Artificial intelligence is changing how marketing and sales work together to identify, nurture and convert leads. 

Whether your company is desperately seeking out leads or drowning in an abundance of them, you’re facing the same challenge: identifying the ones most likely to lead to a sale and sharing them with your reps to work their deal-closing magic on them.

Enter artificial intelligence. AI presents unique ways to help companies achieve that goal as well as reduce cycle times and improve the marketing process.

For those in sales and marketing, the prospect of learning something as apparently complex as AI can be daunting given the pressure they are already under to get more done and generate more revenue in less time. 

To assist teams in overcoming this perception barrier, organisations need to demonstrate to sales and marketing managers how much AI can help them with manual, time-consuming tasks. Invite them to think of AI as sitting just below the rep in an organisational chart. While not 'recruited' in the traditional sense, the technology of AI will show itself to be more valuable than even the best sales assistant. 
 

Lead generation

 

A marketing campaign might include digital ads, EDMs, social media posts across a range of platforms and an event. The hope is that customers and prospects will visit, share and complete the relevant forms. 

Traditionally, the marketing department would analyse all this activity retroactively, once they’d already passed along what were essentially their best guesses on qualified leads.
 



But this wouldn’t take into account the fact that customers and prospects aren’t limiting the time they engage with a brand to the period when a marketing campaign begins and ends. They might be visiting your website every day, liking a post in your social feed several times a week or downloading an older asset from your online resource centre. 

With AI, however, the days of launching a campaign and effectively 'hoping for the best' are over. 

AI allows engagement of all kinds to be monitored and analysed in real-time so campaigns can be tweaked at any time. That could mean refining the copy in an email to connect better to a particular segment, or boosting the reach of a digital ad because one is performing better than others. 

Using AI in this way helps improve the overall results of a lead generation campaign while doing it in a way that comes across as relevant and responsive to your potential new customers. 
 

Lead scoring and nurture

 

We think we know what a sure lead looks like: an email gets opened, a link gets clicked, and landing page gets viewed. 

But depending on how you score your leads, it could be a lukewarm lead. Such are the limitations of our habitual ways of analysing the behaviour of prospects.

AI can analyse and nurture potential leads in a more subtle and dedicated way, simplifying the scoring process and making it much more accurate. Which means marketing teams can pass on leads with greater confidence to the right rep.
 

Collaborate to convert

 

Given how crucial collaboration is to the success of businesses today, marketers can no longer pass on leads and wash their hands of them.

AI helps pinpoint leads with the highest propensity to buy in a way that creates more effective handoffs between marketing and sales. AI ensures the right lead goes to the right rep – the one who can best engage with and nurture them. 

This powerful way of routing and matching leads means reps can be more productive and focus their energies and expertise on the leads they are most likely to convert, cross-sell, up-sell and secure for repeat business.

AI can make a powerful contribution at every stage of the funnel that not only boosts business growth but helps marketing and sales teams work more effectively together.

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