When B2B marketers talk about using Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) in their companies, they often talk about things like improving email deliverability and automating their social media efforts. There’s no doubt that “cost efficiency things” like those are solid but the absolute goldmine in B2B? Using AI/ML to get more bang for your marketing buck by increasing your revenues and improving your bottom line! Here are three tried-and-true things you should consider….
DETERMINING NEXT BEST OFFERS (NBOs) BY INDIVIDUAL AND COMPANY and NEXT BEST PRODUCTS (NBPs)
Next Best Offers (NBOs)
Want to improve your average lifetime value? Need to get your customers to buy again and buy more often? By combining oodles of historical data AND present buyer/prospect activity, AI/ML tools help you identify which offer is best for every individual – and organization — on your list. Not only will it determine which offer(s) a visitor is most likely to respond to, it can pinpoint when and how you should present the offer. AI can do this one offer at a time or as a string of offers throughout a buying journey/lifetime.
AI/ML will learn what offers work, when, and to whom; how your online and offline offers work differently; how frequently (and when) you can repeat the same offers; offer hierarchy; how seasonality and fiscal/calendar year endings can impact your offers; and more. You’ll also determine who is most susceptible to price drops, free shipping, free gifts, automatic delivery/refill programs, rebates, combination pricing, bulk buys, free samples, free info (webinars, whitepapers), new merchandise, overstock, clearance, sale, BOGOs and more.
Next Best Products (NBPs)
For years, B2B companies have used their data to identify NBPs (Next Best Products) to increase their revenues, improve buyer frequency and increase lifetime value. AI/ML has indeed simplified the process, but it’s still the same exercise… figuring out what each customer/company will buy next and to whom, how, and when to best sell it. Some B2B marketers also use their NBP formula to determine what bundles and/or accessories to offer and how to best promote extended warranties and service plans.
If I buy a printer from you, it’s safe to imagine I’ll need paper and ink/toner. The best NBP programs go beyond that by figuring out what products I will need and in what order; the best channels and methods to sell me those products (think telemarketing, catalogs, emails, texts, account alerts, etc.); when to upsell and cross-sell me “extra” items; how to properly maneuver purchasing authority rules; and so on.
With AI, both Next Best Offers and Next Best Products can be calculated in real-time and at scale, not in batches. This allows you to respond better to current market conditions.
PREDICTIVE LEAD RANKING/SCORING
For years, B2B companies have ranked their prospects based on propensity to buy. Example: 1 = HOT LEAD, will buy in next 30 days, 2 = will buy in 90 days, 3 = will buy in a year, 4 = good prospect, 5 = dead, out of business, etc.
AI/ML takes whatever ranking system you have in Sales and Marketing and puts it on steroids. By combining anecdotal (ex: sales reps scoring) with empirical data (ex: past and current behavior, infographic information, etc.), you’ll not only get a more precise lead score but the best contact strategy for every individual as well. (Lead scoring with AI/ML is often on a 1-100+ scale.)
All your leads will be neatly organized within a hierarchy (most likely to buy at the top, least likely to buy at the bottom) so you can see if/where you need more leads; which leads to prioritize; and who/what/how/when to contact each individual in your pyramid.
Sophisticated marketers also use AI/ML to identify sites/lookalike accounts; determine where the Elephants are within their customer file (Elephants have the BIGGEST opportunity – ex: buying groups for hospitals, car dealerships, etc.); where and how purchasing/authority fits into each company; and how budgets and availability of monies differ between SICs or other criteria.
B2B PREDICTIVE GOAL ATTAINMENT (PGA)
B2B Predictive Goal Attainment is a fancy way of saying you’ll fill in what I am missing. So, if I need 100 orders by the end of the month to make my goal and I only have 60, AI/ML can figure out the best way to help me get the 40 orders I am missing.
Because AI excels at finding the most efficient way to meet a specific goal, it can be spectacular at PGA, often finding new and different opportunities than humans.
Have a question about AI and B2B Marketing? Have a tip you’d like to share? Tweet @amyafrica or write firstname.lastname@example.org.