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The Future of Inbound Marketing and Inbound Sales is Artificial Intelligence

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Every day brings something new that was created by artificial intelligence. The question is no longer if AI will change business, but how to get started.

Before I just into this theory, let's take a step back and consider what inbound marketing and inbound sales is. At the heart of inbound marketing and sales is the customer, inbound is a holistic, data-driven approach that takes total strangers and turns them into great customers by helping them solve their problems."

If we break this down, today we use data intelligence to humanise the whole process. We gather implicit and explicit data which gives us the ability to market to the individual. If we consider that data plays such an important role within the marketing process, it makes you think about the power of data and Artificial intelligence. With the emergence of AI tool such as Growth bots, Siri, Messenger and Google Now, times are changing and it’s time marketers think beyond the digital landscape and develop processes which includes Artificial Intelligence.

The White House published a major report recently that reinforced this view. Some of the headline stats:

  • 83% of the jobs where people make less than $20 per hour will be subject to automation or replacement
  • Between 9% and 47% of jobs are in danger of being made irrelevant due to technological change, with the worst threats falling among the less educated
  • Between 2.2 and 3.1 million car, bus and truck driving jobs in the U.S. will be eliminated by the advent of self-driving vehicles

Artificial Intelligence (A.I) has arrived and its changing our world.

In the past few years, systems like Siri and Google Now opened our minds to the idea that we don't have to be tethered to a laptop to have seamless interaction with information.

As marketers and sales people, where to from here?

Theory one: Let’s consider the 5 minutes or less rule

We have all heard of the ideal timeframe for responding to leads, per Harvard Business Review.

After five minutes, there’s a 10x drop in your odds of getting in touch with a lead and if you respond in 10 minutes vs. 5 minutes, you’re looking at a 400% decrease in your odds of qualifying a lead.

According to the Drift marketing team, who conducted research to measure response times, 93% of companies are ignoring the 5-minute rule. Let’s face it: maintaining a response time of 5 minutes or less, 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, is impossible The issue is, sales and marketing teams aren’t able to follow up fast enough. Cue the robot.

Under the new paradigm, conversations — not forms — drive the qualification process of your prospects. And thanks to the rise of robots and chatbots, sales and marketing teams can now have these conversations at scale.

Theory two: Unbelievable service 24/7, 365 days a year

Let me start with an example. Just last week I ordered a pizza from Domino’s Pizza, a well-known franchise in Australia. I wanted to order online, and I expected to navigate through a shopping cart, but I used their chatbot.

Through a messenger service, I typed "Can I order 2 pizzas, 1 Supreme and 1 Meat Lovers". With seconds, after my chatbot friend asked me some basic questions – like size, base of the pizza and address details, my order was placed. 1 minute, 2 pizzas ordered. The chatbot sent me a reminder and started my 15-minute timeline. It was supreme service. It felt like I was messaging a human and the process was simple.

To clarify, the goal of Domino’s isn’t to replace humans, it’s to help humans manage multiple conversations and provide a seamless online process in less time. The biggest advantage with A.I is it will push forward the ideas of transparency, of seamless interaction with devices and information, making everything real-time, personalised and easy to use. We'll be able to harness that sensor data and put it into an actionable form, at the exact time people are researching or making decisions.

As we move into the area of AI and cognitive computing, experts are exploring the ability of computers and robots to do more unaided/unassisted learning and provide the information needed in less time and less intrusive.

Thanks to chatbots, sales and marketing teams can now choose to interact with only the best leads based on the rules and targeting conditions that matter most to their specific business. You, as a marketer or sales people can qualify leads more efficiently — not wasting time, but giving the same level of service. The simple message is "your website and online methods need to augment the sales and buying process".

will we be able to humanise Artificial Intelligence (A.I)?

The goal is to make the tool as human as possible, and the idea is to designing it for the user. Robots need to communicate on a personal level, much like a human, and give the user a highly personalised experience. Movements, intonations, and interactions should all be designed for what humans expect.

When A.I is applied to our computing experience, we will need to engage in a much more intuitive and natural ecosystem that appeals to all our senses. The question is, will robots ever give us that same human experience? We must remember robots are robots and unfortunately, they won't ever interact with humans in a humanlike way. We must accept this.

Like Dharmesh Shah (from Hubspot) suggested "A.I. will drive the betterment of humankind. It will complement our work and our lives." And it can make a lasting, positive impact on our world". As marketers, we need to develop user-centric A.I to make a positive impact within our marketing and sales funnel.

As entrepreneurs and investors look for the next big A.I business opportunity, marketers must see the Idiom as well. They must adapt to the change and see how they can use technology robots to help gather and deliver the right information, in a less intrusive way.

AI isn't a fad or the next trend which displaces others and fades away in 6 months, Next-gen A.I. systems are the future of marketing and sales and we need to adapt now.

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Topics: Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales