The business environment, particularly sales, have always been highly competitive. It’s only become even more competitive with the digital technology available to business professionals today. In order to keep up with the competition, sales reps and marketers need to use every available tool and resource to gain an edge.
Recently, business professionals have been investing in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help scale their sales efforts. In this article, we’ll give you an essential guide to AI and ML, and how you can leverage these technologies as a sales and marketing professional.
AI and ML are the latest buzzwords in the industry. To be perceived as current, sales and marketing executives have been quick to incorporate these terms in their strategies. However, only few seem interested in learning the foundations of AI and ML.
The concepts of AI and ML can be traced back to the 1950s when computer gaming pioneers began experimenting on ways to make machines smart enough as opponents for humans in games like checkers and chess.
ML was developed as a set of algorithms that could train computers in making the best moves through data analysis and prediction, which are at the core of AI. Today, AI and ML have become sophisticated enough to learn and predict human behavior, opening up a universe of practical applications.
As we live in the information age, each individual who owns a smartphone or computer is generating copious amounts of data. This includes data like location, online activity and behavior, and social networks and affiliations. In its raw form, data is rarely actionable.
Data needs to be processed and analyzed in order for it to be converted into useful information. Sifting through unimaginable amounts of data generated every second is impossible work for humans to manage. This is where AI and ML come in. AI and ML enable people to make sense out of vast amounts of unstructured data, shedding light on patterns and correlations in human activity.
In Sales, it’s essential for professionals to understand their target consumers’ wants, needs, and characteristics. Yet, it’s been difficult to acquire such detailed information in the past.
With the advent of smartphones and online apps, however, consumers generate vast amounts of data that can be used to learn about their preferences and behavior.
The key is to have the capability to sift through all that data to find the useful ones and turn them into insights. Given the amount of data that consumers generate every second (or millisecond even), it would take an untold amount of human resources just to wade through that data and try to organize it. This is where AI and ML come in handy.
Using AI and ML, we can now process and analyze vast amounts of data in a very short period of time. This means that sales reps and marketers can distill useful information from consumer-generated data at a relatively low cost.
This is not to say that every sales and marketing strategy should automatically adopt AI and ML. You have to apply these technologies where it makes sense for your business to do so. For instance, AI and ML are only useful when you have big data to process. If you do not have access to data that’s relevant to your target consumer base, adopting AI and ML right away is like putting the cart before the horse.
AI and ML are powerful tools. If you have a customer base that’s active online and your business has the means to purchase consumer data, then investing in AI and ML should be part of your business strategy.
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