligence
  • Joanna Eliopoulos
  • MAR 26, 2018

How AI and Machine Learning are Impacting B2B Companies

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“I visualize a time when we will be to robots what dogs are to humans, and I’m rooting for the machines.” This quote from American mathematician, electrical engineer and cryptographer, Claude Shannon, sums up sentiments with how the world of AI and machine learning are taking over. From self-driving cars to paying with your face to reversing paralysis, it’s become a time when modern technology is shaping our world into one where ‘machines’ are leading the charge.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been around for years but more widely used in the business to consumer (B2C) space. We see this with the rise of personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. Both use machine learning technology to adapt so they can predict your questions and requests. Amazon’s Alexa though has taken it one step further providing customers with the ability to control elements of their smart home such as their TV, thermostat and lights making it great for those with limited mobility.

Today’s marketing and sales teams have an opportunity to utilize the same powerful data analysis technology found in consumer products, in the B2B space…

And B2B customers are now wanting, and expecting, the same level of interaction as they receive in the B2C sector.

A Competitive Advantage in an Evolving Market

As competition rises and resources are spread across more platforms, getting heard (by the right audience) becomes that much harder.  Advertising on the internet has been the highest-grossing channel since 2004, and there is no going back. With a rising average CPC (cost per click), earning quality conversions requires an effective strategy to rise above the noise.  But even if your message is compelling, you need to leverage modern technology to get it in front of your buyer.

If you’re in the business of lead generation in the B2B space, presenting offers that prospects are likely to act on is key.  By learning user behavior and refining your digital experience, your marketing and sales approach is much more effective. In terms of B2B lead generation, this means using key metrics to identify your most valuable buyer personas.

Business Owners Expect Their Needs to Be Anticipated

It’s no surprise that the buying cycle is a longer and more difficult process in the B2B realm than in B2C. Having AI in your court can present an opportunity for B2B marketers to utilize machine learning technology to quickly get to know their customers. Analyzing large pools of data effectively can allow marketers to better identify and respond to the decision-makers at a company. When it comes to B2B lead generation, it’s all about focusing your efforts on the right prospects.

Today’s business owners expect companies to anticipate their specific needs, and act accordingly. Those who aren’t streamlining this decision-making process using AI will fall behind.  If you haven’t pinpointed your ideal customer, how can you offer a solution for their specific needs?

Powerful uses for machine learning in the B2B space

If the thought of manually digging through LinkedIn profiles and business directories to source new leads doesn’t appeal to you, you’re not alone. Marketing and sales departments are now investing in tools that automatically gather and deliver relevant information for lead generation.  Once an ideal customer profile has been created, machines can do the grunt work of pulling key contacts to the surface. AI looks for patterns in a sea of data to reveal prospective leads, freeing up bandwidth so time is invested in the right place.

How Machine Learning is Used to Find B2B Leads

Some solutions use website visitor identification software to leverage the power of AI and machine learning to identify the names of companies who are visiting a website. It then provides you with the information of key contacts at that company so you can get in front of them first – before your competitors do, so you can fill the sales pipelines with early stage leads.

Why does this matter? Most B2B buyers are halfway through their decision-making process by the time they engage with a vendor, so getting in front of these prospects at an earlier stage can likely land you the sale.

The future of B2B Lead Generation

Machine learning and data-driven marketing strategies play a critical role in B2B lead generation.  Now, it’s up to sales professionals and marketers to use these practical tools to fill their pipeline with potential leads that match their buyer personas.

By harnessing software that provides comprehensive user profiles and detailed user activity, B2B lead generation becomes much more cost-effective and efficient.

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