Marketing and sales need to collaborate more closely to survive AI onslaught

August 10, 2017


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Since 1986, CODiE Award winners have demonstrated the highest level of market validation for their products, as the award has served as the only peer-recognized award program in the technology industry.

On August 8, at the most recent SIIA CODiE Awards, Albert — the first-ever autonomous artificial intelligence marketing technology — was recognized as the “Best Advertising or Campaign Management Platform.”

The technology itself is quite impressive. Albert automates the digital marketing process — building, optimizing, measuring, and re-calibrating your digital marketing strategies — from lead generation to customer retention. Companies such as Harley Davidson, Dole Asia, and Cosabella have already been experiencing increased revenue and ROI as a result of their investment in this technology.

Ultimately, what makes Albert so effective is its ability to tackle some of the biggest problems faced by modern marketing teams. According to a 2017 State of Inbound report, the largest problem being faced by 63 percent of marketers is generating traffic and leads, followed by various other problems that Albert intends to solve, including: proving the ROI of marketing activities and securing enough budget.

Given that this technology purports to solve some of marketers’ most time-consuming and fundamental tasks, the question arises: Does the need for a marketing team remain?

Surely, the topic of AI has raised many concerns about job replacement, but automated marketing technologies such as Albert will actually free marketers to focus on more important tasks.

In the same State of Inbound report, a main conclusion was that there is a need for stronger departmental alignment between marketing and sales teams. In fact, according to the survey, only 22 percent of respondents claimed that those areas were tightly aligned within their companies.

An April 2017 report by Aberdeen Group reaffirms the need for this departmental alignment, and demonstrates the results of closer cooperation between the two areas. The report concludes that 74 percent of “Best-In-Class” organizations have strong departmental alignment, and that those companies:

  • Achieve a 76 percent higher revenue contribution from marketing
  • Reach their quotas at a 97 percent higher rate annually
  • Are 53 percent more likely to propose a relevant value proposition to their customers

This evidence suggests more than ever, that AI in digital marketing provides marketers and sales teams alike, a unique opportunity to reevaluate their roles and work together to grow their companies’ bottom lines. So, how can you improve departmental alignment at your company? Here are some ideas:

  1. Motivate from the top down – Establishing an executive commitment is key in order to achieve close alignment between marketing and sales departments. If a common goal is established at the top and emphasized as a priority, information sharing will become a norm between the two teams.
  2. Involve sales in content creation – Sales teams know better than anyone what the customers want and need. Allow them to assist in the creation of materials by offering suggestions and recommendations that will preemptively answer potential customers’ questions and concerns.
  3. Encourage collaboration – Whether it be joint weekly meetings or rearranging the office to put sales and marketing teams side by side, physical contact can improve the levels of communication between the two groups. Ultimately, more frequent information sharing will lead to a better understanding of the customer, and consequently, a better value proposition for your customers.

While Albert is one prime example of artificial intelligence in the digital marketing space, other companies have been taking strides forward using predictive analytics as well.

SalesWings, for example, monitors and analyzes leads to provide a “hot or not” scoring using Software as a Service (SaaS), which salespeople can then use to close deals.

CEO Philip Schweizer identified that people in sales were constantly complaining that leads were bad, and when research teams generate poor leads, sales has trouble closing.

So, it is crucial for these two teams to work hand-in-hand in helping each other out and bringing that human element, lest they be made redundant by AI.

Similarly, “Sales is always asking marketing for the best collateral for a given opportunity, and marketing folks often end up serving as an information gopher, but that is a poor use of marketing’s time,” said Colin Kennedy, COO of enterprise content management startup Shelf.

Read More: Meet the Startup Looking to Disrupt the $28B Enterprise Content Management Market

Together, examples such as these and many others demonstrate that the line between marketer and salesperson is beginning to shift.

In order to take advantage of this unique opportunity, it is crucial to take steps now to promote teamwork internally and find your company on the upside of this powerful AI trend.


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