It’s not just consumers who want personalized shopping experiences. With the increasing spread of intelligent technologies in our private lives, we all expect the same personalized, smooth shopping experiences in our business life. We want recommendations. We want proactive answers to our questions. We want to know that companies understand our special needs. And this is where AI and machine learning come in.
Just as consumer marketing teams have found AI-powered martechs to reach their buyers where they are, B2B marketing teams are gradually realizing that AI can take similar steps to improve their business customers’ journeys. That’s why I’ve been so focused on key trends in analytics, big data, and technology that can transform the buyer’s journey. Because of this, categories like business intelligence and customer data platforms have become investment hubs for companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle, Twilio, AWS, and a host of the world’s leading technology companies.
Given that nearly 80 percent of leads never convert to sales, this is a good – much-needed – thing. Here are a few ways AI and machine learning are helping make the B2B buyer’s journey even better.
Recommendation Engines Drive Next Best Action for B2B
Most of us are familiar with the recommendation engines that are currently powered by AI, be it the ones that determine our shopping experience on Amazon, our television on Netflix, or our listening preferences on Spotify. Wouldn’t it be great if companies could see the problems we have at work and recommend solutions in a similar way? Thanks to applied ML and the continued maturation of AI, this is now possible. This is of tremendous importance for both companies and their B2B partners as it has the potential to find the right prospect, save the customer time, and reduce the stress and complexity of finding the right solution. Technology leaders like NVIDIA have actively developed frameworks to help software makers and businesses leverage recommendation technology more seamlessly. In fact, it is the same technology that lies behind many of the recommended customer referral engines above. Conversion from consumer-facing AI to B2B has a lot of overlap. These can be used to determine the next best action on complex channeled engagements, and it will be a differentiator for many organizations in the future.
SEO automation and optimization with AI / ML tools
If you’ve ever tried writing SEO optimized content to attract new customers, you will appreciate these new benefits of AI. With the help of AI and machine learning, companies can now automate the process of labeling ads and determining the most effective keywords to reach their B2B customer base. IBM has been steadfast in that area with the advent of its Watson AI and the introduction of IBM Watson Advertising. While tagging is just one of many features in the suite, it helps as figuring out how to get value from the hard work and investment that goes into content development becomes increasingly complex. And in all honesty, this can be a real cost saving as it saves marketing teams a ton of tedious and tedious time and allows them to focus on higher impact workflows. After all, automation is designed to improve and qualify the workforce. It’s also worth noting that this type of real-time optimization ad tagging technology works well to keep the content updated as AI can update delayed keywords in real time.
Regarding other key use cases for tools that automate and streamline B2B marketing workflows, potentially wasted time and resources invested in high-probability campaigns can be eliminated by providing much-needed analytical insights to ineffective Stop campaigns early on.
Conversational AI to answer questions
Do you know at what point you lose your B2B customers on their buying journey? With the continuous improvement of AI and ML skills, this becomes increasingly possible. Much like NVIDIA’s efforts to simplify the deployment of recommendation engines with the Merlin framework, conversational AI with its Jarvis framework is another key focus of the company for high-quality, low-latency human-machine interactions. This type of technology from NVIDIA and other companies that refine these functions is built into numerous Martech solutions and chatbot tools and, through its continuous development and improvement, can increasingly guide customers through identified weaknesses and throughout the process to ensure that You don’t lose them at all. And with B2B we know how important it is to solve problems quickly and improve processes, as many B2B ecosystems are very engaged and the interactions are continuous. The faster process problems can be solved and customers can fix problems quickly, the better the ongoing business relationship is served.
And while it’s far from perfect, AI is superhuman in many ways, it can do things that humans just can’t, like being in all places all the time. Thanks to AI-supported bots and chatbots, business customers never have to be alone. It’s never too late to call. Someone (or something) is always ready to answer their question or concern. The company can guide them through the journey at every point of contact – using AI.
Price analysis to keep you competitive
Wouldn’t it be great to know if you’re getting overpriced by a competitor – before it happens? With the help of AI, companies can keep track of competitor offers, prices, etc. in real time so they can adjust their own sales strategy before they lose business. This is what we basically call magic – the ability to stop a potential competitor from hijacking business before it even happens. How much more profitable would your business be if it could? One enterprise software company, PROS, has actually built a global company that can help businesses from customer journeys to enterprise software optimize prices at the micro level to help their partners maximize every transaction. This is a practical and high quality use of applied ML and AI at its finest.
The great thing about AI that enhances the B2B buyer’s journey is that the benefits are mutual. Businesses benefit from being able to better serve their customers’ needs and the customers themselves are better supported every step of their journey. This is incredibly good news in companies where choosing the right vendor, product, or technology is often more important than it is in our private lives. Another benefit of AI: it increases your potential to hold onto your customer base by ensuring that you are always proactively meeting their needs. That way, you can ensure that you are maximizing the value of your lifespan – something that will keep your business in the game over the long term.