If you say the words “artificial intelligence” to an average person in 2018, they’re probably more likely to think of a science fiction android than anything affecting their day-to-day life. But AI is being used more and more in our society, and it’s poised to revolutionize virtually every aspect of the way we do business. AI can change how we research and treat illnesses, transport goods and people, and plan for retirement.
Of course, AI’s revolutionary potential has some disconcerting aspects in addition to its exciting ones. An article on Medium recently gained lots of online traction for examining the disturbing content produced when children’s content becomes partially automated and algorithm-based. Tech Republic recently reported on the some of the biggest AI failures, a list that includes racial profiling and dangerous accidents. And Richard Kyu at Studypool reports that AI-based automated trucking could replace 1.7 million American jobs.
These examples don’t disprove that AI is a powerful tool; in fact, quite the opposite — Kyu reports AI is changing society at about 10 times the pace of the Industrial Revolution. While crude AI algorithms have promulgated inappropriate content on YouTube, Google has also found that carefully designed AI programs are better at removing extremist or hate-filled content from the platform than human content-checkers. The New Scientist reports recent research findings that show AI can effectively be trained to avoid making major mistakes when it has the help of a human “teacher.”
Whether keeping an AI from learning through error means we’re preventing an automated car from crashing or simply keeping a data sorting program from wasting lots of time, it’s clear that future AI will work in tandem with human emotional and situational intelligence rather than attempting to circumvent it.
Marketing and AI
Will your company’s marketing department or sales team get replaced by an AI program anytime soon? Probably not — effective sales and marketing strategy requires emotional intelligence, which is a fluid, complex, culture- and situation-specific human skill set even the most sophisticated AI would struggle to replicate. Emotionally-savvy marketing generates real bottom line benefits for brands; the Harvard Business Review recently reported that “emotionally connected” customers are far more profitable for companies than “highly satisfied” ones.
This isn’t to say that the B2B marketing sector couldn’t use a technological boost. Searching for leads is notoriously both expensive and inefficient; Technology Advice recently reported that only 75 percent of leads from the standard B2B pipeline lead to any immediately available sales opportunities.
Your sales team may choose to buy a list of leads from data brokers, but these lists (in addition to being expensive) are often crude and inefficient, based on broad filters such as industry sector code or geographic location, and loaded with inaccurate information. The result is a talented sales team wasting time combing through ill-fitting or nonexistent leads. This may be why so many companies wind up under-funding this essential activity — it’s proven incredibly difficult to do efficiently.
LeadCrunch has found a way to combine the efficiency and speed of AI with the human intelligence of a great B2B marketing department. While they won’t replace your sales team, they will help them work faster and smarter, leading to more sales and a far higher ROI for lead generation.
How It Works
Any B2B business out there has at least some data available already, such as a list of its 100 best customers. LeadCrunch takes this data and feeds it through a proprietary AI search engine. This search engine doesn’t just narrow down further leads based on area or industry codes; instead, it uses AI capabilities to recognize patterns in a base of existing client information and then extrapolates those patterns into a list of future leads.
This initial list of leads is obviously a major boon to any customer, but what makes LeadCrunch particularly special is its follow-up: customers can provide feedback on the list quality as they begin reaching out, and LeadCrunch calibrates the AI search tool accordingly, developing specialized searches for each client. The AI can essentially be taught to teach itself, further refining its accuracy for each customer based on feedback from its entire customer base. The AI effectively becomes a trained “member” of your sales team, able to provide increasingly specific leads the more you use it.
Of course, lead generation is only part of the battle; your business still has to reach out to clients and close the sale, as well. Luckily, LeadCrunch can help with this is, too.
Approaching a new customer is a delicate process, and it’s not hard to alienate a potential client by calling them when they prefer email or miscalculating your pitch. LeadCrunch’s proprietary search platform will return not just leads, but information on how best to approach them to maximize the chances of a positive encounter and sale. Like the leads themselves, this information is constantly being fine-tuned by customer feedback and the AI’s machine-learning mechanism, creating reliable data on this essential part of the sales process.
AI is already a world-changing technology, and it will continue to affect how we live and do business far into the future. The smartest AI platforms will combine human and artificial intelligence in order to unlock new capabilities. LeadCrunch presents a great example of this next generation of truly “intelligent” AI.
How could LeadCrunch help your B2B marketing plan?