Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the way that sales and marketing teams grow their pipeline, engage, qualify, and nurture potential opportunities, and ultimately convert those opportunities into new business.
Whether you are looking to re-engage leads that have gone unresponsive or increase your rate of fresh new leads, chances are you are facing the same challenge:
How do you streamline and scale your lead nurturing and deal closing process, without the need for additional headcount, or additional budget?
Despite the growth in technological advancements in recent years as a result of AI, many companies are either reluctant or do not prioritize the adoption of new technologies, which has hindered their ability to scale their operations.
In fact, 92% of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey have claimed their business model would not remain viable at the current rate of digitalization.
With the increase of new technological advancements in AI, companies must be aware of the ways in which AI, in particular conversational marketing and automation, can help turbocharge their lead conversion process.
Through the use of AI and natural language understanding (NLU), sales and marketing teams have been able to reduce the manpower and time needed to manually engage with leads, which until now was crucial in determining the presence of a sales opportunity.
Sales and marketing teams can now mimic human-like conversation and provide undivided attention, and tailored responses for any scenario, for each and every lead - an element of personalized service that customers have come to expect.
This capability has allowed sales and marketing teams to stop wasting time engaging with uninterested or unqualified leads and instead get back to their main goal of marketing bringing in new leads, and sales engaging with sales-ready leads and converting them into new business.
Lead Qualification and Scoring
With lead scoring still the most commonly used prioritization scheme for determining a lead’s sales-readiness, organizations have had to rely on a lead’s interactions or firmographics to determine the lead’s interest in speaking to a sales rep—a model that is error-prone and far from foolproof.
In fact, data has shown that 79% of buyers are willing to speak to a sales rep during the early stages of their buying cycle, which, when using a lead scoring model, would typically have scored that lead as not being sales-ready, ultimately causing a missed sales opportunity.
With AI, organizations can now scale their lead qualification process, by allowing AI and automation tools such as automated AI assistants to automatically engage and qualify leads that have entered into their funnel.
Instead of those leads being stuck at the top of the funnel, or waiting to have their score increase due to further activity, they will immediately begin to engage with an automated AI assistant that will guide them along their buying journey, qualify them, and eventually hand them over to a live sales rep.
Lead Nurturing and Handover
With 80% of leads never translating into sales, it should be one of a sales and marketing leader’s top priorities to ensure their lead nurturing process is optimized for efficiency.
Through AI and automation, they can place their lead nurturing process on autopilot, allowing their AI tool to handle the heavy lifting of engaging their leads over time with two-way conversation and relevant content, ultimately ensuring the lead becomes sales-ready.
Once sales-ready, the final and possibly most crucial step within your lead nurturing process can take place—the handover from marketing to sales. This process as simple as one might think must be executed perfectly, to ensure a smooth, uninterrupted transition.
Data Collection and Organization
As your lead nurturing process is executed, there are dozens if not hundreds of various data points that are collected, which can be used to make real-time changes to your current nurturing, and targeting initiatives, as well as future strategies.
The physical collection and organization of these data points is not only time-consuming but is highly susceptible to human error.
Through AI and automation, organizations have been able to streamline this process, allowing all pertinent information captured during the lead conversion process to be gathered and recorded back to the organization's CRM, providing a single location for all data.
The Effects Of Integrating AI Tools
Organizations that have accepted these new technologies and have added them into their marketing and sales stack have been able to reap the rewards of scaling their lead nurturing and deal closure rates.
In fact, companies that have integrated automated AI tools such as Exceed’s automated AI assistant into their lead nurturing and deal closing process have realized:
- 3X more SQLs without adding headcount
- 35% increase in rep productivity
- 19.5% increase in quota attained
- 25% more qualified leads handed over to sales
With their AI-powered conversion automation platform, Exceed was designed to help marketing and sales teams to drive more pipeline from their existing leads and website visitors.
With their automated AI assistant working 24/7 alongside humans, they ensure every lead is followed up with, nurtured, and qualified using automated two-way email, chat, and SMS conversations.
Above all, utilizing automated AI tools such as Exceed allows you to automatically update your CRM and marketing automation platform with the latest lead status when leads are qualified, change jobs, leave the company, not the right person, or ask to be contacted at a later time, ensuring that all prevalent information is recorded for future use.
What Lies Ahead
AI continues to shape the way marketing and sales teams scale and streamline their lead conversion processes.
As a major catalyst in the industry’s move towards all thing’s automation, AI’s transformative capabilities have only begun to scratch the surface—allowing organizations to interact and nurture their leads at scale, while still providing each one with the personalized service they crave.
If one thing is certain, it's that the future of AI in the fields of marketing and sales is going to change the way companies and brands interact with, engage with their customers for the better by providing maximum value throughout their buyer journey in a most streamlined and cost-efficient tools to do so.
Yael Darom is Head of Marketing at Exceed.ai, a conversational AI marketing platform that helps you engage every lead and set more qualified meetings.